Christa’s Soapbox – Blogging About Blogging #1

I’m relatively new to the whole blogging concept. I’ve had my blog up and running for almost 2 years now but it’s really just been in the last 4-5 months or so that I’ve branched out and have started following other people’s blogs. Not only does this give me interesting content to read, it helps me to improve my own writing and blog format.

Today I wanted to share links to some of the quilting blogs I’m following. My favorites are those that post new topics nearly every day. It’s fun to start off my day with a quick browsing of my favorite blogs – it makes me feel like part of a larger community!

First I’ll start off with Angela Walters’ Quilting is my Therapy. I first discovered Angela through her book, Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. It was such an inspiration to read! She’s way into machine quilting like I am. Even though she quilts on a long arm, her style is very adaptable to domestic machine quilting which is my first love. 🙂

Next, I found Alyssa Lichner’s Pile O’Fabric blog almost by accident. I was browsing through a bunch of links, following one after another (a sort of virtual blog tour), and was blown away by the colorful content of her blog. No wonder – she’s a graphic designer and it shows. I liked her blog so much I decided to become one of her sponsors! She offers giveaways, a beginners Quilting Series tutorial, and has teamed up with Emily Cier of Carolina Patchworks to start a Totally Groovy Quilt Along. I just may have to join that one!

I also am drawn to Jacquie Gering’s Tallgrass Prairie Studio blog. She’s another author and designer (along with Katie Pedersen) whose book, Quilting Modern, I just fell in love with! I find myself being pulled into the Modern Quilt movement because of  the clean lines design aesthetic,  improvisational piecing, and lots of open “negative spaces” for quilting.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many that I may take another Saturday post next week to tell you about more. Happy blog surfing and please add your comments if you’ve run across any fun blogs you think I should check out!

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!

Little Rascals Quilt Part 3 – Stencil Quilting

This week I finished quilting the brown sashing on this adorable Li’l Rascals baby quilt. You can learn how I free-motion quilted the blocks in last week’s blog post.

Li'l Rascals Baby QuiltFirst, I selected a cute Scottie Dog quilt stencil. I lucked out because each dog motif was about the size of one of my charm squares, so I didn’t have to adjust the size of the design. I love collecting all sizes and styles of quilting stencils. I probably have over 100!

Scottie Dog StencilSewline Marking Pencil

To mark the design, I used a Sewline mechanical pencil with white ceramic leads. It made a nice clear line to follow.

The lines came off easily with a Sewline eraser stick after quilting. The left picture below shows 2 marked and quilted motifs. The right picture is after I erased the right motif. You can clearly see the quilting, but not the lines!

Sewline Fabric EraserRight Motif Erased After Quilting

After I quilted the dogs with a matching brown thread, I decided I wanted to see them a little better, so I quilted them again, going over my previous lines, but this time with metallic thread. (To avoid problems using specialty threads I use titanium-coated top-stitch needles from Superior Threads.)

The design still wasn’t quite finished, so I added another line of quilting, echoing the shape of the dogs. Then I was happy with the quilting. Echo Quilting with Metallic ThreadNext time I think I would try a much darker or lighter thread so that I can see the design even better. I’ve been quilting for so many years with matching thread to hide my mistakes. But now that I’m getting better with my free motion quilting I want my stitches to show!

Next week, I will finish this quilt by showing how to block it and bind it.

If you’d like to make a similar quilt like mine, it requires just one charm pack and 1 yard of coordinating fabric for sashing.