Archive of ‘Piecing Techniques’ category

Celebration Quilt – Intro

2019 Block of the Month

By PJ Wong of PJ Designs

Join us for the 2019 quilt-along.  You’ll master piecing and quilting in the hoop.  Here’s how it will work. In each 2019 issue, you’ll find the instructions for three blocks.   You can download the block designs and precut files every month on the first of the month. In addition to the downloadable designs, you’ll find a video illustrating how to create the block files in
My Block Piecer and My Quilt Embellisher.  If you have the software programs, these videos will help you master creating and decorating your own blocks.  If you don’t have the software, you can download the files, send them to your embroidery machine and stitch the blocks.

Finished size: 37” x 46”

Embroidery Products

Embroidery machine with a 200mm x 200mm sewing field
8” x 8” Snap Hoop Monster (for Baby Lock/Brother machines only) All others, use a standard hoop

8” Monster Block Maker

No Show mesh cutaway stabilizer

Fabric glue stick

Embroidery bobbin

40 wt. polyester thread

#90/14 Quilting needle

Temporary Spray Adhesive



Plaid: ½ yd.

All Over Flowers & Scissors: 3/8 yd.

Grey Scissors: ½ yd.

All over Scissors Dots: 5/8 yd.

White Scissors: ½ yd.

Twenty-one 10” squares of a variety of fabrics

Backing: 2 1/3 yd.


All fabrics are available for purchase at

Publishing Schedule

January/February 2019 – Blocks 1, 2 and 3

March/April 2019 – Blocks 4, 5 and 6

May/June 2019 – Blocks 7, 8 and 9

July/August 2019 – Blocks 10, 11 and 12

September/October 2019 – Piecing the Quilt

November/December 2019 – Quilting the Quilt


Do I have to have My Block Piecer software to participate? 

No, all embroidery files will be provided to you at

How will I quilt the blocks? Do I need to purchase quilting

No, all block quilting is provided in the digital files. 

I have My Block Piecer software.  Are there additional instructions for creating the blocks in the software?  

Yes! You will find full-length videos for creating each block in My Block Piecer at

Are quilting designs also created in My Block Piecer? 

No, all of the quilting designs for the 2019 Quilt Along were digitized in My Quilt Embellisher. The instructions for digitizing those designs are included in the full-length videos for each block.

What size hoop do I need? 

All files are provided in 200mm x 200mm in C2S, PES, EXP, DST, JEF and VP3.

Do I have to purchase Monster Block Maker to participate in the

No, you can use a standard hoop but you will have to fill a 200mm x 200mm hoop with No Show cut-away stabilizer for each block.  Monster Block Maker economizes on stabilizer.

Can I purchase the fabric shown in the sample? 

Yes, all fabrics are available at

How do I cut my fabric patches? 

Digital files (SVG and FCM) are provided for each block for digital cutting machines.  PDF patterns are also provided to cut patches with a rotary cutter.

I’m new to piecing-in-the-hoop, can I handle this project?

Absolutely!  You’ll find step-by-step instructions with images for each step of each block. 

I’ve never quilted before; will my blocks turn out wonky?

The beauty of piecing-in-the-hoop is the digital files produce precise
patches and seams.  Just follow the instructions and your blocks will be square and sharp. 

This week, we’ll post the materials for the first three blocks.  Make sure you subscribe to this blog so you’ll when each block is posted. You will be able to watch the videos and download all embroidery files.  If you have My Block Piecer software, I encourage you to watch the videos and work through the steps to create your own embroidery files.  You’ll be so familiar with the steps, you’ll be designing your own blocks in no time!

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 7 – 9 Patch Star Sewing Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month: Block 7 – Nine-Patch Star
Sewing Instructions

Block 7, Nine Patch Star, is a three-unit block in the My Block Piecer Sampler Block of the Month. As you know, My Block Piecer splits some blocks into smaller units when a patch shares seam allowances with more than one patch. We’ll piece each of the three units in the hoop. Then the units will be removed from the hoop and sewn together on the sewing machine with ¼” seam allowance. In the software instructions for Block 7, we merged the three separate units into one embroidery design and combined the placement guides for each of the three units into the first color of the merged design.

Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop. Retrieve the merged Nine Patch Star design on the machine. Stitch color 1, the placement guides for all three units.

Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1.Stitch color 2, the tackdown. Place patch 2 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 3, the seam of patch 1 and 2.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 4, the tackdown.

Place patch 3 fabric, right side down, over patch 2, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 5, the seam of patch 2 and 3.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 6, the tackdown. Place patch 4, right side down over patch 3, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 7, the seam. Flip the patch open and stitch color 8, the tackdown.

Repeat the process on the bottom unit. Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1. Stitch color 9, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 10, the seam of patch 1 and 2.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 11, the tackdown.

Place patch 3 fabric, right side down, over patch 2, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 12, the seam of patch 2 and 3.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 13, the tackdown.

Place patch 4, right side down over patch 3, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 14, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 15, the tackdown.

Place patch 1 fabric of unit 2 (the unit in the middle) right side up over patch 1. Stitch color 16, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric of unit 2, right side down over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 17, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 18, the tackdown.

Place patch 3 fabric of unit 2, right side down over patch 2, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 19, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 20, the tackdown.

Place patch 4 fabric of unit 2, right side down over patch 3, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 21, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 22, the tackdown.

Place patch 5 fabric of unit 2, right side down over patch 4, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 23, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 24, the tackdown.

Remove the block from the hoop. Cut the units on the outer stitch line and piece the units together on the sewing machine.

Created by Nancy Stansbury


Numbered Patches in My Block Piecer

Welcome Software Saturday readers!  Recently, I was creating a Flying Geese border in My Block Piecer. I stitched 16 repeats and after the third or fourth one, I knew the patch sequence by heart. Since I’m always on a mission to find time-saving steps, I figured if I omitted stitching the actual numbers in each patch, I would save some precious time. Here’s how to do it.

Open a new file in My Block Piecer. Click on the Block Libraby icon and enter Flying Geese #7 in the box. Click the green down arrow to jump to Flying Geese #7.  Click OK.N1BL

Select the block, right mouse click and select Ungroup.  Delete both side panels. N2BL

Select the remaining patches and click on the Workflow icon and Autobuild. Click Preview.  There are 12 patches in this unit.  Click Save and close. N3BL

Copy and paste the unit to stitch two in one hooping.N5BL

Select all and Ungroup. Now click on each individual letter and delete it.N6BL

You’ll be left with everything but the numbers.N7BL

But don’t worry, when you saved the design earlier, a PDF was created with a visual guide to the block. The first image includes the numbers on each patch.N8BL

The second shows an image of the design with the numbers.N9BL

And finally, there’s an instruction sheet which guides you through each patch.N10BL

Save this edited design with a new name and use it to stitch the block. Don’t you just love this software? It gives you so much freedom when creating blocks to piece in the hoop!


Numbered Patches in My Block Piecer

Welcome Software Saturday readers!  Recently, I had a conversation with an avid My Block Piecer user. She loves this software and makes large blocks and mini blocks – really, really mini blocks!  She told me she struggles with one thing – the numbers that are stitched in each patch. On the one hand, she loves the numbers because they tell her where to place the next piece of fabric. But…sometimes she doesn’t want the number to actually stitch. She would prefer to skip the numbers when using light colored fabrics or when stitching mini blocks. Since the numbers are part of the schematic (the outlines of the patches), she can’t just skip the colors at the machine.  So here’s how to get rid of them in the software.

First, open My block Piecer and go to File, New.  Click on the Block Library icon and choose from over 1200 blocks. 4_3_9

Select your block and click OK.  4_3_10

Left mouse click and drag the cursor around the block.  4_3_11

Select the Workflow tool. 4_3_12

In the Workflow window, set the size of the hoop, click on Auto Build.  4_3_13

Click Preview. 4_3_14

Click Save and name the block.  The software automatically saves the block (stitch file) and the artwork in a folder. Open the stitch file. 4_3_15

In the color Sequence window, click on a color. You’ll see the design is grouped so right click and select Ungroup. 4_3_16

Now, move the cursor back to the design. Drag the mouse around each number and delete them one by one. 4_3_17

What remains is the block schematic – sans numbers! 4_3_18

Go to File, Save As and assign a new name to the design. Use this design to stitch and the original design to print the schematic and instructions.

Don’t you just love this software? It gives you so much freedom when creating blocks to piece in the hoop!

Resizing Quilt Blocks in My Block Piecer

It’s so simple to customize the size of the 1,200+ quilt blocks that are stored in Inspiration’s My Block Piecer’s quilt block library.  All it takes to learn this Software Saturday’s lesson is to watch a quick two-minute video. You’ll learn how to resize in the block library or on the editing screen.  Check it out! [KGVID width=”640″ height=”415″][/KGVID]

If you’re having trouble viewing the video here, you can watch it on You Tube. Just follow this link.

Nancy Zieman’s Quick Column Quilts Blog Tour

Quick_Column_Quilts_Book_Cover I always say yes to Nancy Zieman because every time I do, I learn something. So when Nancy asked me to join the Quick Column Quilt blog tour, I jumped at the chance. But quilting, hmmm, I admit I paused for a second and then thought, oh what the heck, do it! Here are my top ten tips for getting the job done.

  1. Select the quilt pattern. Thousands of quilt patterns exist so pare it down by going to a trusted source like anything designed by Nancy Zieman. Her Quick Column Quilts is a collection of very doable – and inspired – quilts. The Carefree Column Quilt jumped right at me and I’m glad it did – it was quick and easy. NZQB2
  2. Decide on fabrics. Use everything in your power to make the right fabric selection. Pay close attention to the quilt you’re duplicating making note of the light, medium and dark fabrics.  Look at other quilts for pleasing combinations or go to your quilt shop and seek their advice. Audition as many fabrics as you want; photograph the combinations, edit your choices and finally select the winning combination.  Once selected, stick with your fabric choices. Don’t sway off course; second guessing can be a huge time guzzler.
  3. Get organized.  Print or copy the instructions. As you complete each step, cross it off the how-to instructions. You’ll know right where to pick up after a break in sewing.  NZQB4
  4. Label everything. Even if you think you know how all the pieces go together, label them anyway. Life gets in the way and distractions are inevitable.
  5. Designate an area or box in your sewing room where you can store the materials for the duration of the quilt-making process. NZQB5
  6. Break apart the tasks into manageable time increments. Review the instructions and estimate how long each task will take: cutting, designing, piecing the columns, adding the sashing and so on. Make notations on the pattern to use as a guideline.  These are just guestimates as problems do occur and tasks often take longer than we think they will – at least that’s my problem!  But having an idea of the time involved will help you stay on the project because it’s easy to tackle simple steps once they are broken down.
  7. Group similar tasks together. Cut all the fabrics in one session, piece as much as possible at one time and then move to the ironing board. I cut all the fabrics and stacked then according to size with a label on top of the stack.
  8. Document the process. Once the fabrics were cut, I followed Nancy’s instructions for arranging the blocks on the design wall.  I took several photos of the designing progress as I auditioned the fabric pieces.  I reviewed the different versions on my computer and decided on my favorite. After rearranging the fabrics according to the photo, I labeled the top piece of each column.  I used the photo as a reference guide when a block or two floated out of position. NZQB3
  9. Focus during piecing.  To piece a column, I removed the pieces one at a time, starting at the bottom of the column and placing the next block on top of the stack. Once I moved to the machine, I methodically pieced that row, from the top down and then pressed the seams. Once the pieced column was returned to the design wall, I progressed to the second column.
  10. Enjoy it! Racing through the quilt making process takes all the joy out of it. Savor the fabrics as you handle them, strive for perfect ¼” seams and concentrate on how you’ll use the quilt or who will receive it. Name your quilt – after all, it’s your baby now! My quilt goes by the name of Sun Kissed.  Sunkissed

You’ll notice my quilt isn’t quilted just yet. Oh but it will be!  I have the most ingenious plan and tool for quilting Sunkissed on my embroidery machine. You’ll learn more in a future post. And be sure to visit Nancy’s blog where she will be giving away 15 grand prizes!

Blog tour stops – check out all the stops on the Quick Quilts blog tour!

09/04/14         Nancy Zieman

09/05/14         Quilt Taffy and Simple Simon & Co.

09/06/14         Diary of a Quilter  and Stitchin Jenny

09/07/14         A Woman a Day  and Craizee Corner                

09/08/14         Jina Barney DesignzLilac Lane Patterns, and Totally Stitchin’ 

09/09/14         Esch House Quilts and The Cottage Mama

09/10/14         Designs in Machine Embroidery and Pat Sloan

09/12/14         Happy Valley PrimitivesDoohikey Designs, and Quilt in a Day

09/13/14         Quilt Dad and Just Arting Around

09/14/14         Lazy Girl Designs and  Marie-Madeline Studio

09/15/14         Always Expect Moore  and Polka Dot Chair

09/16/14         Amy Lou Who Sews and Riley Blake Designs

09/17/14         Indygo Junction and Amy’s Creative Side

Here’s your assignment this week:
Visit any or all of the stops on the blog tour listed above. Comment below about your favorite quilt or technique you saw on the tour. One comment will be selected to receive a copy of Nancy’s book Quick Column Quilts – good luck!


The winner of last week assignment:
After you’ve taken advantage of the great deal from leave a comment below about the three most used items in your sewing room. One blog reader will be selected to receive a $25 gift certificate for use on the DiME website. Thanks and good luck!
Gift-CardAnd the winner is Pamela B. – “Sewing machine, serger, iron, and tool box (it is full of essentials)”

Thank goodness! There’s always more than one right way to create!

Don’t you just love how diverse our world is? We see diversity everywhere we look – even in our embroidery studios.

There is always more than one way to accomplish something in the embroidery studio. Really, the more you learn, the more options you realize you have. For instance, I love to use my embroidery machine to quilt. And I came up with a way to do it that really turns traditional techniques upside down. But the HoopSisters take a totally different approach to quilting with an embroidery machine. Who’s right? There is no right, there are just choices! There’s my Stipple method and their Embroidablock technique. And we’re not the only ones using our embroidery machines to quilt. But let’s take a look at HoopSisters technique.

You’ll start with Battilizer – a mix of stabilizer and batting. Perfect for high-stitch count designs that need a little softness built-in. Stitching on this combination gives the finished block a lush and lofty texture while the stabilizer part adds a strong foundation for the numerous stitched details in every HoopSisters quilt block.

HoopSisters blocks feature embroidery-rich designs where the thread is the star.

Fabrics are added in the hoop with a flip-and-fold method. Unlike my Stipple method where the appliqué fabrics take center stage and raw edge appliqué runs rampant.

HoopSisters flip-and-fold method

Stipple method featuring raw edge appliqué

HoopSisters techniques include a reversible piecing technique that is practically invisible while my reversible piecing technique adds to the overall quilt layout.

HoopSisters Reversible Piecing Technique:

Eileen’s Reversible Piecing Technique:

Lynda Remmers and Annie Moody (yes, they really are sisters) are giving one lucky winner a roll of Battilizer, the Twists and Turns Quilt CD and the EmbroidaBlock Trimmer by George.


If you win this fabulous bundle of prizes you too can make your own pillows!
(Or even a quilt or wall hanging!)

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us if you have a treasured quilt you made for a family member or perhaps you have a quilt your own mother made you that you have kept over the years. Tell us about the colors, the style and what makes the quilt so special. Share your quilting story with us and you could be this week’s HoopSisters winner!

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the question:

Who wants a free subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine?  Just leave a comment telling us what you’re making for holiday gifts this year.  Do you have a regular go-to gift or does everyone receive something different?

Congratulations to Sara for submitting her comment!  Her comment was randomly chosen as this week’s winner.  Her comment is below:

“I love the idea of inserting a zipper with my emb machine. Somebody is very smart to figure this one out. I love your magazine have been trying t0 get the current copy at the local book store but they have not had it the last two times I have been there, hopefully this week. I was told that it might be in the second week of Sept or later. What a disappointment I cannot wait to get it. I cannot afford to buy a subscription at this time maybe I will get one for Christmas. I plan on making my granddaughters hooded bath towels for Christmas.” – Sara

Congrats Sara!


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