Friday, June 24, 2011


The Sunbonnet Sue quilt has setting triangles along the outside. I decided to use a feather design to border the blocks. Here's the first one I did the other morning. I've since quilted more than half the feathers. Shown from the right side, you can see the blue washable marker I used to trace the design onto the quilt top.

A view of the back of the quilt:

Antique feather templates used for hand quilting are often adapted to machine quilting by creating a gap between the feathers so they can be quilted continuously. This can be achieved by quilting down one side of the marked line and back up the other side. The other option is to quilt it as the template dictates, but be prepared to re-stitch the top of every other feather so you can make the design continuous.  This re-stitching technique works best for this design and is very good practice for accuracy. A light thread on a light fabric is very forgiving as well.

Copyright ©2011, Sharon Baggs

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When a Quilt Wears Out...

What do you do when a quilt begins to show signs of wear and tear? Either repair it or love it til the threads no longer hold together.

It's a joyful thing to see one of my kids wrapped up in their quilt to sleep or study. It's a comfort when they are sick and want the quilt to cover them. I've repaired many a quilt belonging to my children over the years because kids tend to love their quilts to death.

If you are a quilter, it's a great excuse to go buy more fabric and design something really spectacular. But if  the quilt was given to you or inherited and you don't sew yourself, you'll want to find someone who can spruce it up for you.

I do have a couple of quilts that are in need of repair. One is a strippy quilt with very heavy quilting. Some of the stitching has come loose so it only needs re-quilting in a few spots since the fabric is still very stable.

My son's I Spy quilt, which I made for him in 2003, has a few patches that have completely worn away. Even the batting is gone in one area. Looking at it I can see that the patches that are falling apart are lower quality fabric than some of the other patches sewn into the quilt.

Back when I was collecting novelty prints for this quilt, I was more interested in the design of the fabric. I didn't understand much about the different qualities of fabric such as thread count, the hand of the fabric, or manufacturers. I could have held up a print to the light and seen how easily it showed through to get a basic idea of the thickness or thinness of the fibers.

At any rate, this quilt has been loved and used daily on my son's bed. Since he is almost 20, he might want to retire this quilt in favor of a more updated style. But if he wants it repaired, here's what I will do.

First, I will replace the worn patches by carefully trimming the worn part away. I will use a quality fabric cut in the same shape--I have tons these left over from 2003! Turn under the edge, press, insert a new piece of batting, and hand or machine applique the patch in place.

Also, when the edge is worn near the binding, it is easy to trim the original binding off. If the quilting is not too close to the edge, you can also trim a bit of the worn fabric.

On this quilt, I quilted in the ditch between all the patches. On the border, I used orange embroidery floss to hand quilt a pointed design. Since I centered it along the border, there is plenty of space to trim up the edges--in this case I could trim a bit less than an inch if necessary--and then apply a new binding.

Copyright ©2011, Sharon Baggs

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Designs for Sue

Just starting the utility stitching (aka stitch-in-the-ditch) on the Sunbonnet Sue quilt. Everything is going along smoothly. Using 60 wt. 100% cotton Presencia thread for this part and will switch to a 50 wt. for some of the surface quilting, such as this feather design for the outer triangles.

Also visited Andrea this morning so she could take some head shot photos of the actress, who was delighted to see a new member of the family, 10-week-old Lolo. Very playful and cute!

Copyright ©2011, Sharon Baggs