Sunday, August 16, 2015

My Snail Trail AHA Moment!

I've made snail trail quilts before, and I think they are great fun, but I hate cutting them out. I recently saw that Accuquilt came out with a snail trail die, but it only works with the new electric cutter Go BIG. Now I love my Go cutter, but if I were to upgrade my cutter, I'd buy a Studio cutter, not the Go BIG cutter. Even with all my hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder issues, I just don't find turning the handle all that difficult. If it is difficult for you, try cutting fewer layers at a time.

I was on facebook, and someone asked about the snail trail die, and one woman mentioned that she already had all the dies to make that block, so saw no reason to upgrade. I don't remember which online group it was, nor who said that. Now, I have a lot of Go dies, so it got me wondering if I had all the dies to make it. I went to the Accuquilt site and looked at the specs for the snail trail die. I'm not sure the last snail trail blocks I made were 12" blocks, but when I looked at the dimensions of everything, I realized that in finished sizes, I needed 2 dark/2 light 1.5" squares, 2 dark/2 light 3" QST, 2 dark/2 light 3" HST, 2 dark/2 light 6" QST, and 2 dark/2 light 6" HST.

When I first bought my Accuquilt Go, I also purchased the 12" block bundle with it. I've had my Go so long, that at the time, it was the only bundle available. Well, with that bundle came the 3" HST (55009), 6" HST (55001), and 6" QST (55002) dies. Later on, I had purchased the 1.5" finished squares (55022), and when the 2", 3" (55396) and 4" QST dies came out at the same time, I bought those too. So, I've had all the dies to make a snail trail for quite a while, but I had no idea!

In total, you need 5 dies if you have the Go cutter to make a 12" snail trail block, and I just gave you the numbers for the ones you needed. I did not bother listing the numbers for other dies I talked about. If you are like me and bought the 12" block bundle, you already have three of the dies you need. It's pretty easy to cut squares, so you could probably do that without a die (remember to cut 2" squares so they finish at 1.5"), and just add the 3" QST die to your block bundle and be good.

I cut enough for one block today, just to do a sample block.

It went together just fine, and will finish right at 12" in a quilt. I was just finger pressing until the block was finished, but when I get around to making a whole quilt, I will not finger press, as it stretched things just a bit, and the block doesn't lie as fat as I'd like. It's not bad, just would be better if I hadn't finger pressed and had hit it with a dry iron instead.

I had another AHA moment while I was pressing the block. Even before I had the Go dies to do this, I could have used my Easy Angle and Companion Angle rulers to make these blocks much more simply than the pattern directions. It's just that it never occurred to me these shapes were typical HST's and QST's. Every pattern I had followed had me cutting odd sized squares, cutting some in half and some into quarters. Just cutting normal sized strips and using those rulers would have made cutting out a snail trail quilt so much easier.

Now the snail trail die is off my wishlist, but the Lemoyne Star and Hunter Star dies remain drool worthy.

No more fooling around with sample blocks now, I've got quilt tops to finish. I started assembling the pineapple quilt, and I have the layout done for the extra Aussie quilt blocks from DS the Elder's last quilt. The wedding quilt I'm working on is a two block quilt, and I've got all 60 of one block done, and about 27 out of 61 of the other blocks done. I played with EQ last night, and wrote a bunch of notes on how I want to layout a couple other quilts that have finished blocks. I should have a bunch of things that actually look like something coming up quick!

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