It’s been a few weeks since I’ve checked in here so I thought it was about time I popped in. I’ve been busy working on customer quilts and trying to fit in some time for my own projects here and there. This week I’m working on a customer quilt that is made up of 12″ blocks set on-point. I was sketching out the design for the blocks and working on a path that would allow me to quilt the block without starts/stops and breaking thread. I know that some of you have expressed interest in learning more about this part of finishing a quilt, so I thought I would share how I stitched the block in one pass. My hope is that this can become a series of blog posts that you will find helpful. I know that I always like to see how other quilters approach their projects, and maybe what I share here will help you. So, here we go!
Here’s the block I’ll be working with. It is a disappearing nine patch and, as mentioned above, is set on point. I’ve loaded the quilt horizontally to make better use of the backing fabric provided. So while the block looks one way here, it’s actually turned 90 degrees on my longarm.
I use my iPad with an app called ProCreate to play with designs before I start stitching. It’s the coolest app. I’m able to import a pic of the quilt, change the opacity, and then draw designs on different layers to test them out. I can save the ones I like and delete designs I don’t until I finally settle on the final (maybe) design. I say maybe because it seems that there are always last minute changes standing at the machine. The pictures in this post are snapped from my iPad, so the colors look faded because the opacity of the quilt block has been lowered.
For this block I’ll be starting near the bottom and working my way up on one side, catching the middle as I go, and then coming back down the opposite side. To begin, I started at the top of the green block and stitched a curve inside all four sides of the block.
Next, I stitched the burgandy block. It starts and stops at the bottom of the block, right where the previous design ended. The arrows show the path I followed when stitching this design.
Now I can stitch the fill design that will take me to my next entry point so I can stitch the next square in the block. This can be any fill you like. I really liked using this meander design. It’s unassuming, doesn’t overtake the block, and allows the focus to be on the larger squares of fabric in the block, all while getting me where I need to go.
Now I’m going to stitch the flower design in the floral print square. It starts and stops at the same point, which is exactly what I need it to do so I can move on to the next section.
The next step is to stitch the green squares in the center of the block. They will get the same curve design as the green block at the bottom of the quilt. So I stitched the bottom half of both blocks as shown above. This gets me to the second floral square on the left side of the block.
Now I stitch the flower design in the floral block and it gets me back to the green square so I can finish the curve design.
Finishing the design in the left green block gets me to the bottom of the top burgandy square and now I can stitch the flower design. Again, I will start and stop at the same point, and now I can finish the green block on the right side.
Now I can stitch the meander fill to the top of the block. I want to end up at the bottom of the green square at the top of the block. This will allow me to stitch the curve design in the green piece, and finish at the bottom so I can move on to the left half of the quilt. Now all this is left to do is to stitch the meander fill along the sashing strips and finish at the bottom of the block.
And, ta-da! An entire block custom quilted in one stitch path with only one start and stop. My kind of quilting! The less threads I have to knot and bury the better.
So, to stitch this block in real life required the tiniest bit of marking. I marked the centers of each of the four large squares that are in the block. For the dark blocks I used white chalk, and for the floral squares I used a water soluble blue fabric marker. This just gives me a reference point for stitching the flower and having it be centered to the square.
And this is what the block looks like after it is stitched:
I’m using a very light pink thread to quilt most of the top. It looks white until you get your nose right up to the quilt. (But I don’t know how many people will actually have their nose right up against the quilt.) LOL I’ll show you the entire quilt once it is finished.
I hope that breaking down the stitching path helps you. I know I’ve started looking at blocks in different ways to find the most efficient way to quilt them without breaking threads.
Till next time,