MCM #97 – Bringing New Life to an Old Quilt

My sister recently sent me a worn quilt that belonged to her step-daughter. It had been much loved and was in need of repair. Our goal was to fix the worn areas, replace the batting and backing, and make it usable again.

The quilt was originally tied, and a blanket was used for the backing. There were a few seams that were torn and needed repaired.

Ripped seam in quiltThe first thing I did was remove all the threads used to tie the quilt top. Sounds more tedious than it was – they were pretty easy to cut and pull out of the quilt. There was a big pile of threads when I finished.

Knotted Strings

After removing the ties, I cut off the binding and removed the back and batting. I would have rather taken the binding off by removing the stitches, but as you can see in the picture below, the binding was pretty messy. It was difficult to pick the stitches, so cutting it off was the best option for this quilt.

Worn Quilt BindingAfter separating the three layers, I clipped all the strings from the back of the top. After years of washing, there were a lot of threads from where the seams frayed. These needed to be removed before I quilted the top.

Look at all the threads I removed:

Trimmed ThreadsThat part might have been just a bit tedious. πŸ™‚

Fixing the seams stumped me for a minute or two. The seams were ripped, so there wasn’t enough fabric to simply re-sew them. I used a wide zig-zag stitch with a short stitch length and sewed over the seams, joining the two fabrics. There were three different areas that needed the seams repaired.

Seam RepairIt’s not the prettiest repair, but it’s effective and not as noticeable as I was afraid it would be. When looking at the entire quilt, the repairs blend in pretty well, so I was happy about that.

At first I worried about quilting over the dense zig zag stitch, but ultimately it wasn’t a problem. Sister wanted a very big, loose quilt design so it was easy to avoid the repaired seams when quilting.

After the repairs were made, I added Warm & Plush batting and a flannel backing. I quilted it with a really big all over meander, that took just a few minutes to do. Well, more than a few, but it was a super fast quilt job! The picture below shows the size of the quilting (and my foot, used as a deterrent to the wind.)

Quilting DetailOnce the quilting was finished it was time to add the binding. This quilt was the perfect project for practicing machine binding. I’m not a fan of machine binding, mostly because I can’t do it in a way that looks nice. But a few of my quilty friends have convinced me I need to use it more often on certain projects. So I tried it.

The good thing about machine binding this quilt is that the back is flannel, which helps the thread disappear. Here’s the back of the binding:

Maching Binding BackYou can just barely see the line of stitching alongside the binding.

Here is the front:

Machine Binding FrontNot too bad for a machine binding newbie! But I definitely need more practice. And tips – do you have any tips to share on how you do your machine binding?

Overall, sister and I are pleased with the finished quilt. It’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s ready for Jamie and her family to enjoy for many more years. I’m looking forward to sending this quilt back to its permanent home, knowing that it will get lots of use and cuddles. Which is all any of us can ask for the quilts we make, right?

Repaired Quilt

Knowing that this quilt is ready for many more years of love is my quilting crush for this week’s Main Crush Monday. Now it’s time for you to share yours! What has you excited to be in your sewing space? You can share any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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Cross Hatch Stitching Path

Yesterday I talked about the cross hatch design I used on the most recent quilt I worked on, and told you I would share my quilting path in order to avoid starts/stops. So, here it is. πŸ™‚

The block in the quilt measured 8-1/2″ x 6-1/2″. Because the diagonal measured longer than the straight ruler I had, I marked a line on each diagonal to align the ruler. These marks will not be necessary if your ruler is long enough to extend diagonally from corner to corner.

TIP: Remember when using a ruler and ruler foot for quilting, the stitch line will be 1/4″ away from the edge of the ruler. Be sure to place the ruler 1/4″ from the diagonal line you have drawn so the stitching will be on the line and start/end in each corner and not a quarter inch to the side of the corner.Β 

cross hatch quilting design

Step 1 – Mark Diagonal Line

You can start in any corner you wish. I chose to start stitching in the bottom right corner, probably because I’m right-handed and it just made sense to me to start there.

Cross Hatch Quilting DesignBegin stitching on the first diagonal line, following the direction of the arrows in the photo. When you get to the edge of the block, travel down the seam line to start the next diagonal line. In the quilt I did, I spaced the lines 3/4″ apart. Continue stitching the lines and traveling in the seam lines until you reach the opposite corner. See the star in the bottom left corner? That is where the stitching will end for the first section. You can see you are ready to start stitching on the second diagonal line.

Cross Hatch Quilting Design

The next section is quilted the same as the first, and will end on the right side (where the two ** stars are.) You will be traveling in the seam on the travel lines previously stitched along the bottom of the block.

You are now ready to stitch the top half of the block.

Starting where the double stars are shown on the right of the block, stitch Section 3 as shown in the photo below.

cross hatch quilting design

The third section ends where the three *** stars are shown in the photo below – top right corner. To begin stitching the last of the design, travel along the seam line to the next starting point (shown in the upper right hand corner below).

Cross Hatch Quilt DesignThe design will end in the opposite corner from where you started.

This is an easy way to cross hatch an entire block without a lot of traveling or starts/stops. I hope my explanation of how I stitch this design is helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions!


Posted in Longarm Quilting, Machine Quilting, Tips & Tutorials | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

MCM #96 – Barn Quilt Repeat

Last week I had the pleasure of custom quilting a gorgeous barn panel quilt. I know, you’re probably saying didn’t you already do that? (Read about the first one here.) Yes I did, but this is a different panel, different colors and layout, and quilted in a totally different way.

Barn Quilt Custom Quilting

Each quilt I work on teaches me something new. For this quilt, the designs I used were all angular lines and 100% ruler work. I’m comfortable quilting with rulers so that isn’t new to me. What was different about this quilt is all the marking I did.

I was recently gifted an AQSΒ  DVD “Progressive Detail Quilting with Judi Madsen”. (Thank you my sweet friend!) I’ve admired Judi’s work for a long time and can only hope to be a fraction as good as she is someday. In the DVD, Judi walks us through marking the same quilt in three different ways, each one with more quilting detail. Even though I have marked quilt tops before, seeing how Judi does it made something inside me click. She uses lots of registration lines and plans her quilting path before starting to stitch.

I loaded the quilt, basted it, and then stared at it waiting for inspiration to hit. Do you ever do that? I do it a lot! So while I was waiting I started poking around Pinterest to see if I could find a design for the border.

What I found was a design by Melissa Marginet from her book Walking Foot Quilting Designs. The link leads to the website for the book, and shows how to quilt the ‘Knot’ design. I thought it would be perfect for the barn quilt, so I marked the border with registration marks in preparation for stitching.

Marking Your Quilt

Registration marks for stitching the knot border design


Finished Border Design

Finished Border Design

I love it! It is a fun design to stitch and I love the way it looks on this quilt.

After choosing the design for the border, I moved on to the four patch blocks. At first I thought I might do a curvy design, but it just didn’t feel right. I remembered the Craftsy class I purchased a couple weeks ago by Angela Walters, ‘Dot to Dot: Quilting with Piecing as your Guide’. Angela’s dot to dot technique would be perfect for these four patches, and it would be my first time using it in a ‘real’ quilt.

Dot to Dot Quilting Technique

Dot to Dot Quilting Technique

For this design I marked five dots in each square. Angela says you can mark the dots or not, but I chose to make the marks just to keep me on track with the design. You can see my diamonds are not perfect, but according is Angela – finished is better than perfect, and that’s something I totally agree with!

The last major decision I had to make was how to quilt the barn blocks. They are so colorful and I was having difficulty choosing a thread color. I needed something that would blend and wouldn’t be too dark on the lighter sections of the blocks.

I thought Mono-Poly (often called invisible thread) would work, but it blended SO well I couldn’t see the lines that were already stitched. So I decided to try MicroQuilter, a 100# thread from Superior that is often used for, you guessed it!, micro quilting. πŸ™‚Β  This thread is so fine, it blends beautifully, and all you really see is the texture. I will definitely use this thread again.

I stitched a simple cross hatch design. The only marking I had to do was two lines on the diagonal. Tomorrow I will post the stitching path I used in order to stitch the entire block without cutting the thread.

Cross Hatch Quilting

My customer told me to quilt this top any way I wanted with a couple of guidelines: 1) Don’t quilt too densely – she wants it to be a snuggly quilt, and 2) no shiny thread. I stayed within those parameters, and I’m very happy with the finished quilt. This project was a fun one to work on, and I appreciate the opportunity. I pushed myself, tried some new designs and new thread, and love the way it all worked out.

Barn Quilt Texture

The back shows off the texture beautifully:

Quilting Texture

Have you stitched any ‘new to you’ quilting designs lately? I’d love to hear about your favorites as I’m always looking for something new to try. Ruler work takes extra time, but it is something I love to do.

Quilting this barn quilt is my crush for this weeks Main Crush Monday. Now it’s time for you to share yours. What has you excited to be in your sewing space? You can link any blog post, Instagram, or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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Music Saturday – Mirror Man

I’ve been doing a lot of quilting this week, which means there’s been a lot of music playing on my tower speaker. I love that thing! It gets loud when I want it to and has a great sound with a deep bass. I’m not so sure the neighbors like it as much as I do, but I haven’t heard any complaints yet. Maybe they like listening to my playlist too…

Music Saturday

This week my pick song has been Ella Henderson’s ‘Mirror Man’. It has a smooth easy beat, the words are easy to remember, and it’s fun to sing. The line “I think you’re falling for you” tickles me, but best of all it’s a good tune to dance around to when I’m quilting.

You can check it out on You Tube by clicking on this link.

Have fun, and sing on!

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MCM #95 – It’s a Texture Thing

I have a difficult time eating shrimp, scallops, crab, actually most seafood. It’s a texture thing with me. IΒ want to like these things, I do! But I just can’t get past how they feel when I take a bite. Ugh. All you seafood lovers – don’t hate me. I’ve tried. Seriously. But I just can’t handle the texture.

I don’t have that problem with quilty texture though. Thank goodness! I can play with scrumptious quilt texture all day long and it never leaves a weird taste in my mouth. Not even when I lick the fabric… πŸ˜€

Over the weekend I worked on a lovely customer quilt. Shirley asked for an all over design using variegated blue thread on the top and variegated green thread on the back. We decided to use the loopy flower design and it created some fabulous texture!

Variegated green thread

Back of Quilt

At first I had my doubts about using two variegated threads but they worked together beautifully. The thread on the back is Omni-V, and the top thread is Fantastico. Both are by Superior and are 40#. Fantastico is a bit shiny, like Glide, and Omni-V has a more matte finish. I’m so happy they worked together, as my customer had her heart set on variegated threads on both sides.

Quilting textureYou can see more of the texture on the front in the picture above. Once this quilt is washed, I can only imagine how cuddly it will feel!

I took the quilt outside to take a full picture of the front of the quilt on the deck. After laying it out I stepped back to get my shot and the wind took over. It blew up the back to fold over perfectly. I think this quilt was telling me which side it likes best! So I grabbed the shot and called it a day.

The next quilt I’ll be working on will have more custom quilting. I’m excited to come up with a quilting plan and get it loaded. Time to get those creative juices flowing!

So there’s my quilting crush for Main Crush Monday. Now it’s time for you to share yours! What has you excited to be in your sewing space? You can link up any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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Posted in Customer Quilts, Main Crush Monday | Tagged , , | 21 Comments