This project all started when I learned about the AccuQuilt Go! system. I had heard bits and pieces about it, but when I finally got a full demonstration and understanding of it, I knew this was an incredibly useful tool that was going to make my life so much easier.
If you’re not familiar with AccuQuilt, it is a die cutting system designed for quilters with a huge range of dies that allow you to cut your fabric 90% faster than with a rotary cutter and with precision that can’t be beat. You can cut up to six layers of quilting cotton at once! When you see these cutters in action, you quickly see the value this tool brings to the table.
Two things on my quilt bucket list have been a flying geese quilt and a black & white quilt. The AccuQuilt Flying Geese die has inspired me to mash these two ideas together into one fun quilt.
I very rarely just start up a quilt project for no reason, but I was intrigued to see how quickly I could get this project cut out as my first AccuQuilt project. I decided to dive right in. Honestly, it took me longer to choose all my fabrics than it did to cut them out perfectly for this quilt.
I’m having so much fun with this project and I wanted to share my ‘recipe’ for this version of a Flying Geese quilt. It would be so easy to adjust the finished quilt size and colour palette, but this should give you a good starting point.
– Cut 99 black rectangles 4″ x 12″
– Cut 99 white rectangles 4″ x 12″
Helpful tool to have – 4″ x 14″ ruler for extra quick cutting
Notes : I cut slightly smaller rectangles (4″ x 11.5″) which worked, but the extra half inch that I’ve listed would have been more comfortable. I used about 50-60 different black prints and 50-60 different white prints. I’ve been collecting for a long time and I wanted to use as many as I could. This could be easily done with way less prints, or solids too!
For faster sewing later, pair up your black and white rectangles as you would like them and stack them alternating black and white into one pile. Each rectangle will cut all 3 pieces for the flying geese and we’ll swap them out once it’s all cut with a simple trick.
AccuQuilt Cutting :
Layer six layers of rectangles on the Flying Geese Die at a time. Make sure you are keeping your alternate Black and White layers while you do this. With 198 rectangles this is 33 passes through the AccuQuilt Go! I used the Big Electric which meant that I could count out my next stack as it was running through the machine. It took me one hour to cut out all 594 pieces. ONE HOUR! What I especially love is that the die cuts off the notches on the triangles which means they line up perfectly and do not need any trimming once they are sewn.
With your finished stack of pieces. Take the top middle triangle piece and put it at the bottom of that stack. Now your stacks are perfectly set up for sewing.
I recommend chain piecing the middle triangle to one of the side triangle first, then press out the side and chain piece the other side triangle after. I’ve decided to work in small batches of twenty at a time, but you could easily do larger batches, you just need to keep your order organized.
So far I’m blown away by how easy the sewing and pressing is going. Each block is perfect. To be honest, I haven’t been using pins, I just grab the pieces I need from my stacks and use the notches to line it all up. There is no guessing to make sure the pieces line up. They just do and then there is no further trimming down once I’m done. Perfectly cut pieces make for perfectly sewn blocks.
This tool is a game changer for me. I can see myself making more quilts because the AccuQuilt will make every step of the way more efficient and precise. I have so many ideas for what else I’m going to do with this fun die cutting system.
I’ll post back with my slow and steady progress report. Working in smaller batches more often is my new approach to incorporating more quilting into my life. So far so good.
When I saw the Amalfi Seas Quilt at QuiltMarket in Houston, I fell in love with it. It was the perfect use for this gorgeous collection from Rifle Paper Co x Cotton + Steel. I was excited to get my hands on the list to make up quilt kits for the workroom. It’s not too late to get your hands on a kit for yourself too! It comes with all the fabric you need to make the quilt top, along with the binding fabric and the Then Came June pattern called Dusk to Dawn.
I love to make quilts in a class. I really need the dedicated time set aside for these kinds of projects since my default is to make clothing. That said, I’m up for the challenge of doing this quilt on my own and sharing the process with you! I’ll be posting my process to keep myself on track and to share any tips I’ve got, if you’d like to follow along and make your own version of the Dusk to Dawn Quilt using the Amalfi Seas Kit or your own fun selection of fabrics.
First up, let’s get organized. Before diving in, which is so easy to do when you’re excited about a quilt, it’s best to read through the instructions and do a test block. In all my years of quilting, I haven’t yet tackled doing Half Rectangle Triangles (HRTs) – which is the only block in this quilt. It’s got a reputation for being a bit tricky. I wanted to make sure that I nailed it before cutting everything out.
I quickly figured out that a few specific tools would make this process so much easier.
28mm rotary cutter – recently this is the size that I reach for the most. It is a bit more nimble and easier to manage, but the more common 45mm will work just as well.
4″ wide ruler (this one is 4″ x 14″) – after sewing the HRT block, it trims down to 4″ x 6″. When your ruler is the same width as your final block there is no room for error. The sides trim perfectly and easily each time. I also found it really helpful for trimming out the length too, but we’ll talk all about those details shortly!
A rotating cutting mat – This is so great for quickly trimming out the block, so that you are only moving the mat and not the block. It is much more efficient, for all the repetitive cutting that needs to be done on these blocks.
I made my test blocks out of other fabric from my stash. Just in case things went wrong, I didn’t want to have to worry about not having enough. The trimming of the blocks is where the practice comes in handy. After a few blocks I started to feel more confident about getting it right. I’ll show some detail process shots of trimming out the blocks in one of the next posts!
I’ve been using the hashtag #AmalfiSeasQuilt to share my progress. I hope you will too!
Are you planning on making this quilt? Leave a comment to let me know.
I went to my first QuiltCon in February and I’m still thinking about all the inspiring quilts from the show. I thought I’d finally share some of my favourites with you. Mind you, these are just a small fraction of the quilts from this amazing exhibit. Also, full disclosure that pretty much all these images are from the second gallery space that was just flooded with natural light. At certain times of the day, it was just extra magical in there. The featured exhibit this year was by Carolyn Friedlander, whose work is always a huge inspiration.
Quiltcon 2019 will be in Nashville and I’m very very excited about it!
Quiltcon featured exhibit : Carolyn Friedlander
Collection Quilt by Carolyn Friedlander
Afterlife by Sherri Lynn Wood
Blue Giant by Tara Glastonbury – 1st Place Handwork
Tapa Quilt by Laura Preston
Sidewalk Chalk by Meghan Buchanan
Maypole by Suzy Williams
Gold X by Bill Rakov
The Here & Elsewhere Bee by Andrea Tsang Jackson
Check out this slideshow with even more photos from Quiltcon 2018. Which ones are your favourite?
There are just 30 hours to go on our Handmade Getaway Kickstarter! We were 100% funded on day ten and quickly came up with our ultimate stretch goal of running the first edition in hardcover if we reach $75K. We are just $9K short of the goal at this moment and the suspense is killing me! We are giving these last hours all we’ve got to see if we can rally a bit more support to make this hardcover dream happen for all our wonderful backers.
Over the next while, I’m going to be featuring some of the projects that I designed for Handmade Getaway. I’ve decided to start with the Double Time Quilt. I can’t wait to share all the stories behind each of our projects and this one really captures why our getaways are so amazing. I’ll also be sharing many photos that don’t appear in the book here. I’ve got about 9,600 photos all related to Handmade Getaway at this point!
It was one of our winter getaways a few years ago. Jacqueline brought along a cool ruler she picked up at a trade show that she thought we should play with. It happens a lot that at least one of us will bring along some cool tool or kit for us all to explore together. It makes for a fun afternoon of figuring things out as a group, getting inspired by something we’ve never tried before. This particular ruler is called the Pathways Ruler by Sew Many Creations and it is a multi-sized Drunkard’s Path and square up ruler. We were very intrigued.
It was the last day and we had already sewn all kinds of fun things – quilts, clothes, and more quilts. I always find that these weekends or weeks are the ideal time for me to focus on a quilt project. I have some quilts that have only ever been worked on at our getaways. As usual, Katherine had brought a garbage bag of fabric. Truly. Katherine’s stash is epic! She knew she wanted to start a new quilt, but didn’t know what that was going to be. We sat down together, pulled out the instructions and gave the ruler a try. Once we figured out how it worked, we were so excited by how quickly, accurately and economically we could cut out the drunkard path pieces. No tracing, no template, just a few rotary cuts on the ruler and we had perfectly sized pieces ready to go. Katherine was convinced this could be the quilt project she was looking for. I wanted to join in! We decided to share fabric. She picked half the fabrics from her travelling stash and I picked the other half from my own bag of fabric. We each cut out two sets of each of our fabrics and then traded with the other. Our quilts have exactly the same fabrics, but we went away from that weekend and started putting them together individually. We paired up all the fabrics on our own and made our own personal layouts for them. We worked on them at several getaways, you can see them progress from summer to winter in these photos. I love the results.
Here’s another reason why this project is so cool – we cut out both quilts in about an hour! That’s 160 curved pieces per quilt for a total of 360 perfectly cut curved pieces. So good. Thank you, Pathways Ruler!
This is the magic that makes this time together so special. I love so much that now Katherine & I have matching quilts with a twist. Matching is one of our favourite things to do! In Handmade Getaway, we give you all the instruction you need to make your own Double Time Quilt with a two, three or four people. I think the idea of sharing fabric like this is so much fun.
Of course, we had to create a Kickstarter level based on this project. We’re so delighted that many of you have chosen the Double Time Quilt Tools Level. You’ll be getting two copies of Handmade Getaway, the fabulous Pathways Ruler and a stack of ten fat quarters. We had fabric generously donated from Robert Kaufman, Andover Fabrics and Camelot Fabrics to create three different options for you. There are still some of these rewards available if you haven’t pledged yet or want to upgrade to a higher level. This is all you need to get started on this project with a friend and I hope you’ll share your Double Time Quilts once you start making them! Visit our Kickstarter Page!
It’s officially official for the world to know! I wrote a book with Jacqueline Sava called, Handmade Getaway. I am also the photographer! We’ve been working on the Handmade Getaway for a couple years now and there are a lot of stories and fun images to share about how we got to where we are now. I hope you’re ready to hear all about it because it’s been really hard not to talk about it for so long.
We’ve decided to independently publish this project and we’re counting on our community to help us get the presses rolling. Last week, on February 1st we launched a Kickstarter campaign to help us fund the printing and editing costs. We were so hopeful that our project would be well received but we certainly didn’t expect to watch the numbers rise to over $18,000 on our first day! We are now seven days into the campaign and just about to hit 70% of our funding goal. We are so grateful for the support and excited to reach our goal so quickly. We would love to surpass our initial goal of 50K and create some stretch goals to make Handmade Getaway even better.
The idea for Handmade Getaway came to life at one of our winter cottage retreats. It was the last afternoon. We’d just made a lunch from all our leftovers (one of our last day tricks) and we were feeling pretty good about how smoothly the weekend had gone and how many projects we had all worked on over the last few days. Jacqueline wondered aloud if we should document all the tools, charts and systems we had created over the years. We all started throwing out ideas and memories about what we had figured out through trial and error. Mostly, we knew what a special time these getaways had become for all of us and the idea of sharing this part of our lives was really exciting. Jacqueline and I decided to come up with a table of contents to see if we had enough to talk about for a whole book.
It didn’t take long for us to look over our years of getaways to start pulling out the best projects, pro-tips and tools. Not only did we have a lot of information to share, but I had also been documenting each getaway with my camera since the very first one. Next, we developed some brand new projects that you’ll have fun making on your own or with your friends. We’ve found that friends and sewing are inseparable for us, thus each chapter starts with our theme Fabric, Friends and Food.
In total there are –
12 individual projects
5 group projects
4 mini projects,
4 group activities
3 planning charts and
tons of pro tips
I’m not going to lie, I’ve always wanted to publish a magazine or a book, so I feel very honoured that I’m getting to embark on this wild endeavour with Jacqueline and Andrew Cloutier, our brilliant graphic designer. We’ve been a tight team from the beginning and have such a strong vision for how awesome we want this book to be. Handmade Getaway is so beautiful, but also full of inspiration, ideas and information. You are a big part of helping us make this dream a reality.
If you haven’t had a chance to visit our Kickstarter page, I hope you will. Our Kickstarter video was shot and edited by my talented brother, Mark Valino who really helped us to capture our story. It’s beautiful and sweet and somehow it’s even under three minutes long! There are many fun rewards to choose from and we’ve just posted up some new ones, including a class with me to make my Design Notebook Cover from the book!
Weaving is still a very new to me. There is so much to learn and understand still but the whole process is really fascinating. Since sewing with fabric has been my biggest obsession, learning how to make fabric from scratch has been so illuminating. Using a floor loom requires some serious attention, similar to how I think about keeping track of your pattern in knitting. With a floor loom, you control the pattern with pedals that you press in a series of combinations. The process is very physical as you are pedalling with your feet and passing the shuttle back and forth with your hands, plus beating the work as you go. The Heirloom Tea Towel is the second floor loom class we’ve had at the workroom. For these first floor loom classes, we have set up the looms in advance of the class. Each loom takes about 6 hours of set up time! Joanna calculates and sets up the loom with twelve classes worth of warp thread. It’s been a good way to introduce these classes but we are certainly looking forward to a future class that will walk people through the entire process with a project.
We had a bit more flexibility with the design and colours for this tea towel. I chose to do the Diamond pattern as a denim blue stripe with the rest of towel in a light blue plain weave. Many people have chosen to do full tea towels of one pattern which looks amazing. I’m such a slow weaver that I really appreciated having a large expanse of easy plain weave to help me catch up. Also having a donut reward at the end of the project was pretty motivating as well. (Thank you, Agnes) My tea towel has a bit of ‘Morse Code’ (aka some mistakes) throughout, which I decided to keep rather than trying to fix every mistake that happened. Just some added texture that is unique to my personal interpretation of the design!
Jumping back in here after a roller coaster eight months. We’ll talk about some of that later but there’s a lot happening and even more to come, so let’s get back to business.
I have been doing improv patchwork since my early days of sewing. It has always felt like a type of meditation with fabric to me. I find that it can help me to tune in to how I am feeling and give me a sense of grounding. I have been lucky to have taken many improv patchwork classes from many different teachers, including Denyse Schmidt and Cheryl Arkison. Everyone has a different approach and style that open my mind a bit more the infinite possibilities within this technique. When the opportunity came to bring Sherri Lynn Wood to the workroom, it felt like a dream come true. A very big thank you to Pam at Mad About Patchwork for organizing everything so that our two shops could have this experience with Sherri. The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters is one of my favourite quilting books and Sherri’s approach to improv is so incredibly inspiring.
I really loved how Sherri related improv patchwork to our daily improv in life. There are so many important lessons to learn when you sew this way and I can see more and more that I consciously use these lessons when I hit roadblocks in my daily life. I generally feel less stressed and look for creative solutions to make things work no matter how bad things seem and I’m sure it is because of my conscious improv practice.
Commit one step at a time. Be in the present, don’t try to plan ahead.
Yes AND – build on what you have, if you don’t like it, add something so that you will love it
Set limits but feel free to change those if you get bored
Listen to your internal cues
Ruler free – express your own line in your work
I started three really exciting pieces over the course of her classes that I’m really looking forward to finishing. I’ve decided to do wall hangings rather than larger quilts. I challenged myself to only using solids in the first two sessions. I used two of our curated Kona bundles. For the final class I added in a couple prints that I was inspired by that day and worked in leftover solids from the previous days. These are going to be awesome when they are finished. The work that everyone produced over the three days was really amazing to see. Each person interpreted the ideas in such unique ways.
Sherri traveled such a long way to visit us (California!) and I had such a lovely time hanging out and learning from her. If we’re lucky, maybe she’ll come back to Toronto again. If you have the chance to learn from her, you should definitely take it! Thank you so much, Sherri!
It’s true, I have a big crush on the Les Fleurs collection and I can’t stop sewing with it. After I finished my Trapeze Dress, I knew that I wanted to make something with one of the canvas prints. For me, a garment bag is such a lovely (and easy!) way to show off a fabulous fabric without having to chop it up too much. (Check out my nani IRO version) I always lengthen the garment bag to fit a fancy dress.
The navy/coral colour combination has me thinking about my next quilt palette. I’ll be making a Diamond Mountain Quilt with Lizzy House in just a couple weeks. I have a feeling there’s going to be lots of Les Fleurs in there.
It’s a hot summer. It’s so hot that I am currently lamenting the fact that I don’t have enough sleeveless dresses to wear. I’ve made so many of the Merchant & Mills patterns, but this is my first time making the classic Trapeze Dress. I picked it up a couple weeks ago with the intention of making it in a lightweight chambray.
The Rifle Paper Co. Les Fleurs collection arrived this week and right away, I knew that their floral rayon would pair perfectly with the simple style of the Trapeze Dress. I’ve made a few things with the Cotton & Steel rayon and I don’t usually pre-wash this fabric. They recommend dry cleaning for the longest wearing, but I’ve just been washing in cold and hanging to dry. This has worked well for me so far.
The pattern makes efficient use of your fabric by having the back piece cut in two. You would need twice as much fabric if it was cut on the fold. The pattern also assumes that you are not using a directional print. The front piece and back pieces are cut in opposite directions. Luckily this Floral Birch print was not obviously directional, so I just cut the back pieces ‘upside down’, as directed. If you have something where this would matter, you would want to adjust the yardage to account for that. For once, I found that I need exactly the amount of yardage that the pattern recommended. There were only small bits left over once I cut out the five pieces.
One thing that I was so excited about making this dress is that it is super simple. I figured it would come together quickly with no issues. Of course, there were a couple issues. I knew that I wanted to check the fit. Most of the Merchant & Mills patterns are a bit more of a relaxed fit than I like. I often will take in the sides a little bit, especially around the waist just to give a bit more definition there. That’s exactly what I ended up doing here. I just took a bit off the sides, adjusted my pattern and then matched my changes to the front and back facing pieces.
This pattern uses a proper facing rather than just bias finishing. Hooray! I love facings. Not only that, it’s an all-in-one facing, meaning it faces the neck and the sleeves at once. I’ve done this before and have used a method that leave the shoulder seams open. I was interested in trying their method. I tried to walk through it carefully a few times and always got stuck with everything being all twisted up. There was a lot of stitch ripping and cursing as I tried to make sense of the steps. Hoping the internet would have the answer, I looked it up and found a few people mentioning having difficulty, as well. Some people gave up and did bias trim and others figured it out but didn’t offer any insights. When I checked YouTube for a tutorial, I found a few, but none following the same method as the Merchant & Mills instructions. This tutorial from Threads seemed really straightforward and worked perfectly for me. I did have to back track a bit to undo the side seams of the dress and the facings but it was worth it to learn this great technique. Also, the pattern calls for interfacing the facings, which I skipped and I’m happy that I did. This rayon is heavy enough to hold it’s own. To tack down the facing under the arms, I just stitched in the ditch of the side seam (through the dress & the facing) for a few inches to hold the facing in place. Facings that flip around are incredibly annoying.
I kept the length of the dress as it is in the pattern. It’s pretty dressy and I’m planning on wearing it to a wedding in a couple weeks. Normally, I would add side seam pockets but I wanted to keep the drape and lines of the swishy silhouette without the pockets (and my iPhone) dragging the side seam down.
This first version took me a bit longer to make than I anticipated, but now that it’s all sorted. I know I will be able to knock out my next ones in just a couple hours. This is truly the perfect dress for the summer!
SEWING NOTES Size: 8 Adjustments: took the sides in slightly for a better bit Yardage: Pattern calls for 1.9 metres of 44 inch wide fabric and it was a tight squeeze. You would need more fabric if your print is directional. Didn’t use interfacing on the facing pieces. Construction: Could not figure out their instructions for sewing in the facing. Found a great YouTube tutorial from Threads and followed it instead. It changes the order of assembling the dress though! Added the extra step of tacking down the facing by stitching in the ditch of the underarm seam for a couple inches.
When Cotton + Steel announced that their first guest designer was going to be Rifle Paper Co. last year, it seemed like the day would never come for the fabric to finally be released. The time is now and I’m so excited! Like many people, I’ve loved Rifle Paper Co products forever. The idea that I’m going to be able to sew with these gorgeous designs is pretty inspiring.
Our delivery will be arriving very soon and we’ve just posted our pre-order sale at the workroom. Who else is obsessing over what they are going to do with this collection? There are 13 quilting cotton prints – so definitely there is a Rifle Paper quilt in my future. There are 5 cotton/linen canvas prints – perfect for bags, pillows, curtains, structured garments and accessories. Personally, I’d love to cover a chair with one of them. There are also 4 Cotton Lawn Prints (flamingos!) and 3 Rayon prints. So, definitely a fun floral dress, some cute t-shirts and tops. Maybe some cute dark floral pants?!
I’m sharing my photos of the actual fabric samples I ordered from. In person these fabrics are really special and the colours are perfect. I just keep scrolling through and trying to narrow down my choices, but who am I kidding? I kinda need it all. I can’t wait to splash out on this collection and surround myself in this floral dream.