Precision Piecing 45-degree angles

For almost two years, I’ve been making blocks for do.good.stitches group. Ours is the Emerge group. This month’s block is called “Magic Eight Ball”. The tutorial is from Blossom Hearts Quilts. Amanda Todd is this month’s leader and she chose this block for us to make.


The block has multiple 45-degree pieces. To align the straight blocks with the “eight ball” block, you need to mark first. That means marking 1/4 inch from the edge of the “eight ball” and 1/4 inch from the white/teal block.


After marking, place a pin where the mark meets the seam. Then, pin across where you’re going to stitch.


Make sure you stitch over the line you just made.

I think this is going to be a cool quilt. Amanda will turn our blocks into a quilt for Youth Emergency Services organization.


Keep doing good,

Sew Together Bag in Alison Glass

Many folks have made the Sew Together Bag. I’ve made one and yesterday I made another using Alison Glass fabric, handcrafted indigo. I was inspired by Quilting JetGirl’s Alison Glass Challenge to use Alison’s fabric in a project.

Even though I had made this bag before, it took me a little while to understand how to make the side pieces.

The “pattern piece” at the end of the pattern is easier to understand as a template and should be cut like this:

You’ll cut 4 in total with 2 interfacing pieces.

Then you add the inside with zippers and pockets. That part is fairly easy to understand from the pattern. The final stitching to make the pockets is more difficult.

Once you draw the line for the stitching, the inside looks like this:



Once you get those first template pieces sewn together, you attach them to each side of the inside. Then you stitch the side panels to inside.



When attaching the template pieces to each pocket, make sure all the layers get stitched down flat with the zip zag stitch. It makes adding the binding so much easier.

Another place where you might have trouble is attaching the 18″ zipper to the top, which holds the whole thing together. Here’s how it works:

Zipper up– the first layer.

Binding on top.

Fold over the binding and stitch down.


The other side is done the same way with the Zipper Up.


The rest is easy. Just go slowly when stitching down the zippers to the bottom side of the bag.


Exploring Volume

Quilting makes the quilt, they say. When I began exploring the Volume chapter of Carolyn Friedlander’s Savor Each Stitch, I thought I had been thinking about volume all along. I had made five quilts, one for each of the chapters: Line, Contrast, Scale, Color and Emphasis (this one isn’t quilted yet).  I haven’t blogged about all of these — soon, I promise.

BUT, I learned I could use VOLUME to create a unique design.

Solitude! full view2


Susan, a member of our Savor Each Stitch Bee, posted photos of ideas for playing with Volume. I began to think about trapunto. When I think of trapunto, I think of traditional quilts with feathers. Tim Latimer has a good tutorial on how to trapunto the traditional way. He has an amazing Snowflake using trapunto.

I wanted easy and modern trapunto. I searched YouTube and saw this video by Lynn Witzenburg.




How do you easy trapunto?

First, you need water soluble thread.

vanish thread extra

Superior’s Vanish Extra Water Soluble Thread

Second, you use the water soluble thread on top and a matching cotton thread in the bobbin.

Third, layer two pieces of batting under one piece of fabric and stitch where you want the trapunto using your sewing machine.

Fourth, cut away the batting along the edge of the stitching with applique scissors.

Fifth, add batting and backing as you normally would.

Sixth, quilt along the water soluble stitching.

Seventh, bind it and wash it.

trapunto back of quilt top

The white sections are where the layers of batting have been cut away, leaving the two layers of batting; they stay put with the water soluble thread and cotton bobbin thread. 

I applied these skills to my Solitude quilt top. The bottom section of the quilt is trapunto. I made each batting section progressively larger to give it an horizon. I filled in with matchstick stitching.

As Lynn explains in the video, it is easy to snip the top when cutting away the batting. I used applique scissors but they were too sharp on the end, and I cut my quilt top multiple times. If I do this again, I will try a different pair of applique scissors.

Solitude! detail view

I did not trapunto the whole quilt. I experimented with matchstick quilting to get a similar effect. That is the quilting on the top left. I used my walking foot and stitched lines every half inch then filled in with the matchsticks, every other one.

After it was quilted, I realized my “black pencil” looked like an exclamation point, so I added the a trapunto “point” to it. It’s appliqued by hand to the finished quilt. I hand quilted the trapunto sections. It gives it more Volume, and I hope something different to the quilt.

This chapter made me whine the most. I thought I understood Volume and I didn’t need to make an entire quilt using this technique. I was wrong. In Solitude!, I found a design tool I will apply to future projects.

The next and last chapter is Texture. Carolyn’s project is called, “Crazy.” I do like the idea of being inspired by Crazy quilts and their decorative embroidery stitches.

Stay tuned,