Friday, May 25, 2018

Celestial ++ Baby Version

As part of the marketing for my book, Modern Plus Sign Quilts, Stash has a few of the book quilts (including Celestial) to bring to Quilt Market, QuiltCon, and other shows.

Paige and I knew that we were going to be doing some trunk shows for the book so I decided to remake another version of Celestial (this is the quilt in the lower right hand part of the front cover.   I decided to re-make the quilt in a baby size, which is much easier to travel with.

Celestial is a super fun and quick quilt to piece, each block is 24" square finished so only 4 blocks are needed to make a 48" x 48" baby sized version (9 blocks make a large lap and 16 blocks make a queen).

For this new version of Celestial, I started with a background of Kona Cotton in cornflower, one of my favorite blues.  For the plus signs, I used a variety of prints, mostly Cotton & Steel, in blacks and whites.

As this was a small and manageable baby sized quilt, I decided to have some fun with the quilting and took some pictures along the way to show how I quilted Celestial.

I knew that wanted to quilt feathers on the quilt, where the feathers wound around the different plus signs.  To highlight the feathers, I planned on doing a dense quilting pattern so my goal was to fill as much area as I could with the feathers (to minimize the area I had to densely quilt).  Matching the Aurifil thread (50 wt) to the fabric hides many imperfections with the quilting.

Here was one of the feathers...

I then echoed the feather to help it stand out more.

Then I filled in the remaining area with pebbles.

I then quilted each plus sign using a square meander.

I hope that you enjoyed seeing the quilting progression of Celestial!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Celestial (made into a baby size) from Modern Plus Sign Quilts
Size: 48" x 48"
Fabrics:  Kona Cotton in cornflower and various black and white prints.
Quilting: Feathers and pebbles
Batting: Warm & White
Thread: Light blue, soft white, and black 50 wt Aurifil cotton thread

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Quilt Basics ++ Quilt Basting

Today, I would like to to show you how I bast quilts.  The step of basting is definitely not one of my favorite parts of quilt making, but it is a very important step to make sure you wind up with a nice finished quilt without any tucks or pleats in the quilt top or backing.  I came up with my way of basting over the last few years, reading about how other bloggers bast their quilts and by trial and error.

In developing a process that worked for me, my "musts" were:
  1. Uses basting spray instead of pins.  I prefer the speed of spray and it is easier on my hands.
  2. Sprays the basting spray outside, I do not want any fumes in my house or spray glue on my floors or furniture.
  3. Uses a wall to wall carpeted floor (because that is what my house has).
Tools / Notions
You can find these and many of the products I use in quilting making on my Amazon page (all Amazon links are affiliate).
  • Basting spray - I only use Odif Usa 505 Spray.  I find that this spray holds well and washes out (some other brands I have found not to wash off, leaving fabrics with sticky residue).
  • Basting pins - I use stainless steel T-pins to hold the quilt backing to the floor through the wall to wall carpeting.
  • Batting - My favorite batting is Warm & White by the Warm Company which is a cotton batting.  I have never used all polyester batting, but heard that it sometimes has more difficulty sticking with basting spray.

Here are my five simple steps to making basting as easy and pain free as possible.

1.  Spray the backing

I take my quilt backing outside (I usually lay the fabric on the grass away from the house) and spray the wrong side of the backing with the basting spray.  If the fabric is light colored, I first lay down an old sheet and then the backing fabric to make sure the backing does not get dirty.

2.  Pin the backing to the floor

I lay out the backing (spray basted, wrong side up) onto the wall to wall carpeted area.  Using T-pins, I pin the perimeter of the backing to the carpet every 3-5 inches.  I make the backing taunt, but try not to stretch it.

3.  Lay batting onto the backing

Next, I lay the batting over the backing and smooth it flat with my hands.  I usually start in the middle area of the quilt and spread towards the edges.

4.  Spray the quilt top

I take my quilt top outside and spray the wrong side with the basting spray.  Once again, if the fabric is light colored, I first lay down an old sheet and then the quilt top.

5.  Lay the quilt top onto the batting

I lay the quilt top onto the batting and using the same process as with the batting, I start in the middle area of the quilt top and smooth towards the edges.  If the quilt is very large (anything larger than a lap size) then I also add a few safety pins through the quilt sandwich to make sure there is no slipping.  I space the pins out about every foot or so.

After the three layers are all together, I actually walk all over the quilt, using the weight of my body to press the fabric, batting, and adhesive together (to make sure that the three layers are all adhered well together). I have tried ironing my quilt sandwich after it is basted and have not found it to make a difference in my quilts so I skip that step.

Baby version of Celestial from the Modern Plus Sigh Quilts book

Congrats!  Your quilt is basted and ready to quilt!  I have had quilts basted and ready to quilt for 5+ months and the basting spray still gives a great hold to the layers.  Come back Friday to see the reveal of the finished Celestial baby quilt.

Are you a spray baster or pin baster?  Do you have any tips that make basting quicker or easier? 

I am excited for the upcoming Tips and Tutorials Festival (starting on June 11th) I am co-hosting with Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl and will be linking up this tutorial :)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Isosceles Addition ++ Love Patchwork & Quilting

Today, I get to show you the last of the plus sign designs that I had made for magazines to celebrate the release of my book, Modern Plus Sigh Quilts.

This quilt is called Isosceles Addition and it appears in the latest issue (#60) of Love Patchwork & Quilting.

I really like the strong geometric shapes and the bright colors of this design.  I was so happy to see that a little piece of the quilt made it to the cover :)

Photo by Love Patchwork & Quilting

My thanks to Robert Kaufman for the Kona Cotton Solids, Aurifil for the piecing and quilting thread, and the Warm Company for the Warm & White batting. 

In my quilt, I used Kona colors honeysuckle, chartreuse, and white.  The bright pink and green pop against the white.

It took me a very long time to figure out the quilting design for Isosceles Addition, I wanted something more than an allover design, but I could not think of how to custom quilting it.  Many thanks to Paige for helping me come up with the design.

Using Aurifil soft white (color 2021) in 50 wt, I quilted a series of randomly spaced straight lines between the plus signs, then filled in the areas of the plus signs with a bear claw quilting design.  I really like the contrast of the straight lines and the curved lines.

Here is a beautifully styled shot from Love, Patchwork & Quilting.

Photo by Love Patchwork & Quilting

I love the Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine, the magazine is so bright and happy. Check out Love Patchwork & Quilting Issue 60!

If you love plus sign quilts as much as I do, be sure to check out the Modern Plus Sampler Quilt Along that I will be hosting with my book co-author Paige Alexander.  The reveal of the design will be on June 7th and the quilt along will kick off on July 5th.  You can find out more information here.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Chalk ++ Modern Quilts Unlimited

Today I am so excited to show you another of my quilt finishes from last fall! The quilt is called Chalk and it appears in the just published Modern Quilts Unlimited Magazine Issue 23.

Chalk is one of the modern plus sign quilt designs I made for magazines to help spread the word about the Modern Plus Sign Quilts book. The design reminded me a little like the chalk outlines of bodies, so the pattern earned the name "Chalk" :)

I would like to thank Michael Miller for the beautiful fabrics: Cotton Couture solids in magenta and white. The batting was Warm & White by the Warm Company and Aurifil thread was used in the piecing.

I knew that I wanted a large overall curvy quilting design to compliment all of the straight lines in the piecing.  I wanted a very exact repeating design, one that I could not achieve on my domestic machine so I turned to Carol Alperin for her wonderful quilting.  Carol used a repeating curvy design using a light pink thread.  

I had a lot of fun working on this quilt. Chalk was hung in the Modern Quilts Unlimited booth at QuiltCon.

Photo by Paige Alexander

I love the Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine, the magazine is so full of great quilts and inspiration. Check out Modern Quilts Unlimited Issue 23!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Splendid Sampler II

Have you heard the news about The Splendid Sampler 2?  A few weeks ago Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson announced a sequel to their successful book and quilt along The Splendid Sampler.

The Splendid Sampler 2 begins shipping in mid-October and is now available for pre-order on Amazon (affiliate link).  The book contains 100 different 6" blocks using a variety of piecing techniques and styles.  

I am some fun news to share about the Splendid Sampler 2 ... I am on the design team and the book contains one of the blocks I designed!

The Splendid Sampler 2 has its own website where you can read all about the book / quilt along and how you can join in. The sew along for the book starts on June 14th with 20 free blocks being launched! There is also an active Facebook group where quilters share their blocks and progress.

Splendid Sampler 2 now available for pre-order on Amazon (affiliate link). 

Here’s the plan:
  • June 14 – Sew Along STARTS with one block a week on Thursday
  • Nov 1 – the 20th block is given out
  • Dec 6 – we start sewing from the book with blocks announced on Thursdays.
  • May 2 is the planned end date. So it’s a full year of fun!
Are you planning on joining in?  I am planning on sewing along, sewing as many as I can.  I am not sure which fabrics to use yet.