I’ve been working hard behind the scenes on my second quilt pattern. It’s a really fun, block-based design, made up of mostly half square triangles. The throw size uses five different colors that you can mix and match to give sort of a coordinated-scrappy look, if there is such a thing! But that’s as many hints as I will give for now, start looking for sneak peeks on Instagram soon!
Before the pattern releases, I wanted to share my favorite time-saving tips, tricks and tools for making half square triangles (or HSTs, for short). The pattern provides direction on the 8-at-a-time method, but I wanted to give you a resource that goes a little bit more in depth, and that can help save you time trimming all those little squares!
Half Square Triangles: 8-at-a-Time Method
2 squares of coordinating fabric
(The size of the squares depends on the size you would like the HST to be. I am using 5.5” square and trimming my HSTs to 2”)
Step 5: Using the slotted trimmer, find the size you would like your HST to be (in this case I am making 2” squares). Line up the dotted line with your seam line. Trim both sides along the ruler, as well as into the little grooves. (This will take care of any little dog-ears from your seam allowance.)
Step 6: Open your square and press. Repeat to make 8 HSTs.
Now, get ready to sew this cute little squares into something beautiful!
** Please note that some of these products contain affiliate links. However, all suggestions are my own :)**
January always seems like the perfect time to organize and declutter. And two weeks into the new year, I am finally starting to tidy up my sewing space. Actually, I’m pretty excited about it! We moved last Summer and our new home has a dedicated sewing room on the first floor, which I am (very) slowly decorating and designing into a cozy and functional studio.
One of my first projects was organizing the fabric swatches that come on the color cards of my favorite fabric manufacturers. Taking the fabric samples off the card, makes it much easier to mix and match colors to create a palette for your quilt. In my old sewing space, I cut up my color cards and had them hanging on magnetic white boards. This time I decide to organize them into binders.
If you are unsure how to best organize your fabric samples, I am detailing the pros and cons of each method below (along with links to the supplies needed):
Organizing into Binders:
If you are like me and work best in a calm and clean space, then organizing cards into binders might be the best option. I am the type of person that NEEDS to clean my sewing space between each project because too much clutter makes me feel overwhelmed and overstimulated. So rather than having ALL the colors (seriously, like over 300 colors) hanging on my wall, I decided to neatly organize them into binders.
First, I peeled each fabric sample off the card and tucked it into its own slot in these slide protectors. These are actually created for photography slides, but I found they fit fabric swatches perfectly! Next, I used these labels to print the names of the fabrics. Then, I snapped the slide protectors into a 3-ring binder and my fabric swatches were ready to go!
Side Note: You will have lots of these labels left over, but they work great for labeling and organizing fabric.
Organizing onto Magnetic Boards:
Sometimes an organized mess, or at least having a little more color on the wall helps to spark creativity. If you are very visual (like most quilters!), having your fabric out in the open might actually help your creative process.
In the past, I have used these magnetic boards to hold my fabric swatches. I first cut up the color card and placed a small piece of magnetic tape to the back of each sample. My best tip is to make sure that you use a large enough magnet to prevent your swatches from falling and getting lost (if you are cutting up a Kona color card, I would suggest using two rolls of this tape).
Note: I have the older addition of the Kona Color Card which has the names printed under the fabric sample. Newer color cards may require that you label your swatches before hanging them.
If you are looking for color cards, my favorites are the Kona Color Card and the Art Gallery Fabric card because they are the solids that I sew with the most. However, you can find fabric samples from almost every manufacturer at the Fat Quarter Shop. I’d love hear what your favorite solids are and how you keep your color cards organized!
**Please note that some of these products contain affiliate links. However, all suggestions are my own 🙂 ***
We’ve reached mid-October! Which means that many quilters have been working on their holiday sewing for weeks, while others haven’t even started yet. But whether you’ve been humming Jingle Bells since July or not, we can all start dreaming of boxes filled with quilting supplies under the tree.
“Shopping,” “Quilting,” and “Holiday” are probably three of my favorite words, so I put them all together to create four Shopping Guides for Quilters this holiday season. I’ve divided the guides into four categories: Beginner Quilter, Aspiring Pattern Designer, The Quilter Who Has Everything and The Quilter Who Loves Christmas. Even if you are not sure which category you fall into, take a look at all four and I bet you can find something to leave on your Santa list!
Below each graphic is a list of items and links to where you can find them. And while you are shopping for a friend, make sure to grab a little gift for yourself— or you may want to email this page to your mom, your best friend and your significant other so they can start their holiday shopping too!
If you are a quilter, chances are you are familiar with the age-old debate on how to finish your quilt, machine bind or hand bind? Personally, I always hand bind my quilts but that’s a post for another day.
Today I want to talk about how I actually cut my binding strips. While you can, of course, always use a plain old rotary blade and ruler, there are some really easy ways to save time on this step. And let’s be honest, cutting strips for binding is nobody’s favorite part of making a quilt.
Two of my favorite (ahem, fastest) ways to make binding strips are using my Creative Grids Stripology Ruler or my Accuquilt Go!. I’ve had quite a few people ask me to compare the difference between these two methods, so here is my honest opinion based on five factors: speed, accuracy, cost, storage and versatility.
First, if you are not familiar with either of these tools, I recommend you click the links above or watch the quick video that I made showing how they work.
Since no one loves cutting binding strips, getting it done and moving on to your next project as fast as you can is pretty important. Both of these tools will save you a ton of time over the old-school method of rotary blade and ruler. I have the XL Creative Grids Ruler, so I can make ten 2.5 inch strips without ever moving my fabric. If I fold my fabric and cut through several layers, that is usually more than enough strips to finish my project. A couple of minutes and my strips are all cut!
The Accuquilt Go! has a die (or I sometimes call them templates) for cutting three 2.5 inch strips at a time. The die is designed to hold the width of the fabric, folded in half once (about 22 inches) and can cut through up to six layers of fabric. This means that with just one pass through the machine, there is enough strips to bind a queen-sized quilt.
So which is faster? Probably the Accuquilt Go!. It takes a few more seconds to set up but is for sure faster once you start cranking.
Speed doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t making accurate cuts. The Stripology Ruler has a cutting slot on the end for squaring off your fabric to help make the most accurate cut. However, you do need to make sure your ruler is aligned parallel to your fabric and straight on your cutting mat. That being said, it is pretty easy to get the hang of and my strips usually come out perfectly sized.
While my strips turn out accurate 99% of the time using my Stripology Ruler, the Accuquilt Go! probably wins in this category too. As long as your fabric covers the entire area of the blade on the die, there is no need to line up fabric, and thus less room for user error. One thing is for sure, both methods give me much more accurate strips than a plain old ruler and blade.
Price point is where these two tools really start to differ. The XL Stripology Ruler retails for about $70 (smaller sizes are less expensive, I believe the mini size is about $40).
The Accuquilt Go!, however, is $325. There is a smaller version available called the Accuquilt Go! Me, but I can’t speak to how to works. In addition to the cutter, you also need to purchase each die or template separately. The die for the 2.5 inch strips is $100 (smaller dies and applique dies are generally less than this). That being said, they are always running sales on their website, so wait for a good one!
If you are running out of space in your sewing room , you may have to reorganize in order to make space for your Accuquilt Go! While there are a few different size cutters, you also need to store the different dies and templates. On the other hand, the XL Stripology Ruler is about 18×22 inches, and chances are you already have a place to store rulers.
The Stripology Ruler is a specialty ruler designed just as it says, for cutting strips of fabric. The XL ruler allows you to cut any size strip or block, up to 20 inches, in half inch increments (for example, half inch, 1 inch, 1.5 inch, etc).
On the other hand, making binding strips is just one of the wonderful things the Accuquilt system is designed to do. Once you have a cutter, there are hundreds of dies to choose from to cut shapes; from strips to triangles to curved piecing, and even animals, flowers and hearts for applique. Next on my wish list is a die for English Paper Piecing hexagons, which includes a template for cutting both the paper pieces and fabric (yes, it cuts paper too!)
The Bottom Line
If you are just interested in saving time cutting strips for binding or piecing, I think it makes sense just to purchase the Stripology Ruler (it’s one of my most used tools). The difference in speed and accuracy is small compared to the price difference. However, if you think you will use the system for other block shapes, applique or English Paper Piecing, the Accuquilt Go! is definitely worth the investment!
The Accuquilt Go! may not work with specific patterns, depending on how they are written and depending on which dies you purchase. But if you love being creative, I think you will love the Accuquilt system.
And there is certainly the case for having both. For example, I recently used the Accuquilt Go! to cut strips for an Irish Chain quilt that I am piecing. But used the Stripology ruler to subcut the strips once they were sewn together. So I guess the real question is, how many quilting tools is too many? For me, the limit does not exist.