18 June 2011

Quilting 101

I love the simplicity of a basic block quilt. It is such a great way to showcase beautiful fabrics! 
Back in 2010, I started this blog after giving birth to my daughter. A few friends had expressed an interest in learning how to quilt, but just didn't know where to start.  I love spreading my quilt addiction, so I decided to put this blog together and do my best to teach them how to get started--with a basic block quilt. Basically, if you know how to sew a straight line with your sewing machine, you can make a quilt! 
There are various ways to arrange the blocks to form patterns.  Sometimes, I enjoy mine placed in random order.  (There is just something about the organized chaos that my eye finds extremely appealing.)   
Other times, the fabric seems to have a mind of its own and I find that the design I had envisioned is not the one I actually go with. 
The important thing is to have fun and take your time! I've broken this basic block quilt into four lessons to really make it comprehensive.
Week 1: Fabric Selection & Pre-Washing
Week 2: Cutting Fabric & Arranging Blocks 
Week 3: Sewing It Together & Basting 
Week 4: Quilting & Binding 

05 June 2011

The Quilt of a Thousand Swear Words

Have you ever wanted to cuss up a storm over a sewing mistake? I certainly have.  
My most recent "moment" was about a month ago when I discovered the mangled back-side of a quilting job in progress. I had been using some lovely, cuddly fleece for the back of a baby quilt. Despite my careful basting (sticky basting spray and all), the fleece had stretched while I was moving it around in a free-motion swirl design. In a way, I wasn't totally surprised because the fleece had made the quilt thicker and heavier, thus more difficult to move around. The back was bunched up in several places and just looked ghastly to me. After little Olive washed my mouth out with soap, I picked up my seam ripper and went to town picking out stitches for the rest of the day. So frustrating! (I was finally able to quilt it properly, but I kept thinking that there must be an easier way to quilt the soft backings.)
This situation was on my mind as I attended Quilt Market a few weeks ago. When I came across the Robert Kaufman Cuddle booth, I got the opportunity to talk with one of the designers and ask her about any quilting tricks or tips when dealing with these "soft" materials. She had several brilliant suggestions, and the overall idea was to ditch the detailed quilting when using soft materials. Instead, I will show you how to do what I call invisible quilting.