How to Cut a Fat Quarter!

How to Cut a Fat Quarter!

Quilter’s Confession: We love Fat Quarters! We love to collect them, pet them, admire them… but why is it so hard to cut into them?

Known by many as the “original precut,” the fat quarter is a staple in any fabric stash! It is so versatile and the perfect size for so many quick little projects!

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So, what is a fat quarter, you might wonder? Well, it’s a quarter yard of fabric total, but not the way you would get a quarter yard of fabric cut off a bolt at your local quilt shop. It’s actually a half yard of fabric cut in half (on the fold). So, 18×22″. Some people prefer a fat quarter to a normal quarter yard cut because it allows you to see bigger prints better and is an easier size to work with. Or, if you’re like me, you can just collect them if you LOVE the fabric and can’t think of leaving the quilt shop without it, but don’t have a specific project in mind for it yet.

Wonderland by Riley Blake Fat Quarter Bundle

Which brings us to today’s topic. How do we bring ourselves to cut up that beautiful, perfectly-sized piece of fabric? There are some great options! Here is a great infographic that you can download to help you plan your next fat quarter project!

How To Cut a Fat Quarter

 

Click Here to Download the PDF: How to Cut a Fat Quarter

These diagrams were featured in the Spring 2016 issue of Block Magazine in Jenny’s Classroom. You can find it HERE.

Shop all Fat Quarters HERE!

We can’t wait to see what you’ve created with your freshly cut fat quarters! Share your projects on social media using #msqcshowandtell!

Happy quilting!

World Health Day: Make a Quilt to Celebrate Your Healthy Lifestyle!

World Health Day: Make a Quilt to Celebrate Your Healthy Lifestyle!

Don’t eat sugar. Don’t eat carbs. Eat your veggies. Watch your portion size. Take your vitamins. There is a long list of things we’re supposed to be doing if we want to be healthy. But the truth is, sometimes it’s hard and sometimes I just want some chocolate!

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Did you know that today is World Health Day? It’s a great reminder for us to show our gratitude to healthcare professionals, medical researchers, dietitians, and all the people who have caused improvements in the health and well-being of our society as a whole. When we think of good health, we usually think of our diet, but there is more to good health than just what you put into your body. Good health is a lifestyle. To me, good health means filling your days with the things that make your life better and make you feel better (which may even occasionally include chocolate, right??). It means taking time to slow down and relieve stress, spending time outdoors, increasing your energy and strength through exercise and activities, and even exercising your brain!

I don’t know about you, but when I’m passionate about something (or maybe I just need a good physical reminder), what do I want to do? Make a quilt about it! So, I’ve decided to hand select some of our wonderful fabrics that might help you to celebrate the activities and habits in your life that contribute to your good health and happiness.

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Good Foods and Cooking

Ann Wigmore (1909-1993), a Lithuanian–American “holistic health” practitioner and raw food advocate, is known for her quote, “The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” Some say that may be an over-simplified perspective, but we know that the foods we eat can affect our energy levels, moods, emotions, level of focus, and so much more. Generally, the better we eat, the better we feel (though a little bit of chocolate can work wonders for our moods. Moderation is key, right?). Some people even find that the process of preparing those good foods to be therapeutic and relaxing. Here are some wonderful fabrics that represent good foods and cooking good foods (and make sure to make yourself a fun apron, so you can do it in style)!

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Gardening, Farming & Homesteading

Did you know that there are microbes and good bacteria in dirt that actually boost your immune system and improve your mood? While gardening, working, and playing in dirt, it is actually making our bodies stronger and less likely to develop asthma and allergies. Do it in the sun (with the appropriate protections), and your body will also get the Vitamin D that it needs (Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium better, making our bones stronger — a deficiency can lead to more serious conditions).

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Become One with Nature

Fresh air! Hiking, camping, glamping (for those of us who would rather “rough it” with air conditioning), whatever it may be, we’ve got a fabric for it!

Majestic Outdoors - Majestic Eagle Multi Digitally Printed Panel

Slow Down and Enjoy the View

Nowadays, our society as a whole is expected to multitask, over schedule our lives, sacrifice sleep and then drink coffee necessary to stay awake. Even writing that sentence was exhausting and doesn’t sound fun OR healthy! If one of your healthy habits is slowing down to relieve stress, then you might enjoy these fabrics:

tidepool

Sports

Sports may not be for everyone, but they are a great way to introduce children to the benefits of living an active life! We have so many great sports fabrics to choose from including licensed prints like NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NCAA College Sports, and so much more.

Sports Kids Fabrics at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Patterns

When you’re working with themed fabrics, you might want to choose a quilt pattern that will really showcase the prints in the fabrics. Here are some great quilt patterns to choose from:

Share

Just like a quilt that is personal, individual, and unique, so is a person’s “healthy lifestyle.” Whatever it is that you like to do to stay healthy, we can’t wait to see the quilts you make to celebrate those things! I will tell you one thing… I believe that quilting keeps us young! So, add quilting and sewing to your list of healthy habits! 🙂 We would love for you to share your World Health Day-inspired creations on our social media channels using #msqcshowandtell! Happy quilting and Happy World Health Day!

Even if you’re not ready to make a quilt today, we’d love for you to share your favorite healthy habits and hobbies with us! Leave a comment and tell us what you love about it!

Alter Ego Tutorial Reboot Featuring Simple Simon and Co.

Alter Ego Tutorial Reboot Featuring Simple Simon and Co.

Hello we are Elizabeth Evans and Elizabeth Evans… two girls who married brothers and ended up with the exact same name! We also are the same age, have the same number of children and, are both former school teachers. Together we blog over at Simple Simon and Company where we love to write about sewing, quilting, and the art of homemaking.

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Today it’s me (liZ…short name, short hair) that gets the chance to share some thoughts about quilting with you. And the quilt I’m talking about is one that is a current work in progress that I started after being inspired by Jenny’s Alter Ego Quilt Tutorial.

There are two things that I really love about this quilt top tutorial:

#1. How the finished product looks complicated and time consuming when in actuality it is simple enough to be completed by even a novice quilter! (Over at Simple Simon and Company we love simple, beautiful projects….so this tutorial was right up my alley!)
And…

#2. How versatile this tutorial really is. Just by changing up fabric styles and combinations you could make this top countless times and have an entirely different looking quilt each and every time. (And because most of us who quilt are making quilts for others rather than ourselves I can see this fast becoming a go-to quilt top to make for gifts.)

Alter Ego Full Quilt

So let’s get down to brass tacks…the making of this quilt top.

For this quilt I used 16 fat quarters from RJR’s “Everything But The Kitchen Sink” fat quarter bundle along with 2 yards of plain white fabric and a ½ yard of Riley Blake Design’s basic black and white Swiss Dot.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink by RJR

(I love this fabric. It has such a happy, vintage vibe and working with it is a pure delight. Yes, a pure delight…some fabric just is that fabulous.)
But before I made my first cut into this fantastic fabric I came up with a plan. Even when I am following a pattern or a tutorial I jot down notes or sketch out my plan in a notebook.

Alter Ego Plan

It’s not fancy but it helps me collect my thoughts and gives me a direction for what fabrics I would like to place where. And for this quilt I wanted to try something a little different.

The Alter Ego quilt top is made using alternating 4 Patch and Hourglass quilt blocks. Each of these blocks have 4 different areas or zones. And my idea was to start in the center of the quilt with solid patterns…no white…and slowly add white into the mix until the rows on each end were solid white.

So you can see in my plan where the middle two rows were constructed of solid patterns.

Then the next row on either side of the middle would have ¼ of each block be constructed out of white.

The rows after that would be constructed from blocks where ½ of the area would be made from white.

And finally the two rows on each end would be solid white.

That was my plan but when I got to here I stopped:

Alter Ego Full Quilt Chopped

I’m not sure I feel like only ½ of the blocks done in white gives the quilt enough white space to transition into an all white row.
Which is where you come in…what do you think?
Here is the original plan:

Alter Ego 4 square with 1 fourth

Solid, ¼ white, ½ white, all white.

But here is what I am thinking I should do instead:

Alter Ego 4 square collage with 2 fourths

Solid, ¼ white, ½ white, ¾ white, all white.

So that would mean adding two more rows (one on each end of the quilt before the all white row.)

I think this would make the flow better…and I have exactly enough little squares already cut to make it happen.

But here is what it would do to my quilt size:

If I stick with my original plan the quilt will finish at roughly 72” x 72” (which I like…because I LOVE square quilts). However, if I add the two extra rows it will become about 72” wide and 90” long…kind of a strange size.

Which leads me to my question (and the reason my quilt top construction has come to a halt): Do I go with the better design and weird size or better size and a design that is not as strong?

I am leaning toward the stronger design….what do you think?

Here’s where I am at…and can go either way:

Alter Ego Full Quilt

While you are thinking you can check out Jenny’s terrific tutorial for The Alter Ego quilt and then you can pop on over to Simple Simon and Company and read about a quilt making tip that saved my marriage when making this quilt top!

-liZ

(And when I decide which way to go I will be sure and share photos the finished quilt with you!)

Alter Ego Quilt Step by Step Tutorial

Visit Simple Simon and Company: http://www.simplesimonandco.com/

Read more about this quilt from Simple Simon and Company: http://www.simplesimonandco.com/2017/04/alter-ego-quilt-tutorial-reboot-and-quilting-advice-that-could-save-your-marriage.html/

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot with Guest Quilter Becky Vandenberg

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot with Guest Quilter Becky Vandenberg

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot with Becky Vandenberg

Hi there. I am Becky Vandenberg from Be So Crafty, a blog devoted to all things sewing. Be So Crafty began last year when I wanted to use my fabric stash for a good cause, so I decided to sew 100 skirts in 100 days and donate them to a local charity that helps refugees in Utah.  Sewing skirts everyday for 100 days was a fabulous experience that I plan to write about soon.  Although I have been sewing for years, I only began making quilts abouts 3 years ago and LOVE it. So I was absolutely thrilled to be apart of this Tutorial Reboot series for Missouri Star.  The quilt tutorial I have decided to reboot is Jenny’s Jelly Roll Race because it’s quick and simple and perfectly color coordinated, thanks to the use of precut jelly rolls.

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot!

I chose a KONA jelly roll with solid colors called Overcast by Robert Kauffman.  It’s a beautiful palette of blues and greys, perfect for the baby boy quilt I had in mind.   I chose a tone-on-tone red dot for the binding and some adorable Cuddle Cloth from Shannon Fabrics for the backing. This airplane design is called “Take Off” licensed from Robert Kaufman.

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot!

First I unrolled that perfectly beautiful Jelly Roll and snipped off the selvage.

I followed Jenny’s advice in the video tutorial and kept the fabric strips in order; that means some of the same colors were touching and that is okay.

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot!

IMPORTANT NOTE: With solid fabric strips you have to be super mindful of the front of the strip and the back of the strip when you make the jelly roll quilt.  “Right sides together” takes on a whole new meaning when there is no printed side. One important thing to remember: after you sew the diagonal line, turn the top strip over and then add the next strip.

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot!

With the beginning and end of the 1600” strip, place them right sides together and sew one LONG ¼” stitch making your 1600 inch strip into an 800 inch double side strip; basically fold the long strip in half (end to end) and sew down one side. Cut the fold to create a new “end” of the 800 inch strips and once again, fold the strips in half (end to end) and sew down one side. Cut along the fold and fold the quilt top end to end and sew down one side. Repeat this step a couple more times until you have the finished quilt top.

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot!

Follow the Jelly Roll Race video tutorial exactly and you cannot go wrong.  That’s all I did.

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot!

In order to incorporate the fun airplane backing into the front of the quilt, I grabbed some big scraps from my stash and cut out an airplane applique.

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot!

Then I sent the backing and the Jelly Roll Race quilt top to the quilter because I wanted it done all fancy.  However, this quilt can easily be quilted with some straight lines or all over stippling with your sewing machine.

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot!

To create the binding, I cut eight 2 ½ inch strips from the binding fabric and sewed them together exactly like I sewed the Jelly Roll Race fabric.  This made a 240” strip (always make more than you think) which I folded in half and pressed with a hot iron.  (Binding tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vCWpxBRs20)

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot!

Now I get to hand sew the binding.  I grabbed some clips, red thread, a sharp needle, and a Diet Coke, and found myself a nice spot on the couch to watch a documentary while binding the quilt.

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot!

I am so happy with how this amazing baby quilt turned out! I love the solid color strips and how they turned out beautifully to look like the sky.

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot!

I will definitely be making more Jelly Roll Race quilts; this was such a fun project.  Thanks for having me, Missouri Star!

Jelly Roll Race Tutorial Reboot!

Come see me at BeSoCrafty.com and follow me on instagram and facebook for more sewing tutorials.

Summer in the Park Tutorial Reboot Featuring Lee Ann Perry!

Summer in the Park Tutorial Reboot Featuring Lee Ann Perry!

Lee Ann Perry Tutorial Reboot
Hi! My name is Lee Ann. I’m a wife and mother of four. When I was expecting my third child, I saw some rag quilts on Etsy and thought they were adorable—but expensive. I mean, $65 for a little baby blanket?  
So I bought my first sewing machine and a set of fat quarters by Kaffe Fassett. I learned how to make my first rag quilt by watching a tutorial by Vanessa Vargas Wilson on YouTube. I was pretty happy with the result but my husband teased me a bit. ”Why spend $65 on a blanket when you can make it yourself for $300?”
But, I fell in love with sewing!  Putting colors together.  Feeling the fabric run through my fingers. And the finished project was an item that was both USEFUL and beautiful. I made several rag quilts before getting bored and wanting to learn more. That’s when I found the free video tutorials online by MSQC.
One of the first “real” quilts I made was from a pattern called Summer in the Park using a jelly roll, a line by Tula Pink, the Birds and the Bees.
Watching the videos made it easy for me to follow along—or watch a half dozen times if necessary, and sometimes it was! The finished quilt was so worth it.
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But, like many quilters, I don’t ever make the same thing twice! You’ve got to change it up a bit.
Recently I came back to this pattern and changed only two things.
In the tutorial, Natalie uses a brightly colored jelly roll and combines it with a jelly roll of white strips. When sewing them together, she sews two strip sets, 1) white, print, white, and 2) print, white, print.
So to change it up, I chose a jelly roll of Carolyn Friedlander’s Carkai. Instead of white, I used a darker CHAMBRAY fabric.  I also changed how I sewed my strips together. ALL of my 3 strip sets were sewed as: print, chambray, print.
 
The 3-strip-sets are then sewed to each other, right sides facing, into a “tube.”
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Now comes the really fun part—cutting the tubes into squares. You lay your tube down and cut triangles—when you open it up, they will be perfect squares!
The best ruler for this is the Triangle Square Up Ruler, 9 1/2” by Quilt in a Day. I don’t happen to have that ruler (mine only goes up to 6 1/2”), so I had to make do with my big square up ruler for squares. I put the point of my ruler right up to the seam but did not cross it. Then, I made sure both of the 8” marks touched the bottom seam before making a cut.
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Continue cutting the tube, swiveling the ruler around the opposite way to maximize the number of cuts you can make.  I was able to get five finished 8” squares from each “tube.”
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When sewing the squares together, I made sure to nest the seams to make perfect points.
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I sent this quilt off to MSQC for machine quilting.  My local lady is great but she will not back anything with fleece.  MSQC does — Cuddle/minky too!  This is my first quilt backed with fleece and it’s pretty much the best thing EVER.
After it came back, I had to choose binding fabric.  I always “audition” a few colors first.
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After letting this quilt and the different options sit on my table for a few days, I ended up going with the same chambray I used in the quilt blocks.
My favorite binding tutorial is The Ultimate Quilt Binding Tutorial by MSQC.  No binding tool required!  I used to have one but I don’t use it anymore.  This method is the easiest!  But, I must confess, I had to watch this video EVERY SINGLE TIME a quilt needed finishing for at least the first ten quilts I made.
Here’s the finished result of my “reboot”.
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And now that I’ve spent a few years piecing quilts…I’ve decided a $65 rag quilt is more than fair!  A bargain, really! But, I wouldn’t trade learning a new hobby for ANYTHING.  Quilting has become my quiet place and saving grace in my busy life.
lee ann perry pinnable
Thank you, MSQC for asking me to write this blog post and for teaching me how to quilt in the first place!
You can follow my quilty adventures on Instagram at leeannjperry.