Get more details on strip piecing, a quilting guide featured by top US quilting blog and shop, Tamarinis. Click here now for all the info! Related Stories Exploring the Basics: Quilting and Gifting Exploring the Basics: Binding Exploring The Basics: How ...
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Exploring the Basics: Strip Piecing and more...

Exploring the Basics: Strip Piecing

Exploring the Basics Strip Piecing

Rotary cutting revolutionized quilting, making it super quick and easy to accurately cut strips and shapes for quilting.  It is no surprise that strip piecing, the process of sewing strips of fabric together and then cutting apart in determined sizes, quickly followed.

Let's look at some basic strip piecing.  Often, but not always, strip piecing is done with complete, or full strips of fabric cut from the width of the fabric (selvedge edge to selvedge edge, generally considered to be 40" of usable fabric). 

Keep in mind as we go through the examples that the number of strips in a strip set may vary depending upon the block.

Rail Fence - 3 Rails

Rail fence blocks and quilts can be formed from two fabrics in a strip set up to...well, as many as you want.

Rail Fence lime pink lime

Here is a simple rail fence strip set - pink, lime, pink.  

Rail fence pic 2

Once the strip set (the two lime strips and the single pink strip) are sewn together AND pressed, they are ready for sub-cutting - the process of cutting into smaller units.

Rail Fence Blocks

In the example above, the strip shown is being cut into 5 separate rail fence units.

Rail Fence Block

 

You can put four rail fence units together and make a rail fence block.  Above is just one variation of a three rail unit. So what would that look like in a quilt?

Rail Fence Quilts

Rail Fence Quilt 1

Here is a simple layout - the rail fence block from above, repeated 20 times.  But wait - one of the fun aspects of rail fence blocks is their versatility!

Rail Fence Quilt 2

Here is the same layout, but with half of the blocks flipped.  Fun, right?

Rail Fence Quilt 3

Here is another rail fence layout.  Notice that this time the rail fence units have four rows of piecing.  Simply rotating the blocks 90 degrees each time creates a fun zig zag pattern.  Ah....your creative juices are flowing now, aren't they?  You are seeing the possibilities.

Rail Fence Quilt 4

And keep in mind that the rails (the strips, the rows) don't have to be the same size.  Look at how using different size strips in your rail fence can add some extra interest in the quilt above!

Other Strip Pieced Blocks

Uneven 9 Patch

Let's look at a block and determine what the strip sets would be to make the block.  

Uneven 9 Patch Rail 1

Uneven 9 Patch Rail 2

The uneven 9 patch block above can be made from two different strip sets - a narrow red, wide yellow, narrow red set and a narrow yellow, wide red, narrow yellow strip set.

Many blocks can be fully or partially constructed using strip piecing!  This speeds up the piecing, which means the blocks are finished faster and the quilt can be put together that much quicker.

Monkey wrench pic

Here's another example for you - the Money Wrench block.  Let's break it apart to see what we can strip piece.

Monkey wrench strip set pic 1

Look at the piecing for this monkey wrench block.  When we break the block apart, we can see that the block is made up of HSTs (half square triangles - see more on making HSTs in this blog post), two different strip pieced units (lime/yellow and pink/yellow), and a solid pink square.  

Using strip piecing to make the lime/yellow and pink/yellow units is faster and when rotary cut, are more accurate.

These are just a few examples of how you can use strip piecing.  Kate and I will be exploring more strip piecing when we look at four patch blocks and nine patch blocks in future posts!

Head over to Kate's blog to get some additional tips and ideas on strip piecing.

Like what you see here, and want to hear more from Tamarinis? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and sign up for my newsletter at www.tamarinis.com!  Following is one way to demonstrate your interest in my projects, patterns, and partnerships.  Your comments are also GREATLY appreciated, and provide valuable feedback regarding what inspires you, as well as what you'd like to see explored in future posts.  And did you know?  I travel and teach!  Contact me to schedule a trunk show and/or workshop!

 

Exploring the Basics: Quilting and Gifting

Exploring the Basics Gifting It

Do you ever look at a project or pattern and think to yourself "Oh, so-and-so would love that!"  Has a friend or family member ever asked you to make them a quilt or a table runner or (gasp) an article of clothing (because you sew, right?)?  Is your first response when you receive that shower, birthday or wedding invitation to think "well, time to head to the sewing room!"

Lovely Woods

Yes, we've all been there!  And many of us have also heard the horror stories about a quilt that took weeks to make and dollars invested, not to mention a LOT of love and heart and soul.  That quilt, that labor of love, that artistic expression of care and affection, is used as a pet bed, a pad for changing the oil in the car, or even casually given away.  Ahhh...the pain, the agony (no, I am not being overly dramatic!).

Peaks and valleys Juniper

Or have you ever decided on a Thursday night that you would whip up a quilt for a Saturday afternoon shower?  I'm not saying that I did that - ok, I'll admit.  I did that!  Not a lot of sleep happened between Thursday and Saturday.  And I may have shown up for the shower a tad late, with the hastily wrapped baby quilt in tow!

Garden_stroll_revised

So what's a quilter to do?  For most of us, we are passionate about working with fabric, about cutting and stitching and transforming shapes into beautiful stitched works of art.  And we want to, naturally, share that with others that we care for as well.

Here are some general guidelines to help you plan your projects and to find the best match between recipient and gift.

Notebook:

Grab a notebook and use it to make some notes now - and to jot down ideas when they come to you for future gifts.  This will be your reference for planning great quilted gifts.

Add clipped photos of great gift ideas and color schemes.  See a pattern you think would be perfect, or watch a super tutorial for a new project idea that your family member or friend would adore?  Jot it down!  Having a journal is the perfect way to land on the right gift for the person who has everything - or is super difficult to buy for!

Ashley Elayne Sew Sweet Yellow

Timeline:

I'm going to go old school on you here.  Pull out the calendar and take stock of your available time.  

Now REALISTICALLY evaluate when you can cut, sew, stitch, quilt.  How much time do you think that project or pattern will take you?  Ok, double that.  Do some "backward planning" to help schedule your projects.  When do you want to - or need to - have the project finished?  

Let's say I want to make a quilt for my grandson's birthday in October.  I've estimated it will take me three weeks to make the quilt.  I then doubled that time frame.  So I'm looking at six weeks to get the quilt finished.  

If I want the quilt finished and ready to go by October 1st, the LATEST I could start the project would be August 20th.

Now mark it on the calendar (so you don't overbook yourself and find yourself sitting up until 2am on Christmas Eve trying to finish that last project!).  And do this for ALL of your planned gifts.  Remember to spread things out and give yourself time to enjoy the process too!

Schedule too full?  Take a look at the size and complexity of the projects you selected.  Would a table runner be just as warmly received as that large lap quilt?  Would a simpler quilt work equally well for the person receiving the project?  Instead of fussy cutting, could you find a precut project that would save tons of time on cutting and give you more time for sewing?

Diamond Dance Large 53x75

Supplies:

Now is a great time to inventory your supplies on hand.

What do you need to make the project?  And what do you already have?  Don't throw yourself into the red for a terrific project that calls for more than you can reasonably purchase.  This is supposed to be a gift from the heart - and your heart may be a bit reluctant if the supplies break the bank!  Take stock of what you already have BEFORE heading to the quilt shop!

If the project calls for five fabrics, but you want to shop your stash, do you have similar fabrics you can substitute?  Could you maybe make the project a little scrapier than the pattern calls for but still have the same effect?  How about using some of those beautifully bundled precuts instead of yardage?

Kismet Fate

Budget:

Set yourself a budget so you don't get carried away.  We've all been there - it is easy to get caught up in finding the perfect print or color. If you are a little more budget conscious this year, brainstorm projects that make the most of supplies you already have.  Hey, aren't you glad you did that inventory of supplies?!

Granny Squares Dreamweaver Black 60x70

Receiver:

I'm just going to go ahead and say it.  While you may WANT to make it - will the receiver WANT it?  I know, I know.  What crazy person wouldn't be grateful for a wonderful handmade gift that is full of love and good wishes from the person that made it.....well, we all probably know someone that might not.  So loving advice, dear stitching friend - consider your gift receivers and create carefully!

Some ideas here: have a serious foodie friend?  Perhaps they would love some beautiful appliquéd tea towels?  More practical in nature?  Almost everyone will appreciate lovely new hot pads.  Microwave bowls are popular, useful and quick to make.

What about the friend or family member that is always traveling?  Wouldn't a fun travel set: shoe bags, dirty clothes bags, a custom luggage tag and matching luggage strap be a welcome (and useful) gift!

Know someone that loves to decorate for every season?  Consider stitching up a series of seasonal and/or holiday themed pillow covers that can be switched out for a quick decor change.

SoundWaves Kismet

Doing It:

Make time every day.  Don't try to have a weekend crafting marathon.  Productivity is cumulative and you may be pleasantly surprised at what you can accomplish in just 15 to 30 minutes every day!

I've worked up a little worksheet for you to plan out some of your gift making.  You can find it here!

Whew!

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to hit the quilt shop and the sewing room, and put my sewing machine through it's paces over the next few weeks!  I have visions of quilty gifts dancing through my head!

Don't forget to share pics of your creative efforts!  I'd love to see what you've created - post on my Facebook page so everyone can enjoy!  

Thanks for sharing the quilting passion with me. Happy stitching!

Head over to Kate's blog, because you KNOW she is going to have beautiful pictures and some wonderful advice for you about binding as well!

Like what you see here, and want to hear more from Tamarinis? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and sign up for my newsletter at www.tamarinis.com!  Following is one way to demonstrate your interest in my projects, patterns, and partnerships.  Your comments are also GREATLY appreciated, and provide valuable feedback regarding what inspires you, as well as what you'd like to see explored in future posts.  And did you know?  I travel and teach!  Contact me to schedule a trunk show and/or workshop!

 

Exploring the Basics: Binding

Exploring the Basics Binding

Binding - the almost very last step in completing your quilt!  What's not to love?  I'll let you in on a little secret - in case you can't tell already - binding is my FAVORITE part!  

What?!  I know - you are thinking "ah, all that cutting, pressing, machine stitching, and then hand stitching."  Well, yeah, there is that.  But....it also means you are almost done!

And it provides an opportunity to really finish off your project with a  strong framework.  It think of it much like matting and framing a picture.  A well thought out binding not only creates a nice finished edge to your quilt, but also can provide a whimsical or creative element to your project.

I thought you might like to see how some of my quilting pals look at binding, so I have a wonderful roundup of binding tutorials, just for you!

Binding Basics

On-William-Street-learn-to-quilt-blog-photo-1170x550

On Williams Street - two talented sisters offer you a fabulous VIDEO (!) on binding your quilt!  Click the image above to visit their blog and view the video!  Yes, you are welcome - and tell them thank you!  Awesome!

 

Binding by Machine

Sarah-Goer-Quilts-Machine-Binding

Not a fan of the hand sewing that the final step requires?  Sarah Goer of Sarah Goer Quilts has a fabulous (and yes, I do mean detailed, with amazing pictures) of how to bind your quilt COMPLETELY by machine!  Click the image above to see her words of wisdom! Be sure to tell her how fabulous she is!

 

Cutting Binding


Phoebe-Moon-Binding-Basics

Some times you just want to know the basics - how do I cut binding, which way is best, how much can I get from my fabric, right?!  Phoebe Moon Quilt Designs has got you covered!  She walks you through some real binding basics, and chats about bias and straight of grain binding.  How terrific is that!  And yup, you guessed it - click the link above for her tutorial!

 

Prepping the Quilt for Binding

Sheila-Christensen-Preparing-Binding

But wait - how do I prepare my quilt BEFORE binding?  Sheila Christensen of Sheila Christensen Quilts walks you through some of the basics.  She's so very thoughtful!  Yes, click the image above to follow her steps!

 

Binding Inside Corners

Flying-Parrot-Quilts-Binding-Inside-Corners

Have you ever had one of those really interesting projects that has an odd shape or edge?  Well, have no fear!  Sylvia Schaefer of Flying Parrot Quilts has an absolutely stunning tutorial for dealing with inside corners.  Click the link to visit her website. No need to fear now - quilt on!

 

Binding by Machine Take 2!

Stash-Bandit-Binding-by-Machine

You've heard me say it before - but I'll say it again.  I LOVE that there can be some many different ways of tackling a single task.  Stash Bandit offers her version of binding by machine.  Click on the link and see how she does it!  

Please be sure to thank each of these generous, talented ladies for their hard work and efforts to share binding basics with you!

Head over to Kate's blog, because you KNOW she is going to have beautiful pictures and some wonderful advice for you about binding as well!

Like what you see here, and want to hear more from Tamarinis? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and sign up for my newsletter at www.tamarinis.com!  Following is one way to demonstrate your interest in my projects, patterns, and partnerships.  Your comments are also GREATLY appreciated, and provide valuable feedback regarding what inspires you, as well as what you'd like to see explored in future posts.  And did you know?  I travel and teach!  Contact me to schedule a trunk show and/or workshop!

 

 

 

Adventure in Color Quilt Along - Quilting the Quilt

Exploring the Basics Quilting

Once you've finished piecing a quilt, do you step back and admire the beauty of your perfectly pieced (or close enough!) quilt top, and sigh with a sense of satisfaction?  Great!  Me too!

And then.....you think.....how do I quilt this sucker?  Yup, girlfriend, you are not alone! 

This week on the blog, I thought it would be fun to offer a quilting perspective from someone that does a lot of quilting!  Sorry - that is NOT me!  I LOVE to pick out fabrics.  I LOVE to design quilts.  I LOVE LOVE the piecing process.  But quilting....well, that is NOT one of my super powers.  My quilt fairy, Pat Yearwood, does 90% of my quilting so she is the genius behind many of my finished projects.

And my friend Linda Pearl is a quilting genius as well.  Linda is going to share some of her quilting wisdom and offer some suggestions to finishing your Luminous quilt.  Let's see what pearls of wisdom (get it...Linda Pearl, pearls of wisdom....I know!) has to offer!

Hi, I’m Linda Pearl from One Quilting Circle, and I’m here to show you my quilt from Tammy and Kate’s Adventures in Color quilt, Luminous.

I’ve known both of these quilters (and their collaborations) for a while, and I was pleased to be asked to contribute to this project – it’s a beautiful quilt! One of the things I liked best about this opportunity was that they both said in the beginning that I didn’t have to make the whole quilt to participate in this. 

My quilt used two of the elements in their quilt in a combination that fits my space, and I will be showing you how I quilt those elements. It’s actually a wallhanging sized piece, and my quilt is made by combining the large Selene block (or rather, due to space constraints, 3 of the 4 rounds of it), and several of the Aurora blocks as well.

Luminous fabric pull

I went with a red/white/blue color scheme for this – it’s striking, and if there was ever a time when you needed to make a patriotic quilt, 2020 is the year.  You can see the Aurifil clear monofilament thread in the bottom of the photograph.

Tammy quilt


Here’s the unquilted top on my design wall. This will be quilted using my Janome 8900 sewing machine and my Aurifil thread collection.  I’ve broken this into 3 sections.

In today’s post, I’ll be using my Aurifil monofilament thread and my walking foot to ditch stitch the center squares and triangles.  By using monofilament (clear), I won’t have to worry about changing thread colors, and I’ll be using this to stabilize the center of the quilt.

In next week’s blog post, I’ll be using my free motion quilting setup to quilt some feathers in the top right and bottom left of the quilt, hoping to balance out the amount of thread in the quilt so that it hangs nice and straight.  I’ll also be using a double needle to show you how to add a bead-board style of quilt to that nice, deep edge…perfect for this home grown Yankee.

Part 1 – the Monofilament…

My Janome 8900 comes with an attachment called an Accufeed foot, and it functions just as the walking foot attachment on any other machine would.  I will be using a double layer of batting when I quilt this, and the walking foot/Accufeed feature minimizes any shifting of your sandwich during the quilting. I should also say that I spray basted this really well between all the layers.

There are a few things to consider as you set up your machine. Whenever I begin to quilt a new project, I create a mini-sandwich which sits beside my work station. The mini sandwich is made of exactly the same fabrics (and batting, most importantly the batting) as what I’m working on. In this case, I made it a little bigger than usual because I will be using it when I get to the free motion quilting step for next week.

The monofilament from Aurifil is made of nylon, and the instructions off their website indicate you should use a thread tension of 2 or less on your machine, a longer stitch length and a 90/14 needle to start with.  Once I made those adjustments, I played with the set up to make sure that I liked the length, and ultimately went with a 4.0 length.  Note that I made a note on the sandwich so I won’t lose it!  You can use any 50 wt bobbin color, and I went with the neutral that I already had in the bobbin.  My backing is red, but I didn’t  to change the color. 

LP quilting pic

Now I was ready for my actual quilt sandwich.  I made sure that the backing was centered in the back of the batting layers, and then I flipped everything over so I could repeat the process with my freshly pressed flimsy centered on the top.  Make sure you leave at least 2 inches around the perimeter for trimming when you are finished.

I began to quilt this in the big square in the middle of the Selene block.  I did this because it was a square (meaning it would be secured in place), and also because I could then pivot and go around each of the elements in the quilt until it was completely covered.  Some of those elements are very small, and it would be too difficult to quilt decoratively in there.  I do have plans for the larger blue star points, but that’s for next week.

In the last picture, you’re going to be able to see one of my favorite tools – my bright green tweezers.  They are perfect for picking out stray threads I always find at this point in the process.

LP Quilting Pic 3

I hope to see you next time, when I finish the quilting.

Thanks, Linda, for your great suggestions and fun take on the Luminous project.

For more from Linda, please visit her blog.  She'll have Part Two of this project on her blog and in social media.

Part 1 will be published on her blog on Wednesday, June 3rd; part 2 will be published on Wednesday, June 10, and it will be featured on that morning’s Facebook live on her page on Facebook.  The blog address is www.onequiltingcircle.com and the Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/ThePatchworkPearl. 

Head over to Kate's blog to see what her guest blogger has to share with you!  You are going to adore what Karen Miller has in store for you!

Want even more quilting inspiration?  Marlene Oddie of Kissed Quilts has even more great quilting tips for you on her blog as well.  See her at this link.

Adventure in Color Quilt Along Schedule

Jan 1- Introduction and FAQs

Jan 15- General Information handouts including quilt fabric requirements and fabric chart

Jan 29 - Block 1

Feb 19- Block 2 

March 4- Block 3

March 18- Block 4

April 1- Block 5

April 15- Block 6

April 29- Setting

May 13- Check In and Bonus pattern. PDF patterns go away!

June 3- Quilting suggestions

Sign up for the Adventure in Color Quilt Along Newsletter here.

Kate and I look forward to sharing this Adventure in Color with you.  Oh - and we have some amazing sponsors that are providing awesome prizes during the quilt along (for US participants only).  You'll want to check back with each installment for a chance to win fabric, thread, batting, and much more!  No, you don't HAVE to be making the quilt (but let's face it - you're gonna want to make it!).

Adventure in Color Quilt Along Block One features by top US quilting blog and shop, Tamarinis: AIC Sponsor Page

Like what you see here, and want to hear more from Tamarinis? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and sign up for my newsletter at www.tamarinis.com!  Following is one way to demonstrate your interest in my projects, patterns, and partnerships.  Your comments are also GREATLY appreciated, and provide valuable feedback regarding what inspires you, as well as what you'd like to see explored in future posts.  And did you know?  I travel and teach!  Contact me to schedule a trunk show and/or workshop!

Adventure in Color Quilt Along Schedule

Jan 1- Introduction and FAQs

Jan 15- General Information handouts including quilt fabric requirements and fabric chart

Jan 29 - Block 1

Feb 19- Block 2 

March 4- Block 3

March 18- Block 4

April 1- Block 5

April 15- Block 6

April 29- Setting

May 13- Check In and Bonus pattern. PDF patterns go away!

June 3- Quilting suggestions

Kate and I have enjoyed sharing this Adventure in Color with you.  Oh - and we have some amazing sponsors.  

Adventure in Color Quilt Along Block One features by top US quilting blog and shop, Tamarinis: AIC Sponsor Page

Like what you see here, and want to hear more from Tamarinis? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and sign up for my newsletter at www.tamarinis.com!  Following is one way to demonstrate your interest in my projects, patterns, and partnerships.  Your comments are also GREATLY appreciated, and provide valuable feedback regarding what inspires you, as well as what you'd like to see explored in future posts.  And did you know?  I travel and teach!  Contact me to schedule a trunk show and/or workshop!

 

Exploring The Basics: How to Choose Thread and Quilt Designs for Your Quilt

Exploring the Basics Quilting

 

You've made it this far - you've completed your quilt top (yeah you!), you've pieced your backing, chosen your batting.  Now what?  Yup - you guessed it - that beauty now has to be quilted.  But slow your roll - let's look at some things before the quilt goes under the needle.

Aurifil_Thread

 

Thread

Consider your thread color AND your thread weight.  Some questions to ask yourself to narrow the selection:

 

Do I want the quilting thread to show?

When looking at thread weight, the larger the number, the finer or thinner the thread.  For reference, most folks sew with a 50 wt thread.   Many will choose a heavier weight thread for quilting, such as a 40wt or a 28 wt.

Just My Type Coaster w 28wt thread

Do I want the quilting motif to stand out or just add texture?

 

In the example above, I used some of my fun Just My Type fabric (in stores in November 2020) and two different 28wt thread colors from my Aurifil Kismet collection to make simple straight line quilting on the coaster.

I wanted two things:

I wanted the thread to show - so I selected a 28wt AND contrasting colors

I wanted the motif to become a design element for the project - so again, chose contrasting thread colors AND a heavier weight.  

Mustache Bash

 

In contrast to the coaster, in this fun bright version of Mustache Bash, the quilting is more of a texture element, and not the focus of the quilt.

 

Mustache Bash Close Up

Two other elements to note with Mustache Bash:

Thread Color - the quilt is quilted in a limey yellow.  Close up, it does contrast strongly with the non-lime colors.  But - look at the overall picture again.  Yes - the limey yellow blends to create texture.

I do a TON of fused appliqué projects.  Whenever possible, I try to quilt the base first (or have my quilt fairy, Pat Yearwood of Stitch'n Quilt, quilt the base) and then I add my fused appliqué.  This makes the project easier to quilt.

 

Vintage quilt crop picture

Do I want to hand quilt this or machine quilt my quilt?

Hand quilting as an option might affect which thread you use.  There are threads from some brands that are specifically for hand quilting that are pre-waxed to help them glide through the fabric easier.  Or you might choose to use a floss for even more impact.

Hand quilted vintage close up

Remember the limey yellow from Mustache Bash?  Well, tuck this away in the back of your mind for future reference: fun fact is that many yellows actually BLEND when used as a quilting thread.  Yup - crazy, I know!  But look at this close up of the vintage quilt.  You can see the quilt artist hand quilted her lovely, soft creation in a yellow.  Up close, you can see it, but when just looking at the quilt, it is almost invisible!

Let's talking quilting designs or motifs now.  I touched on some of these elements when discussing thread colors, but let's look at it again.

Tartary

 

Do I want the quilting motif to stand out or just add texture?

In Tartary (above), it is quilting in an overall, edge to edge, design.  That simply means it is a certain motif (in this case bamboo leaves) that is repeated over and over again across the surface of the quilt.

 

Tartary Detail

Here's a close up.  Notice that my quilting fairy (Pat) chose a neutral thread for this motif.  It provides a nice texture and compliments the fabric as well as the overall quilt.

Do I want straight line quilting, free motion, or something else?

Silver Lining Close Up

Several of the examples I've shared so far have had computerized, edge to edge, or hand quilting. But...you can combine the styles as well.  In the sample above, look closely at the center of the block.  

Yes - there is some free motion quilting in the block center.  And then there is some simple, straight edge echo quilting, both inside and outside the lines of the dark gray fabric, which accentuates the lines of the block.  You can combine different styles of quilting!  After all - it's your quilt!

Checkered Past Close Up 1

Here is a perfect example of some custom quilting - with a different motif in different areas of the blocks.  This is from one of my favorite quilts, Checkered Past.

Checkered Past Close Up 2

Check out those wavy lines!  They provide some fun texture and contrast to the very linear quilt, and stand out from the concentric, slightly rounded quilting in the other blocks.  Fun!

 

Granny Squares close up 1

Here's another great example of some amazing custom quilting from Pat, this time on Granny Squares.  Notice that the lines are straight and simple, accenting another very linear, graphic pattern.  

Keep that straight line quilting in mind.  If the idea of free motion quilting makes you break out in hives, try some straight lines.  They can be VERY appealing!  Mix it up - change your thread colors and your thread weights.  Make it your own.

It's all too much - I want something simple!

Simple Border Quilted Mini

Just breathe.  Let's go back to that straight line quilting.  It can be super easy and really make an impact.  Just look at the mini quilt above.  Straight lines around the border add some interest and texture, but are very easy to do!  I use the edge of my presser foot as a guide and control the width of the rows of quilting by moving my needle.  Easy!

Close Up Mini

Let's take a closer look at what is going on.  

Stitch in the ditch: this is quilting IN THE SEAM LINE.  I did this in the seam between the center of the mini and the border.

Easy straight line stitching IN A MATCHING THREAD.  If you are less than confident in your quilting, matching your thread color to the fabric helps disguise any less than perfect stitches.  Yes, folks will see the texture, but it won't stand out as much as if you had a contrasting thread.  

Coneflower Close Up

And then there's quilt as you go.  Pretty much like it sounds, you are quilting as you are piecing!  How does that work?  Well, some projects lend themselves to quilt as you go easier than others.

This close up of an upcoming release, Coneflower, is quilt as you go.  The strips are pieced together AND stitched through the batting and backing at the same time!  Awesome, because when you finish, all you have to do is trim and bind.  Awesome!

Need some more inspiration?  Every time I teach a beginning machine quilting class, I ALWAYS recommend this book: Quilting Makes the Quilt (link below for you).  It is amazing - she offers visual examples showing HOW a change in quilting motifs, style, and size can impact the final look of the quilt.  

Personally, I think it is one of those items that every quilter should have on his or her shelf!

Kate is going to have more eye candy and words of wisdom on selecting your best quilting design for you as well, so hop on over to her blog to get more helpful suggestions!

Like what you see here, and want to hear more from Tamarinis? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and sign up for my newsletter at www.tamarinis.com!  Following is one way to demonstrate your interest in my projects, patterns, and partnerships.  Your comments are also GREATLY appreciated, and provide valuable feedback regarding what inspires you, as well as what you'd like to see explored in future posts.  And did you know?  I travel and teach!  Contact me to schedule a trunk show and/or workshop!