Archive of ‘Quilting’ category

What’s Your Favorite Flavor?

A few weeks ago, I shared some tips on digitizing circles in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro.  You can read how to digitize round circles, not oval by clicking here.  In that post, I showed a couple of tight shots of a work in progress.  Now I can show you the whole project – Stipple! Sprinkles since it’s available now with free shipping.

I had so much fun designing this quilt. It brought back many happy childhood memories. Growing up in a seashore resort, we had many ice cream choices in the summer months.  Our little 5-mile long island in South Jersey was sprinkled with ice cream stores – from the north to the south and the beach to the bay. 

My mom would fill her station wagon with whatever daughters, (there were six of us), cousins and friends were in the house. Of course, this was before, ahem, seat belts! You really could load eight or more small children in a station wagon – we survived.

She would take us to her favorite spot – Titleman’s Ice Cream – and let us order whatever our hearts desired.  To a child, it was a huge treat – the menu board offered so many choices.  And it was fun to read it aloud to the younger siblings who didn’t read yet. I can still see the yellow neon lights of the stand and Mr. Titleman’s gleaming white work pants and t-shirt.  He worked hard – making fresh ice cream every day.

Today, when I scoop ice cream, I think of those summer days. I think of the joy a scoop of ice cream can bring to a child’s face.  I also think of how sharing ice cream makes you feel. There’s something unifying about sitting across a table and enjoying a cold, creamy treat.  It’s different than sharing a meal – the formality melts away – it’s just shear pleasure. And it’s brief – it only lasts a little while.  Whether you are licking a cone or scooping a dish, ice cream brings smiles.

You can imagine the fun I had while I was digitizing this new collection.  My first thought was to make the quilt on blue fabric.  Blue is always a winner in my book but i was disappointed at the first couple of blocks.

So I switched gears and picked out some yummy fabrics for the appliques and a plain white background.  After surveying my selections, it dawned on me that I should ‘sprinkle’ color on the white background. That’s when the embroidered sprinkles were born! Adding the embroidered sprinkles to the white fabric was the key to success- it let me match my thread to my fabric colors.

Today, I’m more of a chocolate chip fan. How about you, what’s your favorite flavor? Are you a vanilla, strawberry, butter pecan or rocky road fan?  Or maybe you love gelato?  Possibly you like sherbet like I did when I was a child.  Share your favorite flavor and you could win a copy of Stipple Sprinkles!

Texture, Texture, Texture

It’s National Quilting Day so I decided to revisit some quilting designs I digitized several years ago for a shower gift for my niece.  When I looked at the one of the quilting designs on my screen, I was not very impressed. It just a bunch of jagged lines!

I wondered what I was thinking when I digitized this design.  Then I dug around to find a few photos of the quilt. 

Ahhh, I remembered how the texture was the star of the quilt.  

Those jagged lines really popped in the negative space.  I think I’m going to have to incorporate these quilting designs into a new project. Wouldn’t they look great on tree bark? What other elements would they look go on? Fire, maybe? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Design the Block, then the Quilt

Quilt blocks don’t stand alone so when designing the quilting for a block, remember the block is just part of a whole.  Use digital tools to duplicate the blocks so you can envision the whole quilt.

Open a new screen in My Quilt Embellisher.  Click on the Block icon and select Curved Blocks/Curved Blocks-Misc/ Hands All Around.  

 

The block appears on the screen. 

When designing the quilting for one block, it’s important to imagine what it will look like when multiple blocks are pieced together.  

Work on the individual block first.  Then copy your finished work to see the whole quilt. I used the Contour feature to fill the diamonds in each corner. 

The Texture tool (#144) added the pebbles in each curved patch. 

Stipple (Hilbert) filled the remaining areas. 

When I looked at the whole block, I was pleased. 

After changing the color of the stippling, I felt the shape in the center was lacking interest. 

I used the Contour tool again to create a focal point in the enter of the block. 

When viewed in a traditional layout, the quilting is quite appealing. 

The next step is to view the stitching in redraw and make any necessary changes.  Then test the block on scrap fabric -I usually stitch the design in contrasting thread on felt.  Watch for consistent stitch lengths, unnecessary color changes and registrations.  Make changes on the file and save under a new name.  Test again.  As you test, keep in mind quilting adds texture to a block and enhances the block design.  On the actual quilt, you’ll probably use a thread to blend with the fabric so the stitches will not take center stage.  It’s also important to remember to leave some space for the batting to breathe. Texture is created by crushing (with stitches) some of the batting and leave some areas open.  My Quilt Embellisher gives you all the tools you need to make stunning blocks!

 

Block of the Month: Block 3 – Four Triangles – Sewing Instruction

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month : Block 3 Four Triangles
Sewing Instructions

Block 3 is our first two-unit block in the My Block Piecer Sampler Block of the Month. My Block Piecer splits some blocks into smaller units when a patch shares seam allowances with more than one patch. The 4-Triangle block consists of four half-square triangles. We’ll piece two units of two half-square triangles in the hoop. Then the units will be removed from the hoop and sewn together on the sewing machine with ¼” seam allowance.

Hoop tear-away stabilizer and stitch color 1, the placement guide of Unit 1.

Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, in patch 1. Stitch color 2, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, align the raw edges. Stitch color 3, the seam.

Flip patch 2 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 4, the tackdown of patch 2.

Stitch color 5, the placement guide of Unit 2.

Place patch 3 fabric, right side up, over patch 3. Stitch color 6, the tackdown.

Place patch 4 fabric, right side down, over patch 3, align the raw edges. Stitch color 7, the seam.

Flip patch 4 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 8, the tackdown of patch 4.

Remove the block from the machine and hoop. Trim the block on the outside stitch line.

Cut the stabilizer, separating the two units. Examine the block and make sure you cut the units between the raw edges, not the sewn seam.

Align the center seams of the two units and insert a pin horizontally into the ditch of the seam to keep it aligned.

For additional security, pin the units together.

Sew with ¼” seam allowance on the sewing machine.

You could opt to stitch the two units together in the hoop by loading the second design, Blk3Triangle_002.

If making the larger quilt, make three more blocks and set them aside.

It’s fun to play with different layouts but it might be wise to wait until all blocks are made to finalize the layouts.

Created by Nancy Stansbury

 

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Block of the Month: Block 3 – Four Triangles – Software Instruction

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month : Block 3 Four Triangles
Software Instructions
By Nancy Stansbury


We hope you are enjoying this Block of the Month series.  As a reminder, the first Saturday of every month will feature the software lesson using My Block Piecer.  The following Wednesday will feature the sewing lesson.

  • You are free to adapt the block to a size of your preference.
  • A free trial of My Block Piecer is available if you’d like to try it before you buy it.  Note the “Save” feature is deactivated until the software is purchased.
  • Interested in learning more about My Block Piecer and other Inspirations Software?  Join us at an Inspirations Event.  Click the Events link for events near you.
  • If you’re late to the Block of the Month “party” have no fear!  Start with Block 3 or spend a little time catching up.

Let’s continue the journey of learning and creativity!


Block 3 is our first two-unit block in the My Block Piecer Sampler Block of the Month. My Block Piecer splits some blocks into smaller units when a patch shares seam allowances with more than one patch. The 4-Triangle block consists of four half-square triangles. We’ll piece two units of two half-square triangles in the hoop. Then the units will be removed from the hoop and sewn together on the sewing machine with ¼” seam allowance. Let’s get started on Block 3.

  1. Open MBP.
  2. Click on Create a New Design.
  3. If the units for the ruler on the design page show mm, Right Click on either one of the rulers on the Design Page, and Click on Inches.
  4. Right Click on either ruler again and click on Grid Settings.
    1. Check marks by:
      1. Maintain aspect ratio
      2. Snap to grid.
    2. Set horizontal spacing to 0.25.
  5. Click on the Block icon.
    1. Enter 4 Triangles in the Find box at the bottom of the window. (DO NOT CLICK THE ENTER KEY).
    2. Click on the Down green arrow.
    3. Click OK to place the block on the design page.
  6. In the Properties Window on the right side of the screen, Click on the Transform icon.

    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  7. Click on the Select icon and holding down the CTRL key, select all of the patches.
  8. Click on the Workflow icon.

    1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button. Notice the block has been split into two units.
      Click Sort numbers. Select Yes in the message box.
    3. The numbers have been sorted according to the order they will be added to the block.
    4. Click Preview. The patch is split into two units. Both units will be created in one hooping. The second hooping (if you choice to use the hoop) will piece the two units together. Click Preview again.

      1. Click Save. Name the new folder Blk3Triangle and save it the format appropriate for your machine.
      2. A window will open showing you the files that are created.
        1. Blk3Triangles_001.pes (First Hooping).
        2. Block3Triangles_002.pes (Second Hooping)
        3. Blk3Triangle_artwork.c2s. (original block)
        4. 4_Triangles_preview.pdf. (stitching instructions)
      3. Close the file window.
    5. Close the Save window.
  9. Click the Cutter icon.

    1. Seam allowance default is .25”. Normally I change this to 0.4” or 0.5”, to make it easier to place the fabric pieces no matter which output format I choose.
    2. How you are going create the fabric pieces for the block, will determine which file format (hoop) to choose for the templates.
      1. If printing templates to manually cut the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279.
      2. If using the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12” or 12 x24”.
      3. If using the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12” or 12x24”.
    3. Can Unclick Optimize Orientation if using a directional fabric (This will optimize how the pieces file on the paper).
    4. If making four blocks for the large quilt, change 1 to 4 in the Repeat field.
    5. Click Apply.
    6. Click Save.
      1. In File name enter Blk3TriangleCut.
      2. Save the file in the format appropriate for your digital cutter.
      3. The Following Files are created for the Brother Scan n Cut.

        1. Blk3TriangleCut_001_1_1. (First Fabric)
        2. Blk3TriangleCut_002_2_1 (Second Fabric)
        3. Blk3TriangleCut_preview.pdf.
      4. Close the files window.
      5. Close the Cutter window.
  10. Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  11. Load the design in your machine and have fun making this block.

 

 

 

Block of the Month: Block 2 – Nested Triangles – Sewing Instruction

Block of the Month : Block 2 Nested Triangles
Sewing Instructions

If you missed the software lesson for Block 2, click here.


 

Hoop lightweight tear-away stabilizer or polymesh cut-away. Stitch color 1, the block diagram.

Place the patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1. Stitch color 2, the tackdown.

Place the patch 2 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 1 and 2, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 3, the seam.

Flip patch 2 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 4, the tackdown of patch 2.

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

Flip patch 3 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 6, the tackdown of patch 3.

Place the patch 4 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 1 and 3, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 7, the seam.

Flip patch 4 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 8, the tackdown of patch 4.

Place the patch 5 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 2 and 5, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 9, the seam.

Flip patch 5 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 10, the tackdown of patch 5.

Remove the hoop from the machine and the fabric from the hoop. Place the edge quilter’s ruler on the outside stitch line of the block. Trim the block on all sides. If you used tear-away stabilizer, remove it from the behind the patches. If a cut-away was used it will remain in the block.

If making the larger quilt, make four blocks of Nested Triangles. Piece the blocks with ¼” seam allowance or wait until all of your blocks are complete for the final assembly.

Variations on Block 2

Created by Nancy Stansbury

 

 

Block of the Month: Block 2 – Nested Triangles – Software Instruction

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 2 Nested Triangles
Software Instructions
By Nancy Stansbury

We hope you are enjoying this Block of the Month series.  As a reminder, the first Saturday of every month will feature the software lesson using My Block Piecer.  The following Wednesday will feature the sewing lesson.

  • You are free to adapt the block to a size of your preference.
  • A free trial of My Block Piecer is available if you’d like to try it before you buy it.  Note the “Save” feature is deactivated until the software is purchased.
  • Interested in learning more about My Block Piecer and other Inspirations Software?  Join us at an Inspirations Event.  Click the Events link for events near you.

Let’s begin!


  1. Open MBP.
  2. Click on Create a New Design
  3. If the units for the ruler on the design page show mm, Right Click on either one of the rulers on the Design Page, and Click on Inches.
  4. Right Click on either ruler again and click on Grid Settings.
    1. Check marks by:
      1. Maintain aspect ratio
      2. Snap to grid.
    2. Set Horizontal spacing to 0.25.
    3. Click OK.
  5. Click on the Block icon.
    1. Enter Nested Triangles in the Find box at the bottom of the window (DO NOT CLICK THE ENTER KEY).
    2. Click on the Down green arrow.
    3. Click OK to place the block on the design page.
  6. In the Properties Window on the right side of the screen click on the Transform icon. noimage

    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  7. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the block or Click CTRL-A.
  8. Click on the Workflow icon.

    1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button
  9. Click Sort Numbers. Select Yes in the message box.

    1. The numbers have been sorted to the order you will add them to the block.
  10. Click Preview. I’ve filled in patch 1 with green for easy detection. On your file, look for the green outline. Click Save, located under Preview.

    1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name it Blk2Sew.
    2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
    3. In the File name box enter Blk2Sew.
    4. Click on the drop down menu next to Save and select the format for your machine.
    5. Click Save.
    6. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.

      1. Blk2Sew_001.pes.(stitch file for your machine)
      2. Blk2Sew _artwork.c2s. (original block)
      3. Blk2Sew _preview.pdf. (sewing instructions)
    7. Close the file window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  11. Click the Cutter icon.

    1. Seam allowance default is .25”. Normally I change this to 0.4” or 0.5”, to make it easier to place the fabric pieces no matter which cutting format I choose.
    2. How you are going to cut the fabric pieces for the block will determine which file format (hoop) to choose for the templates.
      1. If printing templates to manually cut the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279.
      2. If using the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12” or 12x24”.
      3. If using the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”.
    3. Can Unclick Optimize Orientation if using a directional fabric (This will optimize how the pieces file on the paper.
    4. If making the large quilt, change 1 to 4 in the Repeats field.
    5. Click Apply. Click Save.
    6. In the File name, enter Blk2Templates (or something similar) and select the appropriate format from the drop down menu.
  12. The software will create files for your digital cutter or PDF patterns for printing on paper.
  13. Print the templates or prepare your fabric and send the digital cutting files to your cutter.
  14. Next lesson: stitching!

My Favorite Tip for Piecing in the Hoop

Piecing blocks in the hoop is fun, easy and accurate. The first color of a piece in the hoop quilt block is a numbered outline. The outline tells you where to place the individual fabric patches and frankly, I’d be lost without it.
I learned early on to use a thread color that blends with the fabrics to avoid thread bleed-through. The outline above was stitched in black so you can see it more clearly.

I’ve tried two different stabilizers for this process. The first was fusible poly mesh, a permanent addition to the blocks. Then I tried Piece & Stitch, tear away wash away stabilizer. I liked the idea of removing it after piecing but I noticed the stitched numbered outline hindered the removal of the stabilizer. I couldn’t quite remove all of it from the seam allowance areas. Ugh.

Then a light went off – what if I stitched the outline without thread? I removed the thread from the needle and turned off the thread sensor on my machine. Then I stitched the outline sans thread. I could see the numbers and the outline and it was easy to add the fabrics in the proper order.
Now, removing the Piece & Stitch stabilizer was easy. Those small remaining fibers will dissolve once the finished quilt is laundered.

Now all my blocks are flat and the seams are crisp. Love that!

Block of the Month: Block 1 Peony – Sewing Instruction

My Block Piecer Sampler Quilt
Block of the Month : Block 1 Peony
Sewing Instructions

Tips to Keep in Mind

The first color of any My Block Piecer block is the block diagram. The diagram includes the numbers on the patches, the patches outlines and seam allowances. It’s helpful to stitch the diagram in a thread that you can see – something other than white (assuming your stabilizer is white). However, if your fabric is light-colored, the stitches could be visible through the fabric. Our photography shows the diagram in a contrasting color so you can see it clearly for instruction purposes. For this block, we used black and jewel tone fabrics so there is no worry about thread bleed-through.

A modern approach to the Block of Month Sampler includes pastel batiks and whites. A light-colored thread was selected for the diagram. It’s still visible to the user but won’t bleed through the fabrics.

We used a lightweight tear-away stabilizer that practically dissolves when washed so we won’t remove it after making the block. It’s up to you whether you want to take the time to remove the tear-away or leave it in the block. If you used a lightweight cut-away, such as poly mesh, you would not remove it.

In the software lesson for Block 1, you’ll remember that I cut my fabrics slightly larger than the standard ¼” seam allowance. That’s not mandatory but it is helpful.

The patches in the images below were cut with ¼” seam allowances. You can see how easy it is to misaligned the fabrics when working with a narrow seam allowance. In the first image, I ripped out the stitches and realigned the patch.

In the second image, I left the patch intact.

Let’s get started.

Hoop lightweight tear-away stabilizer or polymesh cut-away. Stitch color 1, the block diagram.

Place the patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1. Stitch color 2, the tackdown.

Place the patch 2 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 1 and 2, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 3, the seam.

Flip patch 2 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 4, the tackdown of patch 2.

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

Flip patch 3 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 6, the tackdown of patch 3.

Place the patch 4 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 3 and 4, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 7, the seam.

Flip patch 4 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 8, the tackdown of patch 4.

Place the patch 5 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 4 and 5, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 9, the seam.

Flip patch 5 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 10, the tackdown of patch 5.

Place the patch 6 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 1, 2, 4 and 5, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 11, the seam.

Flip patch 6 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 12, the tackdown of patch 6.

Remove the hoop from the machine and the fabric from the hoop. Place the ¼” mark of a quilter’s ruler on the outside stitch line of the block. Trim the block on all sides. If you used a tear-away stabilizer and want to remove it, do it now. If a cut-away was used, it will remain in the block.

If making the larger quilt, make four blocks of Peony #2. Piece the blocks with ¼” seam allowance or wait until all of your blocks are complete for the final assembly.

Variations of Block 1 Assembly for Large Quilt

     

     

 

 

 

My Block Piecer Sampler Quilt Block of the Month

What’s the key to learning and improving your embroidery skills?  Practice!  The My Block Piecer Sampler Quilt block of the month will help you do just that!  Learn the ins and outs to creating in-the-hoop quilt blocks with My Block Piecer, one of today’s hottest techniques. You’ll get familiar with one-unit blocks, advance to two- unit block and three-unit blocks. You’ll learn how to create in-the-hoop blocks from the block library and original artwork files. Plus you’ll create borders – perfectly proportioned without the math!

Don’t have the software?  You can download a free trial by clicking here.  You’ll enjoy a fully-functioning software with only the “Save Function” disabled.  Once you’re ready to purchase the software, visit an Inspirations Dealer to make the purchase. After you purchase, you can duplicate the quilt shown here over the next 12 months.

This block of the month series will feature two lessons every month:

Software Lesson:  First Saturday of the Month
Sewing Lesson:  To be published the following Wednesday

This block of the month sampler quilt has unlimited potential: scrappy, monochromatic, jewel tone, batiks, or ultra-modern quilt.

All blocks are a 6” finished square and the border blocks are 3” x 6” finished.  You can make one of each block or make four for a larger quilt.

Quilt Dimensions

  • Finished size: 24” x 30”
  • We opted to piece our quilt without sashing. If you plan on adding 1” wide finished sashing, you’ll need 1/3 yd. of fabric for the sashing.
  • Fabric requirements:

This is a great opportunity to use scraps or select your own palette. You could go for a bright sunny look as shown above or opt for medium and dark jewel tones.  The image below shows a 42″ x 54″ version. In this version, you’ll make four repeats of each block.  If you opt for the larger quilt, double the yardage of each fabric.

Of course, you can never go wrong with an array of blues.

Yardage calculations are based on ¼” seam allowances. We have slightly increased the amounts for each fabric to allow some wiggle room for cutting and seam allowance.

Special thanks to Nancy Stansbury for this Block of the Month Series.


My Block Piecer Sampler Quilt
Block of the Month: Block 1 Peony
Software Instructions

  1. Open MBP.
  2. Click on Create a New Design.
    noimage
  3. If the units for the ruler on the design page show mm, Right Click on either one of the rulers on the Design Page, and Click on Inches.
  4. Right Click on either ruler again and click on Grid Settings.
    1. Check marks by:
      1. Maintain aspect ratio
      2. Snap to grid.
    2. Set horizontal spacing to 0.25.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click on the Block icon. noimage
    noimage
  1. Enter Peony #2 in the Find box at the bottom of the window (DO NOT CLICK THE ENTER KEY). You’ll find Peony #2 under Foundation Blocks, Foundation Flowers. Remember to include the # sign as there are several Peony blocks in the Block Library.
  2. Click on the Down green arrow, next to the Find box.
  3. Click OK to place the block on the design page.noimage
  • In the Properties Window on the right side of the screen, click on the Transform icon. noimage
    noimage

    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  • Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block, OR Enter CTRL-A to select all of the block.
  • Click on the Workflow icon.
    noimage

    1. In the Hoop field, select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine from the drop down box.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
    3. Click on Sort numbers. Click Yes in the message box.
      noimage
    4. The numbers have been sorted according to the order you will add them to the block.
      noimage
    5. Click Preview. I’ve filled in patch 1 with green for easy detection. On your file, look for the green outline. Click Save, located under Preview.
      noimage
    6. The software will automatically create a new folder with three files: the stitch file (select the format for your machine), the artwork of the block and the stitching instructions in PDF format.
      noimage
    7. Close the file window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  • Click the Cutter icon. noimage
    noimage

    1. Seam allowance default is .25”. Normally I change this to 0.4” or 0.5”, to make it easier to place the fabric pieces no matter which output format I choose.
    2. How you are going create the fabric pieces for the block, will determine which file format (hoop) to choose for the templates.
      1. If printing templates and using them to manually cut the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279 from the Hoop field.
      2. If using the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12”.
      3. If using the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”.
      4. For digital cutting files, change the repeat from 1 to 4 if you are making the large quilt.
    3. Can Unclick Optimize Orientation if using a directional fabric (This will optimize how the pieces file on the paper.)
    4. Click Apply.
    5. Click Save.
      1. In File name enter Peony Templates.
      2. Click Save.
      3. The Following Files are created.
        1. Peony templates.pdf.
        2. Peony templates_preview.pdf.
      4. Close the files window.
      5. Close the Cutter window.
  • Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  • Load the design in your machine and have fun making this block.

 

 

 

 

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