Christa’s Quilt Along 3.2 – Marking and Sewing the Charm Squares

Welcome to week 2 of my do-it-yourself quilt along, Charming Chevrons. Last week we gathered our supplies. This week we will mark and sew our charm squares. Scroll down to the end of this post for a link to last week’s supply list and a schedule for the entire tutorial. Three versions below are available as quilt kits on my website; you can also make your own.

Solid ChevronsAmerican Jane ChevronsCoquette Chevrons

You can work at your own pace and I will start posting how long it takes me to complete each step. This will give you a general idea of how long my quilts will take to make. Today’s tutorial took me a total of one hour, 15 minutes to mark and sew.

Step 1 – Mark the Background Squares (15 minutes)

I chose 2 charm packs of Kona Ash grey and 2 packs of Kona Classics Solids (new palette). My pattern calls for 84 – 5″ squares of color and 84 – 5″ squares of background. The Kona color solids only came in 41 pieces per pack, so I had to add an extra charm to each set to ensure I had enough. (I made sure to add extra charms to the kits using this fabric, too!)

Straight Edge with Pen for MarkingMark all Backgrounds

Using a straight edge and marking pen of your choice, draw a diagonal line down the back of each background square. (Kona Solids don’t have a right or wrong side so just pick one. )

After several tries with different marking tools,  I had great success with the Frixion pen because it drew dark smooth lines on the fabric with no snagging or bleeding.

Step 2 – Sew the Seam Lines (1/2 hour each side, 1 hour total)

My favorite method for making half-square triangles is to sew 1/4 inch on either side of your marked lines. This goes really fast and you can sew for a few minutes at a time.

Sew 1/4 inch away from the line.

Grab one background charm and one color charm at random. Flip it over so that the background (grey) square is on top. Starting off of the sewing machine, sew 1/4″ in away from the marked line.

Chain Piece Your Blocks

Do not clip your threads at the end. Rather,  “chain piece” the next pair of charms. Continue sewing together pairs of charms (background/color) until you have sewn a total of 84 pairs, all on one side.

Pile of Colorful Blocks

Now, gather your long chain and this time sew on the other side of the line, again using 1/4″ seams. If they get tangled up, it’s ok to cut a few sections apart. If your seams are not exactly perfect, that’s ok, too. We will trim the blocks next week so they are all the same size.

Sew the other side.

Once all of your pairs are sewn, clip the threads between the blocks, stack them into a pile, and set aside for the next step. Now, give yourself a pat on the back! Wasn’t that fun??

Stacks of Colorful Blocks

If you are now just joining us, here is the complete schedule for making this quilt from start to finish, including quilting and binding. You’ll have a finished quilt in just a few weeks!

Sewing Schedule (All links will be active once each step has been completed.)

Christa’s Quilt Along 3.1 – Charming Chevrons Supply List

Free Quilt Pattern

New to my blog? Be sure to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free pattern!

Charming Chevrons

I am so excited to start my next quilt along! I’m having a blast designing new quilt patterns and breaking them down into easy to follow step-by-step tutorials.

To purchase a PDF download of this pattern, click here.

What do you get when you combine a couple of charm packs with a fun geometric design made from triangles? The answer is Charming Chevrons (48″ x 56″), shown below:

Charming Chevrons

I designed my quilt using Kona Cotton charm packs in their new classic palette.

I have put together quilt kits using the exact fabrics shown above, plus a couple of variations using these Moda charm packs shown below.

American Jane School Days

American Jane School Days

Chez Moi Coquette

Chez Moi Coquette

Supply List

Important! If you’d like to pick your own charms, make sure that each pack contains at least 42 – 5 inch squares. Be sure to purchase or cut extra charms if needed.

Fabric

  • 2 of the same charm packs in darks or prints – 84 charms total (Kona colors above)
  • 2 of the same charm packs in lights or neutral solids – 84 charms total (Grey above)
  • 1/2 yard for the binding (can be same as the background or something else)
  • 3 yards for backing split into 2 equal pieces if using all the same fabric. If you prefer a scrappy backing like I do, collect assorted chunks and scraps to total this amount.
  • Batting piece measuring at least 54″ x 62″ – (why not piece together some leftovers?)

Supplies

  • Basic sewing equipment in good working order
  • Rotary cutting mat and equipment
  • Iron and/or pressing tool
  • A variety of acrylic plastic ruler sizes including a 6 inch square up ruler (or larger)
  • Brand new sewing machine needles (I always start with a fresh needle on a new project!)
  • Frixion marking pen for drawing straight piecing lines (or your favorite marking pen)
  • Neutral cotton thread for piecing
  • Decorative thread to match fabrics for quilting
  • Walking foot for straight line quilting
  • Optional – darning foot for free-motion quilting (FMQ)
  • Optional – design wall or large space to lay out your design
  • Optional – blue water soluble marking pen for marking quilting lines
  • Optional – pinmoors and pins for easy basting
  • Optional – supreme slider, machingers gloves, bobbin washers for smooth FMQ

Sewing Schedule (All links will be active once each step has been completed.)

Based on past tutorials, I am allowing plenty of time to sew the quilt together so no one feels rushed. You are always welcome to work ahead or slow it down. That’s the beauty of this quilt along – you can sew and quilt at your own pace!

Sharing is Caring

Please share your work in progress in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa . 🙂

Bungle Jungle Quilt – Making Progress

I am slowly but surely making progress quilting my Bungle Jungle quilt. This is my first attempt at a modern quilt. I discovered the whole modern quilting movement just a few months ago and have truly been smitten!

Pebble Quilting

I started with just one Bungle Jungle charm pack and surrounded the charms with lots of  “negative” space so I could practice my free-motion quilting skills. I used Kona Cotton Solids in white for the background.

Cucumber Vines QuiltingI love how the pebbling turned out and I’m now learning how to quilt some swirling vines. My vines look a little more like hooks, but it’s still fun to vary the motifs.

LinesI like the textural element that quilting gives to a quilt!

Curlie-Cue SwirlsAt first I thought I would surround the little hands entirely with just one quilting motif, little curlie-cue’s.

However, after I quilted a few squares, that got old very quickly!

So to keep things fun, I’m switching quilting motifs throughout the quilt. Not only will every charm square be quilted differently, the background fills will change, too.

I’ve only finished about 4 rows of quilting so far (out of 15!) but I am enjoying the process. The key is not to rush it. I only quilt a couple of squares per day. This gives me daily FQM practice so I won’t get bored. This will be a long-term process and I won’t even attempt to record how many hours the quilting takes. But I am having fun and that’s what’s important!

Bungle Jungle Charm QuiltI think I will call this quilt “Busy Hands” not only for the cute little quilted hands, but because I am keeping my hands quite busy quilting this baby!

Sew and Tell Friday – Quilts from Precuts

This week for Sew and Tell Friday, I want to share with you an adorable charm quilt that my mom made, plus a another show-and-tell from our Jolly Jelly Roll do-it-yourself quilt-along.

My mom is a very prolific sewer. She taught me how to sew, and in turn, I introduced her to quilting many years ago. She recently made this adorable quilt top from a Twirl charm pack I gave her. (When you have a mom that sews, fabric always makes a great gift!)

Twirl Charm QuiltMom used a Split 9-Patch pattern variation which just calls for 1 charm pack plus 3/4 yard of border fabric and 1/2  yard of sashing fabric. You basically sew together four nine-patches (using 36 charm squares), cut them into fours, and insert a 1 1/2″ strip of sashing in between each block and around the edges to frame it.  The borders are cut 5 inches wide (4 1/2″ finished), so I think you could use 4 more charms in the border corners and then use a leftover charm on the back for your label! Cute, huh??

Hmm… this may have to be a future tutorial…..

Speaking of quilt  tutorials, Mom is also following along making her Jolly Jelly Roll quilt top, but she hasn’t sent me any pictures, yet (hint, hint, Mom!)… However, a bunch of you have. Here’s a picture from Amy S. who’s using the Summersville jelly roll for her quilt blocks.

Summersville Jelly Roll Quilt BlocksDon’t those look yummy? I love her methodology for how she’s going to sew together the blocks. She’s going to throw the strip pairs into a bag and randomly grab 2 blocks at a time to sew together, as long as they are different fabrics. I love it – it’s going to be scrap-a-licious!

Here’s a link to the supply list if you want to grab a jelly roll and start one of these quilts yourself.  I just barely finished sewing my quilt top yesterday in time to blog about it, so I’ll give everyone plenty of time to finish up their tops before we start to quilt them.

What Was I Thinking???!!

What was I thinking? I’m trying to have a zen experience with my quilting by breaking up the negative space in my Modern Quilt with lots of different quilting designs. But I think I went a little overboard with all the small scale background fillers!

Negative Space QuiltingI actually do like the texture the quilting is adding to the quilt, but when you see how little of the quilt I’ve actually finished compared to how much is left to quilt, you’ll start to pity me…

The picture below shows about 1/4 of the quilt finished. I’m adding larger scale textures in each of the charm squares and a smaller scale background around each of the hands. I’ve quilted 12 out of 42 charm blocks which represents about 5-6 hours of solid quilting so far.

1/4 of the QuiltI am having fun quilting different designs in the blocks though. I’ve outlined some elephants, practiced my pebbles and grids and even quilted the alphabet on the lined paper fabric! Here are a couple more closeups, just for fun!

Closeup 1

Closeup 2I’m linking this blog post to the Free-Motion Quilting Project and WIP Wednesdays so I can share the insanity!!! This will definitely be a long term project. But if I quilt 1 block a day, I can finish it in under a month!

I used a clean toothbrush dipped in water to erase the blue pen marks once I quilted them.

Toothbrush EraserFor those of you interested in what materials I used, I started with 1 charm pack of Moda’s Bungle Jungle by Tim and Beck, and 2 1/2 yards of White Kona Cotton Solid. I sewed together a layer cake for the backing.

I am doing all the quilting with 60 weight polyester thread  in a light gray.  I chose Superior Threads bottom line in both the top and bobbin. It breaks too easily in the top thread for my taste – but it is very fine and blends beautifully. My batting is wool which gives a nice faux trapunto look to the little hands.

I hope I get more done by next week! I think I’d better go work on my jelly roll quilt now…..

Bungle Jungle Charm Quilt Week 4 – Ditch Quilting

Bungle Jungle QuiltI didn’t make a ton of progress on my Bungle Jungle modern quilt this week, mostly because I was packing up to go on our family vacation and getting all my ducks in a row ahead of time.

(They are quacking nicely now!)

But, I did get all of my stitch in the ditch quilting done so I’m ready for the best part, the free motion quilting next week!

I think my plan will be to quilt a different motif in each charm square, to practice a bunch of free-motion quilting designs.

Stitch in the DitchI want to add tons more quilting. By pressing the Quilt Back with Grid Quiltingseams open, stitching in the ditch in between the charm squares was a breeze. It created a grid over the surface of the quilt which you can see on the back side of the quilt. Click for closeups.

Sewing LineI used an acrylic ruler and a blue washout pen to mark straight lines where needed to complete the grid.

The quilt is now anchored so I can remove the rest of my basting pins and it’s ready for more quilting!

Be sure to join me tomorrow as I launch my new tutorial series: Do It Yourself Quilts!

Bungle Jungle Week 3 – Layer Cake Back Art and Basting

This week I marked and basted my Bungle Jungle charm pack quilt. I will start quilting it next week. You can read about last week’s progress here.

Layer Cake Back ArtWhen I finished marking the top, I couldn’t decide on the backing. Then it hit me – why not use a Bungle Jungle layer cake and make back art for my modern quilt?

(The back is probably even more modern than the front since I threw the blocks together totally randomly!)

Each layer cake square is precut to 10 inches, so when you sew them together into 7 rows of 6 blocks each, the finished size is 57″ x 66.5″. My quilt top measures approximately 52″ x 60″ so that was perfect! It took me less than 2 hours to stitch all the backing squares together, including pinning and pressing the seams open.

Marking with Water Soluble PenUsing a stencil, I drew little hands in the white spaces randomly over the surface of the quilt.  This is going to be cute!

I marked all the hands before basting, using an inexpensive water soluble blue pen. I’m going to join the hands with loopy quilting so I can quilt them continuously.

I still haven’t decided what I’m going to quilt in the charm squares, so I left those unmarked for now. Any ideas??

Finally, I basted the quilt using about 150 Pinmoors. This is the 3rd quilt I’ve basted using Pinmoors and I’ve decided they are awesome! It’s a little spendy to buy enough of them for a big quilt, but they are totally worth it. It made basting a breeze and they are super easy to take out when quilting. I don’t even worry about pinning over my marked lines. The rule of thumb is to baste about a hand-width apart. That was easy for this quilt!

Basting With Pinmoors I’ve been following quilting blogs like The Free-Motion Quilting Project, WIP Wednesdays, Moda’s Bakeshop and the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge for quite some time. I have so thoroughly enjoyed these projects that I have now been inspired to start my own sew along called Do-It-Yourself-Quilts!

I want to share step-by-step tutorials on how easy and fun it is to make your own quilts completely, including piecing and quilting. Then you can truly say you made it yourself!

Be sure to follow my blog for the official announcement about that on Thursday, July 19th, along with a sneak peak of my first project and a supply list if you’d like to join in!

Christa’s Soapbox – Pressing Your Seams Open

In two words: do it!

The idea of pressing seams always to one side is pretty old school. It comes from when seams were hand pieced; the double seam pressed to one side gave strength. Also, when hand quilting, it was easier to stitch in the ditch if the bulk of the seams was out of the way.

Block With Seams Pressed OpenHowever, with so much modern quilting going on, using lots of solids and white background space, there’s more of a need to press seams open to prevent shadowing.

Moreover, it’s much easier to machine quilt if all of the seams are pressed open.

When I first began doing free motion quilting, I took a class from a teacher that recommended planning all of your quilting ahead of time so you would know which way to press your seams. (For machine quilting stitch-in-the-ditch, it was conventional wisdom to always quilt in the low side of the ditch.) My first thought was, what a pain!

Seams Pressed OpenI want the freedom to be able to quilt how I want when I want without being limited by piecing decisions. I also like how much flatter the quilt lies when all of the seams are pressed open. So yes, you have my permission to press ’em open as much as you want!

By the way, the quilt seams shown in this post are from my Bungle Jungle modern quilt I’m currently working on. You can read this week’s earlier post about making this quilt here.

Li’l Rascals Charm Pack Quilt #4 – Blocking and Binding

I’m finishing up my Li’l Rascals charm pack quilt this week and it has been such fun to make!

Week #1 was the free pattern and cutting instructions to make the top.

Week #2 was machine quilting the large nine-patch blocks.

Week #3 was using a stencil to mark and quilt the sashing and borders.

I will finish the quilt this week by blocking and binding it. I’ve enjoyed putting together this tutorial so much that I may make this a regular blog feature. Let me know what you think!

Li'l Rascals Charm Pack QuiltThe first step in blocking the quilt (whether you do this before or after binding) is to get the quilt completely wet. You can soak it in a tub, or in your washing machine on the hand-wash cycle. It will start out as a wet lump, but that’s ok, because you’ll smooth it all out.

Wet QuiltSmooth the Quilt

I have 2 large tables set up in my sewing space that I use for basting and blocking. I laid the quilt out on the corner of the table and began blocking it into place.

I use several acrylic rulers to help me block it into place. I overlap them and measure some of the areas of the quilt to make sure they are nice and square. Using the numbers on the rulers I can tug and pull the quilt into place.

Acrylic Rulers for BlockingQuilt BlockingIt  takes about 1-2 days to dry nice and flat.

Once I’m happy with how the quilt looks, I use large square rulers to trim the corners and long rulers to trim the sides. The long lines help me make nice straight trimming cuts.

Trim the Quilt

Now it’s ready to bind! Here are two binding tutorials I’ve put together from previous posts. I bind most of my baby quilts using these methods. Now, onto the next quilt!

Binding Blog Post #1

Binding Blog Post #2

By the way, if you are interested in making this same quilt, it requires just one charm pack of your choice and 1 yard of coordinated fabric for the sashing. I used Lil Rascals by Chloe’s Closet for Moda with Funky Monkey Sock Texture in dark brown.

Bungle Jungle Charm Pack Quilt – Week 2

I finished my version of a modern quilt top this week:

Bungle Jungle Charm Pack Quilt TopUsing one Bungle Jungle charm pack and 2 1/2 yards of White  Solid , I whipped this puppy up in just a few days! I started working on this quilt last week.

Random Scattered Block PlacementI started off by making a total of 42 blocks since there are 42 charms in a pack.

I arranged them on my design wall randomly, turning each block in a different position.

While I like this arrangement, I didn’t love it, so I tried laying out all the blocks in the same orientation. I liked that better.

It must be my OCD kicking in!

Block PairsNext, it was a simple feat to sew the blocks into pairs and then join the pairs into rows to complete the top.

Each row had 6 blocks (or 3 pairs), and I sewed a total of 7 rows. I pressed all of my seams open so it will be easier to quilt and fabric won’t shadow through the white.

Rows of Charm Pack BlocksOnce I finished sewing all the blocks together, I realized  I needed to add a strip of white to the left of the quilt top and one across the bottom to balance the design.

This would create a continuous border of white all around the quilt with plenty of negative space for creative quilting.

Instead of cutting one long strip for each border, I cut 13 rectangles, 4″ x 8″ each and made 2 pieced borders. The left border required 7 rectangles and the bottom row needed 6 plus a 4 inch square for the corner.

Pieced Borders

I’m pleased with the quilt top and will start machine quilting it next week. It will finish around 52″ x 61″ which will make a nice sized baby-throw.

I have a few ideas that I’m going to think about over the next several days before I begin quilting. I really want to incorporate this hand stencil in the white areas:

Precious Hands StencilI’m thinking I might randomly quilt the hands in the white areas, joining them together with loopy stippling designs. I’d like to quilt something fun in the charm squares too, like perhaps a different shape in each block. If you’ve got any suggestions, please send them my way!