If you’re thinking about taking up quilting as a new hobby but aren’t sure where to begin, I’ve got an easy, basic pattern that’s excellent for the complete beginner, the Checkered Baby Quilt. This quilt is a perfect starter for several reasons—it’s sewing simple squares together, there are no bias edges (when edges can stretch easily), seams nest (fit into one another stress-free) and it can be made with 5″ precuts. For the quilt top you need only two charm packs. And best of all, there’s no pattern to buy, just download my Checkered Baby Quilt tutorial. Easy, right?
I’ve made a few Checkered Baby Quilts and have given them as gifts and I’ve even made a couple for commission, so it’s definitely a classic that stays in style.
The last one I made with Lily and Loom fabric from Craftsy (remember Craftsy?) and Kona Cotton Solid Snow. I chose crosshatch quilting at 2″ apart and a solid binding.
Other reasons why this is great for a new quilter is that it’s a nice sized project suitable for experimenting with color, fabric, thread, quilting designs, etc. All of those quilting elements are part of the learning process plus it’s a lot of fun. So if it’s time to get started, why not grab a couple of charm packs and try this one out?!?
Now that summer is finally here, it’s a great time to release my Radiant pattern and spread a little sunshine. 🙂 This bright mini quilt was published in the July/August 2019 issue of Quiltmaker, so if you missed it then it’s now available for purchase in my Etsy shop.
Radiant is a fun way to create an ombré effect by using solids. You can go with bright yellows and oranges, or mix it up and choose your own personal favorite colorway.
Not only is it easy enough for beginner quilters, it’s a great skill builder. Imagine what you can do with the quilting, too—the sky’s the limit on this one!
Materials needed are a variety of oranges and yellows in fat eighth cuts, but the half sqaure triangles are small so scraps will certainly work. Radiant finishes at 15 ½” x 12 ½”.
While working on my Twinkly Stars quilt pattern a few months ago, I decided to make a crib size quilt because I think the chunky, whimsical stars make for a darling baby quilt. And since it’s so enjoyable to make, I thought I’d share some interesting things about it.
For fabrics, I chose lovely soft hues in Kona Cotton Solids using six different colors.
The neat thing about this pattern is there’s practically no waste because cut-away corners are saved and used for the sashing. That’s a win-win!
(had to share the trimmed scraps because they were pretty…)
Also, chain piecing…a definite time-saver.
And as always, after finishing a quilt it’s time to try to get good photos. Sometimes it’s easy and goes quick, and sometimes there’s the endless battle with lighting, the set up, wrinkles, winds, etc. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all and I have to try another day.
On the afternoon my husband and I photographed this quilt, it was windy. Here’s our first attempt…while this isn’t the best shot, I do love the buttercups.
Continuing on to another location, we passed a gate that would be the perfect spot IF the wind and light cooperated. Luckily they did, and I’m pleased with the photos. I considered that day an easy photography day. 🙂
Here’s a closeup look at the quilting. I chose horizontal lines with a serpentine stitch. The wavy lines give it a nice and cozy quilted look.
For the back, I used a cute flannel monkey print. It’s so fun!
This is no doubt one of my favorite makes. There are so many color options that would work great with the pattern, too. You could use red, white and blue, or one color in various shades for the stars. Or light stars with a dark background. Anything goes.
Twinkly Stars is available in 4 sizes—crib, small and large throw, and twin size. Overall it’s a quick sew, and who doesn’t love a star quilt?!?
In keeping with my goal to use fabric on hand, a few weeks ago I decided to pull all my leftover 5″ squares and make a quilt out of them. Due to the large variety of prints it was a risky move, leaving me to question if all the fabrics would blend. Nonetheless, I was determined to make it work.
I planned to make another Four Patch Charm quilt (I’d made one back in September) that required 96 five inch squares. From the pile, I had about half. Needing another 45 or so, I headed back to my stash of leftover fabric and pulled what I thought would work. That batch included fabrics from my first quilt, other quilts, various small projects, quilt backs, bindings, etc. I cut until I reached my number.
To get started, the pattern required the squares to be cut in half diagonally then sewn in pairs.
After sewing together of 96 pairs, I still wasn’t sure if everything would look OK even though I blended colors as best as possible. Then I thought, well, everyone loves scrappy, right? How could I go wrong?
To finish the blocks, I used Kona Cotton Snow (the background triangle) choosing it for a less-than-bright-white look. The next step, trimming blocks. You can see they were pretty close to the size needed, but I never skip this step. Sure, it’s time consuming but it’s always, always worth the effort. 🙂
The layout didn’t take much time, as it was one of those quilts where you move one block it messes up the colors in another area, so I left it pretty much as I laid it out initially. Once I’d gotten to this point I was happy with how the colors worked together and I liked it more than I thought I would.
I quilted a 2″ square grid to compliment the diagonal pattern, and made scrappy binding using four different fabrics found in the quilt top.
For the back, I used a pleasant blue and white hexagon fabric from Moda’s Victoria line.
At last, here’s the finished quilt! I have no plans to keep this one for myself, I hope to give it as a gift to someone, sometime.
I’d been working on this quilt for a while and after a few revisions I finally got it to where I envisioned it…and now I’m so happy to share my latest pattern, Twinkly Stars.
Twinkly Stars is a PDF downloadable pattern available for purchase in my Etsy shop.
About the pattern—it’s written for 4 different quilt sizes: crib, small throw, large throw and twin size. There’s a lot of things about this that I’m excited about, first of all, what you can do with color. I chose very vibrant colors but…
I think it would look great reversed, low volume stars with a dark background. I have my fabric pulled and plan to make a small throw using that color combo. And how about red, white and blue? Endless possibilities.
My favorite thing about this pattern is there is very little waste. And here’s why—the sashing is made from the cut away corners from the stars. I’m not one for waste so it’s a great way to use almost everything.
Twinkly Stars is good option for the beginner quilter as it offers skill building in chain piecing, using half square triangles and more. You’ll notice that the star is modern so if you like star quilts it’s definitely a fresh, new option. Also, it’s a traditionally pieced quilt, no paper piecing or templates. 🙂
I’m off to quilt the crib size quilt I made out of solids. In the mean time, I hope to see some Twinkly Stars in my near future!
My first quilt pattern of 2020, Lucky 13, is now available. This is a throw quilt that showcases two different colored blocks giving it a modern dynamic, yet the blocks are exactly the same! Add some accent squares in the sashing and you’ve got a quilt that pops. Because Lucky 13 is fat quarter friendly, you might have guessed it, you only need 13 fat quarters. 🙂 And it’s easy enough for a beginner quilter, too.
As in all my patterns, it offers easy-to-read instructions with plenty of colorful diagrams. Lucky 13 is available for purchase as a PDF download in my Etsy shop.
I had a lot of fun designing and making this pattern. If you’re a quilter that loves to play around with color placement, this would be a great one for you.
It finally happened, I finished another queen size quilt. In 2018 I made one for my daughter so 2019 was the year to make one for my son.
Since this is more than likely a one-time thing, I wanted to make it for him as per his request. To start off, I had him choose a pattern. Probably not so much fun for a young man to sit and go through quilt pattern after quilt pattern, but ultimately it was his choice. 🙂 After much searching, he decided on a pattern by Michelle Bartholomew called Picnic Play.
It’s a very modern quilt and perfect for a guy, which isn’t always easy to find in the quilting world. The pattern requires seven solid fabrics; and while the original pattern colors were a good starting point, he swapped out a few and here’s what he chose:
As far as the block construction goes, they’re kind of like an extended hourglass block, and they were a lot harder than I thought they’d be! They were relatively big too, unfinished at 14″ square.
And since the pattern was written for a throw, we had to do some math to figure out how many additional blocks I’d need to add to get it queen size. Trimming for 56 large blocks took quite a while, but what colorful trimmings.
Yet somehow and somewhere along the way I miscounted the number of blocks and ended up with a few extra. No problem—I made toss pillows.
I should mention that making these pillows wasn’t so easy, I had to extend the blocks even further to get them to 18″ square. My process for doing this is explained on my Mitered Borders on Pillows blog post.
When it came time for purchasing backing fabric, I didn’t think my son would have much interest so he told me what color he wanted and I sent him a few choices. He decided on a warm, tone on tone vertical print by Windham Fabrics, Eliana Medallion in Sunshine.
The same process happened for the quilting. I sent him three patterns and he ended up going with Knitterly #2 by Urban Elementz. I think it was a great choice!
I really enjoyed working with bright solids and it was a lot of fun to make something this modern.
So…after many months in the making, a lot of decisions, waiting forever for longarming, sending it across the country and hoping it arrived safely, and in time for Christmas, here it is!
The quilt finished at 95″ x 108″. My son is really happy with it and is enjoying its warmth. And that’s exactly why we quilt…isn’t it?
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.
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? 🙂
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.
It looks great, doesn’t it? Now that all the work is done it’s time to enjoy your 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!
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! 🙂