English Paper Piecing with the Cricut Maker

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy Wednesday! I'm excited to share my next project made with the new Cricut Maker. Find my review of this machine from last week here.

This post is sponsored by Cricut, all opinions, images and text are my own. I've used affiliate links in this post, which means if you click through and buy something, I make a commission, at no extra cost to you.

After spending some time with the machine, I got to thinking how perfect it would be for working on English paper piecing (EPP) projects! I could have the machine cut both the paper templates and cut the fabric pieces to size. I know there are a lot of ready-made paper pieces available now, but I had a lot of fun coming up with my own design to make an iPad case a few years back (see that post here). The downside to making something unique is having to cut out all the pieces. Enter the Cricut Maker!

I was glad to finally have an excuse to cut into some prints from Daisy Chain by Annabel Wrigley for this project.

If you're new to English paper piecing, I highly recommend All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland. It's a great resource, especially if you're interested in designing your own blocks!

Again, I made a video showing how I uploaded the images that I used (available for you to download below), cut the paper pieces and fabric pieces from start to finish.

Materials Needed for EPP Block:
- 3 fat quarters quilting cotton
- Medium-weight cardstock (11"x11" sheet, or two 8.5"x11" sheets)
- Coordinating thread
- Hand stitching needle

1. Download the image files for this project: Paper Diamond Template and Fabric Diamond Template.

2. Using the Cricut Maker machine, cut out 30 paper diamonds. From two fabrics, cut 12 diamonds each. From the third fabric, cut 6 diamonds. (Here is the tool set I was using in the video.)

3. Baste diamonds using your preferred method. I hand stitch my fabrics in place, going through the paper. You could also use a glue pen!

4. Arrange your basted diamonds using the photo above as a guide.

5. Begin hand stitching your diamonds together. I use a simple whip stitch, but feel free to use whatever hand stitch you're comfortable with, just be sure not to stitch through the paper templates.

6. Press block well from both the front and back. Snip basting threads and gently remove papers. Give the block another good press.

7. Make more blocks for an entire quilt (with additional pieces in between motifs for filler, or applique block onto a bag, pillow, or even a dishtowel! My favorite attachment method is a simple top stitch along the outer edges of the block.

Here are a few ideas for what to make with your block:

I used my block to spruce up a simple Lined Drawstring Bag! This is the Artist size bag. (pattern)

I love using applique blocks on pouches, like this one I use for embroidery projects.

Make a few and stitch them onto a big pillow.

Or, make a bold and colorful dishtowel! (tutorial)

Happy Quilting!

Cricut Maker Review + Pincushion Project

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

I'm excited to share my thoughts today about the new Cricut Maker machine.

This post is sponsored by Cricut, all opinions, images and text are my own. I've used affiliate links in this post, which means if you click through and buy something, I make a commission, at no extra cost to you.

I have vivid memories of walking into the craft store when I was in high school and seeing the Cricut personal electronic cutting machines. Back then they required different cartridges to cut shapes in paper. I never got very into scrap booking, but I've always loved paper. These machines seemed so cool and fancy! I remember thinking I might save up for one, but was already spending too much of my budget on fabric.

Fast forward to today, these machines have come a long way. The Cricut Maker machine can cut paper, just like previous Cricut machines, but it can also cut through vinyl, thin balsa wood, and fabric! Some models along the way have been able to cut through fabric that's been bonded to a stabilizer (this one can too), but what sets the Maker apart is that it can cut unbonded fabric with a special little rotary blade. That means cutting fabric is as simple as sticking it to the mat and cutting!

I don't know about you all, but I've always been a multi-crafter. I dabble in all kinds of different crafts. I still enjoy paper crafts and I also sew, quilt, knit, weave, dye, etc. Because I like to craft in so many different mediums, it's really nice when my tools or supplies can be used across multiple crafts. That's where the Maker fits in for me.

One of the big reasons I was interested in testing out the Maker is personal. (Let's be real, one of them is to fulfill my childhood dream of using such a fancy machine.) As you may or may not know, I have arthritis. My disease primarily affects my wrists and hands, which are pretty critical when you're making something. I've spent a lot of time figuring out how to do things in ways that minimize their impact on my body and health. In the last 5 years especially, I've had a lot of wrist problems. A task that really takes a toll on me is cutting.

Being able to use a machine to do some cutting for me is really appealing. I've used die cutting machines before, but they had to be cranked, which was still difficult. The Cricut Maker lets you get cutting with the touch of a button. I will still cut things traditionally, but I think this machine is going to be a great asset for me in managing my activity.

I've never used a Cricut machine before, so I decided to make a video of myself using it. Please excuse my video skills/set-up! I don't have a lot of experience shooting videos, but I felt it was the best way to show you the machine.

I was intimidated at first, but it was easier to use than I expected. I'm excited to continue to learn everything this machine can do, and really take advantage of it. In the video, I walk through cutting pieces for a simple pincushion, including creating the shapes in the Cricut Design Space. The program allows you to create your own designs, upload images, and customize your projects. There are tons of ready made projects available too.

If you want to make a pincushion too, see the instructions below, or watch the video:

- (2) 8.25"x10" pieces of cotton fabric
- (1) 5" piece of cotton fabric
- Pincushion filling (I used crushed walnut shells)
- Coordinating thread

1. Start a new project in the Cricut Design Space. Click the shape tool on the left hand side of Canvas, and click the Triangle shape. Once the shape pops up on your canvas, select it by clicking on it. Up in the top bar, change the height of the triangle to 2.5". (Or download the image of the triangle here.)

2. Using the Cricut Maker, cut three triangles from each fabric for a total of six triangles. (Here is the tool set I was using in the video.)

3. Arrange your triangles into two rows. Piece two triangles together in each row. Press seams open. Attach the final triangle in each row. Press seams open.

4. Place rows right sides together, lining up the seam and the row ends. Place a pin through the points to match them up. Sew rows together.

5. Use your pincushion top as a template to cut a backing for it from the 5" square.

6. Place pincushion top and backing right sides together. Sew around all sides, leaving a small opening on one side for turning. Turn pincushion right sides out. Fill your pincushion with filling of choice, hand stitch the opening closed.

Next week I'll be sharing another project made with the Cricut Maker, so be on the look out for that!

Happy Sewing!

American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast

Monday, February 26, 2018

Happy Monday! I'm excited to be a guest on Pat Sloan's podcast, American Patchwork & Quilting Radio, today! It will be live at 4:00pm EST (find your time zone here), and will be available to listen afterwards here. We'll be chatting about lots of crafty things, I hope you'll tune in.

If you're new to In Color Order, welcome! I hope you'll take a look around. Here are a few things we'll talk about in the episode and some reader favorites to get you started:

Modern House Quilt

How to Track Your Fabric and Yarn Yardage

Note: Fabric above is Daisy Chain by Annabel Wrigley.

DIY: Sewing Room Scrap Rug

Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial

Art of Choosing: Creative Fabric Selection

Safe Sewing: Crafting with Arthritis

Find my PDF and Paper patterns in my online shop, here.

Find my book, Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle, here.

Follow me on social media here: @jenib320 on Instagram and @jenib on Pinterest


DIY: Sewing Room Scrap Rug

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I was having a hard time picking a rug to use in my new sewing room, when I came across these  TÅNUM runners at Ikea. They're made using leftover fabric (scraps!), from their bed linen collections. I loved the idea that they were made from scraps, and figured they'd be good at hiding threads and trimmings. Plus they're sort of low-volume! The only problem is the two available sizes (2'4"x5'x11" and 2'0"x2'11") were much too small for my room.

Then I remembered this idea I saw on Apartment Therapy a few years ago, where someone had taken smaller rugs and stitched them together to create one big rug. I decided to try that! I took some photos of how exactly I made my rug to share too.

- Runners or other small rugs (TÅNUM)
- Cotton twine
- Metal darning needles
- Clips (I used Clover Wonder Clips)
- Scissors

1. Shop for your rugs. I used four runners to create a rug that is 5'11"x9'x4". It's pretty close to a 9'x6' standard size, which meant it was easy to find a rug pad that was a good fit.

Take a measuring tape with you when you shop and measure each one to ensure they are the same size. My first trip I bought four just based on the colors, and then realized they vary some in length. A few returns and another trip later and I ended up with four runners that were mostly the same size.

2. Place the two rugs you're joining right sides together. Clip the rugs together at each end. Find the center and place a clip. Continue to find the center between the clips until the whole length is clipped together. This allows you to slightly stretch the rugs and ease them together if one is a little longer than the other.

3. Cut a long length of cotton twine, knotting one end. Leave a tail around 5" long so that it can easily be woven in when you're finished.

4. Using a whipstitch, begin sewing the two rugs together along the edge. Don't pull the stitches too tight, you want the seam to be able to lay flat when you're finished. I found this method easier than trying to do it with both rugs flat.

5. When you run out of twine, make a knot and thread a new length. Continue stitching until you're done. Weave loose ends into the back of the rugs before trimming.

6. Pull the rugs flat and smooth with your hands. A good steam can also help relax the seams flat. I use this steamer, it's great for steaming wrinkles out of quilts too.

I'll admit, there a few spots where my seams are a bit lumpy, but I'm hopeful that they will relax with time. I'm really happy with the end result. I only spent $60 on the runners I used for this rug, which is pretty hard to beat considering the finished size of approx. 9'x6'!

Happy Crafting!

January Monthly Report

Monday, February 12, 2018

Happy February! It's time for January's monthly report. See past reports here.

This month has really gotten away from me! How is it already the 12th? The month is almost half over already. Things have been busy over here, but for fun reasons. At the end of January we had some great friends visit for a weekend and then my Mom came to visit last week! That's pushed me to work on a few more house projects, but has kept me from my machine.

It was great to explore our new city a bit more. We ended up at Sleep Giant state park, and also checked out the New Haven beach and lighthouse.

I've slowly set up more of my sewing room, and have finally been reunited with my Janome 1600P. It took an unfortunate fall when I was packing up in Madison and needed a part replaced, plus a good cleaning and tune-up. I love sewing on my singer featherweight, but I'm glad my regular machine is back!

I did do some sewing last month! I stitched up this little drawstring bag to wrap up a gift. Total comfort sewing for me. (Fabrics are from Tsuru by Rashida Coleman-Hale, and my Geometric Bliss collection)

I also made some progress on my log cabin project I shared a few weeks ago. I love these fabrics and am hoping to continue to make progress on this last month. (Fabrics are Wonderland by Momo)

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I'm tracking my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track my here. Here is how I did in January:

January Fabric
Used up: 1.25 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -1.25 yards
Year to date: -1.25 yards

January Yarn
Used up: 0 yards
Brought in: 218 yards
Net: +218 yards
Year to date: +218 yards

Only a little activity this month. I stitched up a drawstring bag and I also made a couple of draft stoppers for the exterior doors. Nothing fancy, but that's okay!

I have been checking out thrift stores when I come across them and have had a bit of luck! Here are the vintage sheets I've found so far. Was very excited about the red floral sheet (red is very hard to come by), and the second one from the bottom I found still in the package.

I had to share these super cute donut Tsum Tsums I picked up at Target. How cute?!

And last but not least, George bunny taking a bath!

Have a great month!

Curated Quilts Feature: Giant Jelly Roll Log Cabin Quilt

Monday, January 29, 2018

Today I wanted to share that one of my quilts was featured in a new publication, Curated Quilts. It's a quarterly journal put out by Amy Ellis and Christine Ricks. Each issue is packed with content centered around an overarching theme.

The second issue was just released and the theme is Log Cabin. There is loads of inspiration in the gallery of featured quilts, the mini quilt challenge, in depth articles. There's even an article about working with thrifted materials (right up my alley!).

You'll find my Giant Jelly Roll Log Cabin Quilt that I made last year in the gallery section of this issue. Read more about that quilt here.

I have long been drawn to the log cabins and this issue has inspired me to pull out a very old work in progress. I started it in August 2011 (yikes). The pieces were stuffed in a couple ziploc bags all those years, so I spent some time yesterday ironing all the strips so that I can start working on it again.

I thought I'd also take the time to share a few of my favorite log cabin projects that I've made. Not sure I'll ever tire of this block!

Harvest Log Cabin Quilt (+ Tutorial)

Rectangular Log Cabin Wall Quilt

Mendocino Dreams Log Cabin Quilt

Triangular Log Cabin Pincushion (+ Tutorial)

If you'd like to subscribe to Curated Quilts or buy single issues (digital or hard copy), visit there shop here.

Happy Quilting!


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