My Favorite Quilting Tools

Favorite Tools for Quilters

When I was first starting quilting, I was a bit overwhelmed about what tools I needed to make a quilt, and what I should put on my wish list for later. I thought it would be fun to share the most used and most important items in my sewing space. Hop on over to BERNINA’s We All Sew blog today, where I share all my favorite quilting tools.

Summer Sampler 2016 ~ Week 4 and Paper Piecing Tutorial

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

Welcome to Week 4 of the Summer Sampler 2016 Quilt Along! Everyone did SO WELL with their curves last week. I was seriously impressed! I really enjoyed reading comments from some you who were trying the technique for the first time. I think the overall feeling was that it wasn’t as scary as you had thought. Well, I hope you feel the same way about foundation paper piecing. 🙂

I designed this week’s pattern, the X Spot block. This block uses super easy foundation paper piecing, suitable for beginners.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

I thought I’d give a quick photo tutorial of the paper piecing portion of the pattern.


X Spot Block Paper Piecing Tutorial

Reduce your stitch length so that the paper template will perforate easily. I used 1.4 stitch length.

1. Gather your fabric and paper piecing template from the pattern, Paper Piece your Templates, Step 1.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

Since I am using a mixture of prints, I laid them out ahead of time so I could find the perfect design order for me.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

Tip: When paper piecing in general, you may find it helpful to write the fabric color name on the template pieces to prevent confusion as you sew. (This is really helpful in more complex paper pieced blocks.)

2. Select your fabric cut for Piece 1 and place it right side out on the back of your template, making sure to cover the entire template space 1. Pin or glue stick into place.

Select your fabric cut for Piece 2. Place it right side together with your fabric for Piece 1, which you pinned into place in the last step.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 2. This will probably feel backwards and wrong the first few times you do it. Pin into place.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

3. Sew along the seam line on the template between pieces 1 and 2. Be sure to sew a bit into the seam allowance. I also like to backstitch at the beginning and end. Remove your pins.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

If necessary, fold back your paper and trim your seam allowance to 1/4″.

4. Your block should now look like this:

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

Press your fabric open.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

5. Take your fabric cut for Piece 3. Place it right sides together with Pieces 1 and 2, which you already have sewn into place.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

Hold your template up to the light and make sure at least 1/4″ of the fabric overlaps into template space 3. Pin into place.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

6. Sew along the seam line on the template.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

If necessary, fold back your paper and trim your seam allowance to 1/4″.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

7. Press your fabric open.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

8. Repeat this process until you have paper pieced all your strips.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

9. Trim your block according to the X Spot Block Pattern instructions.

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

Summer Sampler 2016 : X Spot

I can’t wait to see everyone’s X Spot blocks on Instagram and in the Facebook group!

Special note this week: A few people emailed last week because they didn’t see their pattern link in their inbox. After some digging around, it looks like their SPAM filter had snatched up the email. If you are having trouble and don’t see your email anywhere, please email Lee at FreshlyPieced@gmail.com and she can resend your link.

Below you can find the Summer Sampler 2016 details, as well as custom shop fabric bundles for the quilt along. You can join at any time. If joining after Week 1, you will initially receive all the patterns up to the current date.

Summer Sampler 2016 Kickoff Details
Link to Purchase / EU Link to Purchase (includes VAT)
#summersampler2016 Instagram Posts

Fabric Spark Fabric Kits
Simply Solids Fabric Kits

Cutting Fabric using a Cricut Explore Air

Cutting Fabric using a Cricut Explore Air

Today I’m sharing some tricks and tips I learned when personalizing my son’s Elementary Tote (tutorial). I purchased a Cricut Explore Air last Fall and I have cut all sorts of things out of paper with it, but I hadn’t been successful with fabric. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Cricut, this is a personal cutting machine. I use my computer to design what I’d like cut, and the machine cuts it! I bought the Explore Air version that allows cutting via BlueTooth, so I don’t have to have my computer plugged into my machine.

I tried a lot of different things when it came to cutting fabric: plain fabric stuck to my mat, using freezer paper on the back of the fabric, using freezer paper on the front and back of my fabric, using Heat n Bond Lite on the back of my fabric. Honestly, I didn’t have success with any of those techniques. I almost gave up, but I’m glad I persevered because I found the magic combination!

Cutting Fabric using a Cricut Explore Air

First, I ironed Heat n Bond Ultra Hold to the back of the fabric according to the instructions. Then, leaving the paper on, I stuck it to the mat, firmly pressing down all over. I used a very sticky, brand new green mat. You need a lot of stickiness. If you don’t have a new mat handy, I suggest a purple Strong Grip Mat. I plan on buying one to use exclusively for fabric.

Second, I replaced the standard cutting blade with a Deep Cut Blade. Your Cricut comes with instructions on replacing the blade – it’s very easy and takes all of 5 seconds.

Third, I turned the dial on my Cricut to Fabric.

Cutting Fabric using a Cricut Explore Air

Then I moved to my computer. I imported the image with my son’s name into the Cricut Design Studio. This font is called Pacifico and it worked great. I’d recommend a thicker font for cutting fabric. I clicked “Go” to start the process of connecting to the machine.

Cutting Fabric using a Cricut Explore Air

I verified that I would be cutting on a 12″ x 12″ mat and clicked “Go” again.

Cutting Fabric using a Cricut Explore Air

I found I needed to customize the pressure settings on the machine. From the below screen, click on that link all the way at the bottom (sort of hidden if you ask me!), “Edit Custom Materials”.

Cutting Fabric using a Cricut Explore Air

Click on the word “Fabric”. It doesn’t look like a link, but it is.

Cutting Fabric using a Cricut Explore Air

When you select it, further information will pop up below it. I set my Cut Pressure to 340 and my Blade Type to Deep Cut. Then click the “Save” link to the right. Then click the “Done” buttom at the bottom.

Cutting Fabric using a Cricut Explore Air

You are all set to cut now. Follow the typical cutting steps of loading your mat and beginning the cutting process. You can see here the finished name that I fused to my son’s Elementary Tote.

Cutting Fabric using a Cricut Explore Air

I also cut out some cut orange peel components. Pretty!

Cutting Fabric using a Cricut Explore Air

I made a quick video of the Cricut cutting, so you can see the speed as well.

I’m a bit disappointed that I haven’t been successful in cutting fabric without Heat n Bond Ultra Hold on the back. It would really be awesome to cut just plain fabric with nothing adhered to it to stiffen it. But for customizing bags, shirts, onesies, making quilt labels, or cutting custom appliqué for quilts, this is a really cool machine. I hope this helps you explore more ways to have fun with with your Cricut Explore Air!

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How to Bind a Quilt using Double Fold Binding ~ We All Sew

Double Fold Binding Tutorial : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Last week I shared my tips and tricks for pin basting a quilt. Thank you all for your kind comments! I’m glad to have given even the experienced quilt makers some little new techniques to try.

Double Fold Binding Tutorial : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Today I’m over at BERNINA’s We All Sew blog with my double fold binding tutorial. If you’ve ever wondered how to get that perfect finish to your quilt binding by connecting it all up where the ends meet, I have lots of pictures. I hope you will go check it out!