I have a quilted garden tote tutorial up over at Sew, Mama, Sew! today. Hop on over to download the PDF. I hope you like it!
A little while back, I mentioned that I’d be posting the pattern for the Sparks Baby Quilt. Here it finally is! I’ve learned that writing up patterns feels like real homework to me… no fun! But I do want to start doing it more. I feel like the more I do it, the easier it will get.
Let me preface by saying that I hope that this pattern works out for you. It’s the first quilt pattern I’ve written up and I’m generally not someone who follows patterns. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s mistakes and/or confusions. Please drop me a note or comment if you have thoughts or suggestions for changes. Also, do let me know if you make the quilt! I would love to see your results.
Ok – here’s the pattern!
The finished quilt measures 46.5″ x 60″
Blocks – all of mine are different fabrics, but that’s up to you!
- 20 3.5″ square centers
- 20 frame sides, 3.5″ x 6″
- 20 frame tops and bottoms, 8.5″ x 6″
Sashing – I used off white Kona cotton:
- 15 strips of 2.5″ x 8.5″
- 4 strips of 2.5″ x 38.5“
Border – I used off white Kona cotton:
-2 strips of 4.5″ X 48.5” for side border
-2 strips of 6.5″ x 46.5” for top and bottom border
Let’s do the easy part first.
Cut the sashing and border
15 strips of 2.5″ x 8.5″
4 strips of 2.5″ x 38.5“
2 strips of 4.5″ X 48.5” for side border
2 strips of 6.5″ x 46.5” for top and bottom border
Then, cut out the fabric for the blocks
-20 centers, 3.5″ square.
For my centers I did lots of fussy cutting. After measuring and cutting my first square, I like to then use it as a template for cutting out the rest of the centers. Some people hate templates, but I find them helpful for fussy cutting.
Using the template makes it easier for me to see which part of the fabric I want to cut out. Make sure to use the same square as the template all along, and not to trim its edges as you go. You don’t want the squares you are cutting to gradually change a bit in size.
- 20 frame sides, 3.5″ x 6″
- 20 frame tops and bottoms, 8.5″ x 6″
Next, cut the fabric for the block frames in two.
I do it randomly, but first I lay them out and do some design planning before I decide which squares will be cut which way. Here the fabric is stuck up on my (tri-colored, yes it’s just three pieces of felt!) design wall so that I see how it will all look.
There are a couple of things I consider before cutting the fabric for the frames in two. I wouldn’t want to find down the road that all of my oranges have the center in the upper right. Or all of the blocks that I want on the left edge of the quilt have centered centers. That’s wordy, but I hope you see what I mean.
Also, keep in mind that some of your blocks have a right side up (unless you didn’t fussy cut) – so you can’t flip them around later to change the position of the center.
If you aren’t comfortable cutting the frames randomly, I have broken it down like this:
8 blocks – off set top & bottom, off set sides
- Cut 8 of the 3.5″ x 6″ down to 3.5″ x 2.5″ & 3.5″ x 3.5″
- Cut 8 of 8.5″ x 6″ down to 8.5″ x 2.5″ & 8.5″ x 3.5″
When piecing these 8 blocks put:
- 2 centers in upper left
- 2 centers in lower left
- 2 centers in upper right
- 2 centers in lower right
4 blocks – off set top & bottom, centered sides:
Cut four 3.5″ x 6″ strips down to 3.5″ x 3″ and 3.5″ x 3″
Cut four 8.5″ x 6″ strips down to 8.5″ x 2.5″ and 8.5″ x 3.5″
When piecing these 4 blocks put:
2 centers higher in the block
2 centers lower in the block
4 Blocks – centered top & bottom, off set sides
Cut four of the 3″ x 6″ strips down to 3.5″ x 2.5″ and 3.5″ x 3.5″
Cut four of 8.5″ x 6″ down to 8.5″ x 3″ and 8.5″ x 3″
When piecing these four blocks put:
2 centers to the left
2 centers to the right
4 Blocks – centered top & bottom, centered sides
Cut four of the 3″ x 6″ down to 3.5″ x 3″ and 3.5″ x 3″
Cut 4 of 8.5″ x 6″ down to 8.5″ x 3″ and 8.5″ x 3″
All four of these blocks are pieced the same way.
Piece all the blocks, randomly or as indicated above.
Here are all of my pieced blocks:
Next, piece the sashing.
First attach the blocks to one another with the fifteen strips of 2.5″ x 8.5″ until they are put together in 5 rows.
Then continue by attaching all the rows to each other with the four strips of 2.5″ x 38.5“.
Finally, piece the border.
First sew on the sides, the 2 strips of 4.5″ X 48.5”.
Then sew on the top and bottom, the 2 strips of 6.5″ x 46.5”.
Congratulations! You have a finished quilt top!
From here, if you need to, check out this post for links on how to baste, quilt and bind! Hope that you enjoyed the pattern!
With my new visitors from Sew, Mama, Sew! I have been getting the same question quite a bit: How do you do that “all over squiggly” quilting? I do it on my normal little sewing machine, and you can do it too! It’s called free motion quilting – and that pattern is called stippling. I’m certainly no expert, and there’s lots of other info out there about free motion quilting, but I thought I’d type up a post, with all my thoughts and tips, to direct people to.
First off, I want to mention that it’s not that hard. I feel like before I did any free motion quilting, everything I read about it scared me off. People made it sound like it was incredibly tough to master. But it’s not. It takes practice, but beyond that, it’s something that anyone can do.
The nuts and bolts: you use a darning foot on your machine, and you put your feed dogs down. From there, practice lots on quilt sandwich scraps before diving into your first quilt top.
Other things that help:
- Always set your needle to stop in the down position so that you can stop and start as much as you need to.
-The key to even stitches is to find the balance between the speed you move the quilt and the speed of your needle.
- For me, going fast makes my stitches more even – but from what I’ve read that’s not the case for everyone.
- If you run out of thread in your bobbin in the middle of your quilt, just keep going from the same spot, making sure to sew a few locking stitches over where you left off.
- I check that the back of the quilt looks right A LOT. Tension problems often don’t show on the front.
- If you’re quilting a big quilt, having a table to your left to hold the weight of the quilt is incredibly helpful. You can see what I mean in this photo.
Beyond all that I’ve mentioned, there is an amazing flickr discussion here that gives you all the tips and tricks you could ever need. And Amanda Jean put up a GREAT video tutorial here. Both of those helped me a lot.
The other question that I’m often asked is how I organize my quilting… meaning, where on the quilt do I start and how do I work my way through the quilt. I have an incredibly tough time explaining it in words, so I did a drawing for you! Here it is:
I hope that’s clear! I don’t start in the middle as is often suggested, but this seems to work for me. The first couple of quilts I stippled would get some yucky puckering in the back but now I pin LIKE CRAZY (I mean, I think I might OVER pin!) when I’m basting and that problem has stopped.
Quilting has come to be my favorite step of quilt making. I still get a thrill every time I sew over a seam and “unite” the quilt top a bit more. I love watching it all come together. It’s so much fun!
Today part 1 of my 4 part doll quilt sew along of this little quilt is up over at Sew, Mama, Sew!
Maybe you’d like to join in? Would love it if you did! Drop me a comment if you’re sewing along – I’d love to see what you all make!
First little glimpse at progress on the commissioned coin quilt. Just the binding left to go!
I’m really no expert, but I’ve been asked by some people about the various steps of making a quilt, and as I’m completely self taught (I’ve learned everything from blogs and books!) I thought I’d put all of my favorite tutorials/posts in one place. I’ve read a lot of blogs about the process of making quilts and to me, with these specific posts, anyone can make a quilt. I’m proof of it because this is how I learned!
In terms of making the quilt top, to each their own! That’s where it’s all about taste and design. The one thing I am not is a perfectionist, so I’m not all about perfect piecing. I’ve gotten better with practice and this is a great place to read about the details, from cutting to pressing…
Sizes of different quilts and different adjustments can be found here:
For basting layers of the quilt:
For quilting there is lots to be read but I’m personally a free motion quilter. I love this discussion on flickr. It’s filled with lots of specific tips from different quilters.
And this post with a video is amazingly helpful!
Once you’ve quilted all that’s left is the binding and this is a great tutorial:
And then your quilt is all done!! I’ve made many quilts simply by following all of these directions. I’ve never had another quilter see how I do any of my work so there’s a good chance they would look on in horror at my methods, but in the end, I always end up with a pretty quilt, so I don’t worry myself too much with that! I have so much fun making my quilts and that’s what matters!