Dresden Plate with a Jelly Roll

Making a Dresden Plate quilt was on my Bucket List (the mental list of the many, many quilts I want to try before I die). Problem is that I really am trying to use fabric I already have. I’m bad about buying jelly rolls, because I figure I can easily make something without having to cut all those strips. But, they sit in my studio.

So, for this quilt, I decided to use one of my Riley Blake jelly rolls. I don’t know if you can see or not, but there are 20 points on these Dresden Plates. Twenty-two rolls came with the set, but I left 2 of them out, thinking I could use them in the border somewhere. But then I didn’t. Funny how as you are making a quilt, your journey takes you down different paths than you had originally intended. Anyhow, 20 strips… what size ruler do I need? A circle is 360 degrees. Divide 360 by 20 strips, and you will need an 18 degree Dresden ruler or template.

I wanted big blocks, so I extended a bit beyond what the template showed for where I should cut the tip end. I would be folding the strip lengthwise and sewing that top end to make a tip when it’s folded back, so it wouldn’t be missed when it’s tucked to the back. Missouri Star Quilt Company has a tutorial on how to make the plates here.

I finally finished it and tried some different quilting techniques on it. Those who know me, know that I try to make each quilt unique and add special touches. And, I’ve done those all freehand. I do not have a computer for my machine… yet. I am saving my pennies… it’s on my bucket list. 😉 But, I have a couple of the quilting designs on this quilt digitized and available for those who DO have a computer for your quilting machine.

The Crosshatching frame inside the block is available at Legacy Quilting.
The Eyelet Lace border design is also available at Legacy Quilting.

I wasn’t sure what fabric to use for the binding. I love using striped fabric for binding, and my friend, Tina, showed me some striped fabric that would be perfect for this quilt. It picked up that color of blue and the red. But… I ended up just using what I had and repeated that 1/2″ blue border. Saving my pennies…

For those of you who don’t know, I am no longer quilting for hire. The arthritis in my spine won out. So, now I am doing a few other things. One of them is digitizing machine quilting designs. Yes, I can do that for other people’s designs and have done that. My hope is that this will eventually lead me to getting a computer for my machine. Maybe then, I can think about quilting for hire again. I don’t know. That’s a lot of money and a long way off.

A couple of things I’ve done lately is cut my own extension table to fit into my sewing machine table. I ordered an insert 8 months ago, but have not gotten it yet. Yes, I’ve called the shop several times. I finally gave up and made my own. It’s not pretty. I still need to paint it white. But, it feels so much better to be able to spread out the fabric to be sewn without it catching on the edge of my machine.

Not pretty, but it does the job!

Also, Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival was Father’s Day weekend. A quilt that I had quilted for Joan won 2nd place in Viewer’s Choice. It’s a really cute scene of Mom taking care of her baby, so I can see why people liked it. The pattern is called “Love from Above” by Charley Harper. You can buy it here.

I was surprised at the quilting. I thought I hadn’t done a good job on it, but time passing gives you a new view – it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. But then, the lighting was very complimentary to the quilting great as it bounced off the trees and tall grasses that were stitched into her quilt.

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What was really cool is that both Joan and I got a ribbon for her quilt.

Yay! Thank you, Voters!

The next Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival will be in 2021. Their website is http://kcrqf.com. This year they did an awesome job meeting the needs of so many quilters. Check out their site and try to make it next time!

Welcome Back!

I am giving up my website and coming back to this blog site.  I have no idea how this will work with the new Net Neutrality rules, but I’m okay with that.  I no longer quilt for others, but you will be seeing posts whenever I get a chance to quilt for myself.  This particular post will be full of tips, because I haven’t been quilting on a regular basis and just got back into the game – I’ve realized how many tips I’d taken for granted.  So, I will share them with you today.  Please forgive me if they seem to basic to you!

I just put this quilt on the frame and the first thing I did was make a straight stitching line to butt my quilt top up against so that my quilt will be straight and hopefully square – I don’t know if you can see that or not.  I also use a laser square to check as I go along, making sure any stitch lines going across or down are straight as well.

As I go along, I use a “centering” measuring tape across the quilt to make sure each side matches the original measurements.  At this point, I am near the bottom of the quilt and have decided to go ahead and stitch my straight line across the bottom of the batting and backing sandwich.  I’ll butt the bottom of the quilt up to that stitching line.

To make sure the sides are where they need to be, I put a pin where the measuring tape has hit along the sides to keep it square.

 

Then, I’ll pin it and baste it down along that straight stitching line.

I’m not the best quilt top maker in the world, which is why I prefer the quilting part of the process.  I can fix some of my problem areas.

Before

After… I just took the bulk and spread it along the side before basting it down.

I am not done with this quilt yet.  I’ll save finished pictures for another post.  But, I wanted to throw a couple more tips in here.  I have trouble with glare… a LOT of trouble with glare, which is why I created the quilting rulers in my shop.  Take a look at this picture.  I need to thread the needle.  Can you see the eye of the needle?  I can’t.

But, if I move the needle over onto some fabric, I’ve removed the glare from the bottom of the machine and, voila!  I can see the eye of the needle.

One final tip before I go.  For those of you who send your quilts to a quilter… if your quilter asks for 8 inches of extra backing fabric on each side of your quilt, this is the reason why.  That plastic thing is the base that fits on the bottom of my machine.  I thought I had the measuring tape showing in this picture so you could see for sure that I have 8 extra inches of backing fabric.  My needle sits in the middle of that square hole in the plastic base.  Do you see where it is on the quilt top?  It’s not even reaching the edge of the quilt top.  If I’m using that base, which I do on custom quilting (and for this quilt; quilting around the applique pieces), the base is going to hit those clamps and cause me to make mistakes along the edges.  So, PLEASE, if your quilter asks for 8 extra inches of backing fabric on all sides, make sure your backing has that much or more. You will be doing yourself and your quilter a huge favor!

P.S. If you’re wondering about this quilt, you can find the pattern, “Forest Galorest,” by Java House Quilts here.

 

Dresden Doodles

I’ve been waiting to get this quilt back to Charlotte before posting anything about it, but I decided to go ahead and share this now.  I’ve been gone this last week to Machine Quilting Exposition, where I took classes from some amazing quilt teachers, so I am slow to get back in gear and into my regular routine.

Charlotte has this beautiful quilt with Dresden Plates and wanted traditional quilting all over.

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Here’s a close-up so you can get a better look at the fabric.  I think it’s very pretty.

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I took plenty of shots of the quilting, but, truly, the best shots are of the quilt laying across my machine’s frame, with the natural sunlight coming in.  So, here are 2 of those.

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Charlotte wanted feathers in the outside border and as filler around the Dresden Plates (in the white areas in the background and border), so those were fun to do.  I filled the petals of the Dresden Plate with swirls and the inside circles with feathers and a swirl.  I think the formal cable and square design in the sashing borders works perfectly with the checkerboard corners and striped sashing.  I found it funny how the feathers and swirls were quick to finish, but the sashing took as long to finish as the rest of the quilt – I used rulers for the cable and square quilting, but did the feathers and swirls freehand.  I was trying to get it perfect, but, really, there’s no such thing as perfect.

What do you think?  Does the quilting design compliment the quilt itself?

Zipper Leaders

An update to the original post, which is included at the bottom of this post…

For those of you who like using zipper leaders, I have found a couple more shortcuts.   Awhile back, when I was getting ready to baste the quilt backing onto the zippers, I had my 1/4″ quilting foot on my machine.  Instead of swapping out the foot, the lazy side of me decided to leave the 1/4″ foot on and try to baste the zippers on with that.  Guess what?  It worked!

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Another discovery has to do with backing that is not cut square.  It’s more important, for me, to have the backing square than the quilt top.  I can fix the quilt top so that it ends up square with the quilting.  But, if you don’t have a square quilt back, then your quilt will never be square when it’s finished.  Whatever side you attach to the zippers needs to be straight, so if the customer does not have a preference of which way the quilt is loaded (which is usually the case), then he/she will not know which 2 sides need to be straight.  I could charge my customers for cutting the fabric for them to make the quilt backing straight and square, but I don’t feel comfortable cutting their fabric.  You never know what they want to do with it.  Besides, unless a customer has watched you step-by-step in the preparation process, he/she won’t understand how important this is.  So, this is what I’ve done with quilt backings that are not straight.

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I fold the fabric back and just stitch over it.  This is especially an issue with pieced backings.  Here’s another shot after I unzipped the other side of the zipper.  See how the backing is pieced and the edges don’t match?

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But, what about when you want to sew the other side of fabric to the other side of the zipper and it doesn’t match up?  Before you unzip the zipper to attach the other side of the fabric, make sure you line up the 2 sides of the backing fabric.  If they don’t match, mark the side that extends with a pin and pin it onto the other side of the fabric.

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I only suggest you try this if you do not have too much fabric to fold back.   When I attach the quilt top to the quilt sandwich on my frame, I make sure I am about 4 inches (at a bare, bare minimum 2 inches) from the edge of the zipper.  The reason I do this is because I have found that when attaching the backing to the zipper, the fabric stretches a bit.  This is a problem no matter what.  When I was pinning the backing fabric to the canvas on the quilting machine frame’s rollers, the backing fabric would stretch then as well.  Sometimes it was worse than when I baste it with a zipper leader.  I know a lot about fabric, but I haven’t figured that one out yet.  In the picture below, you can see how the zippers kind of “wave” with the stretch of the fabric.  It’s not bad, but to be careful, I accommodate for that, which is the reason the above fabric folding technique can work for me.

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One more thing… Sue Schmieden, the creator of the zipper leaders I use (http://www.longarmconnection.com) suggests color coding your zippers.  I don’t have a picture to show you, because I haven’t tried it yet, but when I am ready to replace the zippers I have on my canvas, I will definitely try this!  For color coding, Sue suggests that you use a different color fabric for each side of the zippers.  So, for the belly bar or bottom of the backing, you would attach the backing zipper that would go on the canvas onto a piece of colored fabric (let’s say “red”) and then sew the “red” fabric with the zipper to the canvas on the belly bar.  I’ve gotta tell ya, this sounds so much easier than trying to sew the zipper onto the canvas. Then, for the other side of the zipper that would be zipped go with the belly bar zipper, you would attach red fabric to that part of the zipper also.  That way you know that the bottom edge of the backing fabric which is attached to the belly bar will always be red.

You would repeat this process with a different color for the other 2 rollers with canvas.  Let’s say “blue” for the take up roller (the roller bar with the canvas that rolls up the top edge of where you are working if you are facing the front of the machine) and its set of zippers.   And, then use another color (let’s say “white”) for the quilt top roller.  I hope it all makes sense, but it would only make sense to another longarmer, I think.

Cowtown Quilts

Warning!  For those of us who are longarm quilters or who want to be longarm quilters, read on… otherwise, this will bore you.

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