modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

A Quilt On Hand

Giving away quilts is half the fun, isn’t it? I’ve purposely made most of the quilts I’ve given as gifts, but I got to thinking recently…what if I need one for a gift and I don’t have time to make it? This, of course, set my mind reeling so naturally I had to make a quilt ‘just in case’ because you never know!

My first thought was it has to be a quilt that would work for any occasion and anybody (I might have messed up the ‘anybody’ part after putting a floral backing on 🙂 ). Anyway…a pleasing pattern in a nice throw size would do. I always wanted to make an Around the World type quilt so I decided on the Four Patch Charm pattern by Kathy Schwartz that finishes 63″ x 69″.

I’m still sewing with fabric I have on hand, and luckily I had enough golds and yellows in my stash for this project. I used 16 different prints to avoid too often of a repeat. I also had approximate one yard sections of solids for the background so I blended three different colors, Kona Bone, Kona Snow and Bella Wheat. I placed them in symmetrically so mixing the colors worked.

I liked that this pattern introduced me to a new block, and it helped me to overcome my fear of bias edges.

half quarter square triangle

Everything went together relatively fast, and the layout was a lot of fun even though I had to do so on the floor.

Also in keeping with using only what I had, I made scrappy binding.

I thought quilting a grid would balance out the triangular points nicely, so I used my hera marker and quilted lines every two inches.

And there you have it, a finished Four Patch Charm quilt ready for a new home!

I’d love to make this quilt in every color…couldn’t you see it? 🙂

how to, quilt binding, quilting, Quilting 101, quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Machine Bind Your Quilt

You’ve finished your quilt and it’s time to add the binding. If you’re new to quilting or just want to try a different way to machine bind, I’ve got you covered. This tutorial will take you through the whole process, step-by-step.

Since I tend to make several quilts a year, I’m left with the decision whether to bind them by hand or by machine. Typically, I base my decision on how the quilt is going to get used. For example, if I’m making a baby quilt and I know it’s going to get laundered a lot, I’ll machine bind it. If I’m making a quilt that’s not going to get used much, such as a holiday quilt, I’ll sew my binding on by hand. I do enjoy taking the time for hand sewing and I love a hand-stitched look.

But, if hand sewing’s not for you or you simply don’t have the time, this tutorial will show you what you need to know. I should mention that this is only one way to machine bind; there are other methods available.

The first step is to attach the binding to the front of the quilt once it’s trimmed. To begin, place the binding on the quilt top aligning the raw edges. Mark where you will begin sewing, leaving an 8-10″ tail.

I usually start at the center of the bottom edge. It doesn’t really matter what edge you begin with, but make sure you start near the middle to allow yourself enough room to work when finishing off the binding. TIP: Don’t start in a corner. 🙂

Since a 1/4″ seam allowance is required, I like to use my 1/4″ foot because of its consistency and accuracy. If you use a 1/4″ foot, make sure to set your needle to the correct seam allowance before starting. Other options are to use your favorite foot and follow a guide; it’s up to you.

Once you’re set up, begin sewing by taking a few stitches then backstitch to secure the binding in place.

Continue sewing until you reach approximately 1/4″ from the side’s end. Stop. Leaving your needle down, lift your foot and pivot the quilt corner so you can sew on an angle toward the point. Sew to the point, stop and cut the thread.

Next, fold a tuck in the binding, lining up the top edge flush with the quilt edge, also aligning the side.

Begin sewing at the tucked end and continue along the entire side. Stop 1/4″ away from the side’s end, as above, repeating the same process each time you get to a corner.

By doing this, you’ll have nicely mitered edges when your binding is finished. 🙂

When all three sides are complete and you are nearing the beginning tail, stop sewing about 8-10″ from the end. Cut the threads and take your quilt out of your machine. Place the beginning/ending area of the binding on a flat surface.

Stretch out the beginning tail, overlapping the end tail on top. This is where you’ll finish off the binding by joining the beginning and end.

It’s time to do some measuring. From the end of the beginning tail, measure 2 ½” onto the end tail. Mark a line. The rule of thumb is to measure the overlap as wide as your binding. For example, my binding is 2 ½” wide so I marked at 2 ½” on the end binding strip. If you made your binding 2 ¼” wide, then mark at 2 ¼”. It will look like this…

Cut on the marked line.

The next step is to sew the two ends together using the same method as making binding. First, flatten out both ends. Place the left hand end over the right hand end, forming a cross. Leave about 1/8″ overhang at each end.

On the top binding strip, draw a diagonal line from the TOP RIGHT corner to the LOWER LEFT corner, as shown below. Pin. Sew on the line.

Next, trim 1/4″ away from line and press the seam open (finger pressing works fine).

Flatten out the binding and it should fit perfectly!

To finish, start sewing where you left off and continue until you meet the beginning stitches. Congratulations, your binding is now attached!

To keep everything neat, trim the threads around the entire quilt. Once they’re trimmed, fold the binding over to the back and clip in place.

The last step is to sew down the binding…but before doing so I always run a single-thread basting stitch, removing the clips as I go.

Sure, it’s an extra step but I find it’s much easier to have the binding secured in place rather than trying to sew it down while removing clips. You can choose to skip this step, but it does give a nice, even finish that’s well worth the extra time. 🙂 TIP: Use inexpensive thread as it’s going to get discarded.

Once the binding is basted, it’s time to sew it down by machine. I use my ditch quilting foot, also known as a Stitch-in-the-Ditch foot, because I get accurate results and it works great!

Before sewing, you’ll have to decide on thread color first. This can be tricky; if the binding is a different color than the border, you have to chose thread to match either the border or the binding. Since the stitches will be seen on the front, I don’t want them the same color as the binding and vise versa. So, as unconventional as it may seem, I’ll use two different thread colors. Odd, right? But it does solve the problem! I’ll use one thread to match the border and the other (my bobbin) to match the binding. Once the thread’s decided, it’s time to sew.

Starting at the bottom (where you initially began), line up your guide with the binding seam or the ditch. The needle will be about a needle’s width away allowing the stitches to catch the binding on the back nice and close to the edge.

Sew all the way around until you come back to the beginning. And you’re done! Don’t forget to remove your basting stitches.

front of quilt binding
back of quilt binding

It looks great, doesn’t it? Now that all the work is done it’s time to enjoy your quilt!

fall decor, modern quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

My Maple Charm Quilt

My Maple Charm quilt is finished just in time for fall, and it’s been a long time coming since I cut fabric in March 2018 and made blocks in February 2019. Shortly after that, we sold our house and moved 1,200 north where everything was nicely packed away for another time. In late summer I put the quilt top together hoping to have it done in October—mission accomplished!

Most of my quilt is made from Moda’s Chestnut Street collection by Fig Tree and Co., a bundle I purchased in October 2017!

There’s also some Farmhouse fabric included as I had a charm pack from a few years ago (back when fabric stores would sell them as a daily deal for $2, remember that?!?) I only used natural leaf colors from the bundle and I added some Dear Stella Mini Dot fabric as needed.

I chose Kona Cotton Cream for the background to give the quilt a nice, warm feeling. And of course I love to save on cutting time by using my Stripology ruler.

Since selling my house, I no longer have a design wall so I have to use the floor for laying out my quilt tops. 😦

Because I had all the blocks made and the sashing strips cut before moving, sewing together the quilt top went pretty fast.

But, it wasn’t without issues…when I set out to make this quilt I didn’t plan on a border. I don’t really like borders on quilts; I just don’t feel they’re necessary (even if they’re written in the pattern). As an exception, I thought this particular quilt would look better with one, so I decided to add it. Since I didn’t purchase border fabric in the beginning, and so much time had passed since the fabric line came out, finding something I liked and available was quite a challenge! I ended up going with a red polka dot border and a solid red binding, both from Fig Tree’s Farmhouse II collection.

For the back, I used a leaf print in mustard from Moda’s Valley collection by A Quilting Life. I bought yardage on sale ages ago when I planned to make this quilt. I think it’s a perfect fit, I just love that fabric!

And after many, many months—my finished quilt!

Pattern by Coriander Quilts – Quilted in Whirlpool

I’m really happy with this fall quilt and plan to display it on my quilt ladder through Thanksgiving. After all that time it is finally finished! 🙂

modern quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Breaking the Bias Edge Bias

I admit, I fear the bias edge. I’m not sure why really, I never had that terrible of an experience with bias edges. I guess I’m mostly afraid that something terrible is going to happen and because of that, I go out of my way to avoid them. Well, no more.

A recent quilt pattern I’ve been working on instructs you on the usual steps when making a HST—draw a diagonal line then sew ¼” from the line. Since the blocks in this quilt are multi-colored quarter square triangles, I was having a hard time getting my points aligned, so I figured I’d have better luck if I cut on the diagonal line, then sewed. I knew I’d be dealing with bias edges but I gave it a try and guess what? Not only did I have greater accuracy, it was actually easier. I fear the bias edge no longer! (I also had to remind myself that as an experienced quilter such avoidance/fear is kind of irrational). 🙂

Fast forward to my newest project that’s made up of half quarter square triangle units. It’s called Four Patch Charm and it’s similar to an Around the World quilt. I opted for this one because of the funky border and offset center and it’s forcing me to make bias edged units.

I’m continuing to make quilts with fabric I already have, and I chose a variety of golden yellows/oranges for this one. After cutting fabrics, I set to chain piecing (bias edges were present) and within 35 minutes I had 96 triangle pairs sewn.

The next step, pressing seams open…

then attaching the large half square to complete the unit. Lastly, press and trim.

No problem! Quilters know to handle bias edges gently, and to ensure that I handled them by the seams and put them on a ruler to move them from my pressing board to my sewing desk. I’m happy to say that no stretching or misshaping has occurred; I’m pretty confident everything will go together smoothly.

Now that I’ve tried a few different techniques, I won’t think twice about projects that require bias edges. If you’re like me and have avoided them, don’t! They’re not nearly as scary as you think.

modern quilts, patterns, PDF pattern, quilt binding, quilt blocks, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Five Squared Quilt

Looking for a colorful quilt that’s easy to make and designed to bust your stash? Give my Five Squared quilt a try! It’s a great way to use your scraps and it’s precut friendly. The PDF pattern is available for purchase at my Etsy shop.

Five Squared is geared for using what you’ve got on hand, and it’s an excellent choice for beginners. I realize a beginner quilter might not have that many scraps, but don’t worry, you can use 5 charm packs instead. And remember, with scrappy quilts, anything goes…

Because I like a controlled scrappy look, I decided to make mine using color-coordinated blocks with as many different colorways as my fabric would allow. I used only what I had, I bought nothing new (with the exception of the backing).

preliminary sorting of my precuts

That said, I went through all my fabric and ended up with 14 different colorways: red, pink, coral, taupe, gray, aqua, teal, orange, dark blue, purple, beige, yellow, green and low volume. Ideally, 2 of 15 different colored blocks would balance out the quilt equally, but I improvised and made 4 low volume blocks instead.

While I wish I could take all my quilts to be professionally quilted, it’s not in the budget so often times I do the quilting myself. It’s certainly not my favorite part of the quilting process but once I get going I don’t mind it all that much.

I quilted mine with serpentine stitched lines approximately 7/8″ apart, marked with a hera marker. I used Aurifil 50wt thread 2026, Chalk.

Here’s something interesting…while i was working on my quilt I did a story on Instagram asking quilters if they, at some point while quilting, unpin and repress their quilt. I was curious because I do when I’m nearing the right-hand side edge, and here’s why. At that point I’ve had the quilt rolled up pretty tight to fit through the throat of my machine, and it’s rather wrinkled. When I get to that section, I feel that taking extra time to press and repin gives me a smoother, flatter finish. Do other quilters do this I wondered? Here’s what they said…

Overwhelmingly no! I was surprised not many people did. Who knew? Guess I’m in the minority on that one.

Anyway…for the backing I purchased Dear Stella Fabrics Flockstar Blush because it had every color in it that I used on the front. I absolutely love this fabric!

And it blended lovely with Moda’s Rainy Day! Umbrella Pink that I used for the binding, which I also had on hand, left over from when my Boxed Candy Toss Quilt was featured on the Moda Bake Shop.

Here’s my finished Five Squared quilt.

Not that I’m wishing away summer by any stretch but I am looking forward to cooler weather so I can finally use this beauty!

modern quilts, patterns, PDF pattern, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Diamond Jubilee Quilt Pattern (A Throw Size Quilt)

It’s Monday morning and it’s time for a pattern release! My Diamond Jubilee quilt is now available for purchase as a PDF download at my Etsy shop.

This modern quilt is throw size, measures 56″ x 72″ and it’s 2 ½” precut strip friendly. The pattern is made up of two distinct blocks, a scrappy star block and a diamond block, set in an alternate layout. And, it’s easy enough for a confident beginner quilter.

Fabric: Bright Blooms by Artisan Batiks for Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Quilting: Random Curved Squares

Looking to showcase some bright fabric? Download your copy of Diamond Jubilee, have some fun sewing and celebrate an explosion of color!

If you’re on Instagram, share your project #diamondjubileequilt—I’d love to see what you create.

home decor, mini quilts, modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Tiny Crab Mini Quilt

Every year for Christmas I make my family members something handmade. Sometimes it’s a quilt, sometimes it’s something as simple as a pillowcase. I like to start my holiday sewing early after learning my lesson two years ago when I was finishing gifts at the last minute due to a late start.

Last year I made my daughter a quilt for her bed so this year I planned to make something quite a bit smaller. Since she loves whimsical crabs, I’d been looking for a cute pattern and recently found one by EIlis and Higgs, bought it upon release and started immediately!

The pattern offers two sizes: 6″ square and 12″ square. She wanted the larger one but I thought I’d practice by making the smaller one. I decided on a blue crab and after searching through my scraps I chose two prints from Allison Glass’s Sun Print collection. To set off the vibrant blues, I used a white background.

I’ve got to say—this pattern was so fun! I enjoyed it so much that I made three more crabs and created a little mini quilt for my sewing room door.

A few things to mention about the process—first of all, the fabric pieces are really small, some as small as 1″ x 1″ square and some were as skinny as ¾” wide.

Working with pieces this tiny along with striving to get everything to line up challenged me and I enjoyed the challenge! 🙂

But in all that fun there were a few bumps along the way…for example, when working with such little pieces and keeping them labeled, things got a little heated…

I found my alphabittie melted to my iron! Dang. After that I was a lot more careful. If you make this or any project with small pieces, I have a few recommendations:

I also found that trimming units after sewing made assemby go easier. The pattern gives sizes each sewn unit should measure and having trimmed pieces helps when lining everything up. Plus it eliminates annoying threads along the edges.

I made three tiny crabs using primary colors and green for the fourth. I added a 1 ½” border and my finished mini measures 15 ½” square. I chose a horizontal serpentine stitch for quilting to represent ocean waves. Every time I walk past my sewing room door I smile at their cuteness!

This little project was a great scrap buster, too. While going through my fabric I decided I have too much so I’m now making a controlled scrappy quilt using 2 ½” squares in every variety of color I own. And as far as the Christmas crab mini goes, I can’t post it until after it’s gifted!