. . . . . . Enjoying the journey of quilting

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Baseball t-Shirt Quilt

Not pretty, but neat and masculine and makes for a wonderful memoir quilt!  I am having so much fun making this baseball t-shirt for my grandson. It has been on my list to do for a long, long time.  What joy I had as I was cutting up those t-shirts and stabilizing them with 906F Pellon interfacing. Each square is 14 1/4". Why such an odd size? The plan was for 15" blocks but since I am using t-shirts from Caleb's younger days I didn't have quite the width. Good thing I started with the oldest shirts first. Next I will begin to make frames and a shadow effect. I also need to make a few more blocks but ran out of 906F Pellon.   This will be Caleb's.

Caleb is a tremendous baseball player as well as an excellent student. He was invited to play in the Cooperstown Little Majors Youth Baseball Hall of Fame. He plays in a traveling baseball team as well as for his High School team. It keeps him out of trouble since he is always playing baseball and he loves it! He breathes baseball!

He is my middle grandson, now 15 years old and has his driver's and learners permit. Not possible! Okay it is just don't want to admit to it!
I thought it would be nice for you to see who the quilt will be going to. The collage does not begin to show all his plaques and medals received. So I have gone on with the honors but the greatest thing about this kid is his compassion and kindness toward others. He always strives to be good.

So back to the quilt. This is a WIP that I want to share in the linky party WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Quiltsy also provides a linkup.


So if you have come across my blog please share if you ever made a t-shirt quilt or had a desire to make one. If you have made one please tell me how you quilted your t-shirt quilt and what kind of quilting design you used. If you happened to use polyester (nylon like) t-shirts I would love to know your experience with machine quilting it. Thanks so much! I appreciate every comment and will respond to each.

Happy Quilting, Sewing and Linky Party Visiting.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Another WIP Quilt Finished!!

There is nothing like a WIP/UFO linky party or two, three or. . . . to get you motivated to complete quilts. Thanks to all for hosting them! I am patting myself on the back because I refrained from getting on the computer so I could complete it today! It helped too that this Saturday was cold and dreary. I actually wore my pjs until noon. Hubby wanted to run errands and I gave him permission to go and that he wasn't going to drag me out in that weather while I was too comfortable in my leopard fleece with pink ribbons wanting to quilt. He made chili for lunch so I could keep working on it.

So here is my wild and crazy Freddy Moran like quilt. Is it too wild?

I free motion quilted the houses with an improvisational curly cue design. The frames are stitched in the ditch, the corners were stippled and the black points have squiggly looking long triangles.

I used multicolor pastels thread for the houses.

Can you see the squiggly lines in the black points?

The backing of my quilt was gifted to me by a peer while on staff at the Pregnancy Center. It was from her mother's stash.  I used a bit of this smiley face fabric in one of the windows of the house blocks. Anyways the remaining yardage was the perfect size to back the quilt and most likely wouldn't find it's way in another quilt. I also made a corner label printed on my inkjet onto photo fabric. It was created in MS Publisher.

The batting for the quilt was pieced together from pieces leftover from another quilt. I layered the edges on top and cut curvy lines. These pieces then were butted together and zigzagged stitched using the walking foot.

Plum and June

Monday is "Lets Get Acquainted" Monday Link up hosted by Plum and June which has been handed off to Better Off Threads. Janice at Better Off Threads is making a beautiful Liberated Wedding Ring quilt. Begin your week by joining in with the Linky Party. Hope to see you there.

 Better Off Thread

Tuesday Linky Parties are at Sue Cute Tuesday at Better Off Thread and  Freemotion by the River. Happy quilitng and Tuesday.
 A Lovely Year of Finishes
On Wednesday it is hook up time with  "A Lovely Year of Finishes." Yes! it is lovely to have completed a quilty project. Thank you to your linky party I have been motivated!

Friday is  Can I Get a Whoop! Whoop? And I was whooping it up!

And I am also doing the TGIFF dance  linky party! Come join me! This week Quokka Quilts is hosting the party.

Richard and Tanya Quilts are in the mood for partying as well!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

So What's Next?

For most quilters that isn't a usual question is it? There are so many patterns to try and not enough years to make them all. So. . . . . I am planning to complete another WIP/UFO instead. I love those finishes! Lee at freshly pieced is hosting a WIP Wednesday linky party. Come join the party.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

This is the next one. I had debated whether to add more to it but thought it would make a great wall hanging. The size is perfect for one now. What do you think? In the picture below I have it clothes pinned to my apple tree. I really don't have great lighting inside to take great pictures so outside I went. Great way to get some fresh air too.

It is a take off from a Freddy Moran quilt. Oh does she love color and wildness! The houses and pattern were first sited in Quilts, Quilts, and More Quilts! by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes. While at the library I found another book with Freddy Moran collaborating with Gwen Marston. Fabulous book of quilts that are dramatic, imaginative, spontaneously created and liberated. From their book Collaborative Quilting came the idea for the spiky borders. I love these spiky points!

Looks great on the split rail fence. Don't you think? While out trudging on muddy ground I noticed Spring is really coming soon. Here is the first sign of it.

Well now I am off to see what I can use for the backing. Happy sewing!

Monday, February 18, 2013

It's Finished!

Blues and Greens Quilt is based from an Amy Smart pattern and is 90" x 65".  I had many interruptions while working on this quilt which made it seem like I would never get it completed. I am so happy to have finished it that I want to share it. There are so many linky parties happening. Today I have linked up with Martha at Weekend Doings who is hosting Let's Get Acquainted Monday Link up. I spied many beautiful quilts from those who hooked up there this evening. So much fun! Like a party! Tomorrow will be Connie at Freemotion By the River and Janice at Sew Cute Tuesday. Will I get any work done tomorrow? Wednesday WIP Wednesday is link up day with Lee at Freshly Pieced and Friday with TGIFF and with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict her, Can I Get a Whoop! Whoop! All their buttons are at the very top right column. Join the parties and link up. See you there!

Related Links:
Binding Tutorial
Handling the Weight While Quilting
Grid or Line Quilting
Sandwiching the Quilt
Creating the Backing
Creating the Blocks

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Quilt Binding Tutorial

  • Measure the length and width of your quilt times 2 and add between 20 - 25 inches.
    • The quilt for this tutorial was 90 x 65 inches. I need 335 inches of binding (90+65+90+62+25 = 335 inches).
  • I prefer a cross grain binding (fabric cut on the bias).  Cross grain binding is more durable after years of use. 
  • I also prefer narrow binding and will cut strips between 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 inches wide. This is determined by the thickness of your quilt. Since I used 80/20 batting I will be cutting 2 1/2 inch wide strips as the batting has more body and is thicker than 100% cotton.
    • Preparing fabric to cut strips: Fold about 1 yd to 1/2 yd corner to corner. Since my cutting mat is small I continued folding keeping the fold on one side. Trim the fold side off. Begin cutting your desired width of strips as shown in the bottom center picture below.
  • Strips will be sewn together diagonally. Seams will be less noticeable and more attractive. As shown in the picture below lay the strips right sides together crossways. Draw a sewing line from the left top corner to the bottom right corner and pin. Sew on the sewing line and trim leaving a 1/4 inch seam.

  • Fold the binding in half and press. Trim the ends. I like having my binding contained. Here I have rolled the binding placing it in a basket that will be placed on the floor to my right. Once I begin to sew the binding roll will not wander.

  • Locate the center bottom edge of the quilt and place a pin. Leaving a tail of binding about 12 - 15 inches long pin 7 inches down from the first pin, pinning the binding to the quilt. This will be the point where you begin stitching. Back stitch at the beginning. Using a 1/4 inch foot begin stitching the double folded binding right side to the top side of the quilt as shown in the far right photo below.

  • Sewing the Corners
    • Sew up to 1/4 inch from the edge. I like to mark the corner with a dot. Back stitch and cut the thread. 
    • As shown in the top right photo below flip the binding upward aligning the binding edge with the quilt edge. Fold the binding even with the top quilt edge. Begin stitching from the top edge. This will create a nice finish for your corners.

  • Finishing the tails.
    • Continue sewing the binding to the quilt until you reach 7 inches from the center pin at the bottom edge of the quilt. This will allow for a minimum of 14 - 15 inches to sew the ends of the binding strips diagonally.
    • Layer the right tail over the left tail making sure the tails are taut along the edge of the quilt. Pin. Snip 1/4 inch into the edges of the bindings strips where they meet at the center as shown in top center photo below.
    • With the left side tail layer it cross wise over the right side tail (as shown in the top right photo below)  matching the marks/snips so that the left side of the binding matches the marks/snips on the right binding (as shown in the bottom left photo below).
    • Draw a diagonal stitching line from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. For testing purposes pin a pin along the stitching line to check to make sure that the binding is going to fit correctly before trimming the excess off.
    • Trim as shown in the bottom center photo leaving a 1/4 inch seam. Finger press the seam.
    • Now you are ready to sew the last leg of the binding to the quilt. Notice in the bottom right photo that the binding is a perfect fit.

  • Once the binding is sewn to the quilt press the binding from the top side pressing outward.
  • Next beginning with the corner start pinning the backside of the binding making sure the stitching line is covered. I am pinning since I am planning to machine stitch rather than hand stitch. If I was planning to hand stitch I would glue and press the backside to easily handle without being jabbed by pins.
  • Pin closely together.  With a walking foot stitch in the ditch from the front side while capturing the backside of the binding. Make sure you pull the pins out before approaching with the needle. I have sewn a couple of daisy headed pins to the quilt. If you happen to do this too snip part of the head off and begin restitching where the thread has been broken.

The Finished Quilt! Tah Dah!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Quilting is Like Wrestling an Alligator

And as you can see this alligator is quite smug because at the moment he is resting since this quilter (me) needed a break. Will he win or will the quilter return to hefting the quilt through a small hole on a domestic machine? He watches on at the flushed faced quilter, brushing her hand across her sweaty forehead, stripping GrabARoo gloves off, groaning with the aches and pain across the shoulder blades and neck, and grabbing for a swig of water. Hehehehe! Quilter chugs more water and sighs pondering as to whether she can quilt  just one more line of stitching from corner to corner, maybe 2 more.  

Hmmm, what's happening on facebook. Steve Martin 67 has his first child. His wife is 41. Oh that is a scary thought - a newborn at that stage of life!

Well Facebook surfing isn't helping me to get back into the match. Maybe a little web surfacing I can find some great ideas for handling large size quilts. Here are a couple of tips found at Modern Quilt's website worth trying:

  • Push the sewing table into the corner against the wall. This will prevent the quilt from hanging down the back and left sides and reducing drag on the quilt.
  • Have the quilt rest against my chest versus sitting in my lap.
  • Position my left arm and hand underneath the quilt instead of resting on the top.
Okay Mr. Gator let's see who finishes this day with a smug smile. First had to move furniture around to put the sewing table in the corner. Behind and underneath was hideaway storage which some of it made its way into another bedroom closet and the remaining is piled and stacked high needing a new home. It's beginning to be quite cluttered again!

I think it was a tie.  Though utilizing the above tips gave more ease I still felt like I was wrestling and feel much like I do after a workout at Planet Fitness.  I wish I had, I wish I had, I wish I had a longer throat on my machine. That would have made a BIG difference! I did sew 2 1/2 rows. I ran out of bobbin thread and decided to call it a day.

If you like the gator picture it was free from the following website:


Wishing all a goodnight. Tomorrow will be another day.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Quilt Designed on Electric Quilt

God's Perpetual Dance

I designed this quilt using Electric Quilt.
With color pencils and graph paper I designed one block. The block was then recreated in Electric Quilt. This is where the fun began. What could one simple block look like by rotating the same block? Can you see the block? There are 5 blocks across and down.

The stars represent God's Glory as we dance through life's journeys.When we trust God it can become like a flowing dance regardless of the trials and tribulations. I was quite surprised that the rotation of blocks resulted in a quilt pattern that has a sense of movement with arms that reached out to the next. Like a dance.

Inspiration for the block is from Julie True's  song God's Perpetual Dance on her Spirit to Spirit CD. Her soaking music is very soothing and healing unlike my quilt that has vibrant colors which expresses liveliness and joy. Joy increases when we stay close to God and trust Him in all things, even during the trials we all eventually have to face.

Colors were chosen based on the description as written in scriptures for making the curtains for the Meeting of the Tabernacle. The cloth was linen with strands of scarlet and purple threads and metallic gold woven in the fabric. Being a lover of fabric I am quite intrigued that God was very specific in the finite details in the instructions of the colors and fibers.

Wishing all a happy and restful Sunday.
It has been quite a restful one for me as I am fighting a cold. Spent much of my day looking laying down with my Ipad visiting many quilt blogs.Thank you David for such a nice Christmas gift, my youngest son.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tutorial for Grid Quilting

For my tutorial for grid quilting I am using a quilt that has been in the making for at least 1 year due to life events preventing me from finishing of which one was beginning my home based accounting business. Now that I have achieved a good number of clients I can relax a bit and get back to some quilting! Sew Bitter Sweet Designs is hosting a Lovely Year of Finishes, a challenge for us to complete a work in progress or unfinished project. This is the incentive I need. Now to the grid quilting:
  • The first thing I do is clean and oil my machine, the bobbin casing area, and clear off the tabletop. I use a 2 inch paint brush, the cleaning brush that came with my sewing machine, and a soft piece of cotton batting. Clean the bobbin casing after replacing each new bobbin. Cotton fuzz will accumulate and can cause possible thread nesting.
  • Exchange the needle for a new needle - either a Scheetz Quilting Needle or a Scheetz Jeans Needle. I change out a needle for every 4 to 5 bobbins. If you notice your machine sounds noisier it may be due to a worn out needle.
  • I wind at least 4-5 bobbins. I am using Superior's Bottom Thread for both the top and bottom. 
  • Since I am grid quilting I will attached my walking foot so it will evenly pull the fabric across the plate.
  • I mark my quilt as I go since I am using a chalk marker. The brand is General's Pastel Chalk.
  • I rotate between using GrabARoo's gloves and Norwegian Formula hand cream made by Neutrogena. The hand cream is grease less and will not stain the quilt keeping your fingers from not slipping across the fabric. I use GrabARoo's when stitching in the center of the quilt.They give me more control preventing the quilt from moving and allowing for straight line stitching.

My machine came with a walking foot. If yours didn't check your sewing machine retailer. They cost between $60-$75. The function of the walking foot is to feed your bottom fabric through with the top fabric evenly. Prevents some fabrics from slipping as it has it's own set of feed dogs that move in a walking motion over the fabric.  It is easily connected by removing your normal sewing foot and putting the walking foot on in it's place. The arm sits over the needle clamp screw.

 Here I have rolled an edge so that it is easier to manage the bulk and weight of the quilt and guiding the quilt under the walking foot.

Draw a stitching line the length of the quilt. In this instance it is a diagonal line from edge to edge using a 1 inch wide and 12 inches long ruler. Begin from the center of the quilt and work your way toward the end of the quilt.

Working from the center outward will keep the quilt top and quilt bottom smooth and prevent the fabric from bunching up. Depending on your grid design you may want to draw several lines before stitching. I usually don't mark the whole quilt when marking with chalk. Constant handling will wear the chalk off. You may choose to use a blue water soluble marker. I have had some successes with them and a couple times have been very dissatisfied using them. Reason being you don't know for sure if the marks will wash out. Linda French, a longarmer, did a series of tests and has documented her results in her report, "What Quilt Marker Should I Use?, for different markers by their type and brand name. It is informative and great information to keep on hand. She has successfully used most chalks.

 Once you begin stitching on a drawn line you will begin to notice the weight of the quilt. It helps if you have a table with a leaf that extends from the back and the left side of your sewing table. Another alternative is having another table at the back of your sewing table. You can use your ironing board on the left side of your sewing table to help support the weight. I happen to have a quilting table with the extensions.  My sewing machine sits down in the table and is flush with my sewing table top. If this isn't an option for you may be able to purchase an acrylic extension table for a reasonable price.

Notice that my needle is down. I set my machine so when my machine stops it rests with the needle down. This helps from keeping the quilt shifting while you are readjusting the weight of the fabric so that it isn't dragging. Dragging will cause irregular stitching size. I reposition the weight of the quilt about every 4-5 inches, especially when sewing in the center of the quilt.

I keep a magnet close by to catch safety pins as I remove them from the quilt. Once it can't accept anymore safety pins I swooped them into the container.

Wearing GrabARoos's helps to control the bulk and weight of the quilt while stitching. I keep fingertips touching the quilt while holding palm off the quilt. This is the same position for free motion quilting as well.

Check out Grabaroos - Home Page

Other ideas for grid marking.
  • Instead of marking with a pen use painters tape to create your stitching guideline.
  • Want something more creative see The Stencil Company's Grid stencils.
    • mini grids
    • diagonal grids
    • diamond grids
    • circular grids
    • organic grid quilting

Once I have completed stitching in one direction I will begin the same process as above but stitching diagonally in the opposite direction creating a cross hatch. On this particular quilt the grid will be more like a plaid rather than a grid.

Happy Quilting!


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