Thank you so much for all of your nice comments about the quilting on the Queen Baby Quilt. I though I would share more about how I did it, so I put together some step by step illustrations that should make it very clear.
I recently took a workshop from the amazing Angela Walters and one of her biggest tips about quilting is that you need to plan how you’re going to work through the quilt in advance. This of course makes sense, but sometimes I get too impatient and just jump in. Not anymore!
I should add that my straight line quilting has improved dramatically since I started sewing on the Janome Horizon. (Full disclosure – they did sponsor me with the machine but I would recommend it regardless.) The combination of their feed system and being able to turn the pressure of my presser foot waaaay down have made it so that I don’t deal with fabric shifting like I used to. Amanda Jean did a post on this recently and the follow up post has lots of helpful ideas.
Additionally, the size of the Horizon makes it so that I can easily turn the quilt in my machine as needed. And there’s a lot of turning happening with this quilting because I turn a lot of corners. I keep my lines equidistant by just using the edge of my walking foot as the guide for each seam.
The quilting started with this basic idea.
We’ve all seen it before – the idea of making blocks into beads on a string… Pretty simple, right? But with all of that negative space, I knew that I wanted to fill it in with dense straight line quilting, so I had the idea to echo quilt this first concept.
So I started quilting!
First I sewed a line that was the beginning of the idea.
Then I worked my way out to the edge of the quilt, filling in all of the negative space. My quilt was in my machine turned 180 degrees (meaning sewing from the bottom to the top) while quilting these lines and I slowly worked my way out, so that more and more of the quilt was to the left of my machine. You can see that when a smaller section of the negative space got filled in (like between the blocks or below the bottom block) I just stopped making those turns.
Next up, it was time to fill in two of the blocks with freemotion quilting. I did this before finishing the straight lines so that I could keep the fabric smooth through the whole process. If I quilted dense lines all around the blocks, and then quilted the blocks, any extra fabric (in an ideal world there wouldn’t be any but I’ve learned this lesson the hard way) wouldn’t have anywhere to go and would bubble and ripple.
I then continued with filling in the straight lines. Because there’s so little negative space between the blocks, I knew I had to fill in the framing line around the second set of blocks now or there wouldn’t be room for it later. Lots of planning ahead!
Then I filled in all of the space between them. There was only room for a couple of complete lines (that run from the top to the bottom of the quilt) between the blocks, so I then filled in the top and bottom spaces, again echoing the pattern that the quilting lines created.
And then it was time to freemotion quilt the last two blocks!
Finally, the last framing line happened…
I echo quilted around it to the edge of the quilt…
And finished up by filling in the corners, again echoing the existing quilting pattern.
And there you have it! It is time consuming, all of these straight lines, but I think that the result is so worth it. I love that it is quilting that takes the piecing in to consideration, yet it is graphic and works to create a very modern feeling quilt.
September’s block is posted over at Sew, Mama, Sew! Triangles! How very unlike me, huh??
After a quiet week I’m back with a couple of things to mention…
My Modern Block of the Month kicks off today over at Sew, Mama, Sew! I’ll be doing a new block design and tutorial each month for the next year. Check out July’s block!
Also, I’m going to be on Pat Sloan’s radio show later today at 1:00pm PST, 4:00pm EST. We’re chatting about The Modern Quilt Guild and Block Party! Please do listen if you can!
Finally, I also did a minor blog revamp over the weekend. Click on through if you read me in a reader and you wanna check it out.
I wrote up a simple quilted pillow tutorial for Janome recently.
And now – the winner of Modern Log Cabin Quilting! Random number generator gave me number 19 out of 223 comments! So that’s Alice R. who says: “I love the tweaking of the traditional log cabin. What a beautiful book – I have book lust big time!” Congrats Alice – keep any eye out for an email from me!
And one last thing, Cate, my twin sister has her house in Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool contest and it would be so great of you if you could click on over and “favorite” her place. You have to sign in or create an account but 1) I figure a lot of you already have an Apartment Therapy sign in name and 2) if you don’t it just takes a second to create one! Thank you!! I’m pulling for her and her place is seriously so cute.
Here it is – the pattern for the placemats! It’s so simple and easy. Really – 100% a project for beginners…
You can download the PDF here.
Be sure to check back on Monday – it’s Sew, Mama, Sew’s Giveaway Day and I’ll be taking part. Hope you all have a great weekend!
I finished up this simple and fun baby girl quilt top. I’m calling it Pink Stacks!
I took some (horrid) photos as I went so I thought I’d show you how I made it. I’m hesitant to call it a tutorial as there’s so much winging it involved and I didn’t keep track of my fabric quantities…. Plus it’s super easy!
My finished quilt top is 45″ x 60″.
First, I cut out (at random) what seemed like enough rectangles of fabric that would make up my “coins.” The goal was to have enough fabric to make up two stacks of coins that, when sewed up, would each be 60″ tall.
I cut more than I thought I needed and it ended up being just enough. I knew that I wanted to include a small pop of blues so I also cut those bits of a fabric.
My rectangles vary in width from 6″ to 14″. Make sure you have some variety in widths from narrowest to widest.
Next it’s time to add the background fabric to either side of the coin fabric rectangles.
Cut out your background fabric so that when sewed onto your coin fabric, it will measure 23″ wide. I do this by sight, putting the rectangle on my cutting mat and just using the inches on the mat to know how much white to cut. Be sure to account for seam allowances. I always err on the side of cutting too much as it’s easier to trim it down than redo it!
For example, if your rectangle of coin fabric is 7″ wide by 9″ long, your background fabric should be 17″ wide x 9″ long.
Next cut the background fabric down the middle and sew the two peices of background fabric onto either side of the coin fabric rectangle.
Trim down to 23″ wide and cut into strips of varying widths. My strips varied from 2.5″ to 4.5″ wide.
Repeat this process of framing your coin fabric rectangles in background fabric and cutting it into strips until you have turned all of your coin fabric in to coins.
Using a design wall or the floor (get those cats closed in the bedroom!), arrange your coins in two columns in a fashion you like.
If you need to make new or different coins, do! I found I didn’t have enough wide ones so I made some more and added them in. Take time to make sure that the coins are arranged so that you have wider and narrower ones evenly spread around the quilt.
Finally, assemble the top by sewing together the strips into two columns, and then sewing the two columns to each other.
You have a quick and easy finished quilt top!!
A couple of questions came up about what my process of designing my latest quilt top is. The title of this post pretty much sums it up how I work. I tend to wing it quite a bit!
It started like this…
Just a few random blocks that I made with no idea about how they would all fit together. I liked them arranged this way, so I stuck with it and figured it was time to start doing some planning.
My clearly amazing photoshop skills lead me to this:
From there, I made blocks based on this arrangement, just looking at the photo as I went along. The most measuring that I did was to grab my ruler and put it up on my design wall to get a sense of the size that the block I was making should turn out. Admittedly, a couple of times I had to rip out a seam to add a bigger piece of fabric to a block that had turned out a bit small. But I’d rather do that than spend tons of time measuring and cutting specific fabric sizes. I much, much prefer to just eyeball the whole thing, while erring on the side of making each block too big. It’s so much easier to trim down a block than have to add to it! I also made sure that I overlapped the blocks, allowing for seam allowances, as I arranged them on the design wall.
I spent a lot of time stepping back and staring at the design wall (if you don’t have one yet, really, you need one! It will change quilting for you!) and deciding which colors to add to which block. I make my decisions as I sew, block by block. I love designing as I sew. It makes the sewing feel less like the labor portion of a creative process.
This is it, now all sewn together. I made a couple of changes from the plan, but mostly stuck to it. It measures 56″ x 54″. Since the goal is 80″ x 88″ I have plenty more to go…
From there a bit more planning was in order because the quilt does have to turn out a specific size after all…
Again, my astonishing photoshop skills where put to use. Then I printed out what I’d come up with and with a pencil and some markers (I’m so high tech!) I did some simple math and bit of color planning…
And now I’m just working away at making the rest of the blocks! Should be done in a few days…
Hope that you all have wonderful Mondays!
A couple of people have asked for a tutorial on the pebble quilting I’ve done.
I figured it would just be easiest if I posted a little video of me doing the quilting. Check it out!
I hope that having a visual example is helpful! I go around each “pebble” two full times and then move onto the next pebble. Sometimes I start a third time around in order to head off into the direction I’d like. At first I thought it looked a bit sloppy, but the big picture is the key with this quilting – not each individual pebble. No one will notice if a pebble or two aren’t just right.
One thing to keep in mind is to keep the size of your pebbles basically the same. Over time they can gradually grow or shrink and you want to avoid that. Unless you choose to intentionally mix it up with the pebble sizes.
Also, wind all the bobbins you can before you get started. You’re seriously going to be going through some thread!
Let me know if you have questions!