For ideas about how to use the simple Nine Patch block to make beautiful quilts have a look at:
Earlier this year I started experimenting with the Disappearing 9 patch block and quickly became hooked. The first quilt top I made was called Spring Exuberance and I enjoyed making the top so much I decided to make it the first in a series. I then made a table topper where the blocks were arranged in a different pattern and now i am onto version 3.
When I was at the Festival of Quilts recently I bought some bundles of fat quarters from Lady Sew & Sew one of which was 10 FQs of various blues. I have set one aside to be part of the binding and used the other nine to make this quilt top.
Following on from Spring Exuberance and taking into account the weather we have had the past few weeks I named this one Summertime Blues.
One of the many things I love about the Disappearing 9 Patch is how quickly it all goes together. Especially as I used my Accuquilt Go! for the initial cutting out. I used the 6.5" strip cutter to start with and then the 6.5" square. Each block has nine different fabrics. The hardest part was deciding where toplace the different fabrices within the block but once that was done sewing the 9 patch together, cutting through the middle in each direction, rearraging the sub-blocks, resewing the sub-blocks and then sewing together the completed blocks for the top was all done in an afternoon.
I have time to plan the quilting as I need to buy wadding and I will not have a chance to do that until the end of the month. I'm tempted to do a simple all-over grid pattern again as it lets the fabric speak for itself but then again those rectangles look as though they are crying out for something more obvious than just a grid. I would love to have your opinion on how to quilt this top. Plain and simple or something fancy?
The above is exactly how it came off the machine. It's not been pressed or trimmed or finished off yet.
How would you finish off this piece?
I would love to hear other ideas for using this panel. Please leave a comment letting me know how you would finish this piece.
If you have never come across Craftsy before and are wondering what they are all about imaging taking a class in your favourite creative subject. Instead of sharing with other people it is just you and the tutor. You get to take the class when ever you want, as many times as you want and if you get stuck or have questions you have access to your tutor and a whole community of like-minded people only to willing to help you out. Take advantage of the sale and try them out.
A couple of really good books to help you explore the possibilities of the Nine Patch block are
The Latest in a series of Dissapearing Nine Patch Experiments.
Earlier this year I made a Disappearing 9 Patch lap quilt that I called Spring Exuberance and absolutely fell in love with the technique. I could not believe that I could create something so simple and make it look so intricate just by being brave enough to slice a block in quarters. After completing the first one I was looking for an excuse to make another and when summer finally arrived I decided we needed a new table topper for the garden table.
A Completly Different Look just by making some Small Changes.
For Spring Exuberance I used nine different fat quarters in bright colours and once they were sliced rearranged them to make a square. For this version I chose a much more restful palette and only used six fat quarters. The original size of the block remains the same 3 x 3 6.5" squares sewn together to make an 18.5" block that is then cut in half through the middle both top to bottom and side to side. The cut blocks were then rotated and rearranged until I found a layout that I liked and then pieced together to create a long narrow table topper.
Digital Quilting on the Embroidery Machine.
Once the table topper was pieced I had to decide how to quilt it. Spring Exuberance was straight line quilted using the walking foot and I considered doing the same for this one but I enjoyed the process of digital quilting so much on my samples I decided to see if I could find digitised quilting patterns that would enhance this quilt.
I ended up downloading and test stitched two main patterns, one of which looked like free-machine stippling and one that looked like a flower and fitted perfectly inside the largest of the squares on the quilt.
I decided to go for the flower pattern and in keeping with the low impact style of the quilt I used a pale grey quilting thread so that all the quilting blended into the background. I then had to find complimentary paterns for the rectangles and the small squares. I ended up with these
The finished effect on the front of the quilt is
and on the back of the quilt it is much more pronounced
Now I just need to add a binding and wait for another sunny day to use my new quilt.
FTC Disclosure Statement
I am including a disclosure statement with this post to make it clear that I am receiving compensation for this review of the Cricut Explore. Although I am being paid to write a post the opinions contained within the post are entirely my own.
The Cricut Explore
Cricut Explore cuts more than you can imagine!
The good people at Cricut have been pushing the Cricut Explore machine to its limits, and guess what they discovered? It can cut! It handles various types of paper, vinyl, foil, tape, and much more. Take a look at the complete Cricut Explore Cut List to explore the limitless possibilities of what you can create. Also, shop now and get free shipping on all orders of $35 or more, when you use the promo code: FREESHIP35 at checkout.
I am unbelievably tempted by this machine. I love gadgets and I can just see this one fitting into place along side everything else. Those good people at Cricut may have just been responsible for the frivoling of this month's pension.
I have been considering purchasing an embroidery machine since I very first saw one in action. I have swung between thinking they looked incredibly useful to wondering how it would be possible to incorporate such a machine in to my quilt-making. Could it be a substitute for a long arm quilting machine? Would it be possible to use it to bridge the gap between using a walking foot to quilt and free machine quilting? Would I enjoy using it simply for the embroidery element and how quickly would I get bored of the pre-programmed patterns the machine had to offer.
Recently I was dawdling away some time in a sewing machine shop while Leigh was indulging himself in the shop next door which was full of model railway engines and all the bits of pieces that go with that hobby. The shop owner had a Brother Innov-is V3 embroidery machine on display and he demonstrated all of its capabilities to me. By the time Leigh came to find me I was completely enraptured by the machine but prepared to walk away because it was out of my price range (a Civil Service pension doesn't stretch to such luxuries). Leigh saw how enamoured I was and asked two questions 1, Would I really be able to make use of it and 2, Was it a reasonable price for what it was. When I answered yes and yes he bought it for me on the spot. After 31 years of marriage isn't it wonderful that husbands are still capable of springing such lovely and unexpected surprises.
Anyway the next job was to get it home and set it up in my workshop. For the first few days it lived on the kitchen table as there simply wasn't space in the workshop but I cleaned and tidied like a thing demented and eventually worktop space became available and it was installed in its new home.
Now was time to start experimenting. First it was just putting it through its paces and see how some of the patterns installed on the machine as standard looked when embroidered. Then it was time to start playing with the installed patterns. What happens when the size is increased or decreased, when the patterns are flipped or rotated. It didn't take me long to start looking on-line to find a whole world of patterns waiting for me to download and experiment with.
I guess just about everyone who has ever owned one of these types of machine has prowled around the home looking for items to embroider and I'm no different. Putting away some laundry I spotted plain white pillowcases that had never ever been used. I think they might have originally been bought to use in a dying experiment and then promptly put away and forgotten about.
Out they came, under the machine they went and as they were only intended for practise I felt free to play and didn't worry too much about problems. The key to learning is problem solving isn't it?
One pulled the bobbin thread up to the front of the embroidery. One got joggled and doesn't quite line up.
All have different coloured flowers as I simply wanted to see how different threads would behave.
I'm not pretending they are perfect but I'm pleased for a first attempt and now I have a set of very pretty embroidered pillowcases just right to go on the bed.
As soon as I became confident about my ability to actually use the machine it was time to start thinking about using it for quilting. I had a whole pile of blocks received from various swaps I have been involved in over the last couple of years and while I had done some free motion quilting on them they had never felt quite finished.
I pulled them out from the stash of UFOs (a bigger pile than I really want to acknowledge) and one by one put them through the Innov-is and embroidered them with a very simple pattern.The first block I quilted I chose a pattern that looked very pretty but did not work at all well on the block. It was much to dense and completely lost in the fabric so I went looking for a pattern much more like a traditional quilting pattern and found this one which I think shows up nicely on the fabric.
The blocks from the swap come in all colours but are unified by all being a cacti block. I quilted the same pattern in the same colour thread on each one to see how the fabric choices affected the quilting pattern. here are some examples
So far I have 11 quilted blocks and there are more in the stash awaiting there turn. This isn't great art, at the moment it isn't even very good quilting but every day I practise and it gets better all the time. These blocks will be joined together using a method I learnt in a Craftsy class and when finished the quilt is destined to be a sofa throw. It will remind me every time I cuddle up underneath it that life can be full of delightful, unexpected surprises.
My Stars On The Accuquilt Go!
My Accuquilt Go! is my favourite quilting gadget, of all the different bits and pieces I have bought over the years this is the absolute best investment I have made. I know these die cutting machines cost a lot but they are worth every single penny and since I have had mine the accuracy of my piecing has improved leaps and bounds because the pieces are all cut the exact right size.
A few days ago I had the opportunity to spend some time with friends doing nothing but our own favourite crafting. We hired the local village hall for the afternoon and spread out sewing machines, fabric, cross stitch, knitting etc. to our hearts content. There was plenty of space to play and between the seven of us it cost about the same as each of us buying a fancy cup of coffee.
Along with my sewing machine I took my Go! some fabric and two dies. The dies were
and the fabrics I took with me were these
I put 4 layers of fabric (two patterned and two white) on each die and rolled them through the cutter. The cutter will take up to 6 layers at a time but I'm most comfortable working with 4.
These eight layers cut the pieces for nine blocks in less than a minute. Because I knew I would not have the time to sew all the blocks that afternoon I divided the pieces up into the correct amount needed for each block and placed a blocks worth into a plastic bag.
I then took a bag at a time and started to sew the pieces into blocks. Each unfinished block measures 12.5" x 12.5" The sewing together of the blocks took longer than anticipated as I was too busy at times chatting with friends and allowed my attention to wander. This meant that each block, at some point, had a row sewn on upside down. More frogging was done than normal but eventually I had three completed blocks.
I had not given much thought to the overall finished pattern but when I started playing with different settings for the blocks the one with the centre star just jumped out at me. All I need to do now is sew together the blocks I have already cut. Sew the blocks together and then decide if I want to make it larger, I do have extra fabric in the stash if needed and then make sure it is quilted and the binding applied so that I can call it a 2014 finish.
We have decided to book the village hall for an afternoon once a month for at least the next three months so even if I don't get much time at home to play with basic piecing and quilting I will have this dedicated time to use to finish the quilt.
Back in the summer of 2012 Michele from the Quilting Gallery started a Quilt-Along aimed at beginner quilters. Although I'm not a beginner I had never made a sampler quilt and had never taken part in a mystery quilt. I thought this quilt-along would be a good opportunity to do both of those things and to refresh some skills and learn others. When I first started quilting we all used cardboard templates to draw around and scissors to cut out fabric, roller cutters, cutting mats and specialist rulers had not become the norm.
I hoped that by following the quilt-along I would learn some new to me techniques that are standard practise to quilters these days. Also I planned to see if I could use my AccuQuilt Go! to cut pieces accurately and quickly. I decided to make three quilts in total, one using techniques I was familiar with, one using the instructions given by Michele and one using the AccuQuilt Go! for as many blocks as possible. I started by making the blocks using Michele's instructions.
The individual blocks were
I thoroughly enjoyed making the blocks each week and joining in with the discussions about the quilt-along on Flickr many people posted weekly pictures of their blocks and it was fascinating to see how different the end results were when all of us started from the same place. The three sets of blocks I made all look very different. This one is made from fabric I already had in my stash and the link between the blocks was flowers. All the blocks have flower fabric in them and most of the blocks have two flower fabrics of different scales. The second set of blocks is also made from fabric in my stash and is a scrappy blue quilt and the third is fabric purchased especially for the quilt-along and is called Dandelion Daydreams by Maywood Studios. because a lot of the flower fabric is directional I spent a lot of time making sure the pieces were cut and sewn together the right way up.
After completing all the blocks for all three quilts I needed to take a break from the project. The break went on for a lot longer than I anticipated. I found myself worrying about making choices for borders, scared of the quilting process and generally finding excuses not to move forward with finishing the quilts.
For this quilt, once all the effort of keeping the fabric in the blocks the right way round was completed, it looked to me as though it was a typical English country garden and so when I found some fabric that continued the theme I knew I had the right border fabric to finish this quilt. Once again I had to make sure the fabric was cut and attached so that it is all the same way up but it was worth the effort as the border really compliments the blocks.
I then had a few panicked moments over the possibility of ruining everything while trying to quilt it on my domestic sewing machine. Eventually I came to my senses and remembering that the object for this year is to finish things and applying the maxim that done is better than perfect I took a deep breath,put the quilt top under the sewing machine and free motioned it.
It is far from perfect but it is done. At the moment it hangs on a wall and I'm the only person who sees wonky quilting and not matching seams.
Now I just need to finish the other two quilt tops.
The fabric for this quilt was an impulse buy at the Spring Quilt Festival at Westpoint, Exeter. I promised myself at the beginning of the year that impulse purchases would be used straight away and not tucked into the stash and forgotten about for months.
The pattern is a Dissapearing Nine Patch, a block I've never tried before and the floral fabrics all seemed to represent springtime to me. With so many busy fabrics I decided that simple quilting was all that was needed and so an all over grid with the walking foot I also just happened to buy at the show finishes it off nicely.