Hi Everyone! It's Brenda and I have something I wanted to share! One of my favorite pattern designers, Allison Harris from Cluck, Cluck, Sew released a new pattern earlier this year so when we got it at Pine Needles, I was hoping to make it for a shop sample. I love the scrappy look that she achieves in this pattern and her directions are always easy to understand.
I cut fat quarters from the Tilda line called Bon Voyage. The name of the line makes me chuckle since we are staying at home during this Covid-19 time and none of us gets to travel! The line has 20 fabrics and the pattern calls for only 13, but I just couldn’t decide which ones to leave out. The other challenge I had was deciding on a background color. Eventually, I made sample blocks with two different background colors. I always find it helpful to make visual decisions visually. It was a tough decision, but I decided to go with the rose colored background. Since I had more fat quarters, I am making a second, smaller quilt with the blue background so you will see photos of both!
One of the tips that I’d like to share with you is when I am doing a fat quarter quilt like this, I will start the project with a new blade in my rotary cutter and I will layer 4 fat quarters and cut them all at the same time. This is DEFINITELY a measure twice, cut once situation and I always cut the biggest cuts first, just in case I make an error. This choice does carry some risk to it, but I do like to be efficient with my time.
Another way I try to be efficient is by using string sewing techniques. For example, when making the star block half square triangles for the point, I picked out 8 of the squares to make the points and did all of that sewing for ALL of the 15 blocks that I needed at once. Then I did all of the sewing for one star point side without breaking thread between the units. I carried them all to my cutting board and cut them, then I carried them all to the wool mat to press them. Sometimes I will use all of those bits that I trimmed off and make another quilt with them as I mentioned in my last newsletter article.
In the pattern, the designer uses a technique to make these units that I’m sure most of you have done. You draw a line on the back of the smaller square, lay that across the larger square and sew on the line. I discovered a much more efficient way to streamline that process that I’d like to share with you. This tool is made by a few different brands. The one that we carry is the shop is called the Clearly Perfect Angles Tool. It is a piece of thin clear plastic with lines on it that you attach to your sewing table in front of your presser foot. After you layer your pieces, you simply follow the lines on the tool to guide your fabric which eliminates the need to draw a line on the fabric. I also find this to be more accurate!
The blocks went together quickly and the pattern has excellent graphics along with directions for pressing which made all of the seams nest together beautifully! I used our Quilter’s Dream 100% cotton batting, one of the fun Tilda wide backs and 505 Basting Spray to get it ready for quilting.
I wanted to emphasized the diagonal feel to the chain blocks so I began quilting with straight lines through those blocks using my Q20, my adjustable ruler foot and my Line Tamer Ruler. I put three lines diagonally, but later added two more as I thought it looked like it needed a bit more quilting.
In the star blocks, I really had fun with the quilting. I love trying to quilt a block without breaking thread or sewing over lines twice so I can quilt an entire block in one go. I began at the tip of one of the stars and used my Line Tamer Ruler to do a straight line square all around the star. When I got to my starting point I then went straight down the point and through the square to the end of the next point and followed that pattern all around the block. Sometimes the quilting was only in the ditch, but other times it crossed through the center of the square in the middle. Before I made my last line, I stopped at one of the background corners, removed the ruler and did the pattern you see there. After making one of these patterns, I traveled with a gentle curve through the center of the block to the next corner and repeated until I was back at my starting point and then finished the last of the star points. It’s a bit difficult to explain, but it really made the quilting fast and easy.
Then I moved on to the binding, which I do a little differently than some. I cut my binding at 2 1/8” as I like the look of a more narrow binding and I find that width works best for the stitch width that I use when I stitch it on. After making my continuous binding and pressing it in half, I sew the binding to the front of the quilt. You’ll notice in the photo that I did sew a basting stitch all around the edge of the quilt after quilting and before I trimmed it.
After attaching the binding, I turn the binding to the back of the quilt and again stitch it from the front, this time using a serpentine stitch which is number 4 on my Bernina. You’ll also notice that I do all of my binding using my walking foot. I am most pleased with the results and love my Bernina walking foot!
This next picture shows how beautiful the back of the binding is with this technique. It really works well for me!
By using my Q20 sit down machine, I find that my quilting goes so much faster since I spend less time quilt wrestling and more time enjoying the process. I also love being able to add my own hand to that part of the process and make my quilt as individual as I am. Thanks for letting me share a bit about my process. Happy quilting my friends!
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