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A little while ago I posted about to-dos vs temptations.  Well, I was a responsible quilter.  My to-do list is now a done list.  Yeah me!

(1)  3 quilts for Maisonette to deliver to LA to send to Japan.  DONE.  See the pieced backs?  Great for donation quilts, to use up some of those fabrics that have been hanging around for a while.

(2)  Just one star blocks?  Delivered to my group, and received at Moda.  DONE.

(3)  Guild stuff?  Done, for the most part.  A volunteer’s job is never done, is it?

(4)  Avignon Picnic?  Done, blogged, and mailed.

Now, for tempation!

The AccuQuilt isoceles die is first up for me to play with.   The very first thing I did was to run a piece of paper through it.  I know that the pieces finish to 4.5″ wide by 5.5″ high, but wanted to see what that really looked like.  I then took the two triangles and trimmed the seam allowances off of one of them so that I could use it for some drafting.  Yuck, I know.  I tried using EQ7, but I was struggling with funny angles and not being able to get nodes/gridlines where I needed them.  Look for more soon as I get this all figured out!


Every once in a while it’s time to replace some of our basic quilting tools.

I’ve been looking for a new rotary cutting mat for a while.  Waiting for them to go on sale and be in stock at the same time.  I’ve been quilting for more than 15 years and am on my 2nd mat, so I figure replacing a mat that I can’t find the lines on, that has an odd texture, and looks like it’s got glue marks on it is OK.

This is my old mat:

And my new one.  I’ve never had a Fiskars mat before, so I’ll have to see what I think of it.  My first mat was an off-brand, and I loved it to death.  They don’t sell them anymore.  My second one is a Dritz, but I wanted to see what I thought of the Fiskars.

Don’t like green?  How about yellow?

I bought a new rotary cutter, too.  My so-called (grin!) friends were teasing me on Tuesday.  I was complaining about my rotary cutter not working.  The blade is jamming somehow.  My so-called friends pointed out that most of them have extra cutters.  Well, I do have 5 cutters.  A 60mm jumbo, 2 45mm regulars (one the blade keeps getting wobbly on, and this one that’s jamming), a 28mm small, and an 18mm micro.  But it’s the one that I use all the time that’s not working.  So, just so I don’t have to go back to my quilting circle on Tuesday without a functional 45mm cutter, I bought a new one.  And it’s light blue!  Who knew that they came in colors?  I had the basic grey in hand, then decided to go for the colored one, so I could tell it apart from the old one.  I have a Fiskars cutter.  When the first one went bad (the wobbly blade) they replaced it right quick.  This one, I sent in an email two weeks ago and haven’t heard anything.  I’ll follow up, using my lifetime warranty, but thought a spare cutter might not be a bad idea.

My next replacement tool?  A fresh seam ripper.  I do rip-it, but the majority of my seam ripper use is to separate chained pieces.  (Note my self defense there?)  And lately the seam ripper has been tugging at the thread instead of cutting it.  It separates the pieces eventually, but will often pull the threads in the piecing!  I’ve been using Clover seam rippers for ever – they were the first that I knew of with the larger handle.  I usually have a few new ones in storage, waiting to get desparate enough to pull them out.

And I figure while I’m at it I’ll replace some pins, too.  Those ones that probably have burrs on them because they don’t slide nicely into the fabric.  Those that are more than a litte bit bent.  And fill up my color wheel, too.  I use colored head pins to sort pieces and blocks while they’re in process.

In case anyone’s wondering, I’m doing great on my to-do list.  With any luck I’ll be playing with my new dies on Friday!


Take-out Thai, a glass of Reisling. 74 degrees, and the sun’s still up.

The good life…

After dark?  Finish my second quilt to send to the Japan earthquake and tsunami victims.  Well, finish the quilting and start the binding.  IF I am capable of driving the sewing machine after drinking, which depends on how many refills I help myself to.

Tomorrow?  Show and tell at a local sewing machine store/Accuquilt dealer.  I’m taking Avignon Picnic, made from dies I bought at their store!  Followed by a party which has a definite purpose but will actually mean most of my lovely neighbors hangin’ out all afternoon and into the night.

Sunday I’ll think about when I wake up on the 17th!


Don’t forget to vote in AccuQuilt’s Barn Quilt Contest!  Voting closes on April 19!  THIS is my quilt.  Or click here for all of the top 100.


Many moons ago, at a one-day retreat, there was a mystery quilt.  The quilters cut, and sewed, and drew, and cut, and sewed.  It was the best mystery quilt ever.  (Usually they can figure it out…sew the block units in whatever order you want, but there are only so many blocks that use hourglass units, right?)

At the end there was a great reveal.  Everyone was in awe!  It was this great interlocking pinwheel quilt.  Those who had done it were in love.  Those who hadn’t done it were jealous.  “Where did you ever get this idea?” we asked.  (I was in the jealous camp.)  From a book – Square Dance by Martha Thompson.  This was quite a while ago… (For the record…everything was done with the author’s consent.)

How do I know it was quite a while ago?  Because I made my own Square Dance quilt.  The book – in it’s first edition – was out of print, so I haunted ebay and was able to come up with a copy after a while.  Then the project had to gel.  Then I started it!  It is a bit fiddly.  You lay out your squares, sew them together, mark them with a template, cut them apart (with scissors, no less!), and sew them back together again.

When was this?  2002.  This was the baby quilt that we said would make the baby hyper!  Said baby is now 8 3/4!

Diggin’ the fabric?  It’s all out of print.  (Though I keep getting flashbacks…the border fabric is used in one of the cover shots on McCall’s 5554 pattern for 18″ dolls…as knickers…)

The book you can put your hands on – it’s been re-issued with more current fabrics.  My first edition has some quilts where you have to…look beyond the fabric, I guess…to see the charm of the design.

Imagine my surprise when Twister quilts started showing up everywhere online?  “That’s Square Dance!” I said.  While I had to collect my squares one at a time, the pattern is great for charm packs.  And my template?  Freezer paper with pencil lines on it.  I would have killed for an acrylic template!


We Interrupt This Post for a Blatant Plea. 

Help me win!!!  I’ve posted several times about AccuQuilt’s Barn Quilt contest.  Entries were due Sunday night, and already, today, they’ve narrowed their choices down to the top 100 and opened up voting!  Well, I got a block in the top 100!  Click HERE to vote for my block!  You can vote in two ways – by hitting the ‘like’ under the block or clicking on the block and giving it a stellar 5-star review.  VOTING CLOSES APRIL 19!  If my block wins, I will be having a party that they can hear at AccuQuilt Headquarters in Nebraska!  (And I’m a SoCal gal!)  If I win, I will be sharing my joy and excitement with giveaways for both AccuQuilt and non-AccuQuilt users!

Now, back to the post.  Thank you for your patience!

My sister has had her first baby – a girl!  All babies in my family – and extended family – get quilts when they are born.  No registries and shopping (at least in the baby deparment!) for me.  Quilting!  Fabric Stores!

I bumbled around for a while trying to figure out a pattern.  Months, actually.  Then I saw a quilt on flickr and knew I’d found it. Lucky me!  The quilt I saw is from a Moda Bakeshop pattern, Avignon Picnic.  I love the rectangles, and the links, and the flow across the surface of the quilt.   I decided to make it a bit smaller – the pattern’s for a 64″ square quilt, set with 4 16″ square blocks.  Mine is 48″ square, with 3 16″ blocks.

It’s a jelly roll pattern, but I didn’t let that stop me!  I shopped my stash, supplemented from the store, and away I went!  The nursery is pink and brown, kind of whimsical, so I let that guide me towards what kind of colors to choose.  I thought about a bright white background, but then changed my mind.  I went for a pink.  It’s something I’ve had for quite a while, a pale pink with lowercase letters printed on it in white.  My sister is a first grade teacher, so I thought it somewhat appropriate.  I had a few qualms about the directionality of the print, but let go.

Cutting was a breeze.  2 1/2″ strips, sewn together, then cut apart into 4 1/2″ blocks.  I used…drumroll…my AccuQuilt GO! to cut the squares.  Pulled out my 4 1/2″ strip die, laid the fabric across the blades (using a ruler to make sure that the fabric was perfectly perpendicular to the blades) and away I went!  It took some time to lay everything out, making sure that the seams were staggered and I was never cutting more than 6 layers of fabric, but in just a few big cuts I got 144 4 1/2″ blocks.

Laying it out took a bit more time.  And do you know what happens when you lay 144 blocks out on the floor, then your child decides to build a zoo?  Plop.  Poof.  Float.  No more nicely arranged blocks on the floor.

Once I got into the rhythm of it, the quilt top came together pretty quickly.  Then I pinned it, quilted it 1/4″ out of the ditch, and finished it.

I made too many blocks, so I used them to widen the back – the quilt finished to 48″ wide, so two rows of 4″ blocks made my backing fabric just wide enough!

I’m happy with it.  I hope my sister will like it!  All it needs is a label and washing instructions.


Right now, it’s to-do list, (1), temptation (0).  That could change very quickly, though.

This last week I’ve been working on a pretty big to-do list with pretty tight deadlines.

(1)  One of my local quilt shops, Maisonette, is collecting quilts to send to Japan.  They’ll drive them to their fabric distributor, who will then ship them to Japan.  Quilts are due to them by April 27.  Two are pinned, one is not, no quilting started.  I’m going for quick and easy on these – stipple quilting, and machine-sewn bindings.  The green/tan and tumbler quilts were cut out with my GO! – quick and easy!

(2)  My small group has decided to make “Just One Star” blocks to send in together.  Due date?  Tomorrow, April 12.  I made two blocks fairly quickly this morning and think that’s going to have to be enough.  (Note to self.  Press and clip threads!)

(3)   Quilt Guild meetings.  I have board/committee meetings this week, and a (different) guild meeting tonight.  Unfortunately, I’ve got to skip the guild meeting.

(4) Finish my post about the Avignon Picnic (Moda bakeshop) baby quilt so that I can get the finished quilt in the mail to my darling new niece!

Vs Temptation!

The UPS truck visited today.  I have FIVE new dies that I haven’t yet used for my GO!  I’m dying!  The circles, 4 7/8 triangle, 3 1/2″ HST, isoceles, and a 1″ strip die.  I was a smart shopper…a 4 7/8 triangle with 2-3 1/2″ HST will make a flying geese unit, and the 3 1/2″ HST and the isoceles will make a kaliedoscope block.  Way to multitask!

More later…Deb

I love winding ways quilts.  Absolutely love them.  Two color Winding Ways Quilts in particular. 

The problem has always been in the cutting.  I took a few classes from Nancy Eliott MacDonals a few years ago.  Cutting the way she describes in her book Winding Ways Quilts has made it simpler but it still involved hours of backbreaking cutting, bent over my too-short cutting table.

You can bet, when I got the chance I quickly got my hands on the Winding Ways die for my AccuQuilt GO!  The largest piece cuts differently on the grain than I do when I cut it by hand, but that’s no problem when we’re comparing backbreaking cutting to knocking out cut pieces in no time at all.

Ready to go!  See that I took a black sharpie and outlined everything?  I even drew lines 1/4″ outside of where the cutting will be so that I can make sure that my fabric covers all of the die blades.  Notice that the pieces seem to be laid out crooked on the die?  That’s how it’s supposed to be.  It makes it easier on the cutter.

See how I lined my fabric up on the drawn lines?  Easy.  I cut my fabric, then folded it into fourths.  I’m cutting out half of eight blocks with this piece of fabric.  Next up I’ll do the same thing with the blue, then I’ll have cut all the pieces for eight Winding Ways blocks in about 5 minutes.  Can’t beat that!

I know that many people think that they can cut with less waste with a rotary cutter than the AccuQuilt can.  Let me tell you, with Winding Ways it’s a wash because you can’t cut with no waste with a rotary cutter!  Then there’s the whole not having backbreaking cutting sessions…  Let me show you my waste:

But it’s not really waste.  I’m going to use it!  My quilt is set 5×5, or 25 blocks.  I get 8 blocks from each strip of fabric I run through my GO!.  So I take these leftover bits, carefully lay them out on my Winding Ways die, and get the 25th block!

After a little bit of sewing…

…I’m done!  Sew some blocks together, sew some border on, quilt, bind. 

I have to say, I absolutely loved how this quilt sewed together.  Because the pieces were cut so accurately, with no stretching of the fabric, everything just went together nicely.

Thanks for stopping by!  Deb

PS – Looking for a GO! Baby of your very own?  Quilter’s Club of America is currently having a giveaway!

PPSS – The AccuQuilt Barn Quilt contest is still open!  Closes this Sunday, April 10, so get designing!  With a $1000 gift certificate, you can buy whatever you’d like!

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About Aspen Hill

Welcome to Aspen Hill! I'm Deb. Quilter, lover of fabric. Fan of completed projects. Quilt Pattern Designer. My blog is my space where I get to share quilting, sewing, and other creative pursuits. Come back often!

You can find my quilts, doll clothes, and patterns on Etsy.