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Make a Pressing Board

A new pressing board almost makes me want to press something. Almost.

This week I finally got fed up with using a rickety old ironing board and made a new pressing mat. It is an easy project with satisfying results. I have a BIG applique project in the pipeline and need a good-sized spot to work.

My husband picked up the 2′ x 4′ precut plywood at Home Depot and he thinks it cost about $23. The batting was about $10, the two yards of cover fabric cost about $9 at a local surplus store and the towels were free. So. . . this bad boy cost about $42 but is sooooo much nicer to use.

Watch the video and let me know what you think.

By the way. . . I had no idea how many times the dogs walked around- or how long Broddie was watching out that back window on Squirrel Patrol. Pretty funny!

Choosing an Accuquilt Qube

This post is not going to try to convince you to buy an Accuquilt. But, if you have one or have decided to purchase one, this is some info about how to choose a Qube set.

I have had an Accuquilt cutting system for about 18 months and I really enjoy it. I have problems with my thumb and elbow that make it painful for me to cut too much with a rotary cutter which is what drove me to buy the Accuquilt. I will be honest that sometimes it’s easier to just grab a rotary cutter and ruler to get things done, but if I have a big project or want to use more unusual angles, the Accuquilt is my best friend. I own the full set of 9″ Qube dies.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE (QUILT) MATH

I see posts in Facebook Groups all the time asking what size Qube set they should buy and instantly they have 488 responses that are totally different. We all buy our Qube sets for different reasons, but there are some things that you should take into account. I really think that the decision lies in the math.

The Accuquilt System is basically built on the concept of a 4 patch block. As shown on the right in the beautiful example of a sample quilt posted by Moore’s Quilts, each of these blocks is a four patch. With the 8 basic Qube blocks you can make something crazy like 276 different blocks and if you add the Angles and Corners sets the number grows.

So. . . if you buy an 8″ Qube, what you are really buying is a set that makes 4″ finished blocks. Does that make sense? If you are making a quilt that uses a 3×3 grid like any nine patch block, you are going to end up with a 12″ block because now you have three of your 4″ blocks across and down.

Qube SizeBasic BlockFour PatchNine PatchSixteen Patch
6″ Qube Set3″6″9″12″
8″ Qube Set4″8″12″16″
9″ Qube Set4.5″9″13.5″18″
10″ Qube Set5″10″15″20″
12″ Qube Set6″12″18″24″

This math is really important to wrap your head around. The block on the right is a Sawtooth Star with a pinwheel center. This block is what I call a “Sixteen Patch” because it is built on a 4×4 grid. If I make this block using my 9″ Qube set, I am going to end up with an 18″ block. If you use the 12″ set your final block is a huge 24″. That may or may not be what you wanted. If your goal is to have a 12″ finished Sawtooth Star you will have to use the 6″ Qube set because those blocks are designed to be 3″ which placed in a 4×4 grid will give you the 12″ block you want.

Do you use a lot of pre-cuts? If you have a lot of 5″ squares or 2 1/2″ strips, you may end up with a lot of sewn blocks that are 4.5″. The 9″ Qube is based on that math, so that may be the Qube for you. If you really like the look of a Churn Dash, Friendship Star or any other 9 patch blocks and want to finish at 12″, then it is the 8″ Qube that you will want.

I bought the 9″ and I really like it, but my next purchase will probably be the 6″ set so that I can make more intricate designs without the blocks getting huge.

Still undecided? Buy the 8″ Qube. The middle of the road choice will give you flexibility.

Mini Barn Quilts

Me and my mini barn quilts- or in our case. . . shed quilts.

I’m just going to say it- I am fascinated by barn quilts! The funny thing is that I have only seen a few in “real life” but I could look at barn quilts on Pinterest all.day.long. We drove by this funky modern one in Gorham, Maine last week and my wonderful hubs turned the car around and went back so I could get a photo- without me asking! I think I’ll keep him.

This barn quilt is on Route 25 just east of Gorham, Maine- right by the cemetery.

I have a barn, but making a huge barn quilt is a little overwhelming. For those of you who are new to the idea of a barn quilt, it is a painted quilt block. They are usually made of two pieces of plywood to make a huge 8’x8′ block and hung on a barn to be visible from the road. The phenomenon began around 2001 as a tribute to a lost quilter and has continued and flourished- especially in the Midwest. You can find barn quilts in all sizes and you can even find printed ones on corrugated plastic (like campaign signs) which are lightweight and durable. I have pondered printing a few and selling them in The Shoppe. Would you be interested? Let me know. . .

Anyway. . . we are in Maine and we have an old shed that used to be a garage that has definitely seen better days. It was full of junk. Actual junk- not upscale junque. We hired a junk removal company to come empty it out and they filled a 30 foot trailer with 6 foot sided on it. I think that may be some of the best money we have ever spent. There has been a critter living among the junk who has been evicted, but I am sure that once we are gone and things quiet down (as in, there aren’t two big dogs roaming around) it will be back. I think it was a fox because we have see one several times.

On Monday I decided to paint the shed doors. I had wire brushed them last week and realized that they had been green, even though they were painted white for at least the last 40-50 years. A gallon of Valspar paint in Vegas Green made things look a lot fresher, but I had a vision.

Our local Home Depot sells 2′ square pieces of 1/4″ plywood, so I bought a couple. I base painted them with the leftovers of a can of Kilz we had and then I put on a coat of white acrylic paint. Of course I was too busy creating to take any photos and I like to work at night so the Hubs was sound asleep.

I used my quilting ruler to mark the grid with pencil and free-handed the painting. I know that a lot of people use painter’s tape, but I have a pretty steady hand, so I just went for it. I used three colors of acrylic paint giving a little ocean vibe that is totally appropriate in this area. I didn’t realize until I looked at the photos that the middle color has an interesting sense of transparency with the other colors. Happy accident!

The backyard was kind of a mess not too long ago, but this summer we added a large deck and now we have a stylin’ freshened up shed. We lost a huge tree (yes. . .damaged the house but fixed now) last fall and we are having a few trees taken down in a few weeks that look like they have rot issues and could damage the house if they fell. That will result in some sunlight reaching the ground, so maybe we will be able to get some grass growing again. When my Uncle was alive and in his prime this yard looked like a golf course, so we have our work cut out for us.

If you have a spot on a porch, a shed, a garage, or best yet, a BARN, make yourself a barn quilt to add a little color. I had fun and saved myself a pile of money over buying one. I think the barn in Utah will be getting one soon.

Make a Hairy Leg Spider Block!

Welcome! So glad to have you stop by for this month’s Quilt Block Mania. I decided to use a totally different technique this month and this cute hairy leg spider is easy to make with raw edge applique. You don’t need anything fancy to make this guy and I think he looks pretty cute as a pillow.

The color scheme we were asked to use this month featured this soft melon-orange and a range of grays. I love the soft green, but just didn’t have a use for it. I chose to use a loosely woven fabric for the spider to promote fraying.

This pattern is available for FREE in my shop until November 1. After that it will be $2.99. Thanks for stopping by! The links below will take you to all the other great Halloween blocks. Please tag your projects with #QuiltBlockMania and #OhKayeQuilting so we can all enjoy your work.

“Which Hat?” at Pretty Piney
Black Cat at Inquiring Quilter
Ring of Pumpkins at Always Expect Moore
Haunted House at Powered by Quilting
Three Treats at Sew Brainy
Bat at Slice of Pi Quilts
Day of the Dead Skull at Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
Gypsy Wagon Fortune Teller at Orange Blossom Quilt
Monster at Seams to be Sew
Patchwork Pumpkin at Quilted Diary
Stacked Pumpkins at Perkins Dry Goods
Spooky Star at Block of the Month.com
Leaf Ghost at Off the Wall Quilt
Leaf and Vine at Quilt Moments
Frankenstein at Around the Bobbin
Bat by Heidi Pridemore
Candy Corn by Quilt Fabrication
Dark night by Cotton Street Commons
Pumpkin by Sew on the Go
Pumpkin and Bat by ScrapDash
Pumpkin Chain by Stash Bandit
Happy Jack-o-lantern by Patti’s Patchwork
Foundation Pieced Eyes by Amarar Creacions
Spooky Trees by Aunt Em’s Quilts
Upside Down Witch by Appliques Quilts and More
Scaredy Kitty by Tacy Gray
Sun-Boo-Net Sue by Blue Bear Quilts
Spider by Oh Kay Quilting
Candy, Pumpkins, and Witch Hat by Utah Quilt Appraiser