Saturday, March 21, 2015

Amish Baby is ALMOST Finished: Continuous Curves, Olive Loop Border and Free-Motion Stars

Amish Baby 54-40 Or Fight: In Progress, Nearly Complete
This baby is due to be born within weeks, and it looks like the Amish Baby 54-40 Or Fight quilt will be finished right on time.  I wanted to do a quick post about how I did the continuous curve quilting on the square patches, the olive loop border, and the free-motion stars in the lime green blocks, mostly so I can refer back to the post someday when I want to dust these techniques off and use them again.

In my last post, I was struggling with how to get those free motion continuous double curves to look relatively even on the red and white square patches.  I ended up making myself a little template out of gridded template plastic, 2" square to match my patches, with little tiny holes punched out a quarter inch in at the center of each side. 

My Template for Marking Continuous Curves
That made it really easy for me to mark my quilt with dots (the Bohin mechanical chalk pencils are the perfect diameter for marking through these holes with just a twist).  I found that when I had those dots on the quilt it was a lot easier to quilt the continuous curves because I had something to aim for to keep the arced stitching lines about the same depth and with the arc center in the correct spot. 

Free Motion Olive Loop Border
Next, I quilted olive loops in the outermost border.  I first saw this motif in Judi Madsen's long arm quilting and I have been doodling it on my bulletin during the sermon at church...  shh!  Because I'm planning to use 2" wide satin binding for this quilt, I marked a chalk line indicating where the edge of the satin binding would be to ensure that none of my olives would end up under the binding.  And I just stitched this one freehand, trying to deliberately include some olives that were larger or smaller than others (because I knew they were not all going to come out identical).  I think this came out really good for my first try.  Definitely going to use this one again!

I could have just done the continuous double curve quilting in all of the square patches, but I wanted to bring in a little smidge of whimsy.  So I found this little squiggle star motif -- it's actually part of an embroidered outline quilting design from a collection I bought ages ago.  I resized the squiggly star on my photocopy machine until it was exactly the size I wanted it, 1 1/2" to nestle nicely inside the seam allowances of my 2" squares.  Then I used a marking method that I learned from Don Linn's April 2012 tutorial for the SewCalGal FMQ Challenge.  In Don's tutorial exercise, we used wooden embroidery hoops, bridal tulle and an extra fine point Sharpie marker to create a mark-through template for transferring quilting designs (you use either the purple disappearing marker or the blue water soluble marker to draw the design on your quilt, NOT the Sharpie!).  Since my motif was pretty tiny, I asked my husband for a small plastic ring from his Garage of Handy Manly Stuff.  I just wrapped a piece of tulle around the plastic ring and held it in place with a ponytail elastic.

Basically, you trace your quilting design onto the tulle with the Sharpie.  Then you can place the hooped tulle over your quilt and use the temporary marking pen to trace right over the design on the tulle.  I could have used my embroidery design software to resize the embroidered quilting motif and stitched the stars out with my embroidery module, but it would have been overkill for something so simple and it would have taken a LOT more time to hoop and rehoop over and over again for every single star.  It's actually a lot easier to FMQ a SMALL quilting motif than a large one, and these stars were quick and easy to quilt last night.  Anders was hanging out in my sewing room watching Tom & Jerry while I quilted the stars.  :-)

Free Motion Stars!
Finally, since I was all threaded up with the lime green thread, I snapped on my walking foot and quilted some straight(ish) lines in the green border.  I placed them approximately 1/4" from the seams, which framed the embroidered text nicely without crossing over the stitching, and I think that the straight line quilting is a nice contrast with the curvy olive loop border and the curvy stippling in the black background fabric.

I think I want to leave the green star triangles unquilted and puffy, but something needs to go in the royal blue square patches.  I am leaning towards more squiggly stars.  Lastly, I might do some really random quilting in the outside of the green border, where it will be covered by satin binding, just to shrink it up and flatten it out a bit.  If I leave it totally unquilted and just attach the border, I'm afraid the border will look wavy.  Once all of the quilting is complete, I'll trim off my excess batting and backing and serge the quilt edges (I always do that with satin binding quilts, to protect the quilt edges in case the satin binding wears away over time and needs replacing).

Meanwhile, I am taking a break from quilting today so I can hem my new choir robe and personalize the fit a little bit.  (The sleeves are too long and the hem is crooked).  Happy weekend and happy stitching!

1 comment:

Tammy Hutchinson said...

Thank you so much for sharing Don's method for marking. Marking is a hang up for me, but this looks really great! So adaptable, and I have embroidery hoops already-yeah, nothing new to buy! Your quilt is coming along beautifully, even with less caffeine!