Choosing and stitching a walking foot quilting design

At last Saturday’s Beginners Course we reached the quilting stage of constructing our quilts. I demonstrated a few ideas for quilting using a walking foot eg. in-the-ditch, echoing, wavy lines… I’d had a think about how to quilt my version of the Dashing Stars quilt. In-the-ditch would work but I favoured stitching a quilting design over the patchwork to add ‘movement’, helping to take the eye roaming around the patchwork design. I considered a diagonal hatch across the quilt and considered curves, maybe echoing arcs or a swirl. Eventually I came up with stitching a large zig-zag down the centre of the quilt and then echoing the shape to either side.

Dashing Stars quilting diagram by Allison Reid
Quilting diagram. The thick black line represents the first zig-zag, the thinner green lines the lines of echo stitching and the pink dotted lines the chalk lines used to mark where the next quilting line should pivot.

Read moreChoosing and stitching a walking foot quilting design

The I-Spy Shadow Quilt and making a quilt label

I-Spy Shadow Quilt on washing line by Allison ReidLast week I was so determined to finish the I-Spy Shadow quilt that I didn’t have time to properly share some of the ins and outs and ups and downs of making this quilt. I’m taking an hour to catch my breath and to properly acquaint you with this quilt that popped up as a ‘finish’ in my previous blog post.

I hope you can see from the photo why this quilt is a ‘shadow quilt’? The regular positioning of the light and dark background fabrics gives the impression that the feature fabric squares are floating above the quilt and casting shadows. The forty-two feature fabric squares are novelty prints with images that could be used in a game of I-Spy.

I completed the top with a week to spare to my deadline but then had a bit of a hiatus, waiting to purchase some backing fabric from a local shop and a longer wait for some Quilters Dream Poly wadding to be delivered by post. I tried to make good use of this waiting time by first making a label for the quilt; secondly (once I’d been shopping) piecing the backing and attaching the label; and also making the binding.

This is how I generally make and attach quilt labels:

I-Spy Shadow quilt label by Allison Reid
Label traced onto fabric.

I use a computer to compose the label wording and print this onto plain paper. I then make use of a lightbox or a window to trace the wording onto a piece of fabric. I use a Micron fine tipped permanent marker pen.

I usually make a border for the label using some left over fabrics from the quilt top. Then I press a quarter inch seam under all around the edge and pin the label into place onto the backing fabric. I use a machine stitch – zig-zag or blanket stitch usually – and applique the label to the fabric.

I-Spy Quilt backing and label by Allison Reid

I find placing a piece of Stitch ‘n Tear on the wrong side of the backing, helps prevent the applique stitches bunching up the fabric. The Stitch ‘n Tear can be removed very easily once the applique stitching is complete.

I-Spy Quilt back of label by Allison Reid
Removing the Stitch ‘n Tear from the wrong side of the backing fabric.

The wadding arrived with three days to spare so I set-to immediately: Trimming the wadding to size and then pin basting the patchwork top, wadding and backing together. I decided to use my sewing machines walking foot to add a simple design of echoing arcs starting from the top left of the quilt. My thinking being that the arcs would be radiating out from the imaginary light source that was casting the shadows across the quilt. If you see what I mean?

I-SpyI-Spy Quilting (1) by Allison Reid

I used a Drunkards Path template and a Chaco marker to draw an arc on the quilt and then used the metal stitch guide with the walking foot to keep the spacing between the arcs at 2 inches.

I-Spy Quilting bar use by Allison Reid

All was going well until the arcs reached the middle of the quilt. Then the quilt top started to pucker and puff away from the layers beneath it.

I-Spy Quilting wrinkles by Allison Reid
Wrinkles and puckers building up across the quilt πŸ™

I took a deep breath, put the quilt back on the basting table, removed the remaining basting pins *SIGH*, re-positioned the layers, smoothing out the excess fabric and re-pinned *DOUBLE SIGH*. Tedious but worth the bother. When I resumed quilting the fabric lay much flatter and I’m happy with the final result.

I-Spy Shadow Quilt (quilting detail) by Allison Reid

I suspect the top layer puckered partly because I was quilting from one corner of the quilt right across to the other and partly because I was in a rush and didn’t position the basting pins as closely together as I would do usually. I can hear my Mum saying, ‘More haste, less speed!’

In that hiatus of waiting for backing and wadding I made a book pillow to accompany the quilt, using novelty prints and fabrics left over from making the patchwork.

I-Spy Book Pillow in the Garden by Allison Reid

So that’s the story of the I-Spy Shadow Quilt πŸ™‚ It is listed in my ETSY shopΒ along with the book pillow and I hope to publish the pattern very soon….

Linking with Connie at Free Motion by the River for the last Linky Tuesday – Connie has been hosting this friendly link-up since 2012!

Happy stitching.

Allison

PS. I’ve just come home from a meeting of Roundabout Quilters. In the show and tell slot one member shared her I-Spy quilt! πŸ˜€

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (19)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. An invitation to bring along your project(s) to a virtual sewing day and share in conversations sparked by quilty blog posts that have caught our attention over the past week. Do join in by using the comments section or using the linky button found at the bottom of this page.
Last week I said my projects were all about quilting: the Beginners Class got to pin baste their quilt sandwiches, think about quilting designs and set up their machines for their first lines of quilt stitching; and I knuckled down to quilting feather designs onto a 76″ square quilt. As expected the experience of quilting designs on such a large quilt was quite different from stitching out the designs on practice squares!
First feathers on Carrie Nation Variation by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
There was the initial euphoria of stitching feathers into a space on the quilt, stepping back and thinking, ‘Wow! They really do look like feathers!’ As the week has gone on and I’ve continued stitching my way around the quilt I’ve become less jubilant. My expectation was that with each swirl of feathers my technique would improve – I’d judge better how to fill the space, more of the feathers would be lovely teardrops rather than bulbous fingers and I wouldn’t be doing so much unpicking – agghhh! Well! Let me tell you, this week has been a lesson in managing expectations πŸ˜€

Stitching by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
I was concentrating so hard on shaping the feathers that stitch length became a little inconsistent and some of the over-stitching missed the mark…

Forming feathers by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
Some feathers look ‘squished’ and others don’t have the teardrop shape

Feather spiral by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
Uneven feather spiral.

Nevermind! I think I’m quoting Angela Walters correctly when I write ‘better finished than perfect’! I did find watching this You Tube video of Angela’s helpful – quite mesmerising watching a needle travelling across a quilt creating feathers using the ‘bump method’.
Silly to be discontented with this I know but there we are – always our own harshest critics with ridiculous expectations! Anyway, although still a work in progress this quilt, called ‘Carrie Nation Variation’ has been entered into The Festival of Quilts. So I had better carry on and finish! Ha!Ha!
I love the way the first three of this weeks blog conversations are connected:Β 
Yvonne shares a colourful quilt she’s made as part of the ‘Stash Statement’ blog tour. I love the way Yvonne includes so many bright photographs in her posts and provides details about the fabrics, threads and quilt stitching. My Pinterest boards are littered with links to Yvonne’s ‘Quilting Jet Girl’ blog. She is a great advocate and practitioner of giving back to the quilty community.
Carole is a whizz at repairing quilts. Do take a look at this blog post. She shows a technique for repairing and strengthening tears in fabrics. So clever :-O
Leanne has been repairing a quilt too. She has just finished a version of the ‘Stash Statement’ quilt that Yvonne posted about (see link above). Leanne found a small fault in the background fabric as she was quilting and came up with a really neat way of covering it and adding a little secret to the finished quilt.
Thinking of dipping into improv piecing? Alyce has been giving it a go in response to a quilt guild challenge. The improv borders she’s been adding to her mini medallion quilt are full of inspiration.
Thanks to Myra for providing this link to a quilt-as-you-go log cabin cushion tutorial. Myra’s cushion looks great and I definitely want to have a go at this technique.
Happy stitching.
Allison