Friday 15 November 2013

A quarter square triangle quilt

My starting point was these fabrics.

I wanted to use them for no other reason other than they were big, bold, bright and happy fabrics; the perfect antidote to the onset of winter gloom.

I thought that just on their own though, they'd all be shouting to be heard and that even by my standards  it would be a bit OTT.

So I added in some more.

Checks and plaids and then some 'quieter' florals. I also slipped in a bit of text fabric as well because well, you can never have too much text fabric.

And then I dusted down my Go! Baby from Accuquilt and used the quarter square triangle die to crank out lots and lots of triangles.

Accuquilt has been around since 2008 but then a couple of years ago they really ramped up their marketing and started reaching out to quilt bloggers to really get their product out there, including this side of the Atlantic. Quilty blog world was awash with the world and his wife extolling the virtues of owning the fabric cutter and at the time, I was one of the lucky ones to win one.

And then in to the fray stepped Sizzix. Originally devised as a die-cutting machine for paper back in 2001, Ellison (the company behind Sizzix - I would link to Ellison but their website appears to be down at the moment) obviously saw the success Accuquilt was having and in the spring of last year, started producing their own dies specifically for quilters.

And then a funny thing happened. Quilty blog world in these regions stopped talking about Accuquilt and suddenly Sizzix was the name of the game. It would appear Sizzix has proved to be the stronger marketeer.

Now I don't own a Sizzix and have no affiliation with Accuquilt so this is my opinion per se about fabric die cutters for what it is worth:

  • if you're just starting out I wouldn't buy one. Work out what kind of a quilter you want to be first and then you can make a better judgment. By that I mean if you're a modern, improv, slash and stitch kind of a quilter you probably won't have use for a die cutter. If on the other hand you're an appliquér extraordinaire with a love of pumpkins, birds, snowflakes, pears, hearts, owls, butterflies (several sizes), cats, lions, dogs etc etc then you clearly need one in your life
  • bear in mind if you do purchase one, dies are expensive and you'll have to work out if you would use that die sufficiently to get your money's worth from it. In particular I am thinking about the strip cutter 2 1/2" die offered by Accuquilt - usually the width you'd cut for binding. Is it really so much easier, quicker (not to mention less wasteful of fabric) than using a rotary cutter and mat? 
  • if you buy some of the triangle and square sizes you are stuck making quilts with those sizes - if you fancy different sized triangles and squares it's back to the rotary cutter and cutting mat anyway
  • maybe it's just the cutter I've got but it doesn't always cut cleanly so you're left to snip off bits still hanging to your wastage
  • yes, there is wastage. How much depends on how canny you are with your cutting but there will always be wastage. It's the nature of the beast.
  • i think they are a brilliant idea for circles and circle based shapes which is where I think they come into their own. The one die I most definitely have got value out of is the Drunkards Path. Circles really do come out as circles and I think it probably is the best way to achieve perfection
Is it worth buying a die cutter for?
Weigh up your usage and interest against cost and that's your answer.


So when I'd got all the triangles cut, I initially played around with values but it looked too contrived and I reminded myself that I'd cut these shapes in the first place just because I loved the fabrics and the random way they played together.

However, should you have a more ordered mind than me, there are endless possibilities of creating secondary patterns by playing around with the values.

A badly illustrated star shape but you get the picture.

A square on point. Could be all lights. Could be all darks. Could be one hot mess so then the triangles to the left, right, up and down could be more subdued.

Or sub-divide the square on point to a pinwheel block with the use of light and dark values.

Or don't look at it at all in terms of blocks but look to highlight a grid effect with choice of values. So I started highlighting what the vertical would look like but loss the will to live putting the horizontal dark and light annotations in but you get it.

Of course I didn't do any of this and just randomly sewed and sewed and sewed.

And I've just come to the conclusion that I really rather like random.

I find it more exciting and visually interesting.

And I think I like randomly pieced quilt backs too. I think it gives you a chance to show off mad, bold fabric too.

And I've also come to the conclusion that the more values and colours you use in a quilt, the harder it is to photograph and really show the quilt's true colours.

And if you add blue skies and fast moving clouds into the mix, your quilt gets another look entirely.

And the trade off for a longer, leaner shadow at this time of the year is the disappearance of any signs of a waist.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday


  1. Your quilt is beautiful! And thank you for the helpful summary on the die cutters, I debate them occasionally but have not yet succumbed.I love your photos, but you are right about the challenge in capturing the colours. Judith taught to wait for a cloudy but not dark day to get the best light, preferably in the earlier morning.

  2. Lovely! The bright flowery fabric and the grey centers are a perfect combination.

  3. I like your randomly placed triangles VERY much xx

  4. My eye definitely keeps moving around this quilt, stopping when I zero in on a star : )Gorgeous

  5. Remember I promised I'd tell you if you did a duffer? Well... You still havent ;-) lol Gorgeous.

  6. Love the random and such a great combo of fabrics! I imagine there's a lot of those cutters collecting dust. I like the idea of them - usually when im cutting dp blocks but it still doesn't justify the cost.

  7. I love random as well, however, I have not had the courage to do one myself.

  8. I just have to try that randomness with some of my stash that I've been too afraid to cut into!

  9. I'm not really random person so this seems a bit busy to me but thanks for sharing all the possibilities the pattern offeres.

  10. This will definitely brighten up a cold dull winter for you. Love that first photos of your bright fabrics. I am thinking your stash and scrap bin must be a real treasure trove of fabric.

  11. I love those colours against the grey background. Beautiful.

  12. See you blame the low sun for your waistline, I blame mine on chocolate!
    Beautiful quilt, and oh what a lot of thinking ;)

  13. You are so funny! And the quilt is so beautiful that I may well copy this one. If you let me.

  14. A kaleidoscope of colors and the best are yellow and grey. In my opinion that is;)

  15. I love random too, this is lovely :)

  16. random has worked beautifully. I have just purchased a sizzix but have not used it yet, got a very good deal on it. I have the hexie die both for papers and fabric and the tumbler die but as you say they dies are pricey.

  17. Another beautiful quilt Allison and I Iove the randomness!
    I sometimes wonder if the Acco Go quilt and Sissix companies don’t just profit from a new trend that quilts need to be made faster and faster. Some quilters want to produce in stead of enjoying to make a quilt from the first to the last step. But that’s my humble opinion...

  18. Beautiful mix of fabrics and love your randomness. Thanks for the review of the cutters, I occasionally think about it but have yet to jump into one, as I am just not sure how much I would use it and the dies are expensive.

  19. It's a stunner, I love the mix of fabrics. I have a accuquilt go and never use it. I find it much quicker and far more accurate to use ruler and rotary cutter.

  20. love it. really do. The florals are perfect and that simple block is just the thing. Yum.

  21. What a lovely quilt! I love the greys you matched with those colorful prints, and great quilting.

  22. This is the best kind of random. Another really beautiful quilt. Thanks also for the thoughts on die cutters. I can totally see what you mean about circles. I think a die cutter might be the kind of thing that would be great to purchase between a group of friends. Then you can share the initial investment and the cost of dies, and it matters less that it's not the kind of thing you use every day (unlike rotary cutters and cutting mats which are in regular use).

  23. First, love the quilt. I love the greys and blues.

    It's funny you should talk about your die cutter, as I have spent all day thinking about my Big Shot. Those are very fair points. I think most people can happily get along without them, but I am hopeless addicted to mine. I think I will write up a blog post about it, too.

  24. *sigh*....I just love this. Truly, love it. It is DIVINE and brave. And not mad or bonkers at all - it is just pretty, pretty, pretty. I hope it's a keeper!!!


01 09 10