Friday, January 18, 2013

Flag Quilt

Isn't this a fun little flag quilt!  This quilt belongs to Lisa and her piecing was beautiful.

I wanted the quilting to take on the elements of a flag.  Stars in the corner and horizontal red and white stripes.

For the stars, I did all straight lines using a ruler as my guide.  

For the red and white, I made all my quilting horizontal.  Some feathers going from left to right and also stitch in the ditch and straight lines with the ruler.

I used double batting.  Warm and white on the bottom and Hobbs on top.  Why did I mix the two?  When using the Hobbs on top, it gives it a little bit more it's all I had for scrap batting that fit the size of this quilt.  I save all my scrap batting in hopes to use it for runners and baby quilts.  Bonus for the customer...I don't charge them for it.
This quilt, quilted up fast and fun!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Video Tutorial for Motif and Feather Ring

I quilted up a motif and feather ring on Lisa's Beautiful quilt.  

This video is very un-professional, but you'll get the idea of how I do them by watching it.

I also wanted to share a couple of things, I didn't mention in the video. 

The arch ruler is by Renae Haddadin.
The green ruler is by Gadget Girls
The circle template is by Linda's Electric Quilters

I switched my top thread to a dark tan for the feather ring. 

Let me know if you have any other questions.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Minky ~ Top of Quilt

I recently quilted a blanket by using Minky on the top and wanted to share how that went.

The idea came to me to put the minky on top because I wanted to use all the minky fabric and didn't want to waist any.  (which I would have, if I put it on the back)

...and loading minky on the back is not my favorite....for reason's explained here.

First off I made sure the minky was squared up, I then floated it on the top, just like any other quilt.

For the quilting I decided to do my new favorite, "grid quilting".

It started great!  When I float my tops I always run a stitch using my channel lock across the top of the quilt and then depending on the type of quilting I do, I run a stitch down each side (left and right).  I then quilt that section, advance and continue to run a stitch down each side...quilt and so on.

As I got towards the bottom section of the minky, it wasn't laying flat for me. you can see in my photos.

I proceeded on anyways and stitched down both sides then using my channel lock again, stitched across the bottom.

This did help tame down some of the waves and extra minky.  This gave me hope.

I then proceeded to quilt and because I was using wool for the batting, it did give it a little loft and help fill in any extra minky fabric I was dealing with.

It quilted up really nice with no problem puckers anywhere.

The problem corner area, also quilted up just fine.

...and even though I squared up the minky before loading it on the machine, as I got to the bottom it still wasn't square.  By using my channel lock and running a stitch across the bottom, I was able to make sure it was squared up that way. 

At this point, I then took the quilt off and loaded it the other way for the grid quilting.  I explain more about how to do the grid quilting here.

How was my experience?  I would definitely do it again.  I'm glad I did the simple grid quilting, because as you can see in the picture, you can hardly see your stitches.  The only way I knew I had stitched a line was from the indention of the quilting foot.

...and even though I treated the minky as if it were the top of the quilt, I love the other side so much better that the minky top is now the back.

Isn't the back great!  Didn't plan that one!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Backing Material

Backing Material for quilts.  This seems like such a simple thing but it can actually be one of the most important when it comes to your finished quilt!

I wanted to talk about just a few things when it comes to backing material.

You can use just about any type of material for your backing material.  It all depends on what you like and for what quilting project you are doing.

Some of the most common types of backing material are:


Cotton Backing Material:

In my opinion is the easiest to work with.  You can pre-wash or not pre-wash before using it.  Depends on what you prefer.  

If you don't pre-wash:  I think it is easier to work with this material because the sizing is still in the material and it helps the material keep its shape and also makes the material smoother.  You will have some shrinkage after you wash your quilt for the first time and it may cause the front of your quilt to pucker and give it a used/antique look.

If you pre-wash:  This can be difficult in some ways but beneficial in others.  couple of difficulties I come across when using pre-washed backing is once the sizing is washed out of the material, your material is not as smooth and creases can occur while quilting if your not careful.  (the backing material will cling to the batting)  I quilted this up last week and had some issues with my backing material because it had been pre-washed:

Beautiful on the front.....not so pretty on the back:

I had to fix quite a few of the pleats....I wasn't able to fix a couple though.  So what happened is my backing material was clinging to my cotton batting and because I didn't go under my machine to check for the pleats to smooth them, I ended up with pleats.

How do you fix the pleats after it's been quilted?  It's not easy and sometimes impossible.  You have to un-stitch the pleated area and re-stitch by trying to ease in the extra fabric.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Of course by pre-washing you will not have as much shrinkage after the first time you wash your quilt and your quilting design will not pucker so much and will be shown more.

Cotton/Batik Material:  There are some beautiful batiks and many times I've used batiks for backing material.  I've never had a problem with using this material for backing.  I will say this though, my quilting stitched seem to lay on top of the material rather than sinking into the material and that is because of the way batik material is made.

Flannel Material:  A couple of things about Flannel for backing.  First and most important.  Always pre-wash flannel before using it.  Flannel will shrink a lot and you want to make sure you get most of the shrinkage out before using it for the back of your quilt.  It to will also not be as smooth and so you'll want to make sure you smooth it out as you quilt so you don't get pleats on the back of your quilt.  

Second, flannel is a thicker material and will make your quilts heavier.  This might make a difference when it comes to choosing the batting you use.  It also might make a difference with your binding.  You may want to give yourself another 1/4" for your binding.  This will make it easier for you when putting your binding on.

Fleece/Minky Material:   Usually you can use fleece and minky with know difficulties.  You do want to pay attention to a couple of things though.  First, make sure not to stretch it when using it.  Depending on the fleece/minky it may stretch in one direction (to check this, just simply pull it apart with your hands in both directions, you'll know which way it stretches more) and if you notice it does stretch then make sure you load it on the longarm the opposite direction or opposite sides it stretches.  That way when you advance your quilt you are not stretching the backing material also.  You want it to even sag a little just to make sure your not stretching it.  If you stretch it as you quilt, you may end up with a VERY crinkly top and it wouldn't be good.

Second,  some fleece/minky may pull up through the stitching holes to the quilt top while you are quilting and it usually looks really funny.  You could try matching the backing as close as you can to your quilt top, but I've found that after washing your quilt for the first time those little buggers wash back into the quilt and aren't noticeable anymore.  It also might make a difference with your binding. (your quilt may be thicker)  You may want to give yourself another 1/4" for your binding.  This will make it easier for you when putting your binding on.

Again feel free to share you thoughts, advice or opinions on this subject and of course these are just a few things I've learned over the years on using backing material and wanted to share them today.


Kim's Quilt

This is my sister-n-law Kim's little quilt.

I really enjoyed quilting this up.  At first I was going to do an overall design, but am glad I didn't.  It think it needed custom quilting to help show off the design.

I did continuous curve for the center piecing....some of my favorite....oblong pebbles and for the piano key quilting, I used her piecing as a reference as to how far apart I stitch the straight lines.

I sometimes have a difficult time deciding what to quilt in the corner squares.  For this quilt I quilted a grid by using the piecing as a reference and then did continuous line quilting around the grid.  

I stitch in the ditch around the blocks and corner blocks only.

I used two layers of batting.  Warm and white on the bottom and wool on the top.  I wanted the quilting to really stand out and by putting the wool on the top it did just that.