Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Latest Quilt

This is my latest quilt. They say every quilt has a story - here's mine....

Last summer I blogged about the wedding quilt I made for my son and daughter-in-law. That was a rather 'improvisational' quilt. I made lots of  blocks in different sizes and then had to figure out how to put them together, making additional blocks or pieced strips to make everything fit together. It all worked out in the end and they are loving their quilt.
For this quilt I wanted to use a few of the Northcott Colorworks solids along with fabrics left from a Sleep Sack that I will make in a class I'm taking on Sunday.  No, I'm not going to be grandmother yet, just getting prepared....

I decided that it would be easier if the blocks for this quilt were the same size. I made 'courthouse steps' blocks using bits of the 'sleep sack' fabrics, a few coordinates from my stash and lots of solids.  My blocks were trimmed to 14 1/2" - a manageable size and easy to trim the blocks using my 15" square ruler. I only had to make 9 blocks to get this 42" square quilt. The best thing - I finished the quilt top in only a few hours.
Courthouse steps blocks are so easy to make. Cut a square or rectangle, sew strips to the sides, press, trim. Sew strips to the top and bottom, press, trim. Add more strips in the same way until the blocks are big enough. I made sure that the last 'round' of strips were a medium gray solid so it would look like a background around all the coloured parts of the blocks.
A hint about using the same fabric for the last 'round'.....I could have changed the design to make a checkerboard with alternating fabrics for the outer strips but that would have involved more pre-planning for the block arrangement. It was much easier to play with the arrangement on my design wall when the blocks were complete. 

About the quilting....I have used the serpentine stitch on my Bernina sewing machine for many years. It is a very quick way to quilt, particularly for baby quilts. This time I stitched rows closer together than I usually do and I love how the stitching adds so much texture to the quilt.  That's the great thing about solids. The quilting becomes such an integral part of the quilt!

On my Bernina 440, here are the settings I use for this type of stitching:
Stitch #4
Width = 5.5
Length = 2.4
Balance +2  To do this, press the BSR button once and then press the needle position button (the one on the right) 2 times.  This doesn't move the needle when you do this. Instead it 'expands' the pattern so the curve is longer.
Check your machine manual if you have a different brand. Look for 'Balance' and see if you can adjust your decorative stitches too.
One last point...since the quilt was 42" wide I needed more than one width of fabric for the backing. I joined all the leftover strips from making the blocks to make a pieced strip and added it to the side of the backing to make it large enough.
If you're looking for a quick project to make in a weekend, why not give this a try. Gather some fun prints from your stash, some solids and see what you can make.  Be sure to send me pictures to post on the Blog!
I'll show you a picture of the Sleep Sack later this week!


Erika Mulvenna said...

Hi Daphne, I love your use of the BERNINA running stitch in your quilt! I hope you don't mind if I share a link to your post as a great example of a use of this stitch at :) Erika

Kathleen3 said...

Thanks for sharing your process! The results are lovely. I look forward to trying these techniques, especially the serpentine quilting!

Anne F C said...

The quilting looks fantastic. How close did you do the lines? Does the quilt feel stiff with close lines? Would it look good if the quilting was horizontal, do you think? Thanks for the tips. I have a Bernina and was trying to work out how to do this.