Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Accuquilt Spirit Song Quilt is Now In Progress. Want to Make One of Your Own?

Good morning!  I finally got some sewing time in last night, giving me something to post about today.  I've been busy with some travel lately, and the recent migration of my old Bernina 7 Series Yahoo group to the new platform has been taking up a lot of my time as well.   If you own or are interested in learning more about Bernina sewing machines or software products, consider this my personal invitation to join me and 7,000 of my dearest friends over at the new BerninaLand forum on, which you can find here.  All Bernina models are welcome, and there are special sub groups for the 8 Series, 7 Series, Q Series Longarms, Software, and Sew Techie (dedicated to all of the ancillary tech tools that many of us are using with our sewing these days).

And now, without further ado, I present to you the fruits of an hour in the studio last night:

Making a Start on My Accuquilt Spirit Song Quilt
By the way, another reason I haven't been posting as frequently lately is that my PhotoShop Editor software is not compatible with the most recent Mac OS update, and that's the program I use to remove the yellow cast from incandescent lighting, to lighten the shadows from pictures I take in my studio late at night, and to resize my photos so they will load quickly when I post them here on the blog.  I am bumbling around in the Mac Preview and Photos apps, trying to make my usual photo edits, but I didn't find the same tools  -- totally missing the little eyedropper that tells PhotoShop which area in the photo is supposed to be pure white or pure black, for instance.  If anyone out there has recommendations for easy photo editing apps, tools, whatever that are user friendly for Mac, please share in the comments below.

My Accuquilt Spirit Song Quilt, 52 x 68
About this new project: I designed this quilt in EQ8 software with the objective of creating a design that could be completely cut out using the dies that came in my 8" Qube set with the Accuquilt Go! cutting system.  I named it the Spirit Song quilt after the contemporary Christian choir I sing in at Christ Lutheran Church, because we color coordinate our outfits based on a different "dress code" each Sunday morning, and this quilt is colored with the dress code that I most struggle with finding something to wear: Peach/Pink/Coral/Orange with Khaki!  

Spirit Song at Christ Lutheran: Pink, Peach, Coral with Khaki
Once this quilt is finished, I can wear it to church like a cape any time I can't find anything in my closet that is clean, seasonally appropriate, and currently fits me in these colors...

One of my readers requested a Quilt Along for this project.  The last thing I need right now, with holidays right around the corner, is a bunch of new self-imposed deadlines and stress, so I'm not going to do any kind of schedule for this, but I will share the information you would need if you wanted to make a Spirit Song quilt of your own.  If you do, I'd love to see it!  You can probably make this quilt using cutting tools that you already own, but I've provided links (some of them affiliate links) below to the Accuquilt dies and other gadgets that can speed up the cutting and improve accuracy as well.  Just to clarify, I drew this quilt in EQ8 and used the software to audition fabrics and plan my layout.  Spirit Song is what I'm calling my own personal quilt, not the name of the quilt block.  

One 8 Inch Airplane Block (Four 4 inch Birds In the Air Blocks)

This quilt uses one 8" block, comprised of HSTs (Half Square Triangles) in two sizes, 2" (finished) and 4" (finished).  It's an old, traditional quilt block called Airplane and instructions for piecing it can be found on p. 3 of Accuquilt's FREE 72 Block Patterns booklet that you can download from their web site here.  I've also seen a single quadrant of the Airplane block called Birds In the Air.   

To make a 52" x 68" quilt, you'll need a total of 48 8" Airplane blocks (or 192 4" Birds In the Air blocks).  Although I'm using Accuquilt dies to cut my fabric for this project, you could cut this quilt out just as easily with traditional rotary cutting.  I'm not sure whether the dies actually save any time with HSTs, to be honest, since they are so easy to cut from strips with an acrylic ruler and a rotary cutter.  

  • 576 2" finished HSTs in Assorted Neutrals (Accuquilt Die #55712 from the 8" Qube set, or #55063, or cut from 2 7/8" strips if rotary cutting) 
  • 192 2" finished HSTs in Assorted Blue/Teal prints (Accuquilt Die #55712 from the 8" Qube set, or #55063, or cut from 2 7/8" strips if rotary cutting) 
  • 192 4" finished HSTs  in Assorted Peach/Pink/Coral/Orange prints (Accuquilt Die #55710 from the 8" Qube set, or #55031, or cut from 4 7/8" strips if rotary cutting)
Since this is intentionally a scrappy quilt, it's difficult to give precise yardage requirements.  Based on the EQ8 yardage calculations, I'd say you're probably good with about 2 yards total of peach/pink/coral/orange fabrics, 2 yards total of assorted neutral print fabrics, and 1 yard total of assorted blue/teal fabrics.  These amounts do not include borders.

By the way, I purchased my 8" Qube set because it came with my Ready, Set, GO! starter kit when I purchased my Accuquilt GO! cutter.  Since there are 8 dies in a Qube set that can be mixed and matched to create countless different block designs, it's a good value and a good way to get started.  However, I would rather have the HST dies that are sold separately than the ones that came in my Qube set.  Die #55712 from my Qube set only cuts two 2" HSTs at a time, so even with 4 layers of fabric per cut, that's only 8 triangles getting cut out at a time and I need 576 of them in neutrals and another 192 of those little triangles cut from blue fabrics.  If I had die # 55063, which is sold separately, that die cuts out TWELVE 2" HSTs in one pass, or 48 triangles at a time if I'm cutting four layers of fabric per cut.  Same thing with the 4" HST die that comes in a Qube set -- only two HSTs per cut with the Qube die, but if you buy die #55031 separately you can cut out four 4" HSTs per cut.  The whole appeal of die cutting for me is speed without sacrificing accuracy, so if I end up using the GO! cutter frequently enough, I'll probably purchase the die that cuts out 12 HSTs at once instead of just two.  

Another way to make this quilt would be to slightly oversize your rotary cut triangles, cutting them from 3" strips and 5" strips respectively, and then trim them down to size after sewing them together and pressing them open, using a special HST ruler from Bloc Lock.  The Block Loc HST ruler has a diagonal ridge that nestles into your seam allowance for perfect positioning, ensuring that your HST unit finishes the correct size with a perfect diagonal seam after trimming.

Okay, folks -- that's all you get for today!  Happy Wednesday.

I'm linking up today's post with:

Monday, November 4, 2019

EQ8 Software Tutorial: Drafting a Star Quilt With Hexagons and Equilateral Triangles

First off, I need to thank Matt at Electric Quilt Tech Support for figuring out how to create a layout for this quilt in EQ8.  I am not taking credit for his solution, just writing it down before I forget how I did it and sharing it with other EQ users who want to play with similar quilt designs on their own.

EQ8 Quilt Design Using Hexagons and Equilateral Triangles

When you go into EQ8 to start a new project, you see a bunch of different layout options -- horizontal square blocks, on-point square blocks, variable on-point diamond shaped blocks, baby blocks, variable blocks, horizontal or vertical strips, one patch, photo patchwork, custom set...  But none of those is an obvious choice when you want to make a TWO patch quilt, using hexagons and triangles.  The fastest and easiest way to get this layout in EQ so you can audition fabrics is to choose Variable Point layout style and then create a diamond shaped block that encompasses one hexagon with one triangle at the top and one triangle at the bottom.  

Choose Variable Point Layout Style
Next, click on the Layout tab to tweak the dimensions of the diamonds to match your desired hexagon size.

Set the Width and Height to Match Your Templates
I had acrylic cutting templates that I wanted to use to actually cut my fabrics for this project, so I used the measurements of my actual templates to ensure that fabric prints would be represented to scale on my computer screen.  In the Width field, you want to enter the point-to point measurement across your hexagon from seamline to seamline.  But, for the Height field, you want the height of one hexagon with triangles attached at the top and bottom, not the height of the hexagon alone.  For those of us who haven't seen the inside of a geometry classroom in a few decades (ahem!), there are nifty online calculators that will automatically give you the measurements for hexagons here and for equilateral triangles here.  In order for your triangles and hexagons to fit together in a quilt, the sides of the hexagons need to be the same length as the size of the equilateral triangles.  If you already have a set of acrylic templates that you'll be using like I did, it's easiest to just measure your actual template (making sure to exclude the seam allowances).  Using my hexagon and equilateral triangle templates, those measurements are 7.5" Width and 13" Height.  

Now we need to create that block by opening up the Block Worktable.

This Block Magically Transforms Into a Hexagon When It's Stretched Into Our Diamond Layout
And this is the ridiculously easy block that will magically turn into a hexagon with a pair of equilateral triangles once we plop it onto our diamond quilt layout and the EQ software stretches it to fit the diamond.  I drew this as a 6" x 6" block, with diagonal lines going from the 3" center points.  It doesn't matter what size the block is on the block worktable because EQ is going to resize it to fit the block size stipulated in the quilt layout.  What matters is that the diagonal lines go from the exact center of one side to the exact center of the adjacent side of that block.

Same Block, Colored With Fabric
Next, I clicked on the color tab and put a lovely Anna Maria Horner fabric in the center for my hexagon, with two different gold print fabrics for my triangle star points.  Then I added the block to my project Sketchbook and switched back to the Quilt Worktable.

Setting My New Block In My Variable Point Quilt Layout
In the screenshot above, I've set just one of these new blocks into the quilt layout that we set up in the first step.  See how my center floral fabric has stretched to fit the dimensions of my diamond block, creating a perfect hexagon?  Now look what happens when I fill all of the other diamonds with the same block:

Ta-Da!  Hexagon Stars!
How cool -- yet simple -- is that?!  That's how I created the different fabric combinations for my Kaffe Fassett Mediterranean Hexagons workshop in last week's post.

I'm linking up today's post with:

·       Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  
·       Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·       Moving it Forward at Em's Scrap Bag

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