Infrastructure Quilt Along Row 9

This week we are making the last row of Infrastructure quilt – can you believe it??? Row 9 features simple pieced strips and it’s another great chance to fussy cut the Geo Pop fabric if desired.

Infrastructure Row 9 Geo Pop

First I’ll walk you through the process to piece this row, then you can take a look at the bonus YouTube video I created while making this row.

Cut the Strips

You want to cut nice straight strips according to the pattern instructions on page 6. If you are fussy cutting, you’ll want multiple strips of the same fabric to be cut at the same point so that you can match up the patterns.

For my strips below, I fussy cut the Mosaic Dots print and the Diamond Pop print. The Tiny Hex print was small enough that if the pattern doesn’t match up, it will still look ok.

Infrastructure Row 9 Geo Pop fabric

Optional Pattern Matching

To match patterns, I found the same spot on the fabric and pinned it in place so that I could sew right where the design repeats. In the image below, that darker shadow in the photo is where I’ve folded over the fabric so that the pattern will be continuous.

Once I sew the seam from the backside, it won’t be noticeable on the actual quilt. The seam allowance will be larger on the back when I sew it; I’ll trim it down to 1/4″ after it’s sewn.

Infrastructure Row 9 Pattern Matching

Sew in Opposite Directions

When sewing long skinny seams, they can bow or warp out of shape. So I make sure that I switch the sewing direction to compensate. Here’s how I do it. There are 6 rows here, so I sew two pairs at a time. The first pair will have the Grey Tiny Hex fabric on top. The next two pairs of strips will be sewn with the Black Tiny Hex fabric on top.

When I join the sewn rows, I’ll continue to sew with the black fabric on top, and that will automatically switch the sewing direction each time.

Infrastructure Row 9 Geo Pop fabric

Don’t forget to sew with a shorter stitch length and press those seams open! I press each time I sew a seam so that task stays easily under control.

Row 9 Infrastructure

Bonus YouTube Video

I’ve prepared a 4 minute-long YouTube video walking you through the above steps, plus a couple of fussy cutting tips thrown in. Hopefully this will help you cut and sew long strips with ease. In this video, I’m narrating the entire time so you can follow along with what I’m doing. Be sure to subscribe to my channel. If there’s continued interest, I’ll make more videos in the future!

Click the “Play” button below to watch the video on YouTube.

 

Row 9 Finished

Row 9 is finished and now the entire quilt top is ready to assemble next week. As you prepare to join the pieced rows, check their length. You can use lots of pins to ease in any rows that aren’t exactly the same.

Infrastructure Row 9 with Geo Pop Fabric by Christa Watson for Benartex

If some of your heavily pieced rows have ended up longer than they should be, go back and stitch wider seam allowances to shrink them up. You don’t have to rip out the original seam allowance to do this. You want all of the rows to be the same size before you sew them together.

GIVEAWAY & HEATHER’S Solids VERSION

Pop over to Heather Black’s blog at Quiltachusetts to see her version of Row 9 made from Benartex Superior Solids. While you are there, be sure to enter the giveaway. One lucky winner will receive some Hobbs batting – just in time to baste your quilt!

I use Hobbs batting in all of my quilts and I’m using Hobbs 80/20 Heirloom cotton/poly for this quilt. It will give me just the right amount of loft I need it doesn’t bunch up when you quilt it.

Infrastructure with Hobbs Batting

QUICK LINKS:

Be  sure to show us your progress, too! Share on instagram #infrastructurequilt and tag us @christaquilts  and @quiltachusetts.

Favorite Tools – Batting Shears

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared some of my favorite tools (mostly because I’ve been using the same old stuff)! But recently, I splurged on a pair of batting scissors and I’m very pleased with my latest purchase.

batting_shearsBatting shears are pretty spendy but I think they are well worth the money.

I bought a pair of these funky looking scissors a few weeks ago and finally put them to the test while trimming the batting for my Herringbone quilt. I’m not exactly sure what the funky angle is for other then allowing you to cut through bulky battings with ease. The soy batting I used wasn’t really thick but it was still so much easier than using regular scissors.

batting_shears_2So put a pair of these on your holiday or birthday wish list. Think of batting shears as one of those luxury quilting items that’s not necessary, but sure is nice to have!

I’ll leave you with a quilting tip of the day: write on a corner of your batting what the fiber content is so that you can keep track once you take it out of the packaging. My handwriting isn’t great, but this does say “Soy” even though it looks like “Joy.”  Well, you know how much joy I get from quilting my quilts, so it’s all good. 🙂

soy_batting_cornerMark your batting pieces and leftover scraps so you know what’s what!

Christa’s Soapbox – I am not a fan of polyster batting.

I recently tried using a high quality polyester batting for one of my quilts because a few professional quilters I admire recommended it. However, this is one of those instances where quilting on a domestic machine versus a long arm is quite different.

On a long arm, the 3 layers of the quilt are held in place separately and evenly while the quilter rotates the machine over the surface of the quilt. However, on a domestic machine, there is a lot of shifting and bunching of the quilt, to scrunch it underneath the arm of the machine. Here’s the backside of a polyester batting disaster in progress:

Polyester Batting - Too Slippery!

Before with 100% polyester batting – it’s too slippery!

Unfortunately, the polyester batting is so “slippery” that it migrated and bunched while quilting. I originally pin basted the quilt but decided to rip all of it out and start over with new batting and basting spray instead.

While I am definitely not a perfectionist, this amount of wrinkling was just too much for me to handle, especially for a quilt that is going to be shared in public. I actually quilted it a lot more than what the photo shows above, but in order to keep my sanity, I couldn’t bear to take any more pictures!

So after a few tears, an evening of Downton Abbey, and a healthy dose of tenacity, here’s the newly quilted back. I ended up going with a blend of 70/30 cotton/poly and I utilized Ann Petersen’s tip of ironing the quilt after spray basting with a natural fiber batting.

Still a few wrinkles, but  much much better!

After with a cotton/poly blend – still a few wrinkles, but much much better!

There is still a small amount of wrinkling but I”m adding a lot more quilting in between each “anchored” section and it’s quilting out nicely. However, I think I’ll stick with zero % poly in my quilts from now on. (The Quilter’s Dream Orient batting I used in my last quilt had no puckering at all!)

This sneak peek shows a much happier quilting session after I fixed most of the puckering!

Machine Quilting Bliss

Machine Quilting Bliss

A word to the wise on batting – the only way to truly know how a batting will perform is to test it on a real quilt. 🙂 Now I just have to finish the binding and wait for the big reveal!

Favorite Tools #5 – Batting

Later this week during my do it yourself quilt-along, we are going to be basting our Jolly Jelly Roll quilts so I thought it would be an appropriate time to talk a little bit about batting.

From my experience, the type of batting you choose can really make a difference in creating a well-done quilt. Since all of my quilts are machine quilted, I need to use battings that are easy to quilt through and are not so bulky that they won’t fit under my machine.

So far, my two favorite battings are Warm-N-Natural 100% cotton, and Pellon Legacy Wool. (Unfortunately I don’t carry these in my shop because they are too bulky to ship!)

I like Warm-N-Natural because it’s very flat and relatively inexpensive. I can actually buy it buy the bolt with a discount coupon from Joanne’s for about the same price that I can get it wholesale. It does shrink up a bit, but it gives that nice antique wrinkly look when washed. Here are some machine quilting closeups using Warm-N-Natural.

Little Rascals QuiltingQuilting Warm-N-Natural

These were both densely quilted with an allover free-motion quilting design.

If I want my quilting to really pop, or if I am doing intricate quilting like feathers, wreaths or focus designs, I will use Legacy Wool batting. It’s a little more expensive but it’s very clean and white so it’s a perfect choice for quilts with lots of white backgrounds like in my Bungle Jungle quilt below. It also allows me to achieve a “faux” trapunto look if I densely quilt the background areas. The pictures below show quilts using Legacy Wool.

Quilting Legacy Wool

Faux Trapunto QuiltingThe little hands really pop! Wool has a nice loft but the background squishes down nicely when you quilt the heck out of it!

As far as polyester battings go, I’m not too fond of them as they are usually too lofty for me. I haven’t tried any of the newer blends out there like bamboo or silk yet. One batting that is next on my list to try is Quilter’s Dream Cotton.

If any of you out there have favorite battings that you like, please add your comments!