Monday, May 22, 2017

Straight Line Quilting

I've talked about straight line quilting before here on the blog. It's an easy, modern quilting choice and it adds a lovely texture to the quilt, especially when the lines are spaced closely together. It’s a great choice for those new to machine quilting or those looking for a quick quilting option. It doesn’t require maneuvering the quilt too much (you can just roll it up as you go), minimizing those quilt tug-of-wars.

I find it easiest to use the edge of the walking foot as a guide. I have guide bars that can be added to my walking foot and I'll often mark quilts, but nothing beats the ease of simply lining up the edge of your walking foot with a seam or a quilted line. When quilting my Bowties quilt, I wanted the lines spaced a half inch apart. Neither the edge of the walking foot nor the notch marking a quarter inch helped much, and I wished the edge of my walking foot was just a smidge further away from the needle. Then, it hit me—my needle can move! A-ha! I shifted my needle over to the right a bit, allowing me to line up the edge of the walking foot with the seam in the quilt for precise half inch quilting lines. Awesome!

Some disclaimers—make sure your needle will not strike your walking foot. Broken needles are no one’s friend! And be sure to return the needle to the center position before moving on to another sewing task. You need that quarter inch seam to be precise!

Happy sewing!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tumbling Along: All About Tumblers

I love the striking simplicity of one shape quilts. My latest project for the Moda Bakeshop is a tumbler quilt with a twist. I call it Bowties, and it’s made using solids.

All tumbler quilts are made from a symmetric trapezoid shape, but did you know there is no set measurement for the angles of the shape? Tumblers can be tall and skinny, short and squat, or anything in between. There are rulers specifically for tumblers on the market, and you can also use triangle rulers or Dresden plate rulers. I chose to use a 30-degree ruler for Bowties so the shape of the bowties would be nice and perky.

Tumbler quilts have a long history in the quilting world. This beauty dates to the 1800s and tumblers were particularly fashionable in the 1930s and 1940s.

Though a little tricky at first, tumbler quilts are easy to put together once you get the hang of lining up the pieces. You don’t want to sew the edges point to point; rather, you want a little overhang on each side so that the ¼” stitching line crosses precisely where the two fabrics meet. When pinning two pieces together, offset the edges just enough so that the quarter inch stitching line will intersect the two pieces. Picture the edges of the fabrics as making an X. You want your stitching line to go right through the center of the X.

There are lots of variations when working with tumblers. They are traditionally set in rows, but you can set them in columns, as I did, for a different look. You can make a lantern-type shape by using the same fabric for two tumblers, one right on top of the other. Even the popular half hexie quilt is really just a short, squat tumbler quilt! 

Have you ever made a tumbler quilt?