how to, quilting, Quilting 101, sewing, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Piece Quilt Batting

If you’ve been quilting for a while I bet you’ve accumulated quite a bit of cutaway batting—I have a fair amount myself. For me, I needed to stash down and use what I had plus I’ve found it difficult to purchase any batting because it’s either sold out or on backorder.

Since I had a couple patterns in the works, it was a good time to do some quilt batting piecing so I could finish my projects. First up was a throw quilt that will finish 56″ x 72″.

To get started, I gathered cutaway strips from other quilts I’d made. I had three strips that were long enough and once sewn together, the whole piece would be wide enough. Because the strips were uneven in length, I cut them all to an even and approximate length of what I’d need. I then was ready to get sewing.

Here’s what I did, and if you decide to piece batting too, this is what you’ll need to know. I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you as you go along.

Before you start sewing:

  1. Set up good lighting.
  2. Match the thread to the batting as close as possible.
  3. Cut fresh, straight edges using a ruler and rotary cutter. Make sure the same sides of the batting are up.
  4. To insure seams stay secure, use a zigzag stitch. I sew on a Janome Skyline S7 and this is the setting I used. Whatever you can set close to this should work fine.
  5. Choose the proper foot for your machine.
  6. Try a sample first to ensure your stitch length is set appropriately.

Once you get started:

  1. Sew slowly making sure both sides of the batting pieces are caught by the zigzag stitch. Going fast will make batting bunch.
  2. Use quilting gloves for a better grip (batting can be slippery).
Finished pieced quilt batting

Once finished and before use:

  1. If necessary, you can press the seams to help them lie flat, but make sure the entire area of batting where you intend to iron is covered by fabric or you’ll get residue on your iron that’s difficult to remove, trust me. 😉
  2. I spritzed water over my stitching to help relax the seams which worked really well. If you do use water, check that everything is dry before sandwiching and quilting.

Here’s a photo of an area beneath the quilt top where there’s a pieced batting seam…you’d never know!

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Westerly Winds Quilt Pattern

I’m introducing a new quilt pattern today, Westerly Winds!

Inspired by windy days, Westerly Winds swirls with movement showcasing intriguing designs throughout.

When I made a quilt for myself, I wanted it to make a statement so I used Sun Print 2018 by Andover Fabrics. The rich and vibrant colors of this line did not disappoint! I chose a spiral pattern for quilting to accentuate the movement of the quilt and to compliment the sharper edges. I’m pleased with how well they work together. 🙂

So much so that when I made one for my niece for a wedding gift, I had it quilted in the same motif. Her fabric choice, Blossom by Riley Blake, offered a lovely variety of colors that lends itself beautifully to the pattern.

Westerly Winds is available for purchase in my Etsy shop. As a PDF download, it offers clear and easy-to-follow instructions with plenty of colorful diagrams. It’s a fat quarter friendly pattern with traditional piecing.

modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Scrappy Four Patch Charm 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.

PDF download, Quilting 101, quilting reference chart, Uncategorized

Quilting 101: Fat Quarter Cutting Chart

Last week I decided to make a charm pack friendly quilt but I wanted to use fat quarters from my stash. Since I didn’t know how many 5″ squares could be cut from a fat quarter (or any other size squares for that matter), I went online and did a bit of research.

After finding the information needed, I decided to make a quick reference chart for future use. I figured if I was wondering such things, other quilters would be too.

My Fat Quarter Cutting Chart is a free PDF download. I recommend saving it to your computer or printing out a copy as it’s a great tool to have on hand.

And how many 5″ squares do you get from a fat quarter? The answer is 12!

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Color Gallery

A while back I wanted to start a new quilt but I was at a loss for what colors to use. My first instinct was to consult the internet and search for color swatches—then it hit me, why don’t I make my own? I’ve been an active photographer much of my adult life, and while I’m not as involved as I used to be, my husband is which means I have a huge amount of lovely photos to choose from. And I think getting color ideas from one of our photos would make a quilt a bit more personal.

So my project began. I started looking at several samples and soon decided on a format. After a few revisions, nearly one month and countless hours later, I have a color gallery page with over 40 photos displayed throughout 12 categories.

I’m pretty excited about this new endeavor and I plan to keep it ongoing by adding to it regularly. And I’m more than happy to share it with everyone. If you need color inspiration for a quilt or any project, I think you’ll find it a great resource. Even if you’re not planning to make anything, take a look—just for the beautiful photography!

Like any project, I couldn’t have pulled it off by myself. Many thanks go to my daughter for setting it up on my website and to generous family members for sharing their wonderful images with us.

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Making a Traditional Red and White Quilt

There’s something about a red and white quilt, isn’t there? Ever since I started quilting, every time I saw one I knew eventually I’d make one for myself. But in my mind, it couldn’t be just any quilt pattern, it had to be a star pattern and a traditional one at that.

After recently finishing a few huge quilts, I figured it was a good time to make my long-awaited red and white quilt. I never know which should be decided on first, the pattern or the fabric? In this case, the main thing to consider was fabric. Last fall I started buying red fat quarters here and there, but I found the shades differed too greatly once put together, so I scrapped that plan and headed to a favorite online store, The Fat Quarter Shop. There I found a perfectly coordinated tone-on-tone red bundle. I was sold!

Bella Solids were on sale so I opted for Bleached White PFD yardage for my background. Next, the pattern. Finding a traditional star pattern for fat quarters wasn’t difficult; I decided on a free pattern from Moda, Illusion.

Once my fabric arrived, like a kid at Christmas, I opened it and started right away. As in many quilt patterns there was a lot of cutting. For me, I usually spend a day cutting and start sewing the next. After a few days I had some blocks made.

What I liked a lot about this pattern is there are no points that need lined up. The ends of the stars are made using the stitch-and-flip method, and a strip in between means there’s no aligning. Also, seams nest so you end up with nice, crisp corners.

Since there’s a substantial amount of white on the front, I wanted something light colored on the back. I had Dear Stella Net fabric in light pink on hand which worked perfectly.

Longarming, unfortunately, isn’t always in the budget and this quilt wasn’t very big so I decided to quilt it myself. I quilted a crosshatch pattern—using my hera marker I marked every three inches and sewed on the line with a 3.0 stitch length. I used my guide for the in-between rows so I’d have less to mark.

Crosshatch quilting can be tough because you’re sewing the quilt on an angle, meaning there’s a lot of bulk (from the center to the corners) when you run it through your machine. But…I love the look of a crosshatched quilt so I deal with the difficulties. 🙂

The binding took a bit longer to make because the strips were cut from the fat quarters which made for more piecing than usual. I love the fact that the quilt top required only 12 fat quarters and yardage. And I have quite a bit of lovely red fabric leftover for another project.

Lately I’ve been sewing on my bindings by hand. I find it relaxing and I like how it looks better than machined.

And here’s my finished Illusion quilt. I finally have my red and white quilt!

I enjoyed making this pattern and have considered making it again in another color combination. So many choices…

cross stitch, Uncategorized

Cross Stitch Revisited

While growing up I was always involved in some sort of craft—from hand embroidering on something, to knitting a scarf, to crocheting an afghan. While they weren’t always large or even finished projects, I was constantly making.

Somewhere in the mid-80s, I started cross stitching. Not only was it all the rage then, it was affordable, relaxing and fun—projects were portable, too—so it was something I could do when my kids were little. I spent several years at it and I made a lot of things, but eventually I tired of it or I simply didn’t have time for it, so I gave away all my materials and never looked back.

In the fall of 2019 I started seeing pretty cross stitch projects popping up on Instagram posts which got me thinking about taking it up again. It seems like it’s made a resurgence in today’s craft world, and I always enjoyed it so I figured why not.

While I love quilting and have no plans to stop (doubt I could if I wanted to) I thought a cross stitch project might be nice to do in between large quilting projects. This time around I’m only making smaller items since I lean towards minimalism and don’t want to fill my space with too many things. 🙂

That said, I made a quick trip to JoAnn Fabrics, picked up some supplies and started again. I was happy to see a skein of DMC floss is only 56 cents! Still affordable.

But what to make? I wasn’t sure if I’d still enjoy it, so for starters I designed a small project to help me get back into the swing of things. It’d been probably over 20 years since I’ve cross stitched.

And who’s surprised, the design I made is about sewing. 😉

I’ve completed my stitching and yes, it was as enjoyable as I remember…

While my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, I’m pretty sure I’ll stick to it anyway. And I still love all the beautiful colors.

Once my little project is finished I’ll happily share it. And I plan to have a pattern available too!