Pillow Talk with Lee Chappell Monroe

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Lee Chappell Monroe

We are excited to introduce you to Lee Chappell Monroe, a multitalented quilter, designer, teacher, and blogger. Utilizing her background in graphic design, Lee has designed 12 pillow patterns and made countless other quilting projects without patterns. Her current stash of quilts stands around an impressive 75, and she regularly loans many of them out to quilt shops. Lee teaches a variety of classes on quilting and sewing throughout North Carolina, emphasizing the importance of color and value.

“I have a really good understanding of color and value, and students need to understand this as well as it’s critical in choosing fabric and creating a good layout,” Lee says.

Lee is the featured designer in our GO! Pillow Talk, pillow pattern series. She will provide you a new FREE pillow pattern on our blog during the last week of every month. From now through December 2015, you will get 12 FREE adorable pillow patterns. Plus, you’ll see how quick and easy it is to make pillows using your GO!, GO! Baby, and GO! Big fabric cutters and to do simple appliqué techniques.

“For me, making a pillow is fast and fun and an easy way to try a die without the huge time commitment required for a quilt. When something is appliquéd you’re cutting and sewing and then you’re done,” said Lee.

With that said, see Lee’s super easy appliqué tip below and download her first pillow pattern!


Hi everyone! I am really excited about launching the GO! Pillow Talk series with AccuQuilt! We will bring you a new pillow each month that’s perfect to decorate your home the next month! Along with the free pattern, I’ll also be posting a tip that relates to the pattern. This month’s featured pattern is our Hearts Around Pillow, a perfect Valentine’s Day project featuring the GO! Queen of Hearts die. I love the GO! appliqué dies because they enable you to finish projects so quickly!

Lee Chappell Monroe Hearts Around Pillow

Download the Hearts Around Pillow here.

Whenever I am about to start a project with an appliqué die, I cut myself some pieces on the GO! out of paper. This helps me to create my layout without wasting fabric. I like to use paper that is printed on one side. I cut the blank side face up and the printed side face down. This gives me more options.

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Once I am happy with my layout, I label the paper with how many I need of each for the pattern. It makes for easy cutting and less waste! You could even get really fancy and use colored paper.

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I’m looking forward to seeing you back here each month! Now go download your FREE pattern here. And check out the other example I made on my blog here.

See you next month! ~Lee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where is the Lengthwise Grain of Fabric?

Are you one of those quilters who can’t seem to find the lengthwise grain in your fabric? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. But hopefully the following information will help make it much easier for you.

In a nutshell, your fabric’s lengthwise grain is important to find in order to ensure the accuracy of your cut when rolling the fabric cutting dies through your GO! or Studio fabric cutters. If you put your fabric through the cutter on the crosswise grain, it may stretch as the die goes through the rollers on the cutter, causing inaccurate cuts. And we all know how unpleasant it is to try and piece together inaccurate cuts.

Lengthwise Grain of Fabric

You don’t want to waste any of that beautiful fabric of yours, so a reliable test to make sure you are cutting in the right direction is key. First off, if you have fabric that has the selvage edge on it, then the lengthwise grain runs parallel to the selvage. Therefore, the problem of finding it is solved. However, if you are using scraps or if the selvage has been removed, here is a quick tip to identify the lengthwise grain. Grasp the fabric along one grain with both hands and give it a couple of sharp tugs and listen to the sound it makes. Then grasp along the other grain and tug again. The snapping sound made by the lengthwise grain will be slightly higher pitched than the crosswise grain sound. We promise . . . it works!

Another way to check is to simply tug the fabric on the lengthwise and crosswise grain to see which way stretches the most. Then, put your fabric through the cutter on the side with the least amount of stretch.

If you’re more of a visual person, check out the video demonstration from legendary quilters Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson.

For your own information, please note the types of fabric grain.

Lengthwise Grain (warp threads)

The lengthwise grain runs parallel to the selvages. It’s the strongest grain in your fabric and has very little stretch. This is how your yardage comes off the bolt. Because it is the grain with the least stretch, whenever possible orient your fabric on the lengthwise grain as you place it on your cutting die to achieve the most accurate cuts.
 Fabric should be laid on your dies on the
 lengthwise grain.

Crosswise Grain (weft threads)

The crosswise grain runs at a right angle to the selvages. It has more stretch than the lengthwise grain.

Bias Grain

The bias grain runs on a 45º angle to the selvages. It has the most stretch, so it distorts easily. You must be extremely careful when handling the bias. Cutting on the bias grain will distort your cuts. Although perfect for making bias tape and selected bindings (like scalloped edges), it is best to avoid cutting on the bias as much as possible.

And there you have it. Now that you know how to find the lengthwise grain, treat yourself to a day of fabric cutting with no waste.

4 Free Inspirational GO! Big Patterns

These four free GO! Big patterns will inspire you to go on a fabric cutting spree and create a plethora of projects in no time with your GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter. We hope you continue to enjoy how fast you can cut out all of these blocks. The patterns below feature GO! Big dies that work exclusively with the GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter.

The GO! Classic Double Wedding Ring Table Runner pattern is a magnificent table runner that will make a perfect gift for a newlywed. Some quilters aren’t fond of cutting curved shapes and have difficulty with it, however this GO! Big Double Wedding Ring-12” die eliminates that anxiety.

GO DWR

Download the FREE GO! Classic Double Wedding Ring Table Runner pattern here.

You can make so many incredible designs with the GO! Swirling Snail’s Trail Quilt pattern. Play with your fabric stash and get creative by making each block a different color or print.

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Download the FREE GO! Swirling Snail’s Trail Quilt pattern here.

The GO! Churn Dash Baby Quilt pattern is a beautiful design that you can make your own by choosing the perfect color combination for that special bundle of joy. The GO! Big Churn Dash-12” is a classic and beautiful block. Plus, since it’s a Block on Board (BOB) die, you get all the shapes you need in just one block.

GO CDB

Download the FREE GO! Churn Dash Baby Quilt pattern here.

If you’re feeling extra fancy and want to try multiple die shapes on your GO! Big project, then this GO! Quatrefoil Squared Quilt pattern is the one for you. This pattern combines the GO! Big Square-10”, GO! Big Circle-4”, 6”, 7”, 8” and GO! Square-5″.

Quatrefoil

Download the FREE GO! Quatrefoil Squared Quilt pattern here.

With these gorgeous and inspirational patterns, you can make an enormous dent in your fabric stash and create a few quick and easy projects with any of these GO! Big dies.

As a side note, please remember that the GO! Big dies are ONLY compatible with the GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter and cannot be used on your GO!, GO! Baby, or Studio fabric cutters. However, ALL of our nearly 200 GO! dies are compatible with your GO! Big, whereas the Studio dies are not compatible.

20 Quilting Tips for Beginners

Kate's Quilt

AccuQuilt employee, Kate, displays her first quilt which she made with the GO! Tumbler 6 1/2″ die.

If you’re a beginner quilter, then you’ve likely experienced a wide range of emotions while creating your quilting projects. Feelings of frustration can have quite a dramatic effect on your psyche and cause you to give up on whatever it is you are trying to create.

Well, don’t worry. Breathe in, breathe out. We’ve asked our Facebook community to give us their best advice for beginner quilters, and boy did they have a lot to say. Below are their top 20 tips to motivate and encourage you, so you’ll be comfortable out there in the wonderful world of quilting. Follow these tips and you’ll go from a beginner quilter to a skilled one in no time!

  1. Hands-on/in-person instruction at quilt shops, especially to learn how to properly use rotary cutters.
  2. Watch video tutorials from instructors like Eleanor Burns and Jenny Doan or AccuQuilt’s YouTube channel.
  3. Join a group or attend sewing sessions.
  4. Shadow a friend who quilts. Try their products and tools before buying your own.
  5. Learn a ¼” seam allowance and make sure it measures ¼” unless you have AccuQuilt’s cutting dies, which already includes this 1/4″ allowance.
  6. Start with a small project.
  7. Only buy fabric you need for a particular project.
  8. Get a quality sewing machine that has a ¼ foot and provides a consistent stitch. It doesn’t need to be expensive.
  9. Choose colors and fabric that you like and will enjoy working with.
  10. Only invest in tools you’ll really use.
  11. Iron your fabric as you go.
  12. Accuracy is important, so measure twice, and cut once.
  13. Don’t get discouraged or judge yourself too harshly.
  14. Have a dedicated and comfortable work space.
  15. Be patient, and take your time.
  16. Have fun.
  17. There are no mistakes. Imperfections can ultimately be perfections.
  18. Just start.
  19. Finish each project before you start another.
  20. And, last but certainly not least, Buy a GO! Fabric Cutter to get the most accurate and perfect cuts!

A big “Thank you” to our AccuQuilt Facebook family for sharing your expertise and giving much-needed advice to beginning quilters everywhere! Now, let’s start quilting.

V-Day is a Heartbeat Away

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you’re probably still looking for that perfect, fast and easy project to make for your love or even for yourself. Check out some of these popular projects on our special Valentine’s page. The possibilities are endless for you to put your own creative stamp on one of these fantastic patterns.

If you don’t have any dies with heart shapes, use your imagination to create a heart with a die you already own. For instance, designer Kay Gentry’s Hearts A’ Feather quilt  is made with the GO! Feathers die . What a great way to make a stunning heart!

Hearts A' Feather Pattern

Hearts A’ Feather quilt by Kay Gentry

Only have time for a really small project? Then this GO! Scrappy Heart Mug Rug can be done in a snap, while the GO! Heart of My Heart can be done in two, well maybe three, snaps.

GO! Scrappy Heart Mug Rug

GO! Scrappy Heart Mug Rug by Dawn Stewart

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GO! Heart of My Heart

If you’re feeling extra creative, try playing with your fabric scraps or experimenting with a few contrasting colors. Who says hearts have to be red? You can create some amazing projects with these designs, so get started and download these patterns and many others here.

3 New Valentine’s Projects

Belinda Photo

Greetings fellow quilters and sewists! My name is Belinda Karls-Nace and I’m a quilting and needlework designer, creator, finisher, and teacher (and the author of the Samplings from a Blue Ribbon Girl blog). Quilting/needlework is truly my passion, obsession, and career.

When AccuQuilt contacted me to be a guest blogger and share some of my recent projects, I jumped at the chance, as I am truly passionate about my AccuQuilt fabric cutters!

As a designer in the quilting and needlework industry, I get to be creative on a daily basis (how awesome is that?!)…and I get to design and create samples for AccuQuilt (my dream job!). Several weeks ago, I was hard at work on some special projects for Valentine’s Day…and today, I am excited to share those projects with you.

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GO! Lovebirds Apron. Download the FREE pattern here.

First, let’s take a look at the GO! Lovebirds Apron. This quick and easy waist apron uses a premade kitchen towel for the base…the kind you find at quilting/crafting/home stores in a wide assortment of colors and prints. The white kitchen towel I used for the sample was found at my local quilt shop and is made by Dunroven House (K310-WHI White), but you could use any brand/color/print you like! It measures approximately 20″ x 27″, but a premade towel that has slightly different measurements could easily be adapted. The premade kitchen towel is folded and pressed…machine appliqué is added…and light sewing is done to make a basic waist apron with pockets. The apron ties were made quickly using the GO! Strip Cutter 4″ (3½” Finished) (55085) – two strips are folded, pressed, and top stitched. This is a perfect afternoon project and minimal supplies are needed. The AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter makes light work of cutting the appliqué shapes – simply apply paperbacked fusible web to the wrong side of your fabric before cutting the hearts, birds, and scallop borders and you are ready to fuse and appliqué. I chose to fold and press the towel, fuse all the shapes in place…then, I unfolded the towel to machine appliqué. Wouldn’t it be fun to make these for a variety of seasons/holidays?…it would be easy to do by simply changing the appliqué shapes. This would also be a fun project for children to assist with…and I can see making these for gift giving…hmmm…lots of possibilities…

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GO! Hugs and Kisses Bed Runner. Download the FREE pattern here.

The next project I have to share is the GO! Hugs and Kisses Bed Runner. I can already hear some of you questioning, “what is a bed runner?”…so let’s clear that up first. Basically, it is an accent quilt you lay atop the bedcover (horizontally across the foot of the bed). Bed runners mainly serve a decorative purpose, but can provide additional warmth for cold feetsies and provide protection for the foot of the bed (from shoes, pets, packages, etc)…plus it is much easier to clean than a large bedspread. I have wanted to make a bed runner for quite some time (just to add a special quilted touch to the bedroom), so the timing was perfect to design one. This Valentine bed runner may look complicated, but it can be completely cut with two AccuQuilt dies (well, actually three, if you use a strip cutter for your binding). This quilt uses the GO! Signature Block (55356) and the GO! Half Square Triangle-3″ Finished Square (55009)…yep, that’s it! In a nutshell, you simply sew one triangle on either side of the signature block to form a 5″ (4½” finished) square…then those squares are laid out and rotated to form X and O blocks. This bed runner measures 81″ x 27″, but you could easily add or remove rows/columns to make a larger quilt or longer/shorter runner…and you can change the entire look of this design by changing the fabrics to match your decor. Try making a few of these blocks and I’m pretty sure you’ll be addicted…it is a great “chain-piecing on the weekend” kind of project that comes together rather quickly.

Finally, I have to show off the GO! Sweetheart Wall Hanging…oh how I enjoyed designing and creating this piece. Those of you who follow my blog know that I love to combine traditional piecing and appliqué…and if you are new to this combination, then this project is the perfect place to start. If we break it down, it is essentially strip piecing with machine appliqué and added borders. I applied paperbacked fusible web before cutting the hearts, flowers, leafs, and rick rack…then simply fused the shapes to fabric strips and did the machine appliqué before piecing the strips and adding the borders (on a side note, I adore the GO! Rick Rack die – no more searching for large rick rack that will match my fabrics – I simply cut it myself!). My tip for this project would be to use a tear-away stabilizer or light fusible stabilizer when doing the machine appliqué – it will stabilize your fabric when applying the stitches and make your shapes look sharp and crisp. At a finished size of 27″ x 36″, this is the perfect project to build your appliqué skills…and the shapes are small enough, you may even be able to use up some of the fabric scraps in your sewing room (I can visualize a really cute scrappy version of this wall hanging).

GO! Sweetheart Wall Hanging

GO! Sweetheart Wall Hanging. Download the FREE pattern here.

The AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter and corresponding dies make extremely fast work of cutting the appliqué shapes, so you are able to start sewing almost immediately and have a seasonal project completed in no time!…and although this wall hanging was created especially for Valentine’s Day, I think it can be on display year round.

Thank you for exploring each of these new AccuQuilt patterns with me. I hope my guest blog post will entice and inspire you to make some Valentine projects of your very own.

I would be thrilled if you visited me via my blog, website, or social media – stop by for a friendly visit – I always enjoy meeting new virtual quilting friends!

GO! Fabric Cutter Tote & Die Bag

Rolling Tote Inside ViewHave you treated yourself to a rolling tote for your shiny new GO! or GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter yet?

If not, just know that it’s the perfect way to conveniently and easily transport your fabric cutter. As an added bonus, it can also double as a carrier for your sewing machine.

GO! Tote

The lightweight, yet sturdy, rolling tote has two inside straps to secure your fabric cutter in place. It also has one large front pocket to hold your dies, fabrics, notions, and a 18″ x 24″ rotary cutting mat.

These totes are great for traveling to quilting retreats and festivals, or even on vacation if you’re planning to put in some quilting time. With these totes, quilting on the go just got easier. They are also good for simply storing your fabric cutter at home when not in use.

GO Tote Green

 

And for all of you GO! Baby Fabric Cutter owners, we haven’t forgotten about you. You get a cute little tote, too! It’s the perfect bag for your already portable GO! Baby.

GO Baby Tote

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t delay, get rolling in style with your brand new tote!

6 Tips to Store and Organize Your Fabric Cutter Dies

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Dies stored in the GO! Storage Rack

It’s a new year and time to get your ever-growing collection of GO! and Studio fabric cutter dies organized and stored in a manner that keeps them damage-free and easily accessible to you. These six tips will help you to properly store your dies, so you can use them for years to come.

Additionally, we know you’re anxious to get those dies rolling through your fabric cutter and wouldn’t want to waste any time searching for a particular die!

  1. Dies should be stored on their sides or ends like books, with their labels facing out for easy access.
  1. Never stack your dies on top of each other as this can compress the foam and potentially damage the blades.
  1. Store your dies in a bookcase, lateral file, cart on wheels, file holders, drawers, or the GO! Die Storage Rack(s).
  1. Keep a binder for the packaging, which includes patterns and other important die information.
  1. Organize dies into categories such as strips, squares, geometric shapes, flowers, etc.
  1. Organize dies in numerical order and then keep a spreadsheet that lists all dies by the number, name, cut size, finish size and mat. And you can register your dies, so you know which dies you already own.

fabric cutter die shapes

 

best fabric cutter shapes

Dies stored in stylish boxes (with chalkboard front for labeling) and cubes

These are just a few simple ways that you can store your dies. If you have other ideas and creative ways of storing your dies, we’d love to hear about them. Or, feel free to take a photo and send it to us by replying to this blog or on Facebook.

It’s important to protect your investment, so we hope these tips will help you to keep your dies in the best possible condition.

New Exhibition Featuring Fiber Artwork

SAQA AQ Gallery 2

Some of the featured artwork inside the Gallery

We are excited to announce a new exhibition at AccuQuilt. “Architexture”: A SAQA-NE (Studio Art Quilt Associates of Nebraska) Exhibition is a brilliant original exhibition showcasing fiber arts. Architecture is a general term that not only describes man-made buildings but can also include the diverse structures found in nature. Combining this definition of architecture with the word texture, fifteen Nebraska area artists designed and created fiber artwork on a diverse range of topics including everything from the varied textures one finds in a home to the diverse textures of nature.

“When I create art pieces I’m trying to convey something to the viewer. It might be a story, an emotion, or the essence of a place or time. Making a connection with the viewer is the goal with my art,” said Shelly Burge, one of the artists featured in the exhibition.

SAQA-SwingingBridge by Shelly Burge

Swinging Bridge by Shelly Burge

Burge’s art quilt, “Swinging Bridge,” is a magnificent art quilt, boasting a variety of hand-dyed cotton fabric, vintage cotton print fabric, and floral silk velvet fabric. Other art quilts includes Peg Pennell’s “Step Into the Past,” which showcases photographic images printed on fabric.

SAQA-StepIntoThePast Pen Pennell

Step Into the Past by Peg Pennell

To see the “Architexture” Exhibition, visit AccuQuilt’s Gallery Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Admission is free, and the exhibition will run through March. After viewing the exhibit, you can also take a tour of the AccuQuilt headquarters and state-of-the-art Dream Studio. If you are unable to travel to the Gallery, “Architexture” is also available for viewing at our online Quilt Gallery.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Cutting Mats

To get started die cutting with AccuQuilt, you need a fabric cutter, dies, and cutting mats. The fabric cutters and dies are designed to last, but the cutting mats need to be replaced over time. We have seven cutting mats varying in size, including one for our new GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter.

How can you get the most out of your cutting mats? Read on for helpful tips to make your cutting mats last as long as possible.

When you open up a brand new mat, it looks perfect, like the mat on the left below. As you use the cutting mat, the blades from the die cut into the surface and leave marks. This is totally normal! A slightly used mat looks like the mat in the middle below, and a mat that should probably be replaced looks like the mat on the right.

GO! Cutting Mats

To extend the life of your mat, there are a few tips and tricks. First, if you are cutting with a die that has multiple shapes, only cover the shapes that you are cutting with the cutting mat. You can use a smaller cutting mat to only cover the shapes that you need.

GO! Cutting Mats

Below the 6″ x 6″ cutting mat is the perfect size to only cover the two smallest size circles on the GO! Circle die.

GO! Cutting Mats

Roll the die through the cutter. As you push the uncovered section of die under the rollers, you can feel that the die doesn’t catch on the roller until the mat section goes under the roller.

GO! Cutting Mats

Slide the cutting mat off the die to reveal perfect circles!

GO! Cutting Mats

Another important tip is to always rotate and flip your mat during use so that the die blades are cutting into a different part of the mat with each cut. Notice in the image below that there is a GO! label printed on each side of the mat. Watch to make sure you are seeing the label facing up on opposite sides each time you cut – that means you remembered to flip the mat!

GO! Cutting Mats

After the first cut, flip the mat so the label is on the opposite side.

GO! Cutting Mats

Use your mats on a variety of different dies – the blades are placed differently on each shape, so by rotating your mat between dies, you take advantage of the entire surface area of the cutting mat. Here’s an example of a mat that has been used on a variety of shapes since you can see cut marks across the surface of the die.

GO! Cutting Mats

If you are making a rag quilt with any of the GO! Rag dies, your cutting mat is going to get a work out! The GO! Rag dies are designed with lots of blades to easily cut the fringed edge. Take extra care to flip and rotate your cutting mat with rag dies!

GO! Cutting MatsIf your cutting mats are looking like the one below…

GO! Cutting Mats

Upgrade your mats today, and don’t forget some new dies! Shop the GO! Holiday Die sale before December 31!

GO Holiday Sale