I have had a number of messages recently about what tools I use when quilting so I thought I would do a really quick post about my go to items.

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Item #1 – Cutting mat. I got this one from Michaels using the 50% off coupon. Most of the local fabric stores and quilting shops carry them as well and have been having great sales lately. I have a 24’x36′ one but unless you are cutting a lot of large items you can definitely get by with a smaller one. This picture is also making me realize my mat needs a good cleaning….

Item #2 – 24″ x 6″ Plexiglass ruler. I am pretty sure I grabbed this one from Michaels as well with a sale coupon. This gets used all the time here and it’s the ruler I most recommend for anyone looking to get their first ruler.

Item #3 – Gypsy Grip. I just got this as a Christmas gift from a sweet friend. She scooped it from Mad About Patchwork. I love it but I do find that since my basement is cold it comes off the ruler frequently. The only work around that I have found is actually having water in the suction things – not a little water, like, I poured water onto them put the ruler on top, flipped it and then locked the clips and it seems to be working. I find it gives good leverage when I am cutting and stops my ruler from slipping when I am cutting.

Item #4 – 6.5″ x 6.5″ ruler – I love this little ruler, it’s the perfect size for so many things and I am loving it for the sew-a-long project when we are squaring up all the little squares. I don’t remember where I got this one but I’m pretty sure it was scooped from a local quilt shop a number of years ago. I see them all the time so they are easily found.

Item #5 – Ever Sewn Mini Gripper – I just scooped this from Fabric Crush and I am loving it. It makes keeping my little ruler from slipping so much easier and I love having the little handle on my ruler.

Item #6 – Rotary cutter – I have gone through a number of rotary cutters just trying to find one I love and this is my favourite. I definitely recommend trying a few different ones before purchasing if it’s possible. Everyone seems to like different ones so you need to find what works best for you. A rotary cutter will make your life so much easier for cutting fabric, it is truly worth the investment. This is the Olfa 45mm one and I am pretty sure I got it from Michaels with the 50% off coupon but they are really reasonable at most fabric stores.

Item #7 – Wonder Clips – I love my wonder clips, the multi coloured ones are from Amazon, I also have the purple ones that are an amazing price but they take FOREVER to arrive, if you aren’t in a rush then I’d definitely recommend them – you can’t go wrong with under $4 for 50 of them – they just might take a few months to get to you. I use pins a lot as well when I am sewing quilting fabric, I find the wonder clips pull on the fabric as its so thin. I tend to use the clips more when I am working on the binding or multiple layers.

Item #8 – Stitch rippers – uhhhhhh these get A LOT of use around these parts. The purple one I have no idea where I got it from but I love it, it’s awesome but its been used so much that it is a little dull and I need a new one. I bought the Tula Pink stitch ripper as a replacement and it makes me all shades of rage-y. It does have a time and place and gets the occasional use but it definitely can’t replace a standard seam ripper.   So if you have a favourite seam ripper, let me know, I’m in the market.

Item #9 – FriXion Pens – these pens weren’t originally designed for fabric but quilters and sewists discovered them and people love them. When you iron on the writing, it disappears which is the appeal for a lot of people. I tend to only use them when it will be an area that you will never see. Apparently when the fabric gets cold the markings will reappear so I would recommend only using where it will be hidden inside a seam. I do love them and they get a lot of use around these parts. They are a pretty good price at staples but a lot of the local fabric shops carry them as well. There is a great write up on them here if you wanted to read more about the disappearing and (possible) reappearing qualities of these pens.

Thanks for reading my ramblings, I hope I answered a few questions for you!

Tania will have some more fun items for you to view in the coming weeks on her blog as well! Quilters love gadgets!

Much Love,




Sew Ottawa! Sew-a-long Week 1

Thank you everyone so much for joining us! The response to our little sew-a-long has been incredible and heart warming, we appreciate everyone so much for being here with us.

Here are the important details to note before you get started:

Fabric Requirements: 2 yards of a solid fabric, 2 yards of a coordinating fabric or fabrics (we are using a combination of coordinating solids and prints).

Finished Quilt size: 50.5″

Seam Allowance: Seam allowance for all seams on this quilt will be 1/4″. I like to use a 1/4″ foot on my machine but a piece of painters tape or masking tape put at the 1/4″ mark will work just fine.

If you choose you can do all 16 blocks or stop at 9 or 12 blocks. 9 blocks with sashing would give you a quilt of 38.5″ x 38.5″ and a 12 block quilt would give you a quilt top of 50.5″ x 38.5″. Both would be a lovely size for a lap quilt or baby quilt.

We are so excited to get started with our first block, it’s a very simple but very pretty block that I love. You can do almost anything with it colour wise so don’t be afraid to experiment with your colours and see what you like together.

I have chosen white as my main for this block and then shades of pink and flowers for the accent colours. You will need:

8 x 3.5″ squares of white or another solid

8 x 3.5″ squares of contrasting colours

Finished Block Size: 10.5″ x 10.5″

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The pinks here are part of the Kona Solids Blossom bundle from Mad About Patchwork The florals here are also from MAP  from Rifle Paper from the Menagerie line. The white is a Kona Solid in Snow

Place your solid squares on top of your coloured/patterned pieces and continue with the usual HST construction:

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I like to chain sew when doing something like this – it saves time with lifting your foot, cutting the thread and putting a new piece in – do all 8 blocks down one side, cut the thread, turn it around and do the other side:



Snip your pieces apart and then using your ruler cut down the middle. Press your seam allowance to the dark side. At this point you should have 16 blocks.

For our pattern we will need each finished block to be 3″ so you may need to trim your blocks slightly, this is called squaring up. Place your ruler with the diagonal line on the centre seam of the block and trim the block down to 3″ Using the diagonal line on your ruler will help with making sure that you take equally from each side:


Once you have done this for all 16 blocks you will need to layout your pattern:

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You are now going to sew all your pieces together. I like to start with the top row –  sew each row together. When pressing seams I like to press even rows to the right and odd rows to the left so its easy to remember. You want your seams to be going in different directions like this:

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Once you have each row sewn you will want to then sew each row together, making sure to keep everything the right way up.

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Once you have sewn all 4 rows together you will want to press all your seams flat and then you will have your first finished block! Yay!!

Your block should measure 10.5″ x 10.5″.


Thank you so much for joining us for week 1! Tania from Poppy Monroe Collection and I will be here to answer any questions you may have.

Tania will be doing week 2 next Thursday the 18th.

Once you have completed your block post it to the Sew Ottawa! Facebook page with the hashtag #sewottawa and you will be entered into a draw to win a weekly prize!



Sew Ottawa! Welcome to our Sew-a-long!

Thank you everyone so much for joining us on this sew along, we are so excited to get started and see what you all create!

Tania from Poppy Monroe and I will be here to help you every step of the way so please don’t hesitate to tag us with your questions on facebook or even send us a PM. Jenna-Rae at Fabric Crush has graciously offered to let us use her studio every few weeks to help some of you who would like some in person help. We will let you know dates and times when we have them ready to go.

Stay tuned to our Facebook Page. One of us will be going live to do a live sew along of the block soon!

Today I am just going to post the basic tutorial on how to make a Half Square Triangle Block (HST).There are several different ways to do it but today we are going to be tackling the easiest/most straight forward way and the way we will be using the most.

Step 1:

Cut two contrasting squares. For the purpose of this tutorial I am using 3.5″ squares which is mostly what we will be using in this sew along. For this quilt you will be using a 1/4″ seam allowance on all blocks.


Step 2:

Lay the white (or lighter coloured square if not using white) square on top of the darker square – right sides together – so the sides that you want facing up are going to be sewn together.


Step 3:

Using a ruler and a pencil (I used a Frixion Pen because I had one handy but a pencil will do just fine) you will want to line your ruler up from one tip of the square to the other tip as seen in the below image.

To make sure nothing shifts you can pin the block but stay away from the line as you are going to be sewing on both sides of that line in just a moment.


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Step 4:

Using your sewing machine you are going to want to sew 1/4″ down either side of the line – shown here in black thread – the line is shown in pink pen so you can see where you are needing to sew.


Step 5:

Once you have both sides sewn you are going to cut down the line (shown in pink here)


open up your two sides and voila! you have two HSTs!

Step 6:

Press your seams to the dark side.

Use your ruler and just trim off the little excess tails. If using scissors just cut as close to the block as possible.


Step 7:

Trim off your extra little tails and if necessary make sure the block is square and you are all done. Now just make a dozen more!


We will be starting the official Sew Along on the 11th of January but if you want to try your hand at HSTs right now then just make sure you use 3.5″ blocks to start and you will have a head start on the sew along.

Tania and I will be taking turns making blocks – I make two blocks one week and then she makes two blocks the next week. This way, at the end of the sew-a-long we divvy up our blocks and have ‘sister quilts’. Such a fun way to connect with other quilters and sometimes get the same block looking totally different. We have agreed in advance on a colour theme and fabrics though so it should match up pretty nicely!

I promise better photos next week, these crooked photos are making me twitchy

Much love,