Today I've decided to back up a bit and bring you a few of my first quilting projects to encourage you to get started making quilts. You don't need a longarm machine to finish a quilt; a basic sewing machine is all you need. It's definitely easier to quilt a small piece on your sewing machine so a baby quilt or lap-size quilt is the perfect starter project.
This is one of my very first quilts. The quilt top isn't pieced; it's just a really cute pre-printed panel that I bought at a quilt show. Layer the top, batting and backing fabric and start sewing designs!
I quilted squiggles, loops, triangles and even changed thread colors. I call this quilt "Is There Something To Do?" Whenever my granddaughter would visit, she'd always ask if there was something to do. All the busy kids on this quilt made me think of her!
Here's another perfect "start quilting" idea. Get some snuggly flannel with a sweet print and make it into a quilted receiving blanket.
Have some fun with quilting designs - the baby won't notice any mistakes. :) I practiced on paper first and came up with a design that looked like water and little sailboats. I named this little quiltlet "Toy Boat"
So give it a try and see if quilt making is your creative crush!
I needed to make a quilt for a co-worker's new baby boy. I only had a few pieces left of a darling focal fabric that would be super cute for a little boy, but it wasn't even enough to become a receiving blanket let alone a quilt!
After making the edges of the scraps even, I pulled some coordinating prints and started working at my design board.
You can see the blue painter's tape on the left side where I made guidelines for the desired finished quilt size.
The black sashing really makes the colors pop.
Notice all the different quilting motifs. A baby quilt is a perfect first-time project because you can play and have some fun with whimsical quilting designs.
I really am happy with how this quilt turned out. I love the colors and the quilting. I hope you'll try your hand at improvisational piecing and don't let tiny fabric bits stop you!
Get Ready for Valentines - A Wallhanging
Starting with a pre-printed panel is an excellent way to practice quilting motifs. It can also be a good beginner project. Add a few borders around the panel and you've got a wonderful wall hanging. They're also super cute!
The wall hanging above is just the panel with no additional borders added. I wanted to try McTavishing and this was a great piece to do some practice quilting. Just add your batting and backing and get busy quilting.
Here's my version of McTavishing:
I also wanted to try quilting some pebbles and microstippling.
Add a hanging sleeve or rod pockets and you're ready to decorate.
Here's a beautiful throw size quilt I made for my MIL for Christmas.
My local quilt store was selling the kit. I loved the fabric and thought it would be perfect for my MIL. The center is a pre-printed panel and the striped inner border is actually a flange.
I finally felt confident enough to quilt it with a scrollwork design. It reminds me of snow flurries and is perfect for this Christmas quilt.
The scrollwork design can be tricky because it's hard to quilt over the same line you just quilted, but I am getting better. Yay!
If you follow my instagram, I gave a sneaky peak of it in process back in November.
This is the beautiful Christmas tree skirt that Fran made for her daughter's 12 foot tree!
From point to point, it measures 83" by 83". We used Fran's gold Isacord thread on the top and So Fine thread in mustard in the bobbin. This is the first time I've used Isacord on the longarm and it worked beautifully.
These were the 3 preliminary sketches for quilting. Fran chose the design on the right.
I actually quilted it in September so she had plenty of time to bind it and add the opening to wrap around the base of the tree.
Just off the longarm and ready to trim the batting and backing.
Isn't that beautiful?! Thanks to Fran for this wonderful quilting opportunity!
Got inspired to make a christmas quilt using these beautiful 2 1/2" strips that I bought last (?) year.
Next I had to decide what pattern to use. Didn't want to do another jelly roll race quilt and thought a French braid quilt would be a good use of the precut strips.
Here is the layout on my design board.
One braid partially done. I am loving how this looks!
One light to dark braid completed.
I finished the dark to light braid today. This will be the middle braid.
The center blocks are this beautiful leaf print that has silver outlines.
The small squares are moda's red grunge fabric by basic grey. The grunge prints are great blenders.
I love it when I happen to have fabrics in my stash that work together to make a gorgeous quilt! Most of the prints in the jingle pop have metallic silver accents so this quilt will be called Christmas Shimmer. So pretty!
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!
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!