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Piece and Quilt Hop Along {week 1}

Welcome to week 1 of a new blog series called Piece and Quilt Hop Along. I am once again joining my friends HollyAnne and Vicki to quilt along in Christa Watson’s new book Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

Piece and Quilt with Precuts kristinesser.com

Christa has done it again designing fast, easy, and beautiful quilts with precut fabrics (did I say fast?!). And instead of the standard “Quilt as desired” line at the end of the pattern–of course Christa walks you through how to quilt it as well. She includes 18 quilting designs, both walking foot as well as free motion motifs, so you are free to mix and match to your heart’s desire.

Vicki, HollyAnne and I are each going to do our own thing with this hop–so make sure you check out each of the posts for the different perspectives. I am going to quilt my way through two (count ’em, two!) quilts over the next five weeks, as well as practice some different quilting motifs that Christa provides along the way. I learned so much and gained so much confidence quilting my way through Christa’s other book the Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. I’m really looking forward to continuing to polish my machine quilting skills, and learn some new motifs.

Squiggles Quilt

For my first quilt, I chose Squiggles. Here is Christa’s version:

Squiggles Quilt by Christa Watson kristinesser.com
(Photo from christaquilts.com)

I love the simplicity yet striking graphic quality of this quilt design. And boy, am I a sucker for a charm pack quilt! I chose the new Creekside line from Moda for my version–I absolutely fell in love with this line while making this quilt. The simplicity of the design means lots of chain piecing, which is my happy place. Though I used charm packs for the main fabrics, I did cut the background fabrics and finally got around to using my June Tailor Shape Cut ruler and OH MY! It makes cutting strips so fast and easy!

Squiggles quilt kristinesser.com

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but I ended up buying a Juki TL-2200qvp mini sewing machine (review to come soon!) to give myself a better domestic machine quilting experience. And it turns out that I love it for piecing as well as quilting. I’ve put my Babylock away for awhile as I get to know this machine, and so far I am loving it! There is so much room to sew. And I love the simplicity of this straight stitch machine. No bells or whistles, but that suits me just fine.

Juki TL-2200QVP

Squiggles was quick, simple piecing and sewing rows together. Easy peasy and so much fun! Don’t you just love this fabric line?

Squiggles quilt kristinesser.com

Squiggles quilt kristinesser.com

Squiggles quilt kristinesser.com

Quilting Practice

Christa quilts this particular quilt with an organic curves motif–which I have been dying to use on an actual quilt, so I did a bit of practice to get ready for it. It is a simple walking foot design that is so fun to do–you can really get into the zen of it. I love the quality of stitches that I get with my new Juki–something I was struggling with on my last machine.

organic curves quilting kristinesser.com

I also wanted to practice some free motion designs, so first up was a jagged stipple design.

sharp stipple quilting

I didn’t think I would like to quilt this design–but it was fun, easy, and I ended up loving the way it looks! I actually think it is easier than a standard meander design.

sharp stipple quilting kristinesser.com

Next up was a design that I avoided for ten weeks during the Machine Quilting Blog Hop: Ribbon Candy. This design intimidates me so much! I have spent literally hours doodling this design in meetings to try to get the muscle memory down for it. I think I want to use it on an upcoming quilt, so I want to practice it every week.

Ribbon candy quilting kristinesser.com

Ribbon candy quilting kristinesser.com

I have to say that it looks better in the pictures than it does in real life (is there a lesson there?). But I will continue to work on it. I actually find that getting it started is the hardest part, then you sort of get into the rhythm of it . I find it challenging to fill the entire vertical space with it, so that is another aspect to work on.

I encourage you to pick up a copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts, pick your favorite quilt and sew along with us for the next five weeks! Use the hastag #pieceandquilthopalong on Instagram to share your work. We’d love to see it!

 

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Lady of the Lake Quilt

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

Today I’m sewing along with the Fat Quarter Shop for the Lady of the Lake Blog Tour. As soon as I saw this sweet pattern, I knew I had to try my hand at this quilt block. Half square triangles are totally my jam, and this pattern gave me an excuse to use the eight-at-a-time method that is just so fast and fun!

I was also looking for the right project to use my little stash of Arbor Blossom fabric, and this seemed like a match made in heaven. This line is so charming with the little florals and saturated colors—I’m in love. I started without a plan, but before I knew it, I had four blocks completed and tried every possible arrangement of them until I settled on this straightforward layout for a new table topper.

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

The blocks come together quickly, and leave you with some extras that I would have used on a pieced back if I had done a full-size quilt. I think pieced backs give quilts so much more charm and character.

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

I quilted this simple mini with my new favorite quilting motif—the echo plume, or paisley design that I learned during my recent machine quilting blog hop.  This is a design that I really wanted to master–it’s amazing the progress you can make with daily practice!

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

I will enjoy this little table topper during the last few weeks of summer, and then tuck it away to bring out again in the spring. All-in-all this is a super fun block to make and I highly recommend you check out the full Lady of the Lake quilt pattern and kit with Bonnie and Camille’s new line!

Lady of the Lake Quilt pattern

Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers’ versions of this fun quilt over at the Fat Quarter Shop blog, the Jolly Jabber.

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machine quilting blog hop {week 9} + giveaway!

Welcome back to the penultimate post on the Machine Quilting Blog Hop!   Next week we are wrapping this series up with an awesome giveaway! Martingale has generously provided each of the blog hoppers ( HollyAnne, Vicki, Jen, and me)  a copy of  The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting to give away! All the details are at the end of this post.

Square spiral quilting || kristinesser.com

This week, we tackled the chapter called Migration. The main focus for this chapter was all about breaking up  the quilt into smaller pieces to make the quilting more manageable. That makes a lot of sense to me, so I created a patchwork sample with lots of small spaces to fill up with quilting.

None of the  free motion quilting designs in this chapter were very hard–but the focus was really on more masculine designs. It’s good to have a few of those up your sleeve! It can’t all be hearts and flowers and swirls. First up was some square spirals. This was fun and easy and a perfect motif for a narrow border. It would definitely work on a masculine quilt–but it will be useful for all types of projects. I’m pleased with how much more consistent my stitches are becoming with practice.

Square spiral quilting || kristinesser.com

Next up was just some organic wavy lines. Christa gives several variations on the wavy line motif to mix it up a bit–and I practiced them all. I’ve said it before, but this is such a fun, relaxing quilting design! No pressure of perfection! I think this version below is my favorite–wavy but not touching.

Wavy line quilting || kristinesser.com

Wavy line quilting || kristinesser.com

I’m gaining confidence as a machine quilter and this blog series and commitment to practice has really shown me that anybody can do it! I’ve heard from a lot of you saying that you want to improve at machine quilting but it just seems so intimidating. I hear you! But I encourage you to dive in! If you are like me and don’t have any spare quilt tops laying around, or are afraid of “ruining” a quilt–dig into your stash for fabric that you don’t love anymore, or buy some inexpensive solid or sale fabric and spend an evening making up some practice pieces. When you think you have enough–make some more. Repeat. It doesn’t take long to fill up these pieces!But totally worth it!

So, what are you waiting for?! Put on some good music, or a favorite podcast, slip on those quilting gloves and have some fun!

I’ve grown to love (or at least not hate) machine quilting enough that I signed up for longarm lessons! I’m so excited about it! Not only will I have the opportunity to learn to use a traditonal longarm, but also a sit-down longarm. This will be a grand experiment to find out if I really love longarm quilting. And who knows–maybe I’ll work my way through Angela’s side of the book next! Once I’ve done the 4-hour class I will be able to rent time on the longarm for $25/hour. Hopefully, this will enable me to quilt out a quilt in a few fun hours rather than wrestling a quilt through my machine a few hours a night for a couple weeks. We shall see.

Enter the giveaway! Here are the details:  The winner will receive one copy of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson. If the winner resides in the United States or Canada, they will have their choice of a physical or digital copy of the book. If they reside outside the US and Canada, the winner will receive a digital copy.  You can enter anytime between June 26, 2017-July 7, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
As always, we love to see your work if you are sewing along! Make sure to tag your post #machinequiltingbloghop over on Instagram.

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machine quilting blog hop {week 8}

We are coming into the homestretch of the Machine Quilting Blog Hop.  This week we  are practicing the motifs in the chapter called U-Turns from The Ultimate Guide to Machine QuiltingThe hardest motif for me this week is simply Loops. I practiced them all week on paper in boring meetings. They look easy–but there are a thousand ways this design can go wrong (or right, depending on your perspective). It’s hard to keep the spacing consistent, to keep them the same size, to space them out enough to echo them–a thousand ways!

domestic machine quilting

I won’t even show you my first attempts–but they eventually got better (that practice thing, ya know!). I did learn a few things throughout the week. I learned to space them out more and flatten them out–that gave me room to echo. Echoing had its own set of challenges. It was easy to get lost on which side of the line I was echoing. But it turned out that it sort of doesn’t matter. You need to aim for the base of the loop and try to get your stitches to all come together there at the intersection and then echo back out to the next loop. This improved the way they looked dramatically.

The next motif in this chapter was a really fun and easy–free motion wavy lines. I could do this one forever! You can just turn on some music and totally relax into stitching these wavy lines. I can’t wait to use this one on a whole quilt.

domestic machine quilting

We also revisited switchbacks, which comes in really handy in narrow borders. Also a very low-stress design.

domestic machine quilting

domestic machine quilting

Lastly, Christa brings up the idea of using a printed fabric and merely outlining the motif. I didn’t have anything that worked exactly the way she described–but I did find this autumn leaves fabric and I free motioned around the leaves (in the black) and then did small scale stippling between the leaves to travel to the next leaf to outline. It was good practice in control (I’m sure it would have been a disaster seven weeks ago). I really ended up liking how leaving the leaves unquilted made them pop out in relief.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any updates on my quest for new sewing machine. I’m still ruminating and looking for an opportunity to drive 40 minutes away to test drive both the Juki TL-2010Q and the Babylock Jazz. I’d still love to hear your thoughts if you use either one of these machines. I have learned that the Juki has a bit of a cult following and even has a Facebook page for its devoted followers. That’s got to mean something, right?

As always, we love to see your work if you are sewing along! Make sure to tag your post #machinequiltingbloghop over on Instagram.

In case you missed any of the Machine Quilting Blog Hop series:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Don’t forget to stop by to check out all my friends on the hop!

HollyAnne at String and Story

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

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machine quilting blog hop {week 7}

Welcome back to the Machine Quilting Blog Hop.! This week’s chapter from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting is called Exploding Star, but it is actually all about continuous spirals. I was super excited to try this design because I have admired it on many quilts. I assumed that it would be a little challenging–and all that turning is probably not fun on a large quilt, but all-in-all this was a fun design and I am so pleased with the result!

domestic machine quilting

This is a walking foot design (yay!) and since my walking foot is 3/8″–that’s how far apart my spiral lines are. I started with tracing a circle in the center of my quilt–I used the base of an Aurifil spool. I followed Christa’s instructions on how to trace a spiral out of that circle and I was on my way!

I’ll be honest–the inner spirals are a bit fiddly because you are turning the work so frequently. It’s a little hard to keep the spiral smooth. But once again, I realized that my stitching got wobbly when I started to go too fast. Slow down Kristin! I also found that lowering my stitch length to 2.0 helped on the tighter turns. Once you get to the larger spirals it’s much easier to keep the stitching smooth and straight. So you just have to endure the fiddly part at the beginning. And look–you hardly notice the wobbly bits once you focus on the whole spiral.

domestic machine quilting

After I quilted the large center spiral, I wasn’t quite ready to be done, so I went ahead and embellished with corner spirals. That was fun and I got a bit more practice with handling the touchy beginning part. The corners presented their own challenge since you have to manage the entire bulk of the quilt for part of the spiral and then barely hanging onto the edge for the rest of it. I really like how the overlapping spirals came out. I am going to keep my eyes open for the right quilt to use this motif. I’m really glad that the whole process of quilting spirals is demystified for me–it’s actually pretty easy!

domestic machine quilting

domestic machine quilting

In other news, my search for a sewing machine that will help me fall in love with free-motion quilting is still in full swing. Last week, I fell a little bit in love with the Brother 1300PRW (also known as the Bablylock Soprano), but now I’ve ruled them out because they are a little out of my price range and I only gain 1″ of horizontal quilting space. And I want space! So, I checked out the Bablylock Jazz this week. I love what Babylock has done here–given us quilters 12″ of horizontal throat space (you heard me right–12 inches!) at a reasonable price. It is also a mechanical machine–like the Juki TL-2010Q. Which means that it’s a bit noisy, but it also has no pesky computer that may possibly fail one day. It felt really good, the stitches were perfect, and has also has 20 decorative stitches (no serpentine stitch though)–so it’s not just a straight stitch machine. Downsides: no automatic needle down, no thread cutter, no speed control. But I still liked it–it felt really good doing free motion and the dealer will throw in the Deluxe walking foot and a ruler foot all for $999. I think I need to go back to a different dealer that has both the Juki TL-2010Q and the Babylock Jazz on the floor and have a showdown. I’ll keep you posted.

We have had so much fun checking the hashtag and love seeing your quilting progress! Make sure to tag your post #machinequiltingbloghop over on Instagram.

Machine Quilting Blog Hop series:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Make sure you make all the stops on the blog hop:

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny

HollyAnne at String and Story

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

 

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machine quilting blog hop {week 6}

We are tackling the chapter called Cornered from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting this week on the Machine Quilting Blog Hop. This chapter has some great information combining motifs and switching threads with the least amount of starts and stops. I really see the beauty of using blending threads to appreciate the texture that the quilting gives, without sweating trying to get it perfect (which it will never be).

First up was spiral flowers. This motif was so easy and fun! I see it on any kind of girly quilt from a baby quilt on up. It would also make a fabulous motif for a spring table runner. I practiced this for just a few minutes before moving on. It was good to start with a design that came easily to me and gave me confidence–because that was all about to change.

domestic machine quilting

The next design to tackle involved quilting continuous curves around a square. I have seen and appreciated this motif many times in other people’s quilts, but had never attempted it myself. Ahem. Let’s just say that it took a bit of practice. The first piece of advice I have if you want to try this motif is to keep those curves shallow. If the curves are too deep, then you start crossing over the lines when you do the diagonal curves. Christa explains how to approach this design to help you easily travel from square to square. She also teaches you how to do it in a corner, or triangle shape. After a frustrating start, I started to get the hang of it–however wobbly. I simply drew some lines on my practice piece with a Frixion pen to create some squares and kept practicing.

domestic machine quilting

Once I erased the lines with a hot iron, the effect was pretty good.

domestic machine quilting

I was pleased to see that even my wobbly start still looked pretty good with a blending thread. And on the back it is just pure texture. I love simple, square patchwork and this is a great design to complement a project constructed like that.

domestic machine quilting

So, whew! I made it through the tough design of the week, right? Well, what has Christa gone and done but mash up two of my nemesis designs: spirals and pebbles! It looks totally charming when she does it and I heard her call it “Swirls and Pearls” when I watched her demo at Quilt Market last fall (cute, huh?!). This one I really practiced. My pebbles were already getting rusty and I learned again that bigger is better when it comes to pebbles for me. Thank goodness for blending thread! Here is how I ended the week.

domestic machine quilting

Again, there are a couple other designs in this chapter that I didn’t photograph–lots of awesome inspiration. I learn every week that consistent practice makes progress (not perfection).

The only problem with doing all this free motion quilting is that it is making me want a new sewing machine! I actually dropped by a dealer this week because I’ve heard awesome things about the Juki TL-2010Q for free motion quilting. There is so much space! I came equipped with practice quilt sandwiches and patchwork squares to sew. At first I really liked it–it feels very different that my sewing machine. It’s very industrial and solid feeling. It’s a little on the noisy side, but I was digging it. But then a saleswoman walked by and said, “If you want a machine for free motion quilting–then you should try this one.” I was determined not to like it–it was more expensive and I was weirdly prejudiced against the Brother brand (turns out it ‘s the same machine as the Babylock Soprano). But, oh my!!! It free motioned like buttah!! The quilting foot is not a hopping foot–so it is so smooth and quiet. I was easily quilting with just my fingertips moving the piece around.  It was amazing! It only has one more inch of horizontal space than my machine now–but it just feels so different! So–all that sort of threw me for a curve. I’m still thinking on it.

If you are quilting along, please let me know in the comments or on Instagram. Just tag your post #machinequiltingbloghop.

Machine Quilting Blog Hop series:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Make sure you make all the stops on the blog hop:

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

HollyAnne at String and Story

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny.

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machine quilting blog hop {week 5}

Here we are already at the halfway point of our 10-week quest to quilt our way through The Ultimate Guide o Machine Quilting by Christa Watson and Angela Walters. All the previous weeks are listed at the end of this post, if you want to catch up.

domestic machine quilting

This week the chapter is called Quatrefoil Applique and oh my, Christa provides a whole toolbox of motifs to fill all types of spaces. (I’m sticking to the Christa part of the book, because she is using a domestic machine, while Angela is handling long-arm designs.) This chapter is worth the price of the book, in my opinion. Christa provides about a dozen motifs to play with and practice. And practice I have! I will be the first to admit that some of these designs are a lot easier for me than others.

The ones that were most in my wheelhouse are variations on meanders. It was a great way to start off the week. Here is an example of loops, hearts, and flowers. I already do the loopy meander–but the hearts and stars are so charming–I can’t wait to work them into an actual quilt. They would be darling in a baby quilt or seasonal table runner.

domestic machine quilting

domestic machine quilting

But then I had to go and stretch myself into designs that were not as easy for me. I can’t be the only person that thinks that spirals are hard, right?! Both Christa and Angela make them look so easy to do and they seem to stay so beautifully spaced. This is much harder than it looks! I’ve been doodling them for years, and they get better with practice, but, boy, they still need work. Have you ever heard the trick that you should have a glass of wine before you start free motion quilting–to loosen up a bit.? Well, I tried that over the weekend, and let me tell you two glasses in things just started to get worse! 🙂

I have learned something though–keep your eye on where you want to go, not where the needle is. This makes a huge difference! I can get mesmerized by the needle–but keeping my eye on the place I want to be as I spiral out has really helped.

domestic machine quilting

Another motif that I am loving from this chapter is called Echo Plumes. It is very easy to do and you get a fun build up of thread from traveling over the same lines that I think looks cool. I think this may be my new favorite design. It’s beautiful, pretty easy to do, and you can cover a large area pretty quickly.

domestic machine quilting

I don’t want to give away too much from the book, so the last design I want to show you is called Spiral Flowers. It’s another great way to fill up a large space and provides such great texture. I have a pink baby quilt that I need to quilt and I think this might be a perfect motif for it. Super easy and relaxing to do.

domestic machine quilting

One of the main takeaways for me in this chapter is to be creative when filling large spaces or even all-over designs. There is a whole world out there beyond the meander! And Christa also really showed me to not be afraid to take a design I have already mastered and think of a way to do a variation on it. Leah Day did exactly that over something like 400 designs over on her website. Keep on trying those variations until you find your signature motif!

Besides using up stash fabric, working on all these practice pieces as given me a way to use up a whole bunch of random bobbin thread. I don’t know about you, but I had at least a dozen bobbins wound halfway or less with random colors from past projects. And I often find myself scrambling to find an empty bobbin when I need one. So now,  when I start my free motion practice, I just pop one in and use it until it’s gone. Since it’s practice, it doesn’t matter that I run it completely out. I finally win at bobbin chicken!  Here’s a peek at the back of my practice piece this week, you can really see everything, warts and all! Thank goodness for blending threads!

domestic machine quilting

Five weeks in and I really feel like I am making progress on my free motions stitches. That consistent practice really makes a big difference. I hope that you are seeing some progress as well! Tell me about it in the comments.

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting will only be on sale for a few more days on the Martingale website. It’s a great time to grab a copy! Don’t forget to share your stitches on Instagram: #machinequiltingbloghop.

Machine Quilting Blog Hop series:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Make sure you make all the stops on the blog hop–we all have such different perspectives!

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

HollyAnne at String and Story

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny.

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machine quilting blog hop {week 4}

We are back for Week 4 of the Machine Quilting Blog Hop! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I explain it here and links to the other weeks are at the end of this post. But the short form is that some friends and I are blogging and quilting our way through The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting in an effort to improve our machine quilting skills.

If you happen to be following along–we are going to throw you a bit of a curve ball this week because we are skipping the next chapter, called Swirling Butterflies. It is a whole cloth design and I felt that it seemed more like a Master’s Degree in Quilting rather than Quilting 101, so we all agreed that we will leave that one for Week 10 (and frankly I am making no promises about that week either).

So we all happily moved on to the chapter called Fractured Squares. In many ways, the quilt designed for this chapter covers different ways of handling borders–which I always find challenging. The most common way that I handle this is actually to leave borders off of quilt–but that’s just me 🙂 But recently I sewed up two quilts with borders and I used one of the motifs (wavy lines) on both of them and now wish that I had tried out a few others from this chapter.

The good news (for me) is that that this chapter is all about the walking foot! This was a welcome relief to me–those pebbles from Week 2 are still tormenting me.

Enough with the chit chat! What did I practice this week? I know I told you it was all borders, but there is also a center motif that I enjoyed stitching. It is a really fun way to fill up a block. You can do this with a quilting ruler–but I just totally winged it with my walking foot with no marking (except for the outer rectangle) and I love the way it came out. There is obviously a lot of turning with this design–but if the quilt isn’t huge–it’s totally doable.

domestic machine quilting

domestic machine quilting

Next came the border designs. I actually have some examples of some of these on real quilts, not just practice pieces. First up is the wavy stitch motif–done with a decorative stitch. On my Babylock, I stretch the default setting for this stitch out to 7.0/3.0 and I use it all the time. It give such a great texture to the quilt and is very relaxing to quilt. I usually quilt the lines about 1″ apart.

domestic machine quilting

And I really love the way they look when they overlap in the corners.

domestic machine quilting

Next is a cross hatch. This is pretty zen to quilt as well. There are a few ways to mark the lines for this–but my favorite is a hera marker. It leaves a crease easy enough to sew on, but eventually relaxes out and leaves no mark.

domestic machine quilting

The last border design is clever in its simplicity. It is just doing straight line quilting with different spacing between the lines. No picture really needed for this. Christa is very clever in how she shows you to do this with no marking.  Really this book is so packed with instructions and tips–I’m so glad to be going through it in depth to really absorb all the information. What we are showing you here on the blog hop is just the tip of the iceberg.

Truthfully, I’ve not be as diligent as I’d hoped about putting in my 20 a day practicing quilting this week. Since this week was walking foot designs–that turned out okay–but I hope to get some more practice pieces prepped (so. many practice. pieces.) and sit down each night after dinner and practice. But I thought I would leave you this week with what what one of my practice pieces looks like before I retire it. It is well used.

domestic machine quilting

I found a great YouTube channel to check out called Man Sewing. He has a whole playlist of Free Motion Tips and Tutorials. You might want to check that out.

A quick reminder that–The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting is on sale all month long over on the Martingale website. It’s a great time to grab a copy! Don’t forget to share on Instagram: #machinequiltingbloghop.

Machine Quilting Blog Hop series:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

See how the others handled this weeks designs:

HollyAnne at String and Story

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

Or just click the image below to get all the links.

 

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made for baby :: cute sewn gifts :: book tour

made for baby cute sewn gifts

Welcome to my stop on the Made for Baby, Cute Sewn Gifts blog tour! I’m so excited to show you what I made from this sweet book!

But first let me take you back in time to when I first came across Adya’s work. It was actually my friend Minki, who mentioned to me one day over tea that she had found this person on Instagram that took the most amazing photos of the most amazing projects. I pulled my phone out right then and there and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship! The word “impeccable” comes to mind every time I look at Ayda’s projects. Her taste is exquisite and her workmanship is just perfection. So much so that I was thrilled when she took part on our own Sew Illustrated blog tour. I still go back and look at those pictures!

made for baby cute sewn gifts

I was excited and not at all surprised to find out that she was writing her own book–and the result is just as sweet and charming as can be. After pouring myself a cup of tea, I spent a delicious afternoon just paging through the book. First of all, Ayda took all the photos and they are gorgeous! I think that a craft book needs beautiful, inspirational photography–don’t you?

The book is filled with absolutely adorable quick things to sew for baby. And that is often when the sewing bug bites us, isn’t it? When there is a new baby arriving to sew for? I wish I could go back in time and sew up many of these charming pillows, toys, bibs, and quilts for my own children. But, now that I think of it–maybe it’s better to enjoy my teenage children and just sew these projects for other new mamas. The best of both worlds!

So, which project did I choose? The baby quilt of course! Oh, my what a fun make this was! It’s a simple patchwork quilt–but in true Ayda-style, she added many lovely little details that make it special.

baby quilt
Photo credit for all quilt pictures: Minki Kim

First of all–that elephant! How cute is he?! A handful of blocks with raw-edge applique (or sewing illustration, as I like to call it)  are the first detail that make this quilt so darling. Each motif is large enough that sewing them was easy-peasy.

baby quilt

raw edge applique baby quilt

Another detail is this sweet little pocket that you can tuck little toys (or binkies) into. And there are a smattering of little tags here and there for added charm and most importantly–for baby to find and play with.

baby quilt

I put my own spin on this project in a few small ways. First, as much as I adore the muted palette of the quilt shown in the book–I  used a layer cake of  the very bright and cheerful Wistful Winds by Doohikey Designs. I purchased this stack a few months ago–just because it was so adorable, with no plan in mind. I was happy to find the project that it was meant to be! I also left the borders off the quilt, which, of course, made it a bit smaller. But I think it is a perfect size for a car seat or stroller quilt–or as a playmat. Lastly, I machine quilted it with a combination of free motion loopy meanders in the larger center blocks and what is becoming my signature wavy line quilting along the outer squares. I love they way the wavy lines criss-cross in the corners.

This little quilt was lucky enough to go on a playdate over to Minki’s house and visit the adorable bunnies she made for her stop on the tour. Don’t they look sweet together? As a matter of fact–her daughter Claire is waiting ever so patiently for my turn on the tour to finish–since I promised this little quilt to her.  Though she’s not actually a baby–I know that she will make good use of it playing with her collection of handmade dolls. So, actually it’s not just for babies!

baby quilt

This quilt was such a fun and quick project–perfect when you need that last minute gift to bless a new mama. I’m so glad to have this book on my shelf. I know that I will reach for it often.

baby quilt

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Comment over on Ayda’s blog to enter. One winner (worldwide) will be chosen at the end of the tour. It could be you!

made for baby cute sewn gifts

And make sure that you pop by each of the stops on the tour–so many talented makers have created beautiful projects to share.

May.03 Ayda ALGIN www.cafenohut.blogspot.com @cafenohut
May.04 Jemima Flendt www.blog.tiedwitharibbon.com @tiedwitharibbon
May.05 Sarah Edgar www.alittlehappyplace.blogspot.co.uk @sarahedgarprettyfabrics
May.08 Lisa Cox www.aspoonfulofsugardesigns.com @aspoonfulsugar
May.09 Ange Hamilton www.alittlepatchwork.wordpress.com @alittlepatchwork
May.10 Lauren Wright www.mollyandmama.com.au @mollyandmama
May.11 Melissa LeRay www.ohhowsweet.com @ohhowsweetco
May.12 Minki Kim www.minkikim.com @zeriano
May.15 Faith Essenburg www.SaranaAve.wordpress.com @faithessenburg
May.16 Kristin Esser www.kristinesser.com/ @kristin_esser
May.17 Lauren Guthrie www.guthrie-ghani.co.uk/blog @guthrieghani
May.18 Bridgette McNay www.thefamilyhearth.com @thefamilyhearth
May.19 Torie Jayne www.toriejayne.com @toriejayne
May.22 Constanca Cabral www.constancacabral.com/blog @constancacabral
May.23 Stacy Olson www.stacyolsondesign.com @stacyolsondesign
May.24 Caroline Husle www.SewCaroline.com @SewCaroline
May.29 Nadra Ridgeway www.ellisandhiggs.com @ellisandhiggs
May.30 Wynn Tan www.zakkaArt.blogspot.com @zakkaArt
May.31 Sedef Imer www.downgrapevinelane.com @downgrapevinelane
JUNE 01 Lauren Nash www.transientart.com @transientart
JUNE 02 Jennie Pickett www.cloverandviolet.com @cloverandviolet
JUNE 05 Amy Sinibaldi www.nanaCompany.typepad.com @amysinibaldi
JUNE 07 Kim Kruzich www.retro-mama.blotspot.com @retro_mama
JUNE 08 Elea Lutz www.elealutzdesign.com @elealutz
JUNE 09 Samantha Dorn www.aquapaisleystudio.com/blog @aqua_paisley
JUNE 12 Ayda ALGIN www.cafenohut.blogspot.com @cafenohut
la conner blog tour soical media-04

Filigree Free Quilt Pattern

Welcome to my stop on the Filigree Blog Tour hosted by the Fat Quarter Shop!

First let me say how much I love this pattern–the strong criss-cross elements, the secondary patterns that emerge, and the interplay of the fabrics.

filigree quilt

The Fabrics

Let’s start with the fabrics. I used the Playground line by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics–plus some AFG denim and Pure Elements solid in Linen. Have you ever felt fabric from AFG? It has a lovely silky smooth, delicate feel and a beautiful drape. It feels quite different from standard quilting cotton–in a very good way.

filigree quilt

And when I say denim, I don’t mean heavy denim like jeans. It has the awesome look of denim, but with the same wonderful lightweight feel as the other AGF fabrics. And the denim fabric has the wonderful quality that it goes with everything! Just like your favorite jeans, you can dress it up or dress it down. I am in love with the way it works with the Playground fabrics, especially the pinks and golds. This quilt has a light-weight, silky feel that I know is going make it favorite to grab and curl up with  on the sofa in our house.

filigree quilt

The Filigree Pattern

Whenever I start a new quilt pattern I first like to make a couple of blocks to make sure that the pattern is working as expected before I cut all the fabric. I would rather experience my learning curve on a couple of blocks than finding out I made a cutting mistake after I cut out all the fabric (don’t ask me how I came to this realization) . In this case it paid off in that I realized I I wanted to spend a little extra time fussy cutting one of the fabrics to get the most out of the print.

I was also reminded that I don’t like to use steam when pressing triangles–they get stretched out so easily. And speaking of pressing–this pattern includes pressing instructions, and if you pay attention to them it really pays off in the final construction. All your seams nest like a dream, which really helps keep your points sharp and the quilt top to lay nice and flat.

Stitch basting

Obviously this is a quilt where you want your points to match. At least I do. It was the first time I have put together a quilt where the nested seam allowances were coming in on a diagonal.  Pinning wasn’t really working for me to keep things in place. So I started stitch basting.

filigree quilt

I haven’t done much of this in past–but now I know I will do it all the time in the future. Let me explain: after I nested my seams, instead of pinning them to keep them in place, I would slip it under the machine and just sew a 1/2″ seam right over that area with a 3.0 stitch length. Then I would slide the block to the next seam intersection, nest the seams and baste that intersection in place, and so on.  At first I thought that this was going to be very time consuming.  But in short order I got my rhythm going and I think it may actually be faster than pinning. And the results are amazing! Every intersection is so firmly held in place with perfect points and no slipping, which I find happens sometimes with pinning. I am glad to have that l technique up my sleeve for future quilts.

The construction of the quilt was pure fun–lots of chain piecing and simple block construction. FQS created a wonderful video tutorial if you want to check it out for some helpful tips. It went together beautifully. I quilted it  using my favorite Warm and Natural batting and some simple, straight line quilting with a sweet pale pink thread (Auriful 2410). I love the pale pink against the denim and it is perfect for the Playground fabrics as well.  I was tempted to quilt it a little more densely, but I really love how soft and snuggly it is being rather lightly quilting.

filigree quilt

The blocks are oversized and then trimmed down to perfection–which is my favorite way to make a quilt. Trimming blocks before sewing them together really improves the accuracy and makes it so easy to do things like match up seams. I used the Creative Grids 7.5″ square ruler to trim up the blocks.  I tried to use a ruler that I already had to do this, and it is probably possible–but the correct ruler made the task so much more enjoyable that I was glad that I made the investment. I’ve never used a Creative Grids ruler before, but I have to say that I am a convert! They have these little spots on the bottom that prevent them from slipping and lines are nice and narrow, which really helps with accurate cutting.

You can get the Filigree quilt pattern for free from The Fat Quarter Shop. They also have a gorgeous kit for it that includes the denim that I also used along with the AGF line Wonderful Things.

beach quilt
(I had to add this one because it was crazy windy that day!)