mini quilts, quilts, Uncategorized

Patriotic Flag Mini Quilt

The month of May always brings out patriotism here in the US, with Memorial Day kicking off the summer season then Flag Day and the Fourth of July not too far behind. Right now I have two quilts in the making, a Christmas gift and a new pattern of mine, and I could use a break from larger projects so I set out to find something patriotic that I could finish quickly using left over fabrics.

I usually don’t sew with blue (I don’t know why, I just don’t seem to choose it) but since I made my Americana Stars & Four Patches quilt last year, I had enough blue fabric for something small. Same with red, I don’t use it a lot, but I had some on hand from previous projects plus I got a small fat quarter bundle freebie with some lovely reds included.  🙂

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After quite a bit of searching, I decided on a free flag tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew. While she made a lovely pillow, I wanted something for my sewing room door so I added a light blue border and made mine a mini quilt.

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For the star and stripes, I used a white low volume fabric with handwriting that reminded me of old-fashioned handwritten letters and historic signatures; I thought it was fitting for a flag. It’s kind of difficult to see it unless it’s close up…

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Before I began quilting, I did some ‘thread painting’—my quilting tip that consists of laying out thread on a project to help decide on a quilting pattern. To read more about it, click here. I do tend to gravitate toward crosshatch quilting, especially on rectangular blocks because the end results are diamonds, and I love the look! So yes, I went with crosshatch quilting, yet again.

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thread painting

When basting a mini quilt, I always use my flower straight pins instead of actual quilting pins. Reasons being: they’re easier to put in and take out, they’re nice and sharp and long, and they seem flatter than other pins.

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I used my guide for quilting accuracy and it gave me very precise results!

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I was happy to have had enough red and white striped fabric for this project, left over from a Christmas tree skirt. And of course, striped binding is always a favorite.

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And speaking of binding…how lucky was I to get this tiny stripe to align when I finished off my binding? Absolutely pure luck! Doubt that ever happens again.  🙂

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For the back, I had this very appropriate fabric from my Stars & Four Patches quilt. As far as backing goes, it’s easy to match up prints, especially on a small project. I have more information on this topic on my Matching Fabric Patterns blog post.

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And…here’s the finished project!

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I love everything about this mini—it’s cute, a great size for my sewing room door and I can get it out to enjoy several times a year. Lastly, it was a small but significant scrap buster!

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Happy Memorial Day

Uncategorized

Choosing a Quilting Design

Once I finish a quilt top it’s time to decide on a quilting design, and that can be a tough decision. I figured if it’s an issue for me, maybe it’s an issue for other quilters, too. Since actual ‘quilting’ is not my strong suit, I came up with this easy tip to help in the decision making process.

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Often times when I finish piecing a quilt top, I’m unsure of how I want to quilt it. To experiment with a variety of quilting designs, I lay out cut lengths of inexpensive contrasting thread and string them on the quilt top in a chosen design. It’s a great way to test ideas because it allows me to see it what my quilt will look like when it’s finished.

I’m happy to note that this quilting tip was featured in the June edition of American Patchwork & Quilting under tips from readers (page 8).

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I came up with this idea a while after I began quilting as I really wanted to learn (and hopefully become very good at) free motion quilting. After seeing beautifully quilted quilts and projects, I thought for sure it was something I wanted to master…who wouldn’t?!? But after a lot of practice, effort and frustration, I realized I wasn’t very good at it and I really didn’t want to take the time to learn it after all, so I left that dream behind. Throughout my trial and error, I definitely learned to appreciate what a great skill it is to acquire, and how difficult it must be, but I’ve also decided to leave it to the experts!

As far as my quilts go to date, I usually quilt straight lines and I’ve grown to love the simplicity of it…and I always do some ‘thread painting’ to test my ideas first!

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