Thursday, August 14, 2014

Row Quilting

Just finished quilting this baby quilt that was pieced by my friend, Renee, for her new granddaughter, Stella.

Row quilts, such as this one featuring 5 sewn strips, can be quilted with an overall design or treated individually. I chose to quilt the three fabrics with 3 different designs. I used a practice patch to audition potential designs.

I also used Superior's King Tut 40 wt. cotton thread in Lemongrass, a neutral thread that blended well with all the fabrics, including the red fabric which was used to back the quilt.

The center panel by Cloud 9 Fabric features whimsical wheat, flowers, and critters. Since it's such a busy pattern, I chose a simple clamshell design and incorporated a spray of wheat between each of them.

The red sections were quilted with a feathered stencil that nicely filled the area.

The gray fabric reads as a solid even though it has a swirly design that recedes into the background. It was a good choice to show off some quilting and incorporate the creatures in the center panel. I looked at the fabric and searched online for sketches of a cat, mouse, and bird.

After some really lame attempts to draw them...

I just went for it and stitched them out. Time and again I realize that my quilting is better than my artwork! Be brave and soldier on...

Renee plans to sew on a 2" satin blanket binding so I quilted to within 1.5 inches of the edges. Overall, I was really happy with the way this quilt turned out!

Copyright ©2014, Sharon Baggs

Monday, July 28, 2014

Prairie Points on Jazzy Trip Quilt

My daughter, Becca, made this quilt many, many years ago. It's a Trip Around the World design she named "Jazzy Trip" and she hand quilted it with pink and green pearl cotton.

She always wanted to finish it off with a prairie point binding. This type of inserted edge binding, secured between the top and the backing, would definitely add an interesting visual dimension. I procrastinated on it because I didn't really know how to make prairie points. Cluelessness kept this quilt in the unfinished pile for awhile.

So finally I devoted an entire Saturday poring over books and instructions on the internet to figure out the "how to" on making prairie points. Typically prairie points are added before layering and quilting the quilt but it's possible to do it after. Here's how: I began by pulling the backing out of the way and trimming the top and batting even. Then with the backing smoothed behind the top/batting, I trimmed a 1/2" edge allowance.

Looking through my collection of pinks and greens, I found fabrics originally used in the quilt. I added some additional fabrics that blended in with the originals ones used so there would be enough points to cover the edges. I cut 3-1/2" squares, pressed them diagonally in half and in half again. This creates a folded side and an open side. In the corner here, two points are placed folded sides together with the open sides out. This allows the next point to be inserted about 1/4" inside the corner point. 

Continue placing the points along the edge, pinning in place and making adjustments so they all fit along the edge. Keep the backing fabric out of the way and machine sew a 1/4" seam which includes 3 layers: the prairie point, top fabric and batting. Once the points are sewn along the entire perimeter of the quilt, fold the backing fabric so it is even with the top and press into place. Flip the prairie points up so they are pointing away from the quilt top and toward the edge. Bring the backing fabric even with the seam line and pin in place. If the fabric puckers on the back, remove the pins, refold the backing and press until it is flat and even with the edge. Pin in place, thread a hand sewing needle and you're now ready to hand sew the backing fabric to the seam line.

Use a diagonal slip stitch to sew the backing fabric to the seam line, the same stitch used when sewing double fold binding in place.

When you are finished hand sewing, the prairie points will be secure between the folded backing fabric and the sewn front edge. This turned out beautifully and adds great interest to the quilt!

Copyright ©2014, Sharon Baggs

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sisters Quilt Show 2014

Two weeks ago, we day-tripped to Sisters, Oregon for the annual outdoor quilt show, always the second Saturday in July. Luckily it was the day before the World Cup final match or Martin would have been staying home to watch that! We realized it was our first day out together since our kids all returned home for the summer, so it was a much-needed, fun date.

Once again, we thoroughly enjoyed the featured exhibit of the ladies from Santa Barbara who returned to Sisters for their third straight year. I remembered from last year the work of these four women--Debra Blake, Patty Six, Lou Ann Smith, and Maren Johnston--and was immediately drawn back in. Everything from their style of abstract design work with hand dyed fabrics to their quilting lines reflecting an organic modern style, it's all so aesthetically pleasing. The postcard they handed me last year has been on my design wall and gave me inspiration as I quilted Diana's Red Square quilt. From their current exhibit, they springboard into designing a new collection the following year. Stunning!

Copyright ©2014, Sharon Baggs

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Aerial View Denim Quilt

Here is another quilt pieced by Diana, quilted by me. This was originally for Robert but Diana fell in love with it while piecing it and couldn't part with it. Hence the earlier post of the Red Square denim quilt was the gift for him and I did quilt that one before tackling this.

This quilt was designed from a picture Diana took while she was in an airplane. The upper right corner features agricultural circles where I quilted a concentric design with an "arm" that intersects the diameter of each circle. I believe it is the watering apparatus that covers the field.

Lots of stitching in the ditch on this one and often additional stitching right on top of the edge to secure the seams and edges.

This is the waterway where I used a free-motion foot to complete the flowing lines and create some movement. Note the beige piece at the lower right corner where Diana pleated the fabric. I echo quilted lines to enhance her work and I love the technique she used to add texture here.

More examples of that here:

Railroad tracks feature straight-line quilting:

This is not a completely square quilt but a hanging sleeve was added by measuring the longest straight width across the top of the quilt and sewing the sleeve near the edge of the binding. A denim sleeve was used to match the lightweight denim backing and binding.

Copyright ©2014, Sharon Baggs

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Modern Denim Quilt

This quilt was pieced in 3 days by my friend, Diana, who hired me to quilt it for her. It will be used as a wall hanging and she wanted the design of a square to be used throughout the quilting designs. The name of the quilt is Red Square and it is a gift for her friend, Robert.

I used a variety of line designs and was able to complete the quilting with just the use of the walking foot on my machine. Here I chalked line segments on triangles in the dark denim areas on the top and bottom of the quilt.

Blue painter's tape makes an easy to apply and remove guide for walking foot quilting.

Much of the quilting was not marked at all, especially where random quilting lines were used.

A few close-ups of the quilting:

The finished quilt features a muslin backing and a muslin hanging sleeve.

Binding was made with lightweight denim fabric. I used mostly Superior's Omni thread to complete the quilting.

Copyright ©2014, Sharon Baggs

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Christmas Color Block Quilt

So excited to get this quilt completed. To celebrate, I entered it in the Sisters Quilt Show, which will be held on July 12. If you go, look for this among the many entries!

The quilt is made entirely of Christmas flannel prints. I had cut large panels of fabric for another quilt and decided to slice into those to make this fun log cabin quilt. I used Quilter's Dream polyester black batting. Polyester traps heat so this quilt is a warmer. Polyester batting is also a good choice if you plan to hang a quilt; it doesn't stretch like cotton or wool batting. Polyester is often added to cotton and wool batting just to give those natural fibers some added stability.

Each block was pieced improvisational, meaning I did not follow a pattern or give much forethought to color placement in construction. I started with a center poinsettia and began to add "logs" to the cabin, making decisions as I went along. The blocks varied in size, but were roughly 12" square. I added wide black strips to each block and squared the final block to 16". When sewn together, the black strips created the solid background that the blocks "float" on.

For the quilting, I used Superior Thread's Masterpiece 50/3 cotton thread for the top and bottom threads for stitching-in-the-ditch between the logs. For surface quilting, I used the King Tut 40/3 cotton for the top thread and kept the Masterpiece 50/3 (Color #135--DaVinci) in the bobbin. I used this same green thread in the bobbin for all the quilting, even when I switched the top thread. I also used a 90/14 topstitch needle.

Stitching-in-the-ditch with a walking foot (feed dogs are up) and Masterpiece thread in the top and bobbin:

For surface quilting on top of the blocks, I switched the top thread to King Tut's #1002 Holly & Ivy.

For free motion quilting the background swirl design, I switched the top thread to King Tut's #977 Ebony and used a free motion foot (Bernina's open toe foot #24) and lowered the feed dogs to allow full range of motion to quilt in any direction. See previous post for how I quilt in the ditch and along the edge of the quilt.

The backing was pieced with several panels, bordered with a forest green fabric. 

Another view of the back after quilting and binding the quilt:

And the front:

Copyright ©2014,Sharon Baggs