Why Three Yards?

Many quilters like to purchase fat quarters (9″ x 22″ precut pieces of fabric), jelly rolls (2-1/2″ strips, usually 40 pieces in a roll), charm squares (5″ squares) or other precut fabrics. Especially at quilt shows, these grab-n-go packages make shopping easy and fun. Some vendors also carry precut 1/2 yards or full yards of fabric.

But how often have you pulled out these treasures when you were ready to start a project, and realized you just don’t have enough of that fabric you fell in love with to complete your chosen pattern? The old rule of thumb I’ve heard is: “If you like it buy one yard, love it buy 3 yards, and can’t live without it buy 6 yards”!

One reason for the 3 yard thinking is that you can cut your borders lengthwise (parallel to the selvedges) and not have to piece them. A 3 yard length gives you 108 uninterrupted inches of border, which is enough for all but the very largest king-sized quilt. Did you also know that the lengthwise grain of fabric is the most stable – has the least amount of stretch – which means the outer edges of your quilt will lie flatter and straighter?

Why else might you want 3 yards of a fabric? You would have enough for:

• sashing between blocks

• background blocks for applique

• alternate plain blocks between pieced or appliqued blocks

• the background for a strip or scrap quilt

• the beginnings of a garment

and many other uses.

I recently offered 3 yard cuts when vending at a quilt show, and they were very popular! Not only did you get a 3 yard piece, you also received 2 FREE coordinating fat quarters. Many people struggle with selecting colors for a quilt so they really appreciated having some coordinating colors chosen for them.

So what do you think? Would you like to see larger cuts like this ready-to-go at your local quilt shop or a quilt show? Let me know if you like this idea. And if you do like it, you can purchase these “Buy 3 (yards) Get 2 (FQs) Free”on my website. Plus, with fabric prices around $10/yd for cottons, and $12/yd for batiks, my price of $30 for the cotton bundles (just $8.57/yd) and $35 for the batik bundles (just $10/yd) saves you money!

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Learning the IQ

The IntelliQuilter is a tablet computer mounted on top of the machine, with motors that drive the machine head around the table. Here it is at work on my first customer quilt:

It’s quite easy to use, I started a customer quilt the day after I got it! But there is still much to learn about the system, and I need to train this old brain of mine the right steps to take. So right now I’m only doing overall designs with it, until I can do those without thinking about it so much. Here are a few of the ones I did this week:

Those two are done with a pattern called Oh My Feathers from Intelligent Quilting that came with the IQ. It’s a beautiful pattern and stitches out well. I also did one with A Rose is a Rose, but I guess I didn’t get a picture of that one. But I had a sample on muslin, and two customers that dropped off quilts this week chose that pattern.

I played with one of the geometric patterns, and think this would be a fun overall design on the right quilt. But I also think just the one row would make an awesome border! I can’t wait until I let myself learn how to do borders!! 

I did give myself one challenge this week. I had a T-shirt quilt to do, and one of the shirts had a pocket on it. I thought it would be fun to leave the pocket unquilted. I wasn’t sure how to do that, so I asked on the IQ List. I had several answers on different ways to accomplish the task. The one I chose was to watch the IQ when it approached the pocket, stop it at the edge, and use the ‘Restart’ feature to start stitching again at the other side of the pocket. Since I had just one pocket to avoid, it worked great.

And the way the pattern came out, it looks like there is a hanky sticking out of the pocket LOL! (Am I showing my age? who uses hankies anymore anyway???). Here is the rest of the quilt:

You can see the pattern the best on the back:

I call it Wonky Square Spirals, I played with the Square Spiral panto in the system and purposely made it off kilter.

I am SOOOOO lovin’ my IQ!!

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