Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chevron Lines--Quick and Classic

Having taught students how to quilt simple line designs on samplers, the chevron line design is one I've always wanted to use on a full scale quilt. Recently, I was contacted to quilt this top for a man who is a Denver Broncos fan...this is a birthday gift from his wife. For a strip quilt such as this, chevron lines are classic, masculine, and fairly easy to quilt.

Strip quilts can be somewhat challenging to square up because there isn't a corner block to work off of. Measure it through the top, middle, and bottom both vertically and horizontally with a 120" tape measure to get it right. I used my 12" square acrylic ruler and a metal T-square to check the corners.

To mark the top, I used a Clover white chalk wheel and a 6" x 24" acrylic ruler. The chalk does stay on fairly well through the quilting. It's easy to remark when necessary and rubs out when you want it to.

First I chalked a line 1/2" in from the edge around the perimeter of the quilt--this is the quilting edge that will be covered by binding eventually but I use it as a guide to quilt to. I can move beyond this line a few stitches to travel to the next quilting line without having to stop and start a new line of quilting.

Next, line up the 45 degree angle of the acrylic ruler on the chalked quilting line and begin marking a line from the top left corner. Keep the ruler on the line and mark the next line, 1-1/2" away.

It really doesn't matter when you decide to change directions and make a point that meets at the quilting edge, but I found the center and then ended up marking it off-set a bit which looked fine. With that kind of freedom, you really can't go wrong. No need to worry about an exact fit as with some grids, this design works even if you decide on 1" or 2" spaced lines.

Using 1" stainless steel safety pins, keep them horizontal with the chalked lines. The quilting is done with a walking foot so there is room for the foot to clear the pins. A sufficient number of pins will prevent puckering and distortion that can occur when quilting long lines; unfortunately this problem is difficult to hide on solid fabrics so keep the pins in as you quilt.

This quilt has Quilter's Dream 100% cotton batting, which I presoaked and dried in the dryer because the quilt fabric had been prewashed. My client wanted the thread to match--navy on navy and orange on orange. The backing was navy so the tricky part was to balance the thread tension so I didn't get pop-ups from the navy bobbin thread while quilting the orange. I quilted several rows on a practice swatch, made adjustments and the tension was balanced. There were a lot of starts and stops but keeping dedicated to 1/4" of small stitches (8-10) at the beginning and end of a quilting line keeps everything secure. Then bury those threads, rather than snip them at the surface. I used a quality thread, Presencia 50/3.

Copyright ©2009, Sharon Baggs

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