Modern Quilt Along

September 21, 2006 at 2:28 am | Posted in Quilting | 10 Comments

When I joined Kim’s Modern Quilt Along a few months ago, I’d planned on making a quilt from the Once Upon a Time pattern for our nephew. With three baby quilts to make (yes our friends are a fertile lot), I decided that quilt might make a better Christmas present now!

Lauren's quilt: completed Proud papa Jim

Today I finished the first of those three quilts, this one for month-old Lauren Alice. I used the Plain Spoken pattern from  The Modern Quilt Workshop: Patterns, Techniques, and Designs From the FunQuilts Studio by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, the good folks over at Fun Quilts in Oak Park. The instructions for the quilt were very well written and easy-to-follow. I was surprised at how little fabric I needed for the top.

The colors were selected to coordinate with a rug in the nursery from Lauren’s Grandma and Grandpa.The quilt’s intended to be made up in solid fabrics, but I thought prints were a little more practical, babies being the little stain-making machines that they are. I think at a distance, most of them “read” solid anyway, except for that…is it a “foulard?” The cadet blue menswear print.

Lauren's quilt: blocks

Here’s a shot of my lovely Harvest Gold linoleum in the kitchen, oh, and the blocks being laid out. I think I rushed thru the layout step, but you learn something with every project, right?

Lauren's quilt: Rows

Here are the rows all sewn together. I really dig ironing the seams open, as recommended by the book’s authors. It makes for a much flatter top, and much easier seam matching. Look at all the fabric I have left on the right side of the sofa! I told you I didn’t use much!

Lauren's quilt: top

Completed top. Hm. At this scale, I definitely see some blocks I would have rearranged. All in all, I like the about-half-improvisational piecing. My “random” layouts have always stressed me out so much! I chose not to mark the quilt, since I planned to use the width my sewing machine foot to estimate 1/4 inch quilting along the wider rectangles.

Lauren's quilt: backing

Here’s the backing fabric.

Lauren's quilt: layering

Okay, for you non-quilters out there, next you put the backing face down, then smooth batting (cotton-y padding stuff) over it, then place the quilt top face up on top of the whole sandwich. I do my layering on the floor and attach the backing to the floor with masking tape to make sure it stays flat while you pile on the other pieces.

Lauren's quilt: pinned

Next, so the layers don’t shift and make wrinkles while you’re sewing them together, you have to baste the whole thing with a needle and thread…or! safety pins. I have this tool that helps with the pins.

After I completed the quilting…I found I wasn’t done after all. The quilting along the outside of the wide rectangles wasn’t quite enough for me, so I marked lines dividing the wide rectangles in two (not fun on a squishy quilt; much better to do this before it’s layered, much less sewn). I quilted on either side of these lines. Much better!

Lauren's quilt: completed (quilting)

I love to bind quilts. As I work through the earlier stages of cutting, piecing, layering, basting, and quilting, the final product still seems so elusive, no matter how close I am to completion. Attaching that little strip along the edges makes the sad little floppy thing suddely become a quilt, in my eyes. “Oh hey! I made a quilt!” I finished binding it on the train this afternoon, then ran downstairs when I got home to wash and dry it. I love love love crinkly, wrinkly cotton quilts.

How many times can I use the word “quilt” (or a form of it) in a single post? Apparently, at least 22.


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  1. It’s just beautiful and your process/tutorial makes it seem so easy.

    I love it.

  2. The backing is so sweet–I love that floral and the colors!

  3. It’s gorgeous Lisa. I love it. And thanks for the tips, they’ll be coming in handy soon. =0)

  4. i’m in awe!!! it’s absolutely stunning!!! beautiful, beautiful work!!

  5. Aw, thanks, everyone. It was a lot of fun to make it. I thought to myself, I could just make every quilt this quilt from now on, and I’d be happy :0)

  6. i agree… don’t stretch yourself too thin! will you finish it in time for xmas? that’s quite the baby gift!

  7. Congratulations! It looks wonderful. Love the colours.

  8. Thanks, everyone, for your nice comments. I’ve given the quilt to little Lauren and her parents, and I’m happy to report that they loved it :0)

  9. I adore your quilt! I just ordered the book and can’t wait to get it. The problem is Amazon folks take so darn long to ship. Could you tell me what the sizes of the big blocks and little blocks are before sewing? I want to go through my stash and start sorting! I’d be happy to send you some fabric charms in return for the info. Just tell me what you like. I have a huge stash of 30’s repro, lots of geometric shapes etc. Thanks! Annie

  10. I just stumbled upon your quilt and wanted to say it looks great. When my wife and I wrote “The Modern Quilt Workshop” we hoped people would take our designs and really make them their own. You’ve created a delightful and very personal palette of exciting colors and fabrics. Fun! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the book.

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