Indulgent and Pragmatic

Accuquilt Go!
Accuquilt Go!

The other day I wrote about using the Accuquilt to cut up some scraps. SherriD asked me some questions about the Accuquilt and it made me realize I had never really articulated how I use my Accuquilt. Perhaps I have and I just can’t find it in the blog?

I bought the Accuquilt on sale in order to cut about 10,000 strips for the Renewed Jelly Roll Race quilt. I felt like it was an indulgent purchase, but also somewhat pragmatic. It worked really well for that type of cutting (as long as I was able to straighten the fabric accurately). I don’t have a large cutting table so cutting long strips can be a nightmare of folding. The Accuquilt works really well for this purpose.

I determined, early on in my Accuquilt ownership, that I was not going buy every die. I also did not plan to buy the applique’ dies. I don’t do much applique’ and I saw no reason to clutter up my shrinking fabric closet with dies I would never use. Having a complete collection is not important to me.

I also decided I would buy basic dies – squares and strips. I want dies that give me as many options as possible, so I buy sizes of squares, mostly, that I can use in various quilts. 2.5 inch squares is the die I use the most for ‘on spec’ cutting. I also use the 2 inch die as I am still collecting blue, green and purple squares for the Blueberry Lemonade quilt I plan to make at some point.

Accuquilt-HRT die
Accuquilt-HRT die

I have branched out a little. I have an HRT die. Never used, but I have it. It is a great example of why I try to be careful about the dies I buy. I bought it thinking I could pair it with 2.5 inch square a la the Spiky Stars quilt. It isn’t the right size. That is an obvious drawback for dies. With rulers, you can cut whatever size you need. The dies are usually limited to one size. I have seen dies with multiple shapes or sizes, but that isn’t always the case.

I often use SIL’s Peaky & Spike die, so much so that I have thought of buying my own. Up until now using hers is fine. She and I coordinate die buying now that we live near each other. That expands both of our collections.

Triangles are a pain to cut, so I either use the Triangle Technique or some other quick cutting method. Triangles are great to cut with the Accuquilt, but I haven’t invested in the dies. I have a few, I think, but I find they often aren’t the right size for my project.

I probably would have bought the electric version if it had been available when I was shopping. If you are thinking of a die cutter, see if a local shop has one they rent. Some shops do and that can be a good way to try them out.

The bottomline is that there is no one way for me to cut. I use rulers, dies, templates and whatever else works for my project. Do what works for you.


ColorPlay: Umbrellas


I’m always looking for photos with the most color possibilities. This week is no exception. I took this photo in Portland. The umbrellas were hanging down from the ceiling, covering the ceiling.

It doesn’t have as many colors as I would like, but until I start playing with the Palette Builder, I always think the photo I chose has more colors than it really does.


The Kona Earth looks like a cocoa color to me. Surprisingly the tool put some color into the default palette. I suppose it would have been really weird if it ignored the pink umbrella completely. It didn’t do much with the green umbrella.


I took charge of the pink to see how much pink I could get out of the one photo. I was surprised that I got quite a lot. You can see all the dots are only on the pink umbrella.


I went a little broader in my second palette. I like that Cotton Sage blue. Sage is green to me, but whatever that color is, it lends a brightness to an otherwise neutral palette.


This 3rd palette is virtually the same as the one above except for a few tweaks. I wanted to just move the circles a little bit and see what came up. The green created Evergreen, which really looks black. I suppose I agree with the Desert Green name. Colors in the desert can be very pale, bleaches looking. The neutral palette is softer, I think.


The fourth palette reminds me of dessert. The neutrals have a richness to them, especially the Kona Cinnamon.

In general, this photo is primarily generating neutral palettes with me teasing out the least bit of color to make them my own.


Column Donation Top Finished

The other day I talked about the column donation top. I was able to finish it fairly simply.

Column donation top - Finished
Column donation top – Finished

The large piece of batik has been burning a hole in my pocket – or whatever the quilt equivalent of that is. I decided to use it for this piece and some of the leftovers on the back. It isn’t an exact match to the turquoise fabrics in the blocks, but I think it works well.

I worried about the Dove block touching the large expanse of blue, but I think it works. I am pleased with the top and am glad to clear up a few leftovers into something that will be useful.

Cutting Scraps

I am in a little bit of a quiltmaking funk at the moment. Not sure why except work is taking a lot of brainpower. One of the results of these feelings is that I tidy. You saw the column quilt I posted the other day. That was the result of leftover pieces and blocks.

Accuquilt work on scraps
Accuquilt work on scraps

At Craft Night on Monday, I brought down a drawer full of scraps and cut them up with my Acuquilt. I made it through the whole mostly white drawer and came up with, perhaps, 80-100 2.5 inch squares. I’ll have a good supply for donation block backgrounds.

Column Donation Top in Process

Column donation top
Column donation top

Last week I found some extra half square triangles leftover from the Stepping Stones n.2 quilt. Not being able to focus led me to sewing them together randomly. I put a couple of blocks up on the wall and they happened to fall near the Dove block I didn’t use in the Aqua-Red Sampler. Suddenly I had an idea for a donation quilt top.

Column donation top in process
Column donation top in process

Yesterday I worked on it some more. It is nearing completion and I will have a top by the next meeting. I thought I would place the column in the middle, but I don’t have enough of the Pure Elements Snow to do it, so I’ll have to think of something else. I ended up sewing the two pieces of Snow together and sewing them to one side of the column.

This is a very ‘go with the flow’ type piece and not planned at all.

Various & Sundry 2018 #9

I got my spreadsheet working again and have used 50.99 yards of fabric net. Will I get to 100? I don’t know.

Projects & Patterns

Gotham Quilts has an organizer of the month project club. It has already started, but you can still join.

RainbowHare has some great patterns in his/her Etsy shop, I like the sewing machine cover caravan.

I don’t know what possessed me, but I bought this Westchester Dolman top pattern and video pack.

There is a Disaster Quilting Project. It’s not what you think. “The purpose of this site is to showcase the amazing artists who have transcended extraordinary circumstances through quilting.”

Splendid Sampler Sew-a-long is going on. Use the FB page to follow along.

If you want to make a pet bed after seeing my post the other day, I have two tutorials. One is regular and one is simplified. These were written by Amanda.

I do like this Basket Tote pattern from Sew Can She. It has a great shape.

Quilt Class & Other Tutorials

I was horrified to realize that I had posted the wrong size patterns on the Quilt Class lesson for curves called The Dove. I am really sorry! I realized this error when I was putting the Aqua-Red Sampler together. It is fixed and the directions themselves are correct and haven’t changed.

All People Quilt has a closure technique they call the Magic Invisible Closure. Others call it the ladder stitch. If you need to hand sew something closed, this is a technique for you.


The International Quilt Study Center has a quilt of the month feature. This month’s quilt is the Soldier’s Quilt, a piece made from military fabrics.

The MQG has a new website.

My friend sent me a link to a blog post about the 1718 quilt. This is the complex kind of sampler that I like. Even though I have no space for new quilt books, I bought a copy of the book anyway. You can too!

Apparently, the Smithsonian has a national quilt collection and has made a video about it. The video starts talking about the first quilts in the collection.

After watching the Smithsonian video, a video on the history of the Dear Jane quilt came up, so I watched that as well. I have read the book, but why not get a refresher? It was a lecture at a quilt show by someone who made (and finished!) a reproduction of the Dear Jane quilt.

I found a link to a book of Japanese wave and ripple patterns. It has been sitting in my inbox for weeks, but I decided to share it here since many of you look for free motion quilting (would work for hand quilting, too!) patterns and these would be great. Be sure and page through the book on the top of the page. It is awesome!

Other Artists

Sarah Goer has some doodles for free motion quilting on her blog post. I like those little pieces of paper.

Charlotte talks about block printing on fabric in a recent blog post.

Exhibits & Contests

Entries for QuiltCon are now open and will close on November 30 (the YM’s birthday, BTW). The QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge is now taking applications. This year’s theme is small piecing.

  • QuiltCon registration is now open — there are still plenty of great workshops and lectures, including Sherri Lynn Wood’s featured lecture. Check out the catalog and schedule here. Changes for QuiltCon 2019 include the Awards Ceremony moving to Wednesday evening, and the addition of Sewing Lounges!

Scott Fortunoff, the new owner of Free Spirit Fabrics ( and other great brands) has a contest posted on his blog: visiting quilt shops!

Books, Fabrics, Supplies & Notions

I get an email from Paintbrush Studios about various things. Today I got one about a new fabric line called Launch Party. I don’t have small boys at home, but this fabrics makes me want my 10YO back (for a few minutes, at least). The robots, aliens and rocket ships are fabulous. One of the robots looks like Rosie from the Jetsons. Also the dots companion print are wonderful.

I found an article on Philip Jacobs. Sigh! I love that man’s designs so much.

Janome is releasing sewing cards every few days. These have useful sewing information printed on them. The first one has yardage info. the second one is all about needles.

You know I love Judy Martin. I do. You should, too. She has recently embraced online publishing, so her books take up less space on your shelf and may come faster. She says she can also publish on more esoteric quilt subjects without worrying about recouping her printing costs. While I like printed quilt books, I am a fan of esoteric quilt topics as well. Judy writes in a recent newsletter (though not the latest, I don’t think):

I’m a strong proponent of pieced borders. It wasn’t always thus, but since 1994 when I wrote Pieced Borders with Marsha McCloskey, I realized almost every quilt is made better with a pieced border. Since that time a quarter century ago, I’ve designed a pieced border for most of my patterns.

For a while I’ve had a hankering to gather a bunch of my designs and talk about what the borders bring to the quilts and what I considered as I planned them. So with the prospect of e-books removing some of the publishing shackles, I sat down to write Border Inspirations.

Border Inspirations isn’t a pattern book. You won’t find a single pattern in it. It is, however, an idea book and, as the title suggests, an inspiration book. And the ideas and inspiration aren’t limited to borders, though obviously that’s the focus. You can look at the quilts in this book and find color schemes and fabric choices you like, or quilt types or specific quilts that call to you. I don’t know about you, but seeing a lot of beautiful quilts all at once almost always gets my patchwork engine revving. I see beautiful quilts, and I want to make a beautiful quilt, too.

You don’t have to be the sort of person who can simply add a border to an existing pattern all on your own. Not everyone can do that. With Border Inspirations you can decide what border qualities impress you and then seek patterns that possess those qualities.

Border Inspirations won’t take any room on your shelf. It is 96 pages and sells for just $7.95. It has 82 large photos of quilts with pieced borders, with the pattern source listed in the caption. Download your copy today and get jazzed up about quilts with pieced borders!”

I don’t get many emailed newsletters since they just pile up in my inbox until I delete them unread. I think Judy’s newsletter is worth reading. Here are the instructions for receiving your own subscription:

If you’re reading a forwarded email and would like to sign up for your own free copy, use the link and enter your email address under “Subscribe.”

BAMaQG Color Round Robin Returns

BAMaQG Color Round Robin
BAMaQG Color Round Robin

Along with the Octagon 9 Patch, the BAMaQG Color Round Robin came back from my quilter. I really like the quilting. There are different motifs in most of the non-background areas. I have to sew down the binding and then send it off to its new owner.

I don’t dislike this quilt, however it is not a favorite. I do really like the quilting that Colleen did.

The bits in each of the areas with printed fabric look great.

ColorPlay: deYoung Flowers

ColorPlay: DeYoung Flower - original
ColorPlay: DeYoung Flower – original

I took a few photos at a special exhibit held at the deYoung in late March.

I can’t remember the name of the exhibit. They do it every year and it is up for a very short time. Someone chooses artworks and matches them up with floral designers who create a floral arrangement that matches, reflects, goes with – or something – the artworks. I had a hard time seeing how the floral designs went with the artwork. You never know what the artist sees. I find that with my own work.

I have many pictures from the show, but the pink in this one intrigued me. I really created a lot of palettes and could have created more. There is a lot of scope for color in that arrangements. I had to stop because I knew you wouldn’t read about 50 palettes. I also didn’t want to write that much.

ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers-default
ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers-default

The first palette, as usual is the default palette. This one is seriously neutral and somewhat depressing considering the vibrant colors in the bouquet. I noticed that the circles tend to be placed towards the edges.

ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers n.1
ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers n.1

I made sure my first palette included some brights, or at least cheerful solids. I kept in some of the neutral feel as I was trying to show progression. I don’t like that Kona Cotton Latte much. It sticks out like a sore thumb.

I have up on progression when making my first monochromatic palette, the pink. I was able to make two (yes, TWO) monochromatic palettes this time: a blue and a pink. I went for broke since that Kona Latte fabric really bugged me.

ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers n.3
ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers n.3

I went back to progression when I made palette n.3. I thought blue would look great with pink, so I kept some of the pinks and added some blues. I put more blues in as I didn’t want to make the palette exactly equal. I probably couldn’t have done another one that had more pinks than blues, too.

This one led to the monochromatic blue palette pictured above.

ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers n.5
ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers n.5

I tried to get away from my default blues and do something different. I think the anchor fabric in this palette is the Kona Cardinal. I didn’t completely succeed with this effort, because the Wasabi and Butterscotch are very similar. I am not sure the arrangement has need of that much of those tones.

ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers n.6
ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers n.6

I wanted to improve on the palette above, so I made minor adjustments. Chestnut Palm and Spice are not favorites. This is not my kind of palette.

ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers n.7
ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers n.7

I tried to improve the palette above again. I think I did a better job. The Grass Green and Deep Rose are much better.

ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers n.8
ColorPlay: DeYoung Flowers n.8

I think n.8 is the best iteration of the last few. The palette reflects my personality. The pink brings out the best in the Sunflower. I think Taupe is a supporting actor and I wouldn’t put a lot of that in a quilt.

You may see other arrangements from this show in the future.

Color My Quilt: Gerre

Color My Quilt: Gerre's shard
Color My Quilt: Gerre’s shard

Gerre brought her blocks to the meeting last month and laid them out. I talked about this process earlier in the week (better late than never!). During that process, I realized that my shard was not among the ones she brought. I looked up all the Color My Quilt posts and don’t think I ever made her a piece. I was really sad about that, so I got busy.

This one isn’t as long as I thought it would be and is more buttoned up than the other shards, but I hope she will be able to use it.

Octagon 9 Patch Returns

Octagon 9 Patch - ready for binding
Octagon 9 Patch – ready for binding

It was back in May that I finished preparing the Octagon 9 Patch for quilting and July when I took it to Colleen. The child has returned and the quilting looks fabulous. There is something about not seeing a quilt for awhile that makes it that much nicer. Also, being almost finished is wonderful, too.

Sadly, Colleen hurt her hand and she didn’t get to the Stepping Stones before she did it. I don’t know how badly, but I know she isn’t quilting for awhile. Hopefully, not too long. I am continuing to sew! (as you probably noticed)

Color My Quilt: Marty

Color My Quilt: Marty (Sept. 2018)
Color My Quilt: Marty (Sept. 2018)

Marty tried to torture me this month with her request.


Yep. Brown.

I couldn’t believe it, but it was true. Fortunately, I didn’t have go to the indignity of beige or baby poop brown. I had a chocolate fabric with the most fabulous lime, turquoise and orange dots. Haha!

The shard is a little bit of an odd shape, but that is ok. Marty will just have to deal. I hope she likes it.

Color My Quilt: Marty - Brown made fabric
Color My Quilt: Marty – Brown made fabric

I had made some fabric using browns sometime ago. I can’t remember for what reason, so I just decided to toss that into the pile for Marty as well. Despite my best intentions, I am not going to make a journal cover from browns. I might have been thinking of making another Henry, but that can wait. I want to make a white one first.

Color My Quilt: Gerre’s Shards

Last month, Gerre brought her shards to we could all look at them. Gerre has left her handbag at home, so didn’t have her phone and couldn’t take photos. I volunteered and texted her photos as I took them. There are a lot of photos!

Being the opinionated ladies that we are, we all had opinions about placement. It was kind of fun to work with other people moving shards around. I think Gerre was kind of excited, too, as it gave her ideas about placement.

I had issues with the plum (see upper part of first photo, left). I thought the plum should be dispersed throughout the quilt.

We also tried to move the white around so it wasn’t all clustered in one place (see bottom two rows).

There was advice about putting the pieces together into chunks and cutting pieces up. I think it got people excited about layout.

New Pet Bed

Red Peacock Pet Bed
Red Peacock Pet Bed

I have plans to cut up scraps with my Accuquilt Go! on Monday. I figured that I had to have somewhere to put all the schnibbles, so I made a pet bed.

In the past, I have put the schnibbles into the bag I keep clipped to the side of my cutting table. It is, however, nearly full, and why take that interim step? I will probably have enough scraps after my Go! session to fill the whole pet bed. Yay! More comfy pets.

Aqua-Red Sampler Top Finished

Aqua-Red Sampler Top finished
Aqua-Red Sampler Top finished

I worked hard last week on the Aqua-Red Sampler and got the top and back finished. WHEW! I didn’t fight with it as much as I had over the past month, but it wasn’t all peaches and roses either.

I probably would have made the white border thinner, if I had it to do other again, but I am not ripping it out. I think it works.

I ended up choosing the solid border, mostly because I didn’t have enough of the daisy fabric and I didn’t want to fiddle and fight to make it fit. I am pleased with it.