My Favorite Things

You may have noticed I have been doing a lot of machine embroidery lately, and I wanted to share a few of the tools that I use all the time – a few of my favorite things. My absolute favorite tool is the brother Multipurpose Screwdriver – it has three functions and I always use two of them during the machine embroidery process. I use placement 1 when changing the sewing machine foot and needle. And I use placement 3 to loosen and tighten the machine embroidery hoops. Placement 2 I have used when I needed to loosen the lower plate, where the bobbin sites, but I don’t do that very often. This tool is so handy, it should come with the machine, or at least the embroidery part of the machine! There is not a good way to get the embroidery hoops to tighten by hand, as well as you can with this tool that sits over the angled screen and perfectly sits in the groove to tighten as needed. And I love how it can easily switch to different placements. You won’t regret having this – a perfect gift for yourself or a friend! I have the Brother model (SAMDRIVER1) but there are generic versions as well.

Another tool I found to greatly help with my machine embroidery is the Hoop Grip Tape. I was having a problem with some of the thinner fabrics and/or stabilizers slipping and not staying taut when tightening, so I decided to try this gripper tape. I love it! While it’s not perfect and some fabrics are still slippery, it is a lot more stable. And the beautiful thing is it’s a once and done product – put the tape on the outer rim of the inside hoop and that’s it – it will stay on and do its magic until you remove the tape band. What you see below with the yellow – the yellow actually peels off, as well as an inside tape cover, and it’s a two-sided product. The sticky tape sticks to the inside hoop (outer edge where it aligns with the outside hoop), and the non-sticky side is covered in suction-like grippers that hold the fabric in place, but release when you are done and don’t leave any residue or bumps or any kind of damage. It’s a good temporary gripper for the fabric as you embroider, and it stays on the hoop forever!

And finally for this post, I love my Tula Pink Hardware collection. I have all the Tula Pink hardware pieces except for one pair of snips, but my favorite has to be the EZ Snip scissors – I had a different pair that I used for embroidery, to snip the embroidery thread while it was stitching but those kept getting bent and off track. This pair I have had for a while and so far so good. It’s a great tool how it is curved and can easily fit under the machine raised foot to snip the loose thread, and then keep the machine moving. Check out the rest of her collection too – you won’t regret it!

No Drama Llama Zip Hoodie

I found this llama design at Urban Threads and showed it to my llama-loving son and he HAD to have it. He requested it on a pillow, on his wall, and most importantly on the back of a zip hoodie jacket he can wear to school and everywhere else. So far I have only made it on the one zip hoodie, but it turned out so great!

He loves this design so much, he put in a request to Urban Threads for a companion piece, so we are hoping they will create and release that soon. We are also impatiently waiting on Red Panda designs – hint, hint guys! For now we’ll settle for his second favorite animal.

What do you think?!

Using Fusible Grid with Small Squares

Some of you may be wondering what this fusible grid is that I keep referring to (and have listed in the supply list and patterns), or asking if it’s necessary to use when you could just sew the small squares together. The answer is no, it is not necessary, but the results do turn out better in the end. The reason is because it provides a solid, stable base when sewing the small squares together in rows, and sewing the squares together separately (standard piecing) the bias from the fabric comes into play, even though they are cut as a square – they are very small!

Take a look at these 2 images: The top image is my Minecraft Chicken Mug Rug top, sewn together without using fusible grid (and slightly smaller squares). The second is the quilt block using fusible grid. The white background helps the outer squares blend together, but you can see in the beak and tongue areas they don’t always line up exactly in the mug rug; using the fusible grid below it turned out much better.

So here is my method of using fusible grid to make the Minecraft Quilt Blocks. What I found at my local quilt shop was QuiltFuse 2″ fusible grid HTC-3240-White, 48″ wide:

Step 1:

Cut out the squares for the block, and the piece of fusible grid you are going to use – just cut on the grid lines and make sure you are only cutting through one layer. (There wasn’t much left on the bolt so they sent it home with me, it was folded double on the bolt).

Step 2:

Assemble the block squares on the grid, edge to edge. It should be close to the grid lines on the fusible fabric, but it may not be exact. Take your time to cut your 2″ squares exactly and you should be okay.

Step 3:

Iron all the squares in place on the fusible grid – glue side up, grid side down – hot iron, no steam. The glue isn’t that strong and the pieces may fall off before you are done sewing every row. That happened to me at least once every block, just make sure to iron that piece back into place and be careful moving the block back and forth to your sewing machine, ironing board and cutting table.

Step 4: Fold one row or column over, i.e. column 8 folded over onto column 7 and iron flat, like this:

I have found that the grid is a little slippery when sewing, so it is helpful to have a quilting glove on the left hand while I sew the 1/4″ seam to help guide the fabric through uniform and straight.

Step 5: Sew 1/4″ seam to connect these 2 columns:

Step 6:

Cut off just the edge of the fold, just enough to allow you to iron the seam open:

Step 7:

Fold the next column over and iron flat, column 7 folded over column 6:

Step 8:

Sew another 1/4″ seam and cut off just the fold. Iron open.

Step 9:

Repeat this process for the remaining columns.

Step 10:

Rotate the block and fold the top row down over the second row:

Step 11:

Iron flat and sew 1/4″ to combine these two rows:

Step 12: Cut off just the fold and iron seam open:

Step 13:

Repeat this process until all rows are complete:

Step 14:

Your block is done!

As you can see with this finished Minecraft Cow quilt block, the squares line up nicely, even if sewing it together using the fusible grid wasn’t the fastest method, or even the easiest. But it’s done, it’s solid, and it looks great!

I would love to hear if the fusible grid worked as well for you as it did for me, and share your blocks with me – find me on Instagram @myrainydaydesigns and use the hashtag #MinecraftQAL.

Kona Color Card Quilt in Three Colorway Options

I finally finished it! I started to design and write a layout for a Kona Color Card quilt a few years ago, but I never quite finished it. Then Kona added more colors, so they are up to 340 right now, and I went back to the drawing board and started from scratch, and came up with three different versions.

Initially I wanted to create a life-size version color card so that I could better mat up colors for projects that I wanted to create, and needed a better idea of the color in person. That is still the primary purpose, but in drawing out the first one, different versions popped into my head and I had to see what they looked like, how they would turn out. There was one that looked really cool in my head but not cool in Photoshop, so that one was scrapped. So that leaves me with these three options, and the math worked perfectly cheat I was trying to accomplish with the third option, the Color Shift. I think the Color Shift will be a permanent fixture on my chair – my lime green chair.

Here are the three versions – tell me which one you like best! And the quilt pattern and fabric kits are available in my Etsy shop so you can make your own!

Version 1 is the Color Slide, 51″ x 60″ – a vertical layout:

Kona Color Card Quilt: The Color Slide
Kona Color Card Quilt v1: The Color Slide, 51″ x 60″

Version 2 is the Color Order, 60″ x 51″ – a horizontal layout:

Kona Color Card Quilt v2: the Color Order
Kona Color Card Quilt v2: The Color Order, 60″ x 51″

Version 3 is the Color Shift, 51″ x 51″ – a tilt on axis using all the Kona Colors and and grey, but not all 340 colors – but still my favorite!

Kona Color Card Quilt v3: the Color Shift
Kona Color Card Quilt v3: The Color Shift, 51″ x 51″

The pattern is available on Etsy – in the pattern you get all three versions plus a bonus PDF with my method for sewing the blocks together with the least amount of seams to stitch together, and how I keep all the squares organized as I go.

I have also listed a precut kit option on Etsy that will give you all 340 squares, one of each color, precut to size and labeled. All you need to do is decide which layout to create and start sewing!

Minecraft Quilt Block 17: Title Block

Welcome to the Minecraft Title Block! To create this block I STRONGLY suggest you use fusible grid, even if you haven’t used it on the other blocks! It will help in keeping the small squares more stable.

Minecraft Title Block

To create the Minecraft Title Block you will need the following Kona solids:
Black
White
Fusible Grid

I would love to see your Title Block! Please find me on Instagram @myrainydaydesigns and share it using the hashtag #MinecraftQAL.

Minecraft Quilt Block: Ocelot

I had a request from Kelly who is using 9 of the Minecraft designs to make a quilt for her daughter’s class fundraiser; the nine blocks include the request of an Ocelot or Cheetah (the cheetah is the school mascot). I have a feeling there is going to be one happy kid at that school after the fundraiser!

I did a search for Minecraft Ocelot and Cheetah and didn’t find much for Cheetah, but found several images for Ocelot. I came up with an initial concept that I shared with both Kelly, and my son Riley. Kelly liked what I came up with and wanted to add more spots for the cheetah for school. Riley told me to remove 2 of the spots and make it an Ocelot. So with this information, you can either run with it as is and have an option for an Ocelot, or add some more spots and have a Cheetah. Either way I think he’s pretty cute, and this little guy will be turning into a pillow for my son’s bed.

Minecraft Quilt Block Ocelot

To create the Ocelot block you will need the following Kona solids:
Banana
Yarrow
Raffia
Jungle
Coffee
Espresso
White

I would love to see the progress on your blocks – find me on Instagram @myrainydaydesigns and use the hashtag #MinecraftQAL.

Minecraft Quilt Block 16: Zombie

This is the last main block of the Minecraft Quilt! Are you ready to create the Zombie block? I think he’s kind of cute, don’t you?

Minecraft Quilt Block Zombie

To create the Zombie block you will need the following Kona solids:
Laurel
Jungle
Malibu
Black

Isn’t it exciting to have the last block? I would love to see your progress – find me on Instagram @myrainydaydesigns and use the hashtag #MinecraftQAL.

Minecraft Quilt Block 15: Wolf

There’s something about the Wolf – he looks dangerous yet adorable at the same time. Like other blocks, he is primarily one color with a few other colors thrown in to give him character.

Minecraft Quilt Block Wolf

To make the Wolf block you will need the following Kona solids:
Shadow
Earth
Raffia
Black
Coffee
White

Be sure to save all your squares from previous blocks and check for any leftover squares for the new blocks!

I would love to see the progress of your blocks – find me on Instagram @myrainydaydesigns and use the hashtag #MinecraftQAL.

Minecraft Quilt Block 14: TNT

Today you get to make the TNT block! While more challenging than the other 15 main blocks, this will be good practice for the main Title Block coming up. In the TNT block you will be using 2 different sizes of squares. I urge you to try the fusible grid on this block if you haven’t been using it yet. As you can see the Cardinal squares are the standard size, and half the white blocks are standard sizes, but the center section of Black and White squares are smaller – the same size they will be in the Title Block.

Take your time and cut accurately, go slowly, and it will work out beautifully!

Minecraft Quilt Block TNT

To make the TNT Block you will need the following Kona solids:
Cardinal
White
Black

I would love to see the progress you are making on your blocks – find me on Instagram @myrainydaydesigns and use the hashtag #MinecraftQAL.

Minecraft Quilt Block 13: Steve

You can’t have a Minecraft quilt without Steve, right? My son showed me several different versions of Steve: Diamond Steve, Golden Steve, etc. But we decided to go with a classic version of Steve. Riley picked out the color for the blue eyes himself.

Minecraft Quilt Block Steve

To make the Steve block you will need the following Kona solids:
Bona
Coffee
Raffia
Earth
Malibu
White

Next up is the TNT block which is a little more challenging but still oh so fun!

I would love to see the progress on your blocks – find me on Instagram @myrainydaydesigns and use the hashtag #MinecraftQAL.