Category Archives: Rainbow

String Quilt Tutorial

*Clearing off the cobwebs*

Here’s a string quilt tutorial for my Twilter peeps. This block is inspired by a quilt I saw on Emily Cier’s Instagram feed and a tutorial I saw ages ago on Missouri Star Quilting Company.

In news that would surprise no one, this will be a rainbow quilt. Each block will be half monochromatic colour and half white/off white. This is a great block for using up strings and small scraps, so pick a colour and go mad.

Start with a 6 ¾” paper square. If all you have is regular printer paper, use that, but if you have some thinner paper, this will make removing the paper easier. It so happens that the Yellow Pages were distributed in Munich a couple of weeks ago and I happened to pick up a couple because I need to make about a squillion blocks for this quilt. They’ve made removing the paper a total breeze. Reduce your stitch length to 1.5-1.8.

Place a white or off-white strip diagonally across the square, right side up, overlapping the centre of the square by about ¼”.

Step 1

Place a coloured strip right side down, lining up the edges. Sew the two strips down with a ¼” seam.

Step 2

Press open towards the coloured side (it’s not really possible to press to the other side ;)).

Step 3

Use strips of varying widths, but no wider than 2 ½”, and try to use no more than one 2 ½“ strip in the block. Work one side of the square and add more strips, pressing open after each strip, until you’ve covered the entire side.

Step 4 Tackle the other side of the square in the same way, until the entire square is covered.

Step 5

Turn the block over and trim along the edges of the square.

Step 6

Step 7

Lastly, remove the paper.

Step 8

In terms of colour, on the white/off-white side, creams and whites are ok, as is one low-volume strip with a matching colour to the coloured side (if you have it, not mandatory). Here are examples of inserting a low-volume strip on the white/off-white side.

Rainbow blocks

On the coloured side, go nuts! I hit my orange scrap box at a sewing retreat recently.

Orange blocks

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Longarm Quilting Ulla’s Quilt

At some point in August I was cruising Instagram and a German quilter I’d recently followed posted a gorgeous quilt top she’d just completed. In terms of design, the quilt was really simple – six solid horizontal stripes stretching across the left third of the quilt, in purple, blue, green, red, orange, and yellow, and the rest of it all white – but my god, it took my breath away! Without thinking twice I asked if I could quilt it, and for some reason she said yes and told me I could do whatever I wanted to! That is one trusting stranger, y’all. When she asked for the cost I said that I would do it for free for the practice, with the caveat that she gets what she paid for. Or at least that’s what I tried to explain in my rather pathetic German.

Ulla sent me the quilt with a whole bunch of goodies (including a bit of cash), and I held off until I returned from France to get started, hoping to get some ideas and inspiration while I was there. I had a pretty good idea about what to do with the stripes, but I agonized over all that negative space. In the end I decided to just load it on the frame and get on with it.

I decided to go with a bar graph design, extending each stripe into the negative space with a different-length frame. Each stripe then got a different quilting pattern, extending into the framed part of the negative space. This was a good opportunity to practice some ruler work.

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Extending the bars and filling them in.

Once the stripes where completed, I tackled the negative space. At first, I considered breaking it into smaller segments, but then I decided it was too much work and that I should just start filling in the white space with whatever struck my fancy. This was something we practiced in the Shape-by-Shape class with Angela Walters, but it’s also something I’d been practicing on paper for the better part of two years.

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I love how the tear drops pop here.

I’d started doodling when I first decided I was going to get a longarm and much like with the longarm, I was TERRIBLE at this at first. But then I started doing it every day—on the commute to and from work, while sitting in the English Garden at lunch, or whenever I sat on my own in a café. I got better paper and better pens, and I started getting pretty damn good at it.

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An early doodle.

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A later doodle

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Starting to look familiar?

A lot of these shapes were also inspired by Graffiti Quilting by Karlee Porter, whose quilting style I absolutely adore.

So back to the quilt, I just started filling it in and stopped when I was done! There were pebbles, paisleys, ribbon candies, flowers, and all sorts of random shapes that I used to doodle or that just popped into my head as I quilted. Some worked great, some not so much, but with so much quilting, no one was going to notice what didn’t work.

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Doodling with thread.

I also incorporated some of the designs I learned from Angela, including the swirl chain and the bracketed frame. I relied on the the biggest (non-)secret she taught us:

Echo, echo, echo!

I echoed the crap out of this quilt ;).

All told this quilt took about 6-8 hours to quilt. Had I charged for it, we’d be looking at hundreds of euros, though I don’t look at it as money lost, but rather as valuable lessons learned. On this quilt I got to practice lots of quilting patterns and ruler work, learned to deal with tension issues, tried out different kinds of thread, used red snappers for the first time instead of pinning, learned how to remove blood from a pure white quilt (true story), and learned lots of other things.

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I love the way the back turned out!

I also learned that I’m ready to start charging customers market prices for quilting, so if you’re in Germany or Europe and need some longarm quilting done, get in touch!

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Quilts for Pulse Heart Quilt

It’s sad that we’re in September now and I had to think back to when the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando took place. It’s a short news-cycle world we live in. At any rate, I asked the members of the Munich Modern Quilt Guild (oh, yeah, did I mention I started an MQG in Munich?) if they’d like to make a few heart blocks to send and also held a sewing day at my house. The sewing day ended up being me and one other member, but we had a few blocks from another member for a start and a fourth member sent me some blocks in the mail, so between the four of us we managed to get enough blocks for an entire quilt, and since I missed the individual block deadline, I went ahead and finished the quilt.

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Ikea Britten Nummer fabric – I finally get the love

It took very little time to sew the blocks together. I then made a backing from Ikea Britten Nummer fabric and a colourful rainbowy stripe. Next, I popped the whole thing on the longarm and quilted it with a simple edge-to-edge design, which took about two hours including loading and unloading the quilt and a whole lot of playing around to get the tension just right. The quilt is machine bound, and though the binding is far from perfect, it’s sturdy and should hold up to some abuse.

Schnitzel and I both loved this block (made by guild member Martine) the most.

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Schnitzel has good taste

Do you have a favourite charity for quilts? If you’re looking for a good home for an orphan block, consider quilting it and sending it to Alison for her Soy Amado project.