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!
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!
Comparing 2 Jelly Roll Race Quilts: "Pink Lemonade" and "Army Green"
Both of these quilts use the jelly roll race pattern just like my previous post about Batik Garden. This pattern is a wonderful way to start your quilting journey. You can see how using totally different fabrics and quilting designs completely changes the mood of the quilt.
About Army Green
Army Green was made for Quilts of Valor so I wanted a very masculine type quilt. I had a jelly roll full of green and tan batiks and added some green, tan and brown fabrics for the borders and did mostly angular quilting. I used a design I call Palm Frondish in the body of the quilt, meandering triangles in the outer border, spiral boxes in the dark brown border and radio waves in the tan border.
I just love the batik leaves fabric I found for the backing; it's perfect.
About Pink Lemonade
Pink Lemonade is a very feminine quilt. I made it for Quilts Beyond Borders when they were collecting quilts for young ladies in Russia who were coming of age and had leave the orphanage. I wanted something cheery and bright; so when I saw this pink, orange and yellow jelly roll at Quilter’s Market, I knew it would be perfect for this top!
My quilting inspiration was from this book, In the Studio with Angela Walters, where she did different designs across the body of a quilt. I used chalk to mark diagonal lines on the quilt top to divide it into three sections and filled one section with scrolls, one with paisley and one with bullseye spirals in pink thread. These rounded, flowing designs add to the feminine, happy feel of the quilt.
I added a flange between the body of the quilt and the border. I love how the black makes those bright colors pop!
Where do I get my quilting ideas?
Books with quilting designs are an invaluable resource that I refer to whenever I’m looking for inspiration. I also keep a list of quilts and how I quilted them and notebooks where I doodle to test out ideas. Some designs work better on one quilt than they do on another, but the only way you learn this is by actually quilting!
Two very different looks from the same pattern!
Batik Garden Jelly Roll Race Quilt
Here's the 3rd quilt I've finished using the jelly roll race pattern. There are lots of free tutorials and videos on the web showing how to make this easy quilt. If you're just getting started quilting, this is a good pattern to start with because it doesn't involve much cutting. Jenny at Missouri Star Quilt Company has tons of great video tutorials including 3 variations of the jelly roll race.
Here you can see the quilting progress while it's on the longarm.
I used Omni thread in light sage on the top and So Fine thread in marco in the bobbin. I was inspired by the allover feathered rose design by Judy Woodworth in her book Freemotion Quilting. A lot of the prints in the jelly roll were floral so the quilted roses and leaves were a perfect match for my Batik Garden quilt.
Quilting on Busy Fabric
I love how it looks on my new sofa. Note that the quilting doesn't show much because of the busy fabrics, but it adds great texture. Practicing a new quilting design on busy fabric is a great way to try something new. If you bobble, it won't show much and you'll still have a lovely finished quilt!
Start With a Charm Pack!
Charm packs are collections of 5" x 5" squares of fabric produced by Moda Fabrics. The popularity of Charm Packs and other 5" square precuts stem from the fact they are affordable, easy to use, and a size commonly used in quilting. I got my definition from the Fat Quarter Shop. They are a great online fabric store that has a lot of fun videos, tutorials and quilt making info.
I like precuts because you don't have to decide on one fabric, you get lots of little fabrics and they all work together nicely!
Sew, Cut, Cut, Sew!
Finish Your Tablerunner
Layer the top, batting and backing, quilt it and add the binding - you're done!
I quilted my tablerunner using straight lines 1/4 inch along each side of the solid fabric and a ribbon motif in each row. You could easily do this type of quilting on your domestic sewing machine; a tablerunner is much easier to manage.
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!