My friend made this quilt and asked me to do the quilting on it. With no particular recipient and permission to quilt what I thought would look good, I decided on a semi-custom design that included a different motif in the 3 main areas of the quilt: border, background and blocks.
Here are some test motifs on my clear plexiglass. It's my go-to tool when I want to see how a design will look on the quilt.
I felt like this top "wanted" a more modern or masculine quilting motif. A lot of times if you think "modern" you'll think of designs that work for a guy's quilt. Pointy, straight lines and geometric shapes work well. As you can see, I used the 2 designs on the left side of the plexiglass.
Wavy lines with points were quilted in the background and spiral squares in the squares! You can see how I easily moved across the quilt from square to square.
Moving across the quilt can sometimes be tricky and the less stops and starts, the better. I was able to quilt the long curves in the border, then the first set of wavy points in the background, then a row of spiral squares, then the next set of wavy points and so on. I really love how this quilt turned out. Thanks, Susan, for letting me quilt your lovely creation!
Baby quilts are a great way to utilize your fabric stash. They're small, so you don't need much fabric and; depending on the pattern, they can come together quickly. For both of these quilts, I was able to use fabric from my stash and use the leftovers to piece the backing.
A baby quilt is also a great way to test out some tricky blocks or shapes, because you don't need many to complete the top.
For the Heavensent quilt, I used Julie Herman's Candy Dish pattern and her Hex N More ruler as a starting point.
I practiced my curved piecing on the Steeler's Fan quilt. I used the Quick Curve ruler by Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful and her Crazy Eights pillow pattern as a starting point.
The Steeler's Fan quilt is for a Mom who is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I googled Steelers' images and their colors and started pulling fabrics, while thinking "baby girl". Notice the football shapes in each block - ooh, clever.
Allover quilting designs are an excellent choice for baby quilts that will get a lot of wear and tear. I quilted meandering loops on Steeler's Fan and allover feathers on Heavensent. Notice the backings that were pieced using fabrics from the quilt top.
Here's a look at how these quilts started:
A baby quilt is a perfect first-time project:
Quilt On my friends!
If you've never made yeast bread, this one hour bread recipe is a great place to start.
I've made it several times - always sucessfully! And I'm not much of a cook. My husband likes it so much, I now make 2 loaves at the same time.
I thawed some veg soup and added some stuff to make it into minestrone by following a recipe I found online. The internet is a great way to find recipes that use up your leftovers or some food that's starting to get a little old. The minestrone turned out great and was delish with some of the fresh homemade bread - yum!
And last but not least, chicken and rice. It sure smelled good, but I got side tracked and let it cook too long. Oh well, you win some and lose some. But you should definitely try the bread!
Just got the quilt off the longarm and attached the binding.
Here's the full quilt after binding:
This was a block of the month quilt project at my local quilt store. Here you can see when I was deciding how to set the blocks and an image of the top before the quilting was started.
I used solid fabrics on the back so the quilting really shows - eek!
But I love how the back turned out!
Which leads to Lesson One:
I think the quilting is too much for the front; it "fights" with the piecing.
And Lesson Two:
The thread is the wrong color. It just looks dirty on the light colored batik fabrics. I used King Tut thread in Riverbank on the top and So Fine in Clay for the bobbin. Maybe a light gray or off white would have been better and then black thread in the solid black areas and in the outer border.
But the back is fun ;)
So, it's not perfect; but the quilt is done, I learned some useful stuff and I have more quilting experience. It's not about perfection, it's about the journey.
I was pleasantly surprised with the back - maybe I should hang it like this!
I made the bag shown above for Cassandra's birthday. The pattern is the Tuscany Tote and I reach for it over and over when I want to make a bag. The pattern has helpful step-by-step pictures.
I love the magnolia fabric and had some leftover, so I made a few of these cute little snap bags. This is a fast, fun pattern that uses pieces from a metal ruler in a casing to "snap" the bag shut.
The inside has a double layer of pockets.
Who is the Quilt For?
This quilt was made as a donation for an organization that helps homeless veterans. I wanted a more masculine feel for the quilting so I used pointed, linear, geometric designs instead of organic, rounded, floral designs.
Notice the zig zag quilting in the bear claws and the curved pointy design in the bear paw. Straight lines were quilted in the sashing.
This quilt could have easily been given a softer, more feminine feel by quilting a large mum design in each bear paw and feathers in the sashing.
What is the Quilt For?
I quilted half feathers in the inner border and pointed leaves in the outer border.
Once you decide who and what you quilt is for, you'll have a better idea of how to quilt it. Test the designs right on the quilt using your piece of clear plexiglass. After you've quilted a few tops, you'll start to get a better idea of which designs give the quilt a perfect finish.
Pumpkin Bundle and Old Timey are some of the first quilts that I quilted for someone else:
I had done a lot of practicing of other quilting designs, but wasn’t feeling very confident and didn’t want to mess up someone else’s top! You know how you’re about to take that first stitch and feel so nervous you think you’re gonna pass out?
So, because of the more traditional quilt design and because of my nerves(!), a medium size meander was the perfect choice. The quilting would blend in and continue the traditional scrappy feel of these quilt tops.
I call this one Old Timey because my husband loved it and it reminded him of his Grandma. I used off-white thread and Hobbs 80/20 batting.
These quilts are another example of same pattern, different fabrics like these.
Because of the fall colors, Pumpkin Bundle is my favorite of the two. I used Superior's So Fine thread in Hawk for the quilting and Hobbs 80/20 batting. If my customers don't already have a name for their quilt, I give them my own name because it helps me remember them.
To keep the meandering the same size as you move along the quilt: After quilting the first section, place your plexigass on the top and trace over your quilting. You can refer to this as you roll the quilt and keep the quilting consistent.
With all the fancy quilting, you may be discouraged because you only feel confident doing a basic meander quilting motif. But take heart, sometimes it's the PERFECT choice!
So give yourself permission to be a beginner and get comfortable meandering!
Here's a quilt I recently finished for my Sister-in-law. She asked for a quilt with red and with flowers so the beautiful red and white floral border was my starting point. I only had 1/2 yard of it, but thankfully I had a bunch of fun red and white fat quarters that matched the red in the border fabric - yay!
I decided on a pretty basic pattern and bought some solid red fabric for the sashing and binding.
I planned on an overall quilting design but added a little twist to make it interesting. Here's the basic plan drawn on my plexiglass:
I divided the quilt into diagonal sections and did a different motif in each section. The circle quilting in the sashing made it easy to stop and start each section as I rolled the quilt on the longarm.
I used chalk to divide the border into matching diagonal sections.
I got brave and used solid white for the backing! The diagonally quilted motifs show up much better on the back.
Add a label and ready for gifting!
Tablerunner and Placemats
I recently completed a few small quilted items to go with the bear paw quilt that is hanging in my living room. The "how to hang" your quilt tutorial is here. I love how everything looks. Note that a lot of additional fabrics were incorporated because I didn't have enough leftover from the quilt to have everything match. I wrote more about that dilema in this earlier post.
The light fabric in the placemats is an off-white linen and the pattern is from a magazine. The tablerunner is a quilt-as-you-go pattern from Gudrun Erla's Table Talk book.
The quilting on both these projects was done on my domestic sewing machine.
I am excited to present the completed bear paw quilt. Here's the quilt that lived here previously. VERY different, huh? It's nice to be able to change things up a bit.
Here are a few detail shots:
I love how the bright blue binding and tiny border pop and bring out the blue in the wide border.
Here's the tutorial so you can make hanging pockets for your quilts.
Fabric backing faux pas (learn from my mistakes):
Pretty feathers! In the picture above, you can see some practice is needed on these bump back feathers - tracing over previously quilted lines can be tricky. But the busy fabric on the front hides the detail and is a great place to practice new quilting designs.
Sew on a little label:
Is is perfect? no. Will it win an award? no, I almost always do cheater binding (not hand sewn). The piecing had some problems, the backing wasn't big enough and I wish I had done a different quilting design in the quilt body.
But it was fun to make, I learned a lot and it looks awesome in my living room.
I highly encourage you to begin your quilt journey!
My favorite way to express my creativity is with fabric. Join me as I share my journey with you. I hope you'll be inspired to create something too!