Archive for May, 2011

Someone missed me!

Just have to do the borders on the string log cabin now so I’m taking a break. Chesty jumped up right away to cuddle with me.


I haven’t used the camera on the new iPad much because the resolution isn’t the greatest but also because I forget it’s there but it’s fine for quick shots like this.

I’m home

On today’s agenda is unpacking (from both the GA and NE trips) and I want to finish assembling the string log cabin blocks on the design wall. With all the travel, they’ve been up there way too long and I’m determined to get the top done before leaving for Boston in a couple days.

I loved the little bowtie quilt from the Nebraska sew-in so I decided to recreate my own version. For now, just as a drawing but eventually in fabric. Thanks to the Touch Draw app for my iPad I was able to sketch it out.


Another productive day

Jay and I continued to tie quilts for a local shelter but Sheree, Carol, and Julia worked on blocks and assembling HeartStrings tops for Quilts of Valor. I just love how these turn out.


Nebraska sew-in

A small group of us gathered in Fremont Nebraska today to tie quilts for a local shelter. Here I’m with Jay who hosted this HeartStrings event.


And look at this quilt, in addition to tying HeartStrings quilts, Jay buys tops from garage sales and such to finish and donate to the shelters. This one had it’s issues including some double knits but I fell in love with it, I took several photos and will use them to draft my own version to make one day!


Gone again

Seems like I just got home doesn’t it? I’m in Nebraska for a HeartStrings sew-in so I should have some photos for you tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to piece next and I think I’m finally going to do this 9 patch quilt I drafted a while back. AT the time I decided to make the twisted 9 patch but knew I’d eventually do this one too. Of course I still have to finish assembling the string log cabin top first but a girl can dream!


One day I will knit more

I love shawls – there’s something so girly and feminine about them. One of these days I’m going to make more time for knitting.

For now, I get an online knitting newsletter just so I can look at them. In today’s edition, a link to this pattern.


One reason I love following Dianne’s blog is that she shows off her beautiful shawls.

A lazy day

I’m giving a brief talk tonight about HeartStrings at a local guild so other than packing up quilts to show, I’ve spent the afternoon reading.


My Design Process – part six

I’ve already done a post that covers how I approach color in my quilts so I’ll just link to it here.

Choosing colors


On my design wall

When I left a few weeks ago my design wall looked like this but after some work yesterday morning like this ….

And then after some more work last night like this …

Since assembling blocks into tops is one of my least favorite parts of quilting – I tend to do it a little at a time. You may also be able to tell that the first couple rows are assembled, the middle two rows are already partially assembled in 3 sections and I’m still adding sashing to the bottom section. I rarely assemble my tops in rows but rather create larger block sections and then join them together.

My Design Process – Part Five

While the iPad is great for drafting on the go or capturing a idea for later, I always head to EQ7 when I’m planning the actual quilt.

I took the Apple Tree block that I was playing with on the iPad from yesterday’s post and quickly redrafted it in EQ7.


I’m thinking a 16 inch block right now although you could certainly downsize it to 8 or 12 inches if you wanted by changing my 2 inch grid to a 1 inch for an 8 inch block or 1.5 inches for a 12 inch block.

By plugging my block size in a diagonal setting with sashing and adding a couple borders, I easily see that a twin size quilt could look like this.

However, those setting triangles are pretty big because of the size of my block so while I’ve never done pieced setting triangles, I pulled a log cabin block in from the block library, insert it into the setting triangles, rotate it and this is what I have.

From here, I can play with additional options like adding an inner white border. The beauty of working in EQ is that once you have your original idea – you can look at lots of different options easily without having to rework the entire quilt. I rarely make the first draft of any quilt.

I can also easily tweak my original block — what if I used 4 patches for the apples to give the quilt more interest.


As always, although I’m using only a few colors for the design process, I would make this quilt scrappy using many greens and reds.


Happy Mother’s Day

We’re going for a bike ride later but Keith fixed me French Toast for brunch this morning! And he knows how I love flowers in my kitchen so he bought me some of those too.

I’ve spent a little time this morning on the quilt on the design wall — just adding sashing to my blocks.

My Design Process – part four

I look at a lot of blocks, I study how they’re structured and then head to EQ to simplify, change the size, or even draft my own variation.

I love tree quilts and have one on my list to make — one day. In the meantime, I’ve looked at many, many variations knowing that the one I would make eventually would be a simpler version than most.

One of the best reason for learning to use quilting software is to draft or change blocks.

So here’s my tree block – doesn’t it remind you of apple trees? I can’t guarantee that it’s not like another block somewhere out there but it’s not one I’ve copied from anywhere. No fussy templates, just squares and a few half square triangles.


Of course it will be set on point but now that I’m home, I’ll draw this block in EQ where it will be easier to look at sashing and overall quilt size.


Home sweet home

Keith headed out on his bike already but Chesty and I are curled up on the sofa. I don’t know if it’s because spring has finally arrived here in Minneapolis or because of the flight but my allergies are really bothering me this afternoon but I’m so glad to be home.

We hope to be back in a month or two to see the kids.


My Design Process – Part Three

Remember, I’m just sharing my process here – I’m not claiming to be an expert!

Think in multiples.

In addition to looking at an underlying grid, when I’m working with two blocks in a quilt, I’m thinking in multiples. Here’s a simple quilt I share on my website, designed in EQ7.


Two easy blocks, a half square triangle and a double 4 patch.


Once I decide that I want to use my 6 inch GO die for the half square triangle it’s easy to calculate that for the double four patch ( a 2×2 grid) my squares and 4 patches need to be 3 inches so for this quilt, I’d use my 6 inch half square triangle and 3 inch square ( finished sizes) and for my 4 patches, I’d use my 2 inch strip die so that each square in my 4 patch would finish at 1.5 inches.

1.5 plus 1.5 is equal to 3 and 3 plus 3 is equal to 6 – like I said it’s all about finding the multiples when combining different dies together or even determining what sizes to rotary cut blocks.

Of course, EQ will provide rotary cutting directions but I like to make it easy on myself and not have odd measurements so I always determine what I want my block size to be by looking at the underlying grid of the block and doing some simple multiplication first — then I plug that number into EQ.

I frequently see people questioning which dies they should buy for their GO and aside from dies like the Drunkard’s Path or the Dresden Plate which are block specific, this quilt is an good example of thinking about the combinations or multiples you’d use together.

An early Mother’s Day for me

One last night spent visiting with the boys (and Becky) before we head home tomorrow. It’s been a great trip but after 3 weeks I can’t wait to get home.

Chris took these photos this afternoon for me.




My Design Process – Part Two

Using my Accuquilt GO

When I’m ready to start a new project, I’ll start thinking about quilts on my wish list and the GO dies I have. Being able to cut one of my scrap quilts with the GO helps me get to the piecing part a lot quicker.

If you’re used to drafting your own quilts or adapting patterns to meet your needs, this won’t be new to you but I always start by looking at the grid for the block I want to make. In this example, I want to make a quilt using a Shoo Fly block. It’s a 3×3 grid so I know I can easily make it in 3, 6, 9, 12, or even 18 inch sizes using dies I already have.

I’m going to toss out the 3 and 18 inch options as too big or two small and focus on the 6, 9, and 12 inch blocks.


The block is made up of squares and half square triangles.

Remembering that my block is a 3×3 grid, using the dies for the 2 inch finished square and half square triangle gives me a 6 inch block, the 3 inch finished dies give me a 9 inch block, and the 4 inch dies give me a 12 inch block.

I like making 9 inch blocks for many of my donation quilts because I can set blocks 6×8 and end up with a quit that is 54×72 without borders, a good size. But, 48 nine inch shoo fly blocks would look pretty boring just sitting side by side so in this case, I’d go with a twisted setting and make my Shoo Fly blocks 6 inches.

Wouldn’t this make a fun QOV?


Other options I could consider are twisting the red and blue blocks in opposite directions, using an alternate block with the Shoo Fly, or sashing the blocks.

And you know me, I wouldn’t just use one red, one blue, one white fabric in my quilt, I’d use many but I don’t usually take the time to make my drawings scrappy.

Since I’m traveling…I used the Touch Draw app on my iPad to make these examples.

My Design Process – Part One

It’s not that I consider myself any kind of expert but there’s been some discussion on the Accuquilt GO site about using EQ to design or adapt quilts for the GO dies and I’ve decided that it might be helpful if I do a series of posts on how I approach the design process for my quilts.

In this first part, I’m going to talk about tools and references I use in the process and where I find inspiration.

I’ve been using Electric Quilt since version 4 (I’m now using version 7) and find it invaluable when looking at my options for color schemes, layouts, settings, borders, and quilt sizes. It has an extensive block library, rotary cutting instructions, fabric estimates, and the ability to export photos which I use in writing up my quilt instruction sheets for my website although the actual instructions themselves are written in Microsoft Word.

Although I love technology, I’m a big book person so if you’re not going to just be copying or adapting quilts designed by others, I think a block encyclopedia is essential. I have several block books but my favorite reference is Jinny Beyer’s Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns.

Inspiration for settings, borders, color schemes come from quilt books, blogs, Google searches, vintage quilt searches on eBay and Flicker. I’m usually not setting out to make a similar quilt but a border treatment or color scheme that I run across may be just what my quilt needs.

On the iPad, I draft blocks and quilts in Touch Draw. While it’s more labor intensive than EQ, I can still design on the go or capture ideas when I’m traveling. I’ve also found it’s easier to make drawings showing how I assemble blocks in this app than in EQ so I use both in my instruction sheets.

Quilting designs are tried out on the iPad too by either drawing on a whiteboard or on a photo of my actual quilt in Adobe Ideas.

Simple embroidery

I’ve been working on my knit socks and am ready to start my toe decreases so I decided to take a break and do some simple embroidery for one of my postcards.



One of the things I love about blogging is that I can get to know quilters from all over the world both here on my blog and through theirs.

Even language isn’t a barrier with Google Translate.


May’s UFO challenge quilt

Judy’s drawn #9 for May’s UFO – This one will be easy! A HeartStrings Logo quilt – it will get a quick overall freehand or a pantograph which is good because I have a busy May planned.