Fa La La Quilt Along “ABC” Diagram

I’m doing a video series for beginner quilters using the Fa La La Quilt Pattern by Villa Rosa Designs.

In the link below, I created my ABC diagram in Word for how I labeled my fabrics according to the pattern in the video series. If you need the actual measurements, the links to purchase the pattern are at the top of the document. The way this document is laid out, corresponds to the cut pieces on the pattern. It will make it easier for you to understand which pieces I’m cutting and using.

Click HERE to download the document.


Winner! Quilt in a Day Flying Geese Ruler

When I did the Creative Notions bag reveal for September 2020, it came with a Quilt in a Day Flying Geese ruler by Eleanor Burns. Fabulous inclusion in the bag BTW.

Since I already had one of these, I offered it up on my channel as a giveaway. The giveaway closed at midnight on Oct 4, 2020.

To win the ruler, I asked commenters to leave a comment that says “I want the ruler”. There were 434 comments to the video in total.

After filtering out duplicates and telling the picker to look for the phrase “want the ruler”, there were 345 unique commenters.

I told the picked to choose a winner from those 345 comments by clicking the Choose a Winner button and the winner is Lani Rousseau! CONGRATULATIONS LANI!!

Lani, please email your address to me at powertoolswiththread@outlook.com no later than 5pm CST Oct 14, 2020 to claim your prize and I’ll get it right to you. Thank you for watching the channel and congratulations again!

Quilt Technique – Prevent “Tipping” Points on a Blind Seam

I’m doing a quilt along with #PatSloan using Lori Holt’s Vintage Christmas book. This quilt is called “Bringing Home the Christmas Tree”. It’s made up of two blocks: a set of three trees and a station wagon with a tree on top.

I cut all the fabric for both blocks first, and then started sewing the trees block. It was very easy with the blocks under the pointed tree top having blunt tops so there was no need to match the seam point on a standard flying geese unit.

However, once the tree units were sewn, sewing the strips together is a bit more tricky. As we all know, the 1/4″ seam allowance can go flying right out the window (pardon the pun!) on the side points of multiple flying geese units. Starting with a proper cut is essential, but even then, pressing and machine goblins can do their best to cause a 1/4″ seam allowance to be a thread or two off on the sides.

I’ve used this method successfully for years. The trick is to make sure your target is visible. That means that when pressing the back of the strip, make sure you can actually see the intersection (or join) of the backs of the geese units. If it has been pressed with the bottom of the geese folded up over the join, you can’t see what you’re doing. I know…I know…”But what about press to the dark side?” In this case, not cutting off or tipping the tree points is more important than pressing to the dark side. This is a judgement call all quilters face.

The trick here is to sew your seam just outside the join at the bottom of the “V” seam. First, I decide which piece is going to be the one on top – that I can see from my angle. Usually that is the one with the MOST tree points. Then I pin on each end first to make the strip lengths match, then the center to even out the two strips, and then at the 1/4 and 3/4 marks. This ensures the strips are evenly balanced to start with to prevent puckers due to a mismatched length.

Then I flip the strip set over so I can see the points on the bottom that I need to hit just outside of the V in the seam allowance. I take a pin and place it EXACTLY where I want to stitch. The image below shows the backside of the unit and I’ve pinned where I want my seam stitch to be.

Once all of those points are pinned, I flip the unit back to the “front” and begin sewing. I make sure to keep as close to a 1/4″ seam allowance as possible and sew outside of the V on the front tips and then sew EXACTLY where the pin entered from the back side. I marked the one below with a purple dot so you can see what I’m aiming for. I stop one stitch before I get there and remove the pin.

It’s also very important to make sure you keep to that 1/4″ seam allowance at the end of your strip set for joining to the rest of the quilt blocks. I leave the pin in until the very last and use a stiletto to hold it straight in case of any wiggles. The use of washi 1/4″ diagonal seam tape on the bed of my machine has helped tremendously in my piecing accuracy. If you have a face plate for your machine with a single needle hole, be sure to use it.

The end result may not have the exact straightest 1/4″ seam, however a good pressing with steam will alleviate any appearance of puckers or wobbles. Again, not tipping the tree points is more important than a perfect 1/4″ seam in this case. Also, any appearance of wobbles will go away in the all-over quilting but a chopped off tree point won’t. It’s the lesser of two evils. 🙂

Here are my finished tree blocks! Now on to the cars!

Do you have any techniques for this quilting issue? I’d love to hear about them. Happy quilting!

Winner of Ocean Friends Quilt Pattern!

I recently had a wonderful opportunity to meet Pam McHenry, the life-spirit behind Pamalama Jo Designs. I became aware of her work when I found her quilts hanging in my local quilt shop and purchased two of her patterns: Ocean Friends and Forest Friends. Just adorable stuff. 🙂

Here is a video of our interview and she graciously offered a free copy of her Ocean Friends patterns to my viewers!

To give away the pattern, I used the YouTube Comment Picker and looked for the phrase “I want ocean friends” just as instructed in the video to be eligible to win it.

There were 522 eligible comments.

And the winner is Sharon Quaife! CONGRATULATIONS!

Sharon, you have 1 week to claim your prize. Deadline is 8/27/20 at 5pm CST. Please email me your address at powertoolswiththread@outlook.com If I don’t hear from you, I’ll choose another winner.

Congratulations again. Please share your finished quilt in our Power Tools With Thread FB group!

What’s the Difference Between Embrilliance and Simply Applique?

I get asked this question all the time so I thought I’d write a blog post that I can point folks to for some answers. Just trying to be efficient here. 🙂

Embrilliance is a suite of 3rd party software for your machine embroidery projects made by a company called Briton Leap. 3rd party means it’s not proprietary to any particular brand or make of machine. Depending on what you want to do with it, you only buy what you need. All of the software packages in Embrilliance work independently of one another and they all work together and build on each other. They all have their own special purpose in life. Over the years, I’ve found that Briton Leap works very hard to keep their software up-to-date and so far I’ve gone from Windows 7, to 8, to 10 with the company keeping the software current and zero problems.

Embrilliance software creates files for every embroidery machine: Brother, Baby Lock, Singer, Pfaff, Husqvarna, Viking, Janome, … you get the idea. It allows you to save embroidery files in every machine format type. It does not interfere in any way with the internal software that might be in your embroidery machine. It installs on your computer (vs. on your embroidery machine) and it works with both Windows and Mac computers. It does not have a dongle and you can install a single license on multiple machines. No kidding. The company lets you do that. Oh, and most of the software modules are less than $200. Yes, you read that right. I didn’t leave out a zero.

What do I do with Embrilliance? In Essentials, which is what you need if you’re a beginner, you can modify existing designs by resizing them, you can remove parts you don’t want, and you can add in customization like a monogram or text lettering to personalize something like the birth announcement below. Speaking of lettering, Embrilliance uses BX fonts which I LOVE. They allow you to type up your text so the letters align like on a word processor, vs. an alphabet where you have to position each letter individually. Also, in the Embrilliance Utilities menu, there is a new feature to wirelessly send designs to the Babylock Solaris and Brother XP1 Luminaire. That is SO slick! Be gone you pesky USB sticks! Enthusiast has a precise positioning system I find incredibly helpful and I used the exact percentage resizing feature to make sure I got the birthday and weight/length all the exact same size in the birth announcement. No guesswork. I think at the moment, I have 5-6 modules of Embrilliance. I customized this adorable Birth Announcement from Designs by JuJu for my new great niece using Embrilliance Essentials and Enthusiast. It could not be simpler – click the A in the top menu to open text editing, type it in, and move it where I want it. Boom. Done.

One of the Embrilliance modules I have is the Thumbnailer. Even if I didn’t have any other pieces of Embrilliance software, Thumbnailer is an absolute MUST and it works independently of the rest of the software. You do not need any other modules of Embrilliance for Thumbnailer to work. It is a utility program that works outside of the embroidery software, and it allows you to actually see the embroidery designs in your computer files like you see previews of images in your pictures folder. It also shows longarm design files as well which I find incredibly helpful. Below, you can see the elephant Birth Announcement from Designs by JuJu as I see them on my screen. It’s so easy to tell the metric from universal measurements, AM vs. PM, etc.

Without Thumbnailer, the same designs look like this image below on my computer. Big difference. And this little piece of software gem is less than $50. WORTH. EVERY. PENNY.

Here’s a quick video where I explain Embrilliance and how Thumbnailer works.

So now let’s talk about Simply Applique (SA). SA is a module of Brother’s BES4 embroidery software. It does many things, but what I use it for is to create applique embroidery files from paper applique quilt patterns. Simply Applique uses .fcm files that can be created either by the Brother Scan n Cut or the Brother Canvas Workspace in the Brother cloud and turns that file into an embroidery applique file. Once the .fcm file is imported into SA, with one click of a button, the program creates a placement line, a tackdown stitch, and a final stitch that can either be a satin, blanket, run, or motif stitch. You can do minimal design editing in SA, but not like you can in Embrilliance. SA “automates” applique quilts. While it’s made by Brother, it saves to all machine brand formats so you do not have to have a Brother or Baby Lock machine to use Simply Applique. You do not need a dongle however you can only have one license at a time on one machine. It does NOT work on a Mac, however I have heard that it works in the Windows module if you have that installed on a Mac. No promises.

Do you need both? I do. I love applique quilts and I detest the stopping, starting, and repositioning of sewing applique down by machine. The two programs are very complimentary to each other but they do separate things. Embrilliance can do what Simply Applique does, however that feature isn’t found until Stitch Artist 3 (and you have to buy Stitch Artist 1 & 2 first to get to 3) and by that time, you’re way past the less-than $200 price tag of Simply Applique. I’m by no means a digitizer so I just don’t need those modules of Embrilliance. If you like to digitize and have all 3 modules of Stitch Artist, you don’t need Simply Applique. Don’t ask me how that works in Stitch Artist; I have no clue. 🙂

So I hope this was helpful. If you’re interested in Embrilliance, please check out my page on Embrilliance software and thanks in advance for using my links. https://powertoolswiththread.com/embrilliance/

If you’re interested in Simply Applique, please call Allbrands or visit their website. If you live outside of the USA, call Allbrands at 1-800-739-7374, ask for Barbara, and she will give you a download code so you don’t have to wait for shipping or pay import taxes. How nice is that?

Villa Rosa Designs “Panama City” is Complete!

This quilt began as part of the Taste of Texas Shop Hop under the name of Seaglass. The quilting pattern company, Villa Rosa Designs, creates patterns just for the Taste of Texas hop and then once the hop is over, renames the patterns and adds them to their own pattern library. In this case, Seaglass was renamed to Panama City, so if you’re looking for it, go to the Villa Rosa Designs online shop and see it here.

The fabric I used for this beauty was a line by Sandy Gervais for Moda called “Well Said”. I adore the teals and oranges – it just screams happy to me. 🙂

The backing is Basic Grey Grunge “Seeing Stars” for Moda in the teal. Julie from Two Chicks Quilting in Ganado, Texas picked out the backing for me over the phone. How awesome is that for customer service?!!

The quilting pattern is a panto from Urban Elementz called Sea Creatures and you can find it by clicking on this link. The pattern is just too cute for words with octopus (octopi?), seahorses, crabs, and starfish. It stitched out beautifully.

WARNING! Quilt police, look away…

I used my favorite machine binding method.

I show how I do that in this video right here.

I’m happy to have this quilt finished. I almost wish I’d of doubled the pattern and made it longer to fit on my king bed at our coastal home. I’m “this close” to actually doing just that! That’s another beautiful feature of #VillaRoseDesigns patterns.

How to Find Downloaded Patterns in the Quilt Butler

There have been some updates recently to the Quilt Butler software and it has become near impossible to find where downloaded patterns are landing if you’re downloading directly into the tablet. Most users are now just downloading the files to a laptop and using a USB to transport the patterns, which is a waste of time if they can be downloaded to the tablet itself after purchase. Here’s a step-by-step that worked for me.

On the tablet itself, upon purchase, click the Download link or button for whichever site you’re buying them on.

When the download starts, you’ll see a downward pointing blinking arrow in the very upper left corner of your screen.

When the download is finished, the arrow will stop blinking and there will be a little line under it.

Once the arrow has stopped blinking, swipe your finger from the top black part of the tablet down to the center of the screen to show recent actions. You want to start your finger where there are no menus or any buttons. This is a swipe navigation action that is native to Android.

In the cascading bars, find your downloaded file and tap it. In my case I’m looking for “sea-creatures_1-3.zip”.

The file will open up in WinZip. Tap the My Files folder in the left menu to see all the zip files. NOTE: I have created another file inside of the My Files folder that is called Quilt Patterns. You will not have this unless you press/hold the My Files folder to get another menu that allows you to create a sub-folder to it. You do not need to do this step.

You will see a list of your downloaded zip files. Press and hold (NOT TAP) the one you want to unzip and a blue menu will appear at the bottom of the screen. If you only tap the zip file vs. holding it, it won’t work.

Touch the Unzip icon on the blue menu at the bottom of the screen.

A new screen appears with the unzipped files and it wants to know where you want to save the unzipped files. Click on the My Files folder.

Again, I have a sub folder called Quilt Patterns that you won’t have unless you create one. You don’t need a sub folder. Once you tap the My Files folder, a blue button will appear at the bottom of the screen that says Unzip here. Tap that blue button (or put them wherever you might want).

Then go back into Perfect Stitch and go to the panel in the Butler to the Pattern Import area and click Import.

Press WinZip.

Your patterns that have been unzipped will be seen here.

Double tap the pattern you want to open up to see the sub files within it. Tap the file you need (I use the .qli file type) and click the green check box.

All done! It will automatically be assigned a tag of Imported and will always be found in your Imported tab when choosing a design file.


Tutorial – Making the Millennium Quilt Block

Summer is almost here and it is time to start thinking about quilts for the upcoming patriotic season. The Millennium block is an easy and beautiful block for quilts for Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. This block finishes at 12″ so it’s a nice sized block that will make a beautiful table runner too with just 3 or 4 blocks. Let’s get started!

This line of fabric is a combination of an American Basics roll of 2.5″ strips and a navy blue fat quarter.

Cutting instructions:

Block A (1) – 4″ x 4″ square.
B (4) – 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares.
C (4) – 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles.
D (4) – 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles.
E (4) – 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares.
F (4) – 1.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles.
G (4) – 1.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles.
H (8) – 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares. These squares matched Block A.

Start by making for flying geese units. Sew 2 of square H to 1 rectangle C. Draw a diagonal line on the back of square H and sew from the outer corner toward the middle.

Trim outside the stitch line to 1/4″ and iron the point open.

Repeat on the other side.

Make 4. They should finish at 2.5″ x 4.5″.

Sew together the F & G rectangles to make 4.

Sew the F & G rectangle to the C & H flying geese unit.

Time to make the corner blocks. Sew B & E together and make 4.

Sew the B & E unit to D.

Make 4 of the corner blocks.

Now lay everything out like a 9 patch!

Sew your nine patch together for a gorgeous Millennium block!

I’m going to make enough of these for 5 across and 5 down with sashing and navy cornerstones in between! So pretty!