Books on Monday – The Big Little Book of Fabric Die Cutting Tips

This post is a bit later than I usually post on Mondays. Sorry! So let’s get to it!

Today we are looking at The Big Little Book of Fabric Die Cutting Tips by Ebony Love.

You may be acquainted with some of Ebony Love’s videos on her YouTube channel. I’m especially fond of her die cutting videos. As I expected, this book does not disappoint, starting with the the spiral binding. This is a plus in case I wanted to use the book as a reference while actually doing some die cutting.

As for the contents of the book, this book is very thorough.

  • The first section is “All About Die Cutters” and covers them thoroughly, with descriptions of several Accuquilt and Sizzix die cutters.
  • The second section is “All About Dies” and does a similarly thorough job of describing the different types of dies, their construction, use and care.
  • The third section is “All About Consumables.” Those are the mats, trays and adapters. Since they are consumables, the section also includes tips on when it is time to replace them. (I was glad to see these tips, since I frequently wonder about when I should be replacing my mats!)
  • Next section – “All About Cutting,” the section we’ve all been waiting for. This section covers best practices of cutting and how to minimize fabric waste.
  • The final sections are “All About the EDeN System” (that stands for Equivalent Die Notation System), “Beyond the Cut,” “Storage and Maintenance,” and “Resources” (which has some other video resources in addition to Ebony Love’s videos and other resources). There are also some pages for you to write your own tips after each section and a section of those pages after the resources.

I am not yet finished reading this book, but I am learning a lot about my die cutter and how to use it. I recommend this book for anyone who has a die cutter or plans to get one.

Quilt on!


Books on Monday – Quilt As You Go Reimagined

Welcome to Books on Monday! This week we are once again looking at a quilt as you go book. This time we are looking at Quilt As You Go Reimagined: Clean. Simple. Modern. by Marguerita McManus and Sarah Raffuse. Yes, the link below is an Amazon Affiliate link.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that a book with the word simple in the title might not have blocks that hold my attention long.  But, of course, this book has other charms. (Some of the fabrics really caught my eye!)

This book is (as the title tells us) a book on quilting as you go. It is illustrated with lots of pictures and written with lots of directions. There are four projects, all modern looking with clean lines and lots of negative space.

The sections of this book are as follows:

  • In This Book
  • The Quilts
  • The Techniques

The directions are thoroughly written and well illustrated. The authors suggest making a practice couple of four inch blocks to use to work through the directions and to make sure you understand and can follow the directions. If this is something  you are interested in trying, this book does a pretty good job of describing how to do it.

Quilt on!


Wedding Quilt Update & Other Stuff

Before I get to the promised wedding quilt update, I think I’ll bring you up to date on a few other quilty things.

First, I got a new round of books from the C&T Publishing spring sale. They look like this:


Yes, there is a star book. Yes, I love stars! What else is new?

Well, I had a Missouri Star Quilt Co. buying spree. I ended up purchasing the deal of the day (and in some cases a bit extra) on three out of four days last weekend and earlier this week. (And, in case you wondered, they do not combine shipments when you order on consecutive days.) First up, the Kona Roll-up.


Then the Venezia layer cake and a couple of Color Me Happy charm packs.


I’m expecting shipment number three on Monday.

Now, on to the Wedding Quilt Update. There are nine 27 inch super blocks with the star center and then the square spirals surrounding them. I have finally finished quilting all of those. When I first started the quilting, I sort of divided it into three parts in my head – the super blocks, the large spaces between them, and the borders.

Now that I’ve finished the super blocks, I need to decide what to do with the large sections. So, the quilt moved to the counter for some experimentation to help with the decision.


I had purchased this stencil at the Grand Rapids show with the thought that I’d use it for this purpose, but It seems to be a bit too large. (Does it look familiar, Nonnie?)


This is the stencil I used in the borders of my eldest daughter’s quilt, so I have a rhythm for quilting them, but I’m kind of sick of them. (And at I don’t really like the way it looks in this quilt anyway.


This one is too small and fussy looking, I think.


This doesn’t look too bad, but it is a little small. I’m not really into dense quilting, but I would like to kind of fill up the space a little more than this.


This is a bit too small also. I’m also not sure that I like so many curves in this very angular quilt.


This one is bigger, but like I mentioned above, it looks a little too curvy for this quilt.


I love these feathers, but I’m not sure how I would make them go horizontally and vertically to make more even quilting.


I like this one, but it is too small. I am still playing with trying to fit four of them in the space, but I’m not sure it will work out.


I’m only throwing this one in because I like it – but not for this quilt.


This one doesn’t really work either, but it is interesting.


This is the same one from farther off so you can see how it fits into the space.


So what I’m really thinking about at this point is just kind of echo quilting the super blocks and keeping the square spirally look. I’ll look at it more before deciding anything for sure though.


Anyone else have any ideas?

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Quilt It as You Go

Today we are looking at Quilt It as You Go: 5 Different Ways to Quilt as You Piece by Carolyn S. Vagts. (And the picture below is, yes, the Amazon Affiliate link.)

Before I get into reviewing this book, let me just mention that I have been looking at quilt-as-you-go and wondering if it is something I might like to try in order to quilt some of my own block of the month quilts without having to push a huge quilt through my machine. So I have been looking at some different methods. While this book has some interesting projects, this is not the droid book I’m looking for.

That being said, the projects in this book are interesting ways to quilt as you go and I will take some of this with me when I venture into the topic. I just don’t see myself making any of these projects since I’m looking for quilt-as-you-go to help me finish things I’ve already started.

Okay, onto looking at the book.

The main body of the book are the projects. There is a brief introduction, then a project. Next come directions for a quilt-as-you-go string pieced process with a project using that following the directions. The rest of the book continues in the same vein with project specific techniques described before or in the project using them. There are ten projects in all, most of them smaller projects.

The book seems to be aimed at people who like to piece but not quilt. That’s not me, although the jury is still out on the machine quilting as I’m still scared of it a bit. Anyway, if you want some projects that are basically done as soon as you have been piecing them, this might be the book for you.

Quilt on!

March-A-Long Week 4

It’s that time of the week again! Time to talk about last Sunday to yesterday (AKA Saturday) and my March-A-Long results. Here goes.

  • Sunday – Blog writing day. This included the Books on Monday post from last week.
  • Monday – Blog reading day #1. Somehow I had tons of days to catch up on so I did some reading – most of it quilty!
  • Tuesday – Blog reading day #2. Almost got caught up. I also did some hand quilting.
  • Wednesday – Barnes & Noble day. Yes, there was some serious quilty magazine investigation happening. And I talked Amazing Amy into signing up for the 2014 Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery BOM with me! And I did some hand quilting.
  • Thursday – This is the day I finally got caught up on my blog reading! (And then, of course, more people blogged. Hand quilting also happened. And my new quilt frame/hoop (explained below with illustrations) showed up.
  • Friday – Finished assembling my new quilt frame/hoop and then got some hand quilting time in.
  • Saturday – Hand quilting between seeing and spending time with lots of friends.

The New Quilting Frame/Hoop

Last week one day I realized that the hoop I was using to quilt the wedding quilt was splintering and splitting.



At first I thought maybe I could make it last (it was a little flimsy for such a large quilt which I’ve been concerned about from the beginning), but then I became concerned that it could damage the quilt so I got online and looked for sturdier hoops with floor stands. I decided to pay the big bucks for a Grace hoop with floor stand.


The hoop itself is only 14″ square, but that just means I get to tell myself that I’m making faster progress because I have to move the quilt more often.

So what have you been up to?

Quilt on!


Books on Monday – Tula Pink’s City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks

Happy Monday! This week we are looking at Tula Pink’s City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks by Tula Pink. Below is the Amazon Affiliate link:

I’ve been seeing some of these blocks show up around Twitter and the internet, so I thought I’d check this book out and see what Tula Pink has been up to besides designing gorgeous fabric.

Most of this book is block designs and some quilt designs for using the blocks. The first section of the book is the block designs. They are organized by shapes – crosses, rectangles, triangles, stripes, squares and haiku. (Haiku blocks are more about the composition than about the shapes, according to Tula.) Each block gets a two-page spread. The first page is a picture of the block as Tula made it. The second page presents the cutting information and the block layout. The blocks are numbered rather than named, although there is a line for you to write the names you want to give the blocks. All the blocks are 6 1/2″ or 6″ finished.

The second section of the book consists of five quilts using any combination of the blocks you choose and tips and directions for making those quilts. I am very fond of a couple of the quilts. I may have to try this someday. Some of the quilts have a lot of negative space and some very interesting block settings. And the blocks themselves would make a great way to use up some scraps.

This is a beautiful book. Tula Pink says her ideal vision for the book is that it would develop into a quilt journal or diary because people would name the blocks, write descriptions of why they chose the block, etc. in their copies of the book. I can see how that would work. It is also a pretty thick book which makes sense when you are talking about two pages each for 100 blocks plus quilt patterns and some instructions.

I’m not sure how many of these blocks I will actually make. The list of quilts in my head is so long that I don’t see how I will get through all of them, but this book will stay around my house for the possibilities.

Quilt on!

March-A-Long Week 3

This has been a week of fits and starts! Some days it was all I could do to look at magazines! But here is my week:

  • Sunday – wrote blog posts and book reviews
  • Monday – worked on church quilt with Amazing Amy and Careful Carolyn
  • Tuesday – played Quilt Mentor to one of the young women from the MOPS meeting the previous week. She is making her first quilt and she’s very excited about it.
  • Wednesday – checked out my new McCall’s Quilting magazine over my coffee plus several more magazines during a Barnes & Noble afternoon
  • Thursday – Began writing the directions for putting together more church quilt blocks.
  • Friday – I had gotten a book from First to Read that totally sucked me in from late Thursday afternoon until I finished it on Saturday so that’s all that happened this day.
  • Saturday – After I finished the book, much quilty stuff happened. I sewed together two Disappearing Pinwheel blocks




I also sewed two rows of Falling Charms together and onto the other six rows. Two more to go. And then I wrote up the directions for sewing together this block for the church quilt:


And that was my Week Three. How was yours? I’m linking up with Darla at The Scientific Quilter for March-A-Long Week Three.

Quilt on!

2014 Quilty Resolutions Update

Apparently it is close enough to end of the first quarter that it is time to check on the progress made in getting my three quilting monkeys off my back. Sandy from Quilting for the Rest of Us had us pick three quilting monkeys to get off our backs. My three (and the results so far) are as follows:

  1. The American Beauty BOM that I began in 2010. No progress whatsoever other than looking at it.
  2. Fear of free motion quilting.  I’ve been looking at books and videos and working up my courage. Really. (I finished watching my first free motion quilting Craftsy class. I just haven’t actually put any of it into practice.)
  3. My laziness and avoidance of learning to appliqué. I’ve been watching a Craftsy class, reading up on it, and collecting tools. Almost ready to start. Really.

I have also made some progress on the 2014 Resolutions in the sidebar. 

  1. Complete at least 2 of the 4 BOMs I have going. a. American Beauty BOM No progress as mentioned above. b. 2009 Designer Mystery BOM No progress because I’m at the hand quilting stage. And any hand quilting is focused on number two! c. 2011 Designer Mystery BOM I have actually done a little bit of piecing on block 4. And I have a plan for getting more of it done. d. 2012 Designer Mystery BOM Nothing. Yet.
  2. Complete the Wedding Quilt for my daughter and her husband before their first anniversary which is July 20. Slowly making progress. Almost done with the ninth (and last) super block. Then I get to work on the wide open spaces.
  3. Do some free motion quilting on one small project. No progress as you’ve seen above.
  4. Complete the two Christmas tree skirts for my daughters before Thanksgiving. Have made some progress on the paper pieced skirt for my eldest daughter. Haven’t started the younger daughter’s (and son-in-law’s) tree skirt yet.
  5. Complete the studio (aka family room) reorganization. Well, I’m working on re-sorting fat quarters right now.
  6. Complete the Falling Charms Quilt that is currently on the design wall. Here is the most progress. I have been using this as leaders and enders while I make Disappearing Pinwheel blocks and eight of the ten rows are sewed together. Three or four more DPWs and I’ll be putting on the border!
  7. Try some machine appliqué. This one was mentioned above.

How about you?

Quilt on!


Books on Monday – Beginner’s Guide to Free Motion Quilting

Yep, today we are looking at Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting: 50+ Visual Tutorials to Get You Started • Professional-Quality Results on Your Home Machine by Natalia Bonner (and, yes, the link below is to my Amazon Affiliate account).

Natalia Bonner is a professional quilter whose work you can see in many magazines and books. She began quilting on her home machine and later purchased a longarm machine and starting a business. In this book she shares some of her techniques and patterns for free motion quilting along with the basics. As I read it (and looked at the pictures) I started to get excited at the idea of free motion quilting, so we may see some trial and error examples here on the blog in the near future.

The book is divided into three main sections:

  • Focus on Quilting which covers supplies, tools and the basics of various types of machine quilting like all over quilting, quilting on appliqué, quilting in borders, and background fillers
  • Six Quilt Projects to Make which is just what it sounds like
  • Quilting Patterns which contains 50 full sized quilting patterns

I am looking forward to trying some of these techniques and patterns. It is becoming clear that I really need to start learning to quilt with my machine more than my hands. Sigh. I think I’ll start small though. And I still need to do some appliqué, I know!

Quilt on!

March-A-Long Week 2

Week Two of March-A-Long is finished. Here is how my week went:

  • Sunday – I spent a couple of hours paper piecing curved flying geese for the Judy Niemeyer tree skirt. It was fun to get back to this. I have two more geese on each section to do now.
  • Monday – I spent the day prepping blocks for the church quilt to be hand pieced by members of our church’s MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) program during Tuesday’s meeting.
  • Tuesday – I started the day with the aforementioned MOPS ladies. Careful Carolyn and I walked them through the block assembly step by step. Here’s what the finished product should look like (colors vary on the blocks):



  • Wednesday – I caught up on quilty blog reading. We spent nearly 24 hours without power from about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon through 12:30 Wednesday afternoon. The rest of Wednesday was spent warming up and catching up. I also did a little hand quilting in the evening.
  • Thursday – Hand quilting in the evening is about the extent of my quilting for the day.
  • Friday – Another day when only a little hand quilting (and a little magazine inspection) were the extent of my quilting enjoyment.
  • Saturday – Yes, it was Quilting Day but, other than watching a Craftsy lesson while I rode the recumbent cycle, no quilting happened here. We also got the pleasure of the arrival of the kids to celebrate our youngest daughter’s birthday.

And there you have the March-A-Long recap for this week. You can find more at Scientific Quilter. As for the upcoming week,


Quilt on!