Modern Love Mini Quilt Along #3

This weekend I finished my Love table runner. Today I will show you how to applique and quilt it all at the same time! Scroll to the end of this post for links to the previous tutorials.

If you have followed along so far you will have a top that may look something like this:

Lover RunnerThe letters were traced and applied to the background fabric with  Steam-A-Seam 2, my favorite type of fusible web. Now it is time to applique them down.

Step 1 – Baste your Quilt

You can use safety pins, or my favorite basting tools – straight pins and pinmoors. I chose a scrap of thin cotton batting (Warm-N-Natural) because it lies very flat which is what I want.

Pin Basting

Step 2 – Choose Your Thread and Decorative Stitch and Practice First

Open Toe FootI use an open toe foot with a wide needle plate. The open toe allows me to see my work so that I can be more precise.

I prefer to use silk thread in a color matching my fabrics for the applique. It is so thin that it nearly disappears into the fabric. A lightweight cotton works well, too. If you don’t have a thread color that’s an exact match, go with a darker thread color rather than a lighter color.

I like to use a buttonhole or blanket stitch rather than a thready satin stitch because it’s much lighter on the quilt and more forgiving to stitch out.

Practice Stitches

Practice with a few decorative stitches on scrap fabric until you find one you like. You can use a regular straight stitch, too, sewn closely to the edge of your fabric pieces. You need to learn the “rhythm” of your stitch so you can anticipate where the needle will next pierce your fabric. Sew slowly and “count” how many movements it takes to complete the decorative stitch.

Step 3 – Appli-quilt Your Letters

Since you will be stitching through all the layers of your quilt, you don’t need a stabilizer. I suggest using the same thread color in the bobbin as well as the top to hide any less-than-perfect stitching or tension issues.

Stitch the Letters

Start in the middle of your letter and bring the bobbin thread up to the top. Take a few small straight stitches to lock your threads. Then switch to the decorative stitch on your machine. You may need to scoot your quilt over so the needle position lines up correctly.


Anticipate where your needle will pierce the fabric on each movement of the stitch. Turn the top slowly and smoothly as needed so as to avoid stitching outside the letters into the background. If you have the “needle down” function on your machine, use it. Always stop with your needle down before turning your quilt. Pivot when needed.

Inside Angle

When you have an inside turn, try to land your stitch right in the middle. Don’t be afraid to pivot every stitch or two when needed to completely outline the letters.

Finished Letter

When you reach the beginning, change back to a straight stitch and end with a few small locking stitches. Clip your threads close. When you get to the ‘O’ stitch the inside first.

Finish stitching all of the letters the same way.

Step 4 – Finish Quilting Your Quilt

Now you can have fun quilting the rest of your quilt however you like. I like a lot of quilting, and the background fabric can give you a chance to add a lot of texture.

Quilting Detail

I stitched in the ditch with a thin matching polyester thread, quilted paisleys in the backgrounds with high-sheen polyester in cream, added a fun heart loop motif in the border with high-sheen heavy polyester and quilted the straight brown accent lines in cotton. I use whatever thread I have that will match best!

Step 5 – Bind Your Quilt and Check off Another UFO!!

Using your favorite method, bind your quilt and finish stitching either by hand or machine. Megan from Canoe Ridge Creations has recently put up a wonderful double-fold binding tutorial here on her blog.

My table runner measures 12″ x 30″. I am pleased to add  a little more LOVE to my home!

Love Table Runner

For my fabrics I “borrowed” a few strips of BasicGrey’s Kissing Booth from a jelly roll I have set aside to begin my next quilt-along (starting in 2 weeks). I cut the letters from a fat quarter of Pearl Bracelets in watermelon. The binding and backgrounds were from my stash.

Here is the complete mini-quilt along schedule. Click the links to go to each section.

Please join my ChristasQuiltAlong flickr group to share pictures of your work-in-progress.

If you make any of the other arrangements below, or even a pillow or larger quilt, I’d LOVE to see it! Or if you are inspired to go in a different direction I’d love to see that, too. 🙂

Love Wall QuiltLove Squared
The vertical love wall banner uses the exact same directions as the table runner except that the letters are arranged vertically instead of horizontally. The love block would make a great wall-hanging, pillow, or center of a larger quilt.

Modern Love Mini Quilt Along #2

Thanks for joining me for part 2 of my Love Mini Quilt Along. Links for the supply list and the tutorial schedule are shown at the end of this post.

I am making this table runner which finishes approximately 30″ x 12″. I played around with EQ7 and fabric swatches from BasicGrey’s Kissing Booth to come up with a couple of different color options. My version is shown for the step-by-step photos and at the end.

Love Runner

Step 1 – Cutting the Fabric

  • Cut 4 roughly 4.5″ squares for your letters (red).  You will prepare them in step 2 below. Or you can fussy cut your appliques by using a big chunk of fabric instead.
  • Cut 4 – 5″ squares of background fabric (cream).
  • Cut 13 – 2″ x 5″ rectangles for sashing (red check).
  • Cut 10 – 2″ squares for sashing squares (red).
  • Cut 2 – 2.5″ x 8″ strips for side borders (pink floral).
  • Cut 2 – 2.5″ x 30″ strips for top/bottom borders (pink floral).
  • Cut 3 – 2.25″ x WOF (Width of Fabric) strips for binding.
  • Cut 1 – 14″ x 32″ piece of batting.
  • Cut 1 – 16″ x 34″ piece of fabric for backing.

Step 2 – Preparing the Love Letters

Love ReversedDownload and print of a copy of the letters L-O-V-E (click here). (Or if you’d like to be a little more creative, you can enlarge any font style you like and make your own letters.)

Flip your paper over so that your letters are backwards. Trace the backwards letters onto the paper side of your fusible web.

You may need to use a lightbox to see through the paper. Or print the letters out on transparent vellum for tracing.

Rough cut around each fusible paper letter. Then following the mfg’s instructions, adhere your fusible web to the backside of  your letter fabric. Use this phrase: rough to wrong. The rough (glue) side of the web needs to be stuck to the back (wrong) side of your fabric.

Use Fusible Web

I used Pearl Bracelets fabric for my letters and positioned them to take advantage of the printed design. Cut out the letters following their outlines. Don’t forget to cut out the center of the O! You have now made your own iron-on appliques.

Love Lettters

Step 3 – Assembling the Quilt Top

Sew your inner-quilt pieces (IQ) into 3 separate rows (sash row, block row, sash row):

Sew the Rows

You will notice I have not added the letters yet. I like to add them once the top is done so I can space them just right. Press seams open or towards the sashing fabric.

Add the Borders

Join the rows and add side borders that are trimmed to size. Then add the top and bottom borders and press towards the border fabric.

Lover Runner

Remove the backing from your cut out letters. Following the mfg’s instructions, adhere them to your block backgrounds. You can eyeball them in place, arrange them whimsically, or use a ruler to measure exact placement. It’s up to you!

Next week I will demonstrate you how to applique and quilt all at the same time. The key is to use thin thread that matches your letter fabric. I prefer silk or very thin polyester thread for this, but regular cotton thread is ok, too.

Here is the mini-quilt along schedule. Links will become active once that blog post is done.

Please join my ChristasQuiltAlong flickr group to share pictures of your work-in-progress!

For these other arrangements, just follow the modified steps below.

Love Wall QuiltLove Squared
The vertical love wall banner uses the exact same directions as the table runner except that the letters are arranged vertically instead of horizontally – watch out for directional fabrics and cut them accordingly.

To make the 18″ Love Square wall-hanging or pillow, use these cutting instructions:

  1. Cut 4 – 4.5″ squares for your letters.
  2. Cut 4 – 5″ squares of background fabric.
  3. Cut 12 – 2″ x 5″ rectangles for sashing.
  4. Cut 9 – 2″ squares for sashing squares.
  5. Cut 2 – 2.5″ x 14″ strips for side borders.
  6. Cut 2 – 2.5″ x 18.5″ strips for top/bottom borders (pink floral).
  7. Cut 2 – 2.25″ x WOF (Width of Fabric) strips for binding (for wallhanging only).
  8. Cut 1 – 20″ square piece of batting.
  9. Cut 1 – 22″ square piece of fabric for backing (use muslin or scrap for pillow).

Then sew together so that it looks like the diagram above.

Modern Love Mini Quilt Along #1

I have decided to create a mini quilt-along to express how I feel about quilting – pure love! Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I am going to make this table runner using machine applique techniques. You can follow along with me according to the schedule below:

Love Runner

Supply List for Love Quilt Runner, Finished Size Approximately 31″ x 12″

  • 1 Fat Quarter Cream Background
  • 1 Fat Quarter Red for Letters
  • 1 Fat Quarter Red for Small Sashing Squares
  • 1 Fat Quarter Pink/Red Check for Sashing
  • 1/3 Yard Pink for Outer Border (or 1 FQ if you don’t mind a pieced border)
  • 1 Fat Quarter Red for Binding
  • 1/2 Yard Fabric for Backing
  • 18″ x 36″ Piece of Batting
  • 1 Sheet of Fusible Web (at least 8 1/2″ x 11″)
  • Thread to match your applique letters fabric
  • Matching thread for machine quilting (cotton or polyester)
  • New Sewing Machine Needle

Although I will be using different fabrics than those shown above, I will use the same color-scheme of red and pink. You can do this in whatever colors you like!

And just to give you more options, I have made a couple other arrangements:

Love Wall QuiltLove Squared
Although I will be making just the table runner, the fabric requirements above will be enough to make any of the layouts shown here.

The Love square would also make a cute pillow.

Please join my ChristasQuiltAlong flickr group to share pictures of your work-in-progress!

Machine Quilting Tips from Cory Allender

Award-winning quilter Cory Allender visited my guild’s weekend quilting retreat and shared some of her beautiful quilts with us. Cory’s quilts have taken top honors at my guild’s show (Desert Quilters of Nevada) and she has gone one to win numerous awards at prestigious venues like Road to California and HMQS. Her work will also be exhibited at International Quilt Festival in Houston later this year.

Daisy by Patti VanOordt and Cory Allender

Daisy, pieced by Patti VanOordt and quilted by Cory,  was shown during Utah Quilt Fest.

Daisy Quilting DetailsGorgeous, isn’t it? Here are a few more quilts showcasing Cory’s beautiful machine work:

Southwest of Michigan by Cory Allender

Southwest of Michigan by Cory Allender

Detail of Plan B, Pieced & Quilted by Cory

Detail of Plan B, Pieced & Quilted by Cory

Northwest Passage, Top by Diane Johnston

Northwest Passage, Top by Diane Johnston

Noel Detail, Top by Diane Johnston

Noel Detail, Top by Diane Johnston

Are those quilts breathtaking or what? Diane’s exquisite applique is enhanced by Cory’s impeccable machine quilting. I do believe that quilting makes the quilt! Here are a few of Cory’s favorite machine quilting tips and secrets for making show-quality quilts:

  • Use a double batt – Cory likes to use two pieces of batting like Hobbs 80/20 with a layer of wool on top, or a combo of bamboo and silk. It can get a little pricey but the double batting gives the quilts some extra body and makes them drape beautifully.
  • Block all quilts after applying binding – Cory soaks her quilts and forces them into shape, then lets them dry on large pieces of foam core board. If needed, she will “spray block” the binding to help control any hills and valleys.
  • Use the same color thread in top and bobbin – this is also one of my favorite techniques!
  • Use a colorful or busy back – again, something I also advocate to help hide mistakes. When using lots of colored threads on top, this also helps them blend into the backing.
  • Never use dark thread on a light background – this will accentuate every mistake and make all the stops and starts much more obvious!
  • Draw and quilt every day. Cory compared machine quilting to learning to play an instrument. You don’t start off playing a concerto piece the first time you sit down to a piano. The same thing applies to quilting – you must constantly practice your free motion quilting skills to build your muscle memory.

Christa and Cory

Cory, thanks for the great tips and awesome inspiration!

Sew and Tell Friday – Strips and Bricks

It’s so fun to see how everyone’s Jolly Jelly Roll quilts have turned out.  Even though I finished up this tutorial, I will be happy to share pictures of those that have followed along, whether they are finished or not (though I can’t wait to see the quilting on them)!

Also, I put together a Jolly Jelly Roll quilt kit if you’d like to make another one.

This is Laura F.’s top that she made from her stash. She chose to make her quilt as I had shown in the original pattern drawing, with piano keys borders. She’s toying around with the idea of using oilcloth for the backing as a picnic blanket. I think that would be fantastic!

Laural's Jolly Jelly Roll QuiltI’ve just begun the next quilting tutorial series, called quilt Baby Bricks. I tweaked a design I had done previously, based on a couple of fun quilts I designed and made last year.

Blue BricksMy tutorial will be very similar to the blue quilt, with the addition of neutral solid strips in between the rows. That will give it a modern touch while providing some negative space.

Kits are available for that one, too.

Green BricksJust for fun, I made a similar quilt in brown and green and added a few monkey appliques.

To do this, I simply ironed some wonder under to the back side of my Funky Monkeys fabric and cut around the shapes. I ironed them to the quilt top and then stitched around them with a straight stitch once the quilt was basted, an appli-quilt technique!

This is the first time I’ve sort of worked in a series. I like the look of the bricks and it was fun to explore a few different possibilities with the design.

Sew and Tell – Dragonfly Batik Art Quilt

I am so excited to share with you Diane’s beautiful art quilt below. She used green batik fat quarters that she got from me, and quilted with metallic thread to add the textured water and pond ripples to her piece. The dragonfly was begun in a Susan Brubaker Knapp thread sketching class and finished at home. (Some people actually finish their class projects!!) She added glittery glue to give the dragonfly some sparkle and make its wings look iridescent.

Dragonfly QuiltDiane has also been following along making her version of the Jolly Jelly Roll quilt. She finished up her homework for the week and shares her lovely jewel-toned top with us:

Jeweled Jelly Roll QuiltNice job, Diane! For those of you quilting along with my tutorial, be sure to email me pictures of your in-progress diy quilts, too. It’s such fun to see the variety.

And for those of you that want to share your work using fabrics purchased from me, I’ll send you a little thank you if I feature your finished project on my blog. You can email pictures to Happy quilting!

Mini Baltimore Album Quilt

Today I wanted to share pictures of a miniature Baltimore Album Quilt I made recently, for my quilting guild’s miniature quilt auction as part of our quilt show held earlier this month.

Miniature Baltimore Album QuiltI love machine applique and lots of machine quilting so I combined both to make this little quilt, measuring approximately 20 inches square.  Here’s a closeup of the back where you can see the quilting a little bit better.

Quilt Back

My friend and show auctioneer Georgi bid on and won this quilt for a friend of hers for her birthday. I was very pleased that this quilt was the highest selling mini quilt  (it made up for the fact that I didn’t win any ribbons on my other entries, but more about  that later!) The quilting shows up better in this picture I think.

Georgi's Quilt

Mini Tulip Block

For the applique, first I appliqued all of the blocks, matching my thread colors as close as possible to the fabric.

I used Superior silk thread for most of the applique because it’s very thin and blends well. I didn’t mind switching threads at all.

Once blocks were sewn, I added the swags and appliqued them as well before basting and quilting. I use an open-toe foot to see where I’m going.

Machine Applique

This quilt was actually a remake of a quilt I made about 10 years ago for myself. It’s taken me that long to make another! The original quilt had more blocks with different sashing.

First Mini Applique

Busy BackI used a busy back and appliqued the same time that I quilted.

My techniques are much better now!