Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lock Stitches

For the last year, I've struggled with making locking stitches on the longarm look nice.  At first, I was using a backtracking method, but that really stood out on the back because the rest of the stitching wasn't backtracked.

Then I tried taking one stitch at a time, moving the machine a small fraction with each stitch.  That was better, but time consuming.

And now my new method, which I happened upon when reading an article by Kim Brunner.  She does one stitch at a time, but pulls on the thread tails to move the fabric. 

Here are pictures of the top
and the bottom
Much better than was I was getting before!

So, a really big thank you to Kim Brunner!  She is an excellent teacher and I highly recommend her 'Machine Quilting with Templates' class through

I hope you give the lock stitch technique a try, and check out Kim's class.

Happy Quilting!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stitch Talk #8 Pebbles, and Swirls

Today's Stitch Talk focuses on Pebbles, Swirls, and it's combo Swirls and Circles.

Swirls and Circles
Let's start with Pebbles.
Beginning at an edge, make a circle, then backtrack over a portion of it to make another circle right next to it.  Don't worry if your circles are perfectly round, unless that's the look your going for.  Continue making circles, varying the sizes, and backtracking when necessary to fill in the space.
And remember, Pebbles look better when they are touching, with very little space in between, otherwise they're Bubbles!

Pebbles relative, Swirls, again starts on an edge, and curls around into the middle. Make sure to leave enough space between the stitching lines to get back out.
Backtrack over the outer stitching, and start another swirl, again leaving enough space to get back out.  If that stitching hits another swirl, just stitch over what was previously stitched and continue on finishing the swirl.
By tracking over previous swirls, the fill looks as if the swirls are piled on top of each other.

Once different basic fills are mastered, they can be combined into new fills, such as Swirls and Circles.

 The options are endless!

Happy Quilting!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Making the Glorified 9-Patch

Download the templates from AllPeopleQuilt.comI enlarged the templates approximately at 141% so that the finished size is a 12" block.  That's the measurement between the small dots (see the arrows below)Also, check the measurement corner to corner for square.  If not correct, fold the template in half to check that it is the same on both sides.  Redraw if necessary, rechecking all measurements.  And don't worry that the seam allowance is closer to 3/8" than 1/4".  Consider it insurance!

Cut the 4 corner squares at 5 5/8"; the 4 rectangles at 2 7/8" x 5 5/8"; and the middle square 2 7/8".  As you can see, my 9-patch is a bit bigger than 12 1/2", allowing some fudge room!
Line up the center lines, and trace around the template, marking the dots in the corners and the centers.

Cut a strip the width of the arc template,
and carefully cut out the shape.  Mark the end and center dots.

I decided not to cut the arcs out of the 9-patch, leaving them for a bit more stability.  Start pinning at the center of the arc, matching the dots, and the cut edge on the marked line on the 9-patch.

Only one side can be pinned.
Continue pinning the other three arcs.
Starting at the pinned end of the arc, stitch a scant 1/4" seam following the cut edge and marking line.  At the center, carefully ease the top fabric around to match the cut line with the marking, taking a few stitches at a time.  Stop and readjust as necessary.  The dots will hopefully match at the end.  If they are off a bit, that's okay, as the 9-patch block does get trimmed down.
Now you've got a Glorified 9-Patch!  Press, and carefully lift up the arcs to trim the excess fabric from the back.  I trimmed a bit beyond the marked line so that the seam allowance was graded.
Now, what to do with those cut out pieces???  I'll show you what I did on the next post--got to get it quilted today!

Happy Quilting!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another Surprise!

Okay, I did it again.  Spent the morning yesterday quilting, and had to leave my Quilt Cave to attend to other matters.  This beauty greeted me a few hours later!
I get so caught up in the quilting that I don't see the forest for the trees.  I just love it when I'm surprised!  And I promptly named this 'Oh Baby Baby!"

This block is the Glorified 9-Patch, and I found the pattern with templates to print at  I enlarged the templates to make 12" blocks so that the finished quilt measures 41"x41".  Here's the full quilt:
Here's some detail shots:

Now, I did not put sashing in between my blocks, which means I had a lot of seams meeting together.
And yes, I quilted into those points.  Here's how:  I have a longarm machine that has a presser foot lever and a needle up button.  The foot was not going over all that fabric when approaching the corner, so I stopped, lifted the foot, moved the machine a bit, lowered the foot, and took one stitch with the needle up button.  Repeated the 'lift foot, move, lower foot, one stitch' sequence till I got to the center, then repeated the sequence to get back out.  Even though it took some time, it worked wonderfully!

And here's a picture of the back:
Even though this is a baby quilt, it's going in the guild show next month, then I'll hang it up in my quilt cave for awhile until something else fantastic replaces it!

Happy Quilting!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Disappearing 9-Patch (D9P)

Continuing my 9-patch play this week on the disappearing 9-patch otherwise known as D9P.
Isn't it pretty?
Here are some closeups of the star panto using Glide thread, my favorite!

This quilt was really easy to put together--and the results are awesome!  And if you would like to try it, here's a little tutorial.

Make your 9-patch blocks, making the four corners different from the four edge centers either by changing the color or the value.  Make the center block totally different, again by color or value.  Each square in my block is cut at 3 1/2", giving me roughly a 9" block when completely done with the cutting.
 Cut the block in half directly down the center.

 Without moving the block, cut it in half again perpendicular to the first cut.
 There are now four pieces, all the same size.
Rotate the pieces so that two small squares are in the center and two matching squares are also.  By matching, I mean by the color, value or print that was used
Hope you give this a try!
Happy Quilting


Monday, March 4, 2013

March Book of the Month

Time for the March Book of the Month! 

There's been a lot of talk lately on various groups about the D9P.  That would be the Disappearing 9-Patch.  And since I'm in need of three more baby quilts pronto, I thought I'd give the D9P a try.  

Here's the idea:
Okay, that's one quilt.  Now, I really don't want to make all three quilts a D9P, so I hunted through my library for other books based on a 9 patch and came across Judy Sisneros' book 9-Patch Pizzazz (affiliate link).
Perfect!  I have a large scale print that would be fun to use in this style, and some nice companion fabrics.

So, not only do I get to work in the Book of the Month, I also get a baby quilt out of it! 
Win Win!

Now, what to do for the last one?  I'd love to keep in the 9- patch themeAny ideas?  Leave a comment if you have any suggestions!
Proprosed fabrics for quilt 3:

Happy Quilting!