Feb 01

On Ringo Lake – Time to Baste!

According to my On Ringo Lake agenda, it is time to baste the quilt.  There are so many different methods to baste, I suggest researching a trying several before you settle upon the way that works best for you.  When I began quilting, I bought HUGE safety pins to baste my quilts because that’s what I had seen someone use at a nursing home I was working in.  Maybe those big pins work for the tied quilts the residents were making, but they were not best for machine quilting.  Hand quilters will thread baste their quilts which is another method that does not work well for machine quilting.  For several years, I used 1” safety pins which was a serviceable method for me if I could use table space at church to lay my quilts out.  Then I discovered spray basting!

I love Sulky 505 basting spray!  I can quickly get the basting done and over with and move onto the fun of quilting.  It is easy to use and there is no odor to this product.  I also find that I can control the application to limit the amount of overspray that occurs.


Before basting the quilt, the batting and backing need to be prepared.  I lay my quilt out on my backing and trim the batting leaving about 4” extra per side. You can do this by measuring it all out, but I find it faster to just lay it on the floor and trim with a scissors since this does not need to be a precise measurement. I know this looks like more like 8 inches but I usually line one side up more evenly with the top and trim within 8” on the the other side.  It’s a bit more efficient!

If the batting is wrinkled from being folded, it’s a good idea to press it before you baste.  I buy batting by the roll so there is only one fold line.  I can also cut exactly what I need from the roll.  I love the wrinkled look that a quilt gets after it is washed and I  use 100% cotton batting to help enhance that look but I have seen some beautiful quilts with wool batting as well.  We also have a great cotton/poly blend available at the shop.  Again, try them all and decide what is right for you.  You will also want to press your backing.  If you seam the backing, make sure you press the seam open to avoid adding extra bulk.

The next step is to find a space in your house where you will be able to lay the whole quilt out for basting.  I have some space in our finished basement where I usually will do this but for larger quilts, I will move all of the furniture out of the living room.  Thank goodness for furniture sliders.  I have some old sheets that I lay down to protect the carpet from over spray. 

The batting gets laid on top of the sheets and I do my best to lay it as flat as possible.  Then I spray it.  I spray a quarter of the quilt at a time with a gentle sweeping motion.  After I get the whole quilt done, I then spray all around the perimeter of the quilt as a last step.

I usually enlist the help of my husband or son when it is time to lay the quilt on the batting.  It’s good to know people with long arms.  For a smaller quilt, you can lay it directly on the batting.  Large quilts like this one work better if you work on one half at a time.  We try our best to center it, but it’s not the end of the world if you lay it down and have to reposition it.  After getting it where you want it, gently pat the quilt onto the batting to get it to adhere.  Pick up a corner to smooth out wrinkles if you need to but avoid sweeping your hand across the whole quilt.  Sweeping usually causes stretching.

After the top is basted, flip the quilt over and repeat the process to apply the back.  You’ll notice that I didn’t trim my setting triangles yet.  I am going to wait until the quilting is done so I don’t have to trim twice!  I try to be as efficient as possible.


Confession time-I made a mistake when I bought my backing fabric.  I knew that our fabulous extra wide Shannon Cuddle fabric would work for my backing, so I picked some up before work last week.  When we went to lay it on top of the sprayed batting, I discovered that when I did the math for cutting the 90 wide fabric, I used the width measurement, not the length so it was not going to be big enough.  I looked in my stash and found a bolt of fabric that I bought at one of our sales thinking that it would work for backing.  It was EXACTLY enough fabric to work for the back!  I put my husband in charge of keeping the dogs off the quilt (he failed-I found a football in the middle when I returned), seamed and pressed the new back in record time.  Now I have a great piece of 90 wide Cuddle fabric for another project.  Attitude is everything!  Stay positive and happy sewing my friends!

Jan 25

On Ringo Lake – Week 9 With Brenda and AccuQuilt!

The block assembly went really fast and I found myself done in the middle of the week with time to work on some other projects. I even finished a dress on my Bernina 460 Overlocker that I wore to work on Thursday!  I’m glad I decided to give myself a week for each new clue. It leaves me looking forward to each step in the process and I really have enjoyed the process.  For the final reveal, the first step is to piece together the coral/cream lattice units first. They are so beautifully accurate that they make me smile!  Three cheers for Accuquilt!

Then I moved on to cutting the triangles and squares out of the brown fabric. I didn’t have a die for the triangles, but thankfully there weren’t very many of them so that step didn’t take too long.

I had plenty of aqua left to cut the larger squares required for the setting triangles. After piecing them together, I had my first opportunity to use the Simple Folded Triangle Ruler by Doug Leko. It worked really well to cut the top off of the triangle so that it was accurately cut for adding the pieced unit.

The next item on my agenda was grooming my poodle, Reggie.  Sunday was the first day I had when it was warm enough in the garage and I wasn’t working so we had some time together getting him to look a bit less like a shaggy lamb!

I was so excited to start laying out the quilt! My design wall isn’t nearly big enough so I had to lay it out on the floor. Pay VERY close attention to the lattice and try to develop some system for keeping them in the correct alignment. I realized as I was about halfway done laying out my blocks, that I was going at a bit of an angle which was making it more difficult to lay things out as I was going.

At that point, I decided to finish the diagonal rows that I had and start sewing rather than laying the entire quilt out. For me that was really the best choice. It took quite a bit of time to assemble the rows and leaving the entire project on the floor would be a disaster waiting to happen with two dogs running about. I followed Bonnie’s suggestion and pressed towards the lattice, but I decided to shorten my stitch length and press the long rows open to the best of my ability, a tricky thing with all of those bulky seams.

Barclay, my schnauzer and I are having a disagreement as to whether that is my spot or his! My next step will be to lay out the rest of the quilt and work to assemble the other half.  Then I will put the two halves together into my finished top! Please let me know if you would like to see me continuing to blog about my basting, quilting and binding project.  I’ll be happy to share.  Happy sewing!

Jan 17

On Ringo Lake – Week 8 With Brenda and AccuQuilt!

It’s block assembly time! I was so excited to lay my units out to see what my blocks would look like, but I waited until Friday, my day for my next clue, before I started. For me, the expectation and waiting is half the fun! I wanted to share my process for block assembly this week. With nine units per block or a nine patch type of block, I begin by laying out two blocks side by side.

Then I work in vertical rows, taking all of the units in row 2 and place them on row 1 for both sets of blocks.  I will chain sew all 6 sets of units, 3 for each set of blocks.  Chain sewing is sewing without cutting your thread between the units.

After I’m done with all 6, I’ll cut the thread between the third and fourth units that I’ve sewn. This gives me the 3 units for one block that I can take to the ironing board and press. I DO NOT cut apart the individual units but leave all three for each block connected by the thread.

Then I lay the pieces from the third vertical row, one at a time, onto the pieced unit to form three rows, each with three units. When I start sewing, the block 2 units are still attached to my machine so I am connecting with that grouping through my chain piecing. I will sew the third piece to all three of my two piece units then cut thread between the two sets of blocks. press block 2 and then add the last unit to that block as well.  The next photo shows block 1 behind the machine with the third unit added and I am working block 2.

After the rows of block one are complete, I will cut thread between the rows so it is easier to press. Then I sew two rows together for block 1 then block 2 and add the third after pressing. After the last seam is done, I will either sew a seam for my leader and enter project or I will lay the next set of two blocks out and begin again so I never have to cut thread!


With the size of these units, I hold my seams in place as I sew them. If you feel the need to secure them further, I would recommend Wonder Clips as pinning could cause shifting.  Accurate cutting with my Accuquilt Go! and sewing with my Bernina 590 have lead given me beautiful points and I am quite happy with the results!

I took a moment to count and found that there are 49 pieces in each block!  That means that with 50 blocks there will be 2,450 pieces!  Then we have to add the pieced lattice and setting triangles. I’d better get back to my sewing machine. Happy sewing!

Jan 11

On Ringo Lake – Week 7 with Brenda and AccuQuilt!

Just keep sewing, just keep sewing! There are times in life when you need to channel a Disney character.  When the journey was getting tough for Nemo and Dory, this is the mantra that Dory used to keep motivated.  With so many clues and so much sewing with this mystery, this mantra may come in handy!

I had time off this weekend and we were in town, so I was thrilled to have a bit of solid sewing time. Everything is all lined up. Ready, set, SEW!

Usually I sew about 20-30 units, cut them apart and then press.  That gets me up and moving a bit more frequently.  However, with this clue I mostly just powered through in two sittings. With no cutting fabric before sewing, this clue went faster than any of the others.  Also, it was nice that there was only one seam to sew in each of the units.

I love seeing that big pile of units all ready to be cut apart!  The accuracy of the cutting with Accuquilt Go leads to such beautifully accurate units!

When I press the units, I count them out into piles of 10 so I can double check my final count.  Good thing!  Last week I found myself 2 units short!  Here are all of my lovely piles of 10.

By Saturday afternoon I had all of my units done, packed, and ready to be assembled into blocks next week when I move onto the next clue.

Then I moved onto finish the binding on the adorable snowman table runner to bring for Saturday night’s holiday gift exchange with my running friends. My 590 has a beautifully consistent buttonhole stitch and I am really enjoying fusible appliqué for the first time ever. Happy sewing until next week!  Brenda

Jan 02

On Ringo Lake – Week 6 with Brenda and AccuQuilt!

Well, then, I guess Bonnie had some tricks up her sleeve.  I knew she had a history of surprises at the end of her mystery quilts, but was still a bit flabbergasted at how she ended this.  Since I am not superhuman (and I was out of town with no internet, cell service or phone for the weekend), I am planning to finish this by working on a clue each week.

I had been hoping that we wouldn’t need much of the coral to melon fabrics.  I didn’t have much left of the fat quarter bundle that I was using for my clues.  When I saw the clue released, I know that I wouldn’t have enough so I decided to supplement with fabric from my stash.  I remembered Bonnie blogging about pushing the boundaries of the color families with this one so I felt some freedom with my choices.

Once I chose my fabric, it really didn’t take long to get those triangles cut using my Accuquilt cutter.  With this clue, it was time to use a different die than I had used with my other clues.  The triangles were cut so accurately and paired beautifully with my unit from our earlier clue.  I sewed these unit with a slightly scant seam allowance, paying special attention to the place where the stitching line crossed the center of the unit.  By sewing just outside of that point by a thread or two helps to ensure that your points do not get chopped off.

The result is an accurate unit that helps move you on to the next clue.  So now that Bonnie has revealed the final quilt, are you excited to get it finished this week?  Please post a picture in the comments and let us know how you are keeping up.  We would love to see your progress!

Dec 26

On Ringo Lake – Week 5 with Brenda & AccuQuilt!

A belated Merry Christmas to you all!  Did you find much time to sew over the holiday weekend?  I had a bit of time before work Saturday morning to get all my cutting done.  It really went really fast thanks to my Accuquilt cutter again.  When I began this project, I wanted to use the different methods that Bonnie Hunter shows and then determine which worked best for me.  The reality of the situation is that I have a limited amount of time and in order to stay up to date, I need to work with the fastest and most accurate method and that means using the Accuquilt system.


I decided to time the whole cutting process to give you an idea how much valuable time is saved.  The first step is to rotary cut the fabric into pieces that are a half inch larger than area that the die will be cutting.  For me that took 10 minutes to cut out the brown pieces and 14 minutes to cut out the creams.  You don’t have to worry about having a clean edge since these are rough cuts so I usually will cut 2-3 at a time.

After the rough cut, I then fan folded the pieces onto the die.  With woven fabrics you can cut up to 6 layers of fabric accurately with Accuquilt.  Again, you can have your fabrics stacked together as you fan fold it over the die.  Just make sure you are only cutting a maximum of 6 layers at a time.

The die I was using cut 4 triangles at once which meant that with 6 layers of fabric, I could cut 24 triangles at a time.  I made sure I had the lengthwise grain perpendicular to the rollers as it fed into the cutter.


After the die went through the cutter, I slid the mat off and was left with all of these beautiful and accurate triangles.  Then it was a matter of stacking them up so they are ready to move next to my sewing machine.  The cutting with the Accuquilt cutter took 13 minutes for the brown triangles and about 30 for the cream.  I would be struggling to keep up with this project if I was cutting these units individually. With the Accuquilt, the cutting took just over an hour and was easy on my body as well.  I have noticed that if I do a lot of rotary cutting, I will get some pain in my elbow and wrist.  This isn’t an issue with my Accuquilt cutter.  It also saves all of the time cutting off those pesky dog ears after sewing.

If you have any questions about how to use the Accuquilt system for the On Ringo Lake Mystery quilt or any other project, I invite you to stop into the shop for us to show you how to use it to increase your speed and accuracy. 


I got about a quarter of the units sewn and then took some time on Christmas Eve to finish making the dress that I had started on my Bernina 460 Overlocker.  I had to attach the neckband and hem the dress which I finished in time to wear to the 4:00 service! Happy sewing my friends!


I’m linking up with Bonnie at Quiltville! Head over to check out how everybody’s doing!

Dec 21

On Ringo Lake – Week 4 with Brenda & AccuQuilt!

It was another week with a LOT of units again!  I’m so very glad for my Accuquilt Cutter and the speed at which I can get the pieces cut for the sewing that needs to happen.  I started with my brown triangles.  After cutting a couple of strips from each of my fabric, it was a matter of minutes until I had a massive amount of triangles!

The squares were fast to cut as well.  Those can be done with a square die OR a strip die.  How do you cut squares with a strip die?  It is so very fast and easy!  First cut strips the required size.  Then turn the strips 90 degrees and fanfold across the strip die and recut into squares.


One piece of advice I have with all of the units that we are making is to begin with some scraps and make one complete unit to check the accuracy of the piecing.  I found that when I made my sample unit, it was a little short for the 1/4” seam allowance for the point that is created.

I needed to use a scant 1/4” seam allowance to accommodate all of the bulk in that seam. With some experimenting with my machine, I discovered the best place to guide my fabric was a thread or two left of the 1/4” line on my machine. After making that adjustment, I was ready to sew!

Have you had any ideas of how Bonnie will lay out the blocks? I don’t know about you, but I am getting excited to see how she will pull this all together! I love the colors and I’m having so much fun with each of the units. I’ve got some pressing to do.  Happy sewing until next clue!


I’m linking up with Bonnie at Quiltville! Head over to check out how everybody’s doing!

Dec 14

On Ringo Lake – Week 3 with Brenda & AccuQuilt!

I hope everyone is keeping up! For me, so far, so good. I didn’t have the right sized strip cutter to prepare this week’s coral units which meant I had to go old school and use my rotary cutter. Thankfully, it went pretty fast when I stacked my strips, but I would never be able to cut 6 layers like an Accuquilt cutter! I wonder if Bonnie has plans for us to use to coral anywhere else. I don’t have very much left!

The good news was that I could use the same half square triangle die as last week to make the other part of this week’s unit. I decided to time myself. Any guesses as to how long it takes to cut 16 half square triangles? It took about 30 seconds to turn a strip into half square triangles. Without Accuquilt, there is no way I could keep up with the pace of this mystery!

I put the half square triangles onto my coral rectangles, sewed them on, trimmed the coral and pressed very carefully according to the directions.

I’ve got about a quarter of my units done and I’m taking a break to make a fast and easy table runner for a gift exchange this week. I love the buttonhole stitch on my Bernina 590!  I got this stitched up in a jiffy!

Happy stitching until our next clue!


I’m linking up with Bonnie at Quiltville! Head over to check out how everybody’s doing!

Dec 05

On Ringo Lake – Week 2 With Brenda!

A gaggle of geese! Wow, Bonnie has us working hard to create our own flocks of flying geese. After Bernina Joy reminded me that the Accuquilt Qube dies #4 and #5 can be put together into flying geese units, I decided to use that method rather than the alternate methods on the Quiltville Blog post. It can be a challenge to find time to sew this time of year and I knew that the Accuquilt cutter would really streamline the cutting process. After rough cutting the strips 1/2” wider that the die, the fabric is fan folded until you have up to 6 layers of fabric.

After running it through the cutter, you have up to 24 half square triangles in a matter of moments. The accuracy and speed is such a fabulous way to make the most of your time quilting.  I also love that the die cuts the dog ears off the units. Just another way that using my Accuquilt cutter makes the process faster and more accurate than rotary cutting.

With a project like this, I prefer to alternate between the various parts of the process.  I do a little cutting, a little sewing and a little pressing. I enjoy the changes and I think it helps add a little variety when you are piecing so many units. Eventually I get a gaggle of geese to add to the final count.

Happy piecing to you until the next clue!




I’m linking up with Bonnie at Quiltville! Head over to check out how everybody’s doing!

Dec 03

Monday Morning Quilting Quicky Holiday Edition – Christmas Bench Pillow!

Welcome back to our Quilting Quickies! It’s our 4th year, and we’re so excited for all of our special holiday fun. Watch for new videos all season!

Join Marcia as she shows you how the cutest ever Christmas Bench Pillow you can whip up in a jiffy with KimberBell!
You can even get it done and enjoy it before Christmas!


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