Jenbenbry's Blog

Quilting in the Windy City

Wonky Blocks March 17, 2010

Filed under: Finished Quilts,Quilting Tips for Beginners — jenbenbry @ 11:50 pm
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Wow! I’ve discovered the coolest thing, wonky blocks! When you don’t feel like planning an entire quilt out and measuring everything to the millimeter, try a wonky quilt block. To make a wonky quilt block, follow the instructions on the great tutorial from Tallgrass Prairie Studios. I really enjoyed making a quilt this way, it allows a little more creativity and spontaneity in quilt making. I made this quilt for my mom’s birthday present. I’m really happy with how it turned out and it’s going to be a little hard to let it go out the door!

I used an abstract grey and back floral print on the back and a grey spotted binding

Ok, this is going to sound super basic, but I finally figured out how to machine quilt. On all of my previous quilts I’ve used simple stitch in the ditch quilting with my basic sewing foot. I read online that you can get different feet, a walking foot and an embroidery foot to help with different types of quilting. I haven’t had a chance to use the walking foot yet, it’s for straight stitching. On this quilt I tried out the embroidery foot for the first time, and WOW! It’s amazing! Two important tricks, I wasn’t sure how to attach the foot as it didn’t seem to fit in the lever mechanism, finally I figured out that there’s a screw on the left side of the sewing machine that holds the foot in place. One other important note, it’s a lot easier to use the embroidery foot when your feed dogs are not engaged (the metal with grooves under the needle that move the fabric forward). Some machines have a mechanism to raise and lower these, but mine came with a plastic piece that you snap over them. If you’re a beginning quilter, I’d highly recommend getting an embroidery foot, or borrow a friend’s and try it out.

An embroidery foot in action

Here’s Mom with the quilt, I think she likes it!

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Flannel Baby Quilts March 15, 2010

Filed under: Finished Quilts,Quilting Tips for Beginners — jenbenbry @ 12:52 pm
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I created two baby quilts for newborns coming in to the family, both born in January 2010 (Olivia and Asher). I chose bright patterns with predominant hues in pink, blue, green, yellow, and violet with trim and a backing in a pretty striped flannel. I used a very simple square pattern, with the colors running diagonally across the quilt. During this quilting project I learned about the importance of correctly lining up the bias tape.

When you attach the bias binding, you sew once on the top of the quilt and once on the underside of the quilt. It took me a little time and playing around with fabric before I understood how it works, but basically you fold a 3-4 inch strip of fabric in half (with undersides together) and iron it along the long axis. Then you lay the fabric across the edge of the quilt, overlapping with the quilt front, with lined up edges. The edge of the bias tape along the edge of the quilt should be the open edge. Now, you sew a seam all the way down this edge. Next, you fold the bias fabric around to the back and sew another seam (theoretically in the same place as the first). And that’s the rub, if you sew the second seam too far in it shows up on your quilt top, but if you don’t sew it far enough in, the original seam shows on the back of the quilt. I’m working on finding that balance where neither seam shows, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

Here’s a picture of Olivia snuggling on top of her new blanket 🙂