Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Monday, 25 November 2019

Tool Time: Amherst Point

This month, the Island Batik Ambassadors were divided into two camps:  one group would participate in a blog hop of quilts made from the new collections shipping to stores now, and the rest of us would make a quilt featuring our favourite tool.
Those who know me, can appreciate that this was no easy topic for this no-gadget gal.  Folks are shocked when I announce that I have, and use, just one ruler for all my work.  (It's a 6-1/2" x 24" Omnigrid ruler with markings for 30, 45, and 60 degree angles. If I need an angle different from these, I use the protractor from my high school days.  Seriously.)
After much thought, I singled out what has been the biggest help to me in my lengthy quilting career, and a tool I absolutely would not be without:  Electric Quilt. I have each and every version lovingly saved on a shelf by my computer.
Way back when the software was first developed, I was writing a monthly column for the now defunct Quick &Easy Quilting magazine;  my instructions were typed on my Royal typewriter and the piecing diagrams sketched with coloured pencils on graph paper.  I always marveled how editor Sandra Hatch worked her computer magic on my submissions to make them so professional looking.  When I learned that Electric Quilt existed, I mailed a cheque to the company in North Carolina and waited impatiently for over a month for the postman to arrive with the parcel. This was in 1992. It arrived on a floppy disk, which you can see on the top of this pile.  So high tech!  Shortly thereafter, I received a printer upgrade on another disk which would allow me to add an inkjet printer instead of  the then standard dot matrix.  Electric Quilt sent out newsletters periodically, featuring a little mouse and  I read them over and over to glean as much as I could.  As Electric Quilt released each new version, I would upgrade my software, to take advantage of all the new features.  I upgraded to EQ8 the day it was released. By this time, of course, it's an instant download so I no longer have to wait for the postman!  Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of my career is having a block I designed for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks included in an EQ add-on.
Electric Quilt allows me to either draw pieced blocks, or use pre-drawn blocks from their extensive database.  So, for this month's challenge, I decided to use some of my bright colours, splashed on a pure white background. I envisioned a modified, modern take on the iconic Hudson's Bay Point blanket.
The fabrics I chose were from some of the Island Batik "Foundations" lines, which they are so generous in supplying.
Normally I work with blocks, but decided to try and do something different this time. I settled on alternating coloured triangles with white, cut across the full width of the fabric. Some of Island Batik's fabrics are built into the program, Basics, Blenders, Foundations, so I was able to find most of my fabrics there.
The yellow/gold used for the centre and binding is from the Garden Party collection, so I imported images of those fabrics from the Island Batik website.  Alternately, I could have scanned my fabric and imported it to the program.  Using the actual fabric images gives me a clear idea of how my finished quilt will look.
I fussed a bit about the size of this quilt...8 complete sections looked out of proportion - too long and skinny- and 7 made it a wee bit short.  It's no fun to have ones toes cold :) I settled on removing the top and bottom white sections,leaving an angled edge, which I quite like. EQ does not print piecing instructions, but it does give you options for different construction techniques, such as rotary cutting, foundation piecing, or printing templates.  I ruled out foundation piecing right away due to the size of the pieces, and decided to try rotary cutting.  I followed the measurements it gave.

It worked fine, but was a bit slow.
I tried printing a template to see if that made things go more quickly.  It did, so that's the method I used.
This is a quilt for snuggling on the couch, so it's backed with soft, cuddly, flannel.  The pointy sections have straight line quilting, and the plain white sections have orange peel free-motioned.
It was fun to choose the thread colours from my stash, both 50 and 40 weight.
The batting is Hobbs Poly-Down, which is a soft and lofty batting.
Here's the sketch from EQ8, which you can see is very similar to the finished quilt.

After snapping the picture above, I was called away for a minute.  When I returned, there was a pronounced bump in the centre of the quilt...which meowed when I went to smooth it down.
Thank you to Island Batik, Hobbs Batting, Aurifil thread and especially to EQ8 for developing a must-have tool for quilters. In tribute to the Hudson's Bay Point, I have named this colourful quilt Amherst Point. 


  1. What a fun quilt! You certainly used your 'tool' well, Karen.......Polly thinks so too, don't you Polly? I love your header pic too.

  2. What a great post to showcase your challenge quilt! I'm pretty much gadget free, too. And I don’t EQ. I don’t really have a lot of patience on a computer. Sorry I didn’t get to see you this year!

  3. I like the simplicity of this design. And I like that there's lots of room to show off fancy quilting. I have a very old version of EQ, too! (But I don't think I use it as well as you do, Karen!)

  4. What a great design. Well done. I can't believe you only have one ruler.

  5. Wonderful quilt! Templates are often the best for our wonky angles! Love the simplicity and elegance of this one.

  6. Hi Karen! This sure is a wonderful quilt. I agree with Polly - I'd love to be snuggling underneath it myself. She's no dummy! Fabulously simple and elegant, and the fabrics really shine. ~smile~ Roseanne