Quilt Blocks are Blowing in the Wind

We at Quilter’s Thread are looking into the histories of many traditional quilt blocks, and we’re starting to share them with you. Periodically, we will post a block, it’s common names and some information about it in the QT Blog area of the app. You’ll find these in the QT Blog feed. This post is written by Keta Gilliland, who is a friend and advisor to Quilter’s Thread.

Autumn Flurries

Yesterday winds were literally taking down trees outside my window. Then it snowed. A few hours later, the snow was gone, the wind had calmed and the day was peaceful. The weather reminds me of the Autumn Flurries quilt block.

In 1940, Nancy Page wrote in the Birmingham News: “The wind is blowing all four ways at once and sending these leaves or arrowheads or whatever you want to call them scurrying and flurrying.  That’s why I called this pattern by the name of ‘Autumn Flurries.’”  It is also known as Winged Arrows.

March Madness

Autumn Flurries uses some great techniques such as flying geese units, and quarter square triangles.  There are a few ways this block can be put together, depending on whether you want a solid square in the middle, or if you use triangles to construct it.  The orange and brown colors definitely have a Fall feel, but the pastels are all Spring. I call my pastel version March Madness.

 

Golden Eagles

Speaking of March Madness, this block would be great in your favorite basketball team’s colors. My alma mater is Marquette University, so I call the blue and gold version Golden Eagles. I’ve been saving my college team fabric for 8 years and finally know what I will be using it for!

One block, so many options! And it’s not just color options…use this block for an entire quilt or as part of a sampler.  Let your mind be swept away with the possibilities of all you can do with the fabric in your stash, the scraps you have accumulated, or the beautiful new fabric line at your favorite local quilt shop.  Once you stop your ideas from scurrying all four ways in your mind, planning out a quilt using Autumn Flurries will be a breeze!

 

Keta Gilliland
I inherited my love of sewing from my mother and grandmother and it has been a passion of mine since receiving my first sewing machine in the fourth grade. My start to the quilting world began in high school with a project for art class and I was totally hooked on quilting once I got married. 30 years later, my love of this wonderful art form continues to grow!

‘Tis the Quilt Giving Season

tree-for-blogChristmas is coming,

My stash is getting fat,

I’m giving five quilts and ten placemats,

If I don’t receive a thank you, a hug or nod will do

If you don’t take care of my quilts, it’s the end of you!

‘Tis the season quilters live for- gift-giving time, i.e. quilt giving time. Giving a quilt is risky business. Some obvious ones:

  • Your sister thinks a “homemade” gift is something you do to save money.
  • Your uncle “loves” it so much he lets his dog sleep on it.
  • Your son washes and dries it with his work out clothes.

My story?

A few years back, I gave a masterpiece to my sister. A table topper made from a whole cloth, hand-dyed fabric, machine quilted in such detail that the 18″ x 18″ topper took 60 hours to quilt (à la Diane Gaudynski.) At the same time, I gave her a small vase that matched her china (found on a close out rack.)

Seeing the topper….”Oh, that’s nice.” Seeing the vase…”Thank you. It matches my dishes. Where did you find it?…gush, gush gush.”

She didn’t get it.

The happy ending is that when my mother (a quilter) saw it, she explained things to my sister. The sad part is, my sister over-corrected. She had a table made with a glass compartment to house the topper. It is beautifully displayed and never gets used at all.

Telling this story to a very experienced quilt-giver, I learned  and that she gives three things with every quilt she gives:

  1. Laundering instructions and a color-catcher
  2. An “appraisal for insurance purposes”
  3. Lots of love.

I’ve adopted this practice. (You can find laundering instructions for quilts in the Tips, Reference & Tools Library in Community.) For my “appraisal” add up the actual cost of all my materials- including thread, and I add what it would cost to send the object out for quilting and binding. If the quilt is going to a non-quilter and cost is more that $300 or $400, I generally include the “appraisal” with the gift. Finally, I wrap as much love in as I can and don’t look back. As much as it hurts to see Fido cleaning his nails on my quilt, it feels better keeping the strings to myself.

Live well. Quilt well.

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa Berentsen
Founder and President of Quilter’s Thread

Join the Boycott of Cheating in Quilting

Many say differently, but I say, “There is no cheating in quilting.”

cheater-quilt-imageGoogle “Cheater Quilt,” you’ll get 169,000 results.

Now try Googling “Cheater Quilts,” you’ll get 294,00 results.

If you want to, search on “Cheater Quilt Patterns,” you’ll get 572,000 results.

What is a “cheater quilt?” They tell me it is fabric designed to look like patchwork or applique that allows a quilter to skip most of the piecing, getting to the borders, quilting and binding faster.

Some people even call the self-binding technique “cheater binding.” (You know, where you trim the backing bigger than the quilt, fold it to the front and stitch it down.)

But, not me. I’m boycotting any form of the word “cheat” when it comes to quilting. After years of quilting I’ve learned that there is no such thing as “cheating” at quilting. Quilting is manufacturing. Just as industry has improved production techniques, tools and materials, Quilting techniques, tools and materials evolve over time.

To me, this is not “cheating,” this is “improving” and it makes more time for me to quilt more things.

 

Live well. Quilt Well.

Lisa Berentsen
Founder and President of Quilter’s Thread

New Engagement Pattern – Amish Four-Patch

Quilter’s Thread Mobile App has a new monthly engagement pattern prize for the month that you’ll want to get your hands on. This pattern is called the Amish Four-Patch. It is a traditional Amish pattern that is also done in an Amish color scheme. The pattern is originally written for baby quilts and lap quilts, and includes a tutorial on Amish color schemes which discusses how to use the Amish color choices to put visual pop in your quilt using more modern fabrics. It is quick to piece using a double four-patch technique set on point. This is a fun quilt to make. Be sure you earn the points needed to get this free pattern at the end of the month of August.

Amish 4 patch 1 (1)

Please share with us any versions of the Amish Four-Patch quilt pattern that you make on our Quilter’s Thread Mobile App. Also remember to stay active on Quilter’s Thread Mobile App in order to earn points to win a free pattern at the end of the August. Comments, uploading photos, and responding to surveys generate 1 point each. Liking 3 things on the app generates 1 point. Earn 10 points gets you a free pattern and 40 points gets you a free pattern or a Quilter’s Thread cloth shopping bag. Earn 75 points gets you a free pattern, shopping bag, and a $20 gift card.

Also make sure to stop by our booth at the Wisconsin Quilt Expo. The Quilt Expo event goes from September 8th to the 10th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibitions Hall in Madison, WI. For more information on the Wisconsin Quilt Expo click here.

Live Well. Quilt Well.

Tips on How to Save a Damaged Quilt

When your favorite quilt gets ruined or torn it can be a hard thing to get over. Whether it is a quilt that has been passed down by a family member or whether it was your first ever quilt made and is now starting to fall apart. Quilts no matter how hard we try to preserve them can and often do slowly start to fall apart or get damaged after years go by. However, it doesn’t mean you have to throw that beautiful quilt out. If you find that your quilt is falling apart here are some helpful tips and tricks to help you repair your quilt instead of ditching it!

Use An Applique Patch

If you have a part in your quilt that is the main area that is damaged and is impossible to fix try to fill that area with an applique patch to cover up the damaged area. Start by assessing the area that is damaged and then measure to make sure your patch will effectively cover up the whole area and will blend well with the rest of the quilt. Take your quilt with you to your local quilt shop and ask them for advice. Also have them help you find similar fabric type and colors for the patch that will match well with the quilt.

Resizing the Quilt

If you find that the quilt edges and or border are starting to fall apart, try making your quilt into a smaller version of itself in order to save the rest of the quilt. This is a last resort if there is no other way to save the whole quilt. You can turn your large version quilt into a table runner or a baby size quilt. By resizing your quilt you can save most of the design without having to throw the whole thing away.

Recreate the old quilt

If the whole quilt is completely ruined sometimes the best option then is to make the same quilt pattern from scratch. By doing this it is giving you the quilt pattern that you love but a completely fresh, brand new quilt that will last longer while still giving you the design that you love so much.

Share with us tips and tricks on how you have repaired a quilt on Quilter’s Thread Mobile App and make sure to stop by our booth at the Wisconsin Quilt Expo. The Quilt Expo event goes from September 8th to the 10th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibitions Hall in Madison, WI. For more information on the Wisconsin Quilt Expo click here.

Live Well. Quilt Well.

 

 

Trending Fall and Winter Quilt Projects

With it now being August it is time to start brainstorming new ideas for fall and winter projects for all the festivities and holidays that are about to come. I love the summer but I also love the fall and winter because of all the festivals and holidays that bring family and friends back together again. As a quilter fall and winter seasons give us more time to stay inside and work on quilt projects. So here are some great fall and winter themed quilt projects that are trending right now.

Maple Leaves Quilt Pattern

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Maple Leaves Quilt From Freemotion by the River

Beautiful fall colors with earth tones makes this quilt perfect for any home for decoration. You can place this Maple Leaves Quilt Pattern in the middle of the dining room table, living room area or hang in the hall to show off to your guests when they enter your home.

Pumpkin Patch Project

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Pumpkin Project from Behind the Mouse the Electric Quilt Blog created by Heidi.

This Pumpkin Patch Project from Behind The Mouse is another great fall season quilt project to make. Fall season is all about picking apples and carving pumpkins but why not sew a pumpkin patch that will last forever! What’s great about this pattern is that you can play with different fall color fabrics and make this pattern your own. Click here to see how different colors of fabric can change the appearance of the quilt pattern on Behind the Mouse the Electric Quilt Blog.

The Sapling Mini Quilt 

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Sapling Mini Quilt Pattern by Laundry Basket Quilts

This Sapling Mini Quilt Pattern by Laundry Basket Quilts is a great piece to make for the winter holidays. It’s simple blue and white colors make it easy to blend with any style of home and plus you can use it after Christmas into January and February. Finished quilt size is 8″ x 11″.

More Merriment

This Very Merry Tree Skirt from B & P Boutique created by Stacey Day is a great quilt project to make for this Christmas to lie under your tree to place presents on. Quilt size is 48″ diameter. This quilt is made with four wedge groups to make the circled skirt. You can use the fabric recommended in the Very Merry Tree Skirt instructions or you can get creative and pick your own.

Make sure you are prepared for the holidays by getting started on your seasonal quilt projects this week. Make sure to share on Quilter’s Thread Mobile App your fall and winter quilt projects.

Live Well. Quilt Well.

Five Key Tips For Machine Quilting

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If you are a quilter who prefers machine quilting or are a beginner with sewing machines here are five helpful tips to help make the process of machine quilting go smoothly from start to finish.

  1. Make sure to change your needles often and you’ll see all the difference! Just like a razor blade it is never good for your quilting needles to get dull. Needles are cheap to buy so you have no excuse for switching them out for new sharp ones when needed! Some people change needles every time they finish a quilt project but trust your gut and change them when you think it’s necessary.
  2. Use a Walking Foot also called an Even Feed Foot to help your fabric feed evenly on the top and the bottom while sewing. Some people use a regular presser foot but that only feeds the bottom not the top as well. This is why it is recommend you invest in a walking foot to ensure your quilt stitches are even on both the top and bottom.
  3. Try using quilt gloves for a change! They come in all different styles and sizes, so you’ll find the right pair for you easily. Quilting gloves are a great tool to use when quilting because they give you a stronger sturdy grip while holding the quilt and moving it through the machine. Plus wearing quilting gloves will help reduce the stress of quilting on your hands.
  4. Invest in a nice table for sewing. You want to make sure that where you are sewing has a sturdy and even surface with lots of room to work so you’ll never run out of space. Having lots of space will allow for you to move your quilt easily without it falling to the floor causing gravity to drag the quilt limiting your ability to move the fabric while sewing.
  5. Match the thread color for both the top and the bobbin. Sometimes you can see dots of the bobbin thread that shows through on the top of your quilt.  If that’s something that will bother you then make sure to match the thread color. The thread doesn’t need to be exactly the same kind of fiber content or weight but should have the same shade of color.

Got any favorite tips and tricks that you use for machine quilting? Make sure to share them on Quilter’s Thread Mobile App!

Live Well. Quilt Well.

Quilter’s Thread Attending Quilt Expo

We are happy to announce that Quilter’s Thread Mobile App will have a booth at the Quilt Expo this year. The Quilt Expo event goes from September 8th to the 10th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibitions Hall in Madison, WI.

Come and check out all the options of 85,000 vendors, quilt contests, workshops, raffles and lectures. This is a great place to find anything that you have been searching for whether it is fabric, sewing machines, or even help with your technique skills. Tickets to the Expo range from $8.00 to $16.00 for more information on tickets click here.

Make sure to come by and stop at our booth number 727 that is right along the side of the quilt show. We will be at the event each day and will have plenty of patterns and some random prizes for quilters who use the app during the Expo. There will also be copies of Frank Lloyd’s Cabin pattern for everyone who visits the booth during the Expo. Have any questions or need help downloading the Quilter’s Thread Mobile App? Then make sure to stop by and ask us!

For more information and details about the Quilt Expo make sure to check out the website. We hope to see you there.

Live Well. Quilt Well.

July Pattern Prize – Grandma’s Bow Tie

Our new pattern prize for this month is Grandma’s Bow Tie quilt pattern. This is a great quilt pattern for trying new colors and fabrics because of the bow ties interlocking with each other making it a playful and fun design.

Grandma Book (1)

This pattern consists of blocks that have circles in the middle that connects with the other block and so on, creating the Bow Tie pattern overall. Go ahead and get creative by using random colors of fabrics when making this pattern. This type of quilt pattern would make an excellent I SPY game with kids and friends as well. Use fun patterns of animals and objects to make the game more interesting just like the I SPY books.

Make sure to share with us any versions of Grandma’s Bow Tie quilt pattern that you make on our Quilter’s Thread Mobile App. Also remember to stay active on Quilter’s Thread Mobile App in order to earn points to win this free pattern at the end of the month. Comments, uploading photos, and responding to surveys generate 1 point each. Liking 3 things on the app generates 1 point. Earn 10 points gets you a free pattern and 40 points gets you a free pattern or a Quilter’s Thread cloth shopping bag. Earn 75 points gets you a free pattern, shopping bag, and a $20 gift card.

Live Well. Quilt Well.

The Convergence Technique

As promised in the past blog post about the Bargello pattern, here is a blog post about the convergence technique. The term convergence is defined as the process or state of converging, coming together. The convergence technique is one that uses two or more fabrics cut into strips, then sewn together, then cut and pieced together again. I love this pattern because it is visually appealing to the eye with its playful lines crossing over each other.

The convergence technique is a popular technique and is most famously used by Ricky Tims. Ricky Tims is a musician, motivational speaker and a famous quilter. He is well known for his convergence technique that he uses in his quilts as well as published in his work.

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Quilt using the Convergence Technique created by Lisa Stokes.

This quilt above was created by Lisa Stokes using the Ricky Tim’s convergence technique made at one of his workshops. Notice how she picked three bold color fabrics and then one bright floral pattern to add some contrast and make it her own. That is what is so great about the convergence technique, you can swap in different fabric styles and make it to fit your own style. What’s also great about the convergence technique is that there are also many ways to use it and tweak the style when quilting.

Here are six key helpful tips when using the convergence technique:

  1. A quarter inch seam allowance is just fine for this technique. Just make sure you are consistent and accurate! Being consistent will help make the lines straight when they intertwine with each other as shown in the quilt above.
  2. When picking out the fabric I recommend choosing fabric that changes color across the surface such as multicolored or batiks. Or pick a large-scale print with other coordinating fabrics to create a cool illusion when using this technique.
  3. Place fabrics of four pieces of 12” to 18” squares together forming a big square four patch. You can use two different kinds of fabric or four different kinds of fabric. Then sew fabric squares 1 and 3 together and 2 and 4 together.
  4. Once doing this you are going to start cutting the fabric into strips of different sizes. Make sure not to make them too narrow! If the last strip seems small don’t cut it at all because it’s better to leave it as a large piece at the end then to be left with a really small strip.
  5. When you are sewing the strips together make sure that you press them in the same direction in order to make the fabric even and smooth.
  6. With any leftover fabrics go ahead and make a fun border for your quilt if you like or save it for your next quilt.

Make sure you share your quilts using the convergence technique on our Quilter’s Thread Mobile App. Also we are happy to announce that Quilter’s Thread Mobile App will be attending the Quilting Expo in Madison, WI this September. Stay tuned for more information.

Live Well. Quilt Well.