Puffy borders, ‘seamless’ joins and undulating lines

Last weekend I shared the three projects that were ‘live’ in my sewing room. Progress has been made on two πŸ™‚

First up is the Winnie-the-Pooh baby quilt panel. I’d already quilted around the printed patchwork blocks – pseudo in-the-ditch. Since the weekend I’ve made the binding – four 2ΒΌ” width of fabric strips were just enough :-). Before attaching the binding I thought it would be best to flatten down the ruffled fabric of the printed borders.

I could have done some quilting but the aim of this project was to ‘keep it simple’ so I opted to stay-stitch about 1/8th inch in from the marked edges. I figured anchoring down the puffiness would reduce the risk of the excess fabric being pushed to the corners when the binding was being stitched in place. This would have created edges that wouldn’t lie flat and distorted the rectangular shape of the quilt.

I increased the machine stitch length from 2 to 5 and began stitching from the corners to the mid-point of each edge.

Midpoint of the bottom edge. Stay stitching started from the corners meets in the middle, creating a pucker or two…

At the midpoint I stopped stitching, broke threads and went onto the next corner, stitching down to the mid-point and stopping again. This shifted the excess fabric to the centre of each edge rather than pushing it out to the corners. A few puckers were created but I figured these were a reasonable compromise in the pursuit of keeping the whole quilt flat and with 90Β° corners.

Once the stay-stitches were in place I trimmed away the excess backing and wadding before attaching the binding to the front of the quilt.Β  As for puckers and pleats I’m pleased to say there are so few I’m pretty sure they will fly under the radar of the Quilt Police! πŸ˜‰ I’m looking forward to hand stitching the binding to the back of this little quilt.

On to project number 2the Quilters Color Quest scrappy Bear Tracks quilt. First job was to ‘re-size’ the backing fabric. The fabric was much longer than the quilt top but not as wide. I decided to cut it in half across the fabric width and stitch two long edges together. The tricky bit was stitching the two pieces together so the diagonal stripe pattern appeared unbroken. Two attempts, a bit of fiddling and lots of pins produced a happy result!

Really close inspection would show the little patterns within the stripes not quite matching but over all the stripes look unbroken πŸ™‚

I pin basted the Bear Tracks quilt yesterday afternoon. It took me a while to come up with a quilting design. I decided the Bear Track blocks would be difficult to stitch around or integrate into a design, better to go for an all over design that doesn’t relate directly to the blocks. I thought about straight parallel lines (a bit like tracks?) or a grid, finally coming up with a wavy line grid. I used a Hera Marker to ‘draw’ two intersecting undulating lines (don’t you just love the word ‘undulating’? I think Miranda Hart would enjoy playing with that word!). Once I’d stitched over the indents made by the Hera Marker (using Yvonne’s tip of directing light from the side to create a shadow) I fixed the line guide to my walking foot and made a start echo stitching the curvy lines.

My echos are two inches apart – I could be quilting for some time… So far, so good.

Linking with Susan for Midweek Makers.


Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (220)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Bring along your project(s) and enjoy sharing in the virtual realm of our Worldwide Quilting Community. Do add your thoughts and links in the comments box at the end of this post. Thank you!

Here in the South of England we are over our heatwave and we are now stuck with low cloud trapping all the moisture left by several hefty thunderstorms. Although the humidity is high, air temperatures are much more bearable. The difficult weather conditions have made it a testing week for quilt photography. I apologise for the variations in the colours and the graininess of my photos in this post, hoping you will bear with me πŸ™‚

Earlier this week I shared my decisions re. a potentially large UFO. Following on from the encouraging comments left on my Facebook and Instagram feeds I forged ahead with a plan to utilise the thirty-five blocks, making several quilts rather than one large one which would have been too big for me to comfortably quilt. By the end of the week I had used thirty two of the blocks, making three quilt tops and one bed runner!

I feel really pleased to have used just about every inch of the feature fabrics – both left overs and picking pieces out of the remaining three blocks. I now have the dilemma of how to quilt my four new WIPs (I really hope I haven’t created four UFOs out of a single UFO! Eeekkk!) I had thought about adding Dresden Plates to the open areas of background fabric but none of my stash fabrics sit happily with the feature fabrics so I’m set on stitching out some sort of design into those spaces. I have a 10″ stencil that fits nicely. The pattern is a continuous line so I may be able to machine stitch it…

Next issue: How to mark the stencil pattern onto the white-on-white fabric? I gathered my marking tools together and did a fabric test.

Top: Clover Chaco Marker. Bottom: Water Erasable Pen – Medium Tip; Pilot Frixion Ball pen; EZ Quilting, Erasable Pencil.

I left the marks for about three hours before attempting to remove each one as per instructions.

The easiest to remove was the Frixion pen (using a hot, dry iron); the Water Erasable Pen mark could be removed very effectively too but it did involve making the fabric very damp/wet; the grey Chaco marker rubbed away but left a trace (I tried dampening the fabric later and the chalk did disappear); the mark left by the erasable pencil was impossible to remove – I ended up with a yellow smudge, although, in it’s defense, I must point out that the pencil is a few years old so the rubber eraser has gone a bit hard.

Despite the results of my fabric test I’m still a bit nervous of using the dark blue Frixion pen on my white fabric. Watching a review of Frixion Pens by Kim of Chatterbox Quilts has got me a bit more reassured. But I guess I would have to use a wadding with no polyester or scrim if I were to use a hot iron to remove the pen lines after quilting? I’d be interested to learn of other quilter’s experiences with any of these marking tools. Marking fabrics certainly is a thorny issue.

Time for some links into our Worldwide Quilting Community, happy clicking!:

Patty has been making improv curve pieced blocks for a collaborative quilt. She has shared a tutorial showing her method for making ‘Stacked Improv Curves’.

Can you relate to Carole who is having a downer on social distancing and the impact it’s having on motivation and creativity? She suggests switching our mind set from ‘social distancing’ to being ‘distantly social’.

Leanne has just launched a new pattern called, ‘Level Up’. She has used the debut fabric line, ‘Create’, by Kristy Lea to make her sample quilt. The colours are bright rainbow hues with white and navy blue as background.

It’s always handy to have some fabric in reserve. Cynthia shares her ‘protocol’ for purchasing fabrics to add to her stash – particularly fabrics to use as quilt backings, background fabrics and bindings. Building a stash was also the subject of Rachel Hauser’s Quilter’s Color Quest blog post earlier this month. Both Cynthia and Rachel’s posts are well worth a read πŸ™‚

Linking with Alycia for Finished of Not Friday – Alycia has been pattern testing for Myra of Busy Hands Quilts and share her blue and white finish.

Happy Stitching!


First time using a Hera Marker

I always find marking stitching lines on a quilt a bit problematic: Will the marker stain the fabric?; or, what if the marks disappear whilst I’m squishing the quilt through the sewing machine throat? Some time ago I wrote about the pros and cons of the various markers I’ve tried.

Read more

Free Motion Quilting – issues of scale and contentment

Well! I’ve made a start free motion quilting my Scrappy Trip Along quilt. I can’t say it’s been plain sailing! Never mind, I’m doing it!

Scrappy Trip Along top with borders by Allison Reid
Scrappy Trip Along quilt top.

I’ve found one of the issues I have with fmq is creating the ‘right’ scale. Ideally I want to achieve a fairly open quilting pattern so the finished quilt will feel soft and drape easily. However I end up with stitching lines closer together than I intend. I think there are two factors playing against my intentions (in addition to lack of skill!):

  1. I’m concentrating on the small section of quilt under the machine foot and bordered by the span of my fairly small hands.
  2. Any lines of stitching behind the needle are obscured by the machine foot and the body of the sewing machine so I sometimes mis-judge how close I am stitching to previous stitching.

The quilters view by Allison Reid

Here is the first feathered swirl I stitched. It measures a much smaller than intended, 6″ long by 5″ wide:

Scrappy Trip Along small feathered swirl by Allison Reid

My second feathered swirls measures a much more satisfactory 13″ long by 9″ wide:

Scrappy Trip Along large feathered swirl by Allison Reid

The second is larger because I drew the curved spine of the feathered swirl onto the quilt using a Chaco marker. I found this simple measure a great help in stitching out a larger, more open, relaxed motif. Not perfect by any means but much nearer to what I’d set out to achieve.

Serendipity and all that….Β  Teri of TerifiCreations shared a short, encouraging video clip by Angela Walters’ entitled ‘Three Things Quilters Shouldn’t Do‘. It spoke to me at just the right time πŸ™‚ encouraging me to stop doing these things and start enjoying the quilting I am doing!

Finally: A shout out for what a wonderful bunch of people there are inhabiting the Worldwide Quilting Community. This morning I was so fortunate to have Jo Westfoot aka ‘The Crafty Nomad’ come visit me at home to, in typically generous fashion, share her knowledge of the Electric Quilt software. Thanks to Jo I’m now much closer to publishing my first foundation paper pieced pattern πŸ™‚ Her kindness didn’t stop there though! With her encouragement and practical experience I have for the first time submitted a quilt pattern to a magazine! How exciting! As my boys would say, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained!’

Check out Jo’s website, gorgeous patterns, subscription groups and workshops here and let’s keep being thankful for the lovely community built around the craft of patchwork quilting.

I’m off to enjoy some more free motion quilting πŸ™‚

Joining in with Moving it Forward Monday over at Em’s Scrapbag and with Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt.