Book Review: Sew Illustrated

Sew Illustrated has 16 projects in it and is by Minki Kim and Kristin Esser. If you love Minki Kim’s adorable little appliqué sketch creations, you’ll love Sew Illustrated. If you haven’t heard of Minki Kim, where have you been? I adore her small sketches where she uses bits of fabric and black outline stitching to create charming projects.

 
Photo courtesy of C & T Publishing

Photo courtesy of C & T Publishing

 

All of the designs are included in the back of the book as iron-on transfers, which makes it very easy to put them on your fabric. There are other ways to transfer these designs and Minki explains these other options in the beginning of the book.

Minki’s designs are small, so this is a great book if you have lots of scrap fabrics that you’d like to use up. The projects are a combination of appliqué, hand embroidery and free motion quilting to finish off the appliqué pieces.

You’ll find a variety of projects in the book from mug rugs to pin cushions. Due to the small nature of the projects, they won’t use much fabric and they won’t take a lot of time to complete. Many of these projects would be perfect for quick gifts.

 
Sew Illustrated pillow.jpg
 

You’ll find a variety of projects in the book from mug rugs to pin cushions. Due to the small nature of the projects, they won’t use much fabric and they won’t take a lot of time to complete. Many of these projects would be perfect for quick gifts.

I like the full-size templates in the book (I really don’t like to enlarge any pieces!) and the complete step-by-step instructions that she provides in Sew Illustrated.

Click on the image below for a more detailed look at Sew Illustrated. If you’d like to add Sew Illustrated to your quilting book library, click here.

Creatively,

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P.S. Do you strive to improve your quilting skills? Do you want to have fun doing it? Do you want to meet other quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. It’s not your grandmother’s quilting circle! Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

Free Motion Quilting Feet for the Janome MC9450

Quilters are always asking me what feet and settings they should be using for free motion quilting on the Janome MC9450. It’s a good question because there are a variety of feet that are included with the Janome MC9450. Let’s take a look at the free motion quilting feet that come with the Janome MC9450 and learn what settings to use for each of them.

 
#1 FMQ Feet and Needle Plate.jpg
 

Let’s start with the most common free motion quilting foot, the PD-H foot. It’s often called the darning foot, but it works so well for free motion quilting. There are actually two of them included with the Janome MC9450 – a closed-toe foot and an open-toe foot. They both operate the same way and I like to use the open toe foot as it has great visibility. The only thing you need to be careful of when using an open-toe foot, is that you don’t get caught on only loose threads or on appliqué pieces.

 
PD-H Open-Toe Darning Foot

PD-H Open-Toe Darning Foot

 

There are three other free motion quilting feet that you can use with the Janome MC9450: the QO (free motion quilting open-toe foot), the QC (free motion quilting closed-toe foot), and the QV (free motion quilting zigzag foot). These are quite big names for such small feet! The QO and QC feet are, like the PD-H feet, the same except that one is open while the other is closed. Can you guess which is which?

 
QO Free Motion Quilting Open-Toe Foot

QO Free Motion Quilting Open-Toe Foot

 

The QV foot works really well for quilting around appliqué pieces as its saucer shape allows you to get really close to those pieces without worrying about getting snagged on them. All of these feet fit on the regular foot holder.

 
QV Free Motion Quilting Zigzag Foot

QV Free Motion Quilting Zigzag Foot

 

The last “free motion quilting” foot that comes with the Janome MC9450 is the QR, ruler foot. I never know whether to consider ruler quilting as free motion quilting, but I consider it the same as the machine is set up the same way as I would have it set up for free motion quilting. The big difference is that you will be using the QR foot with a ruler (make sure you are using one specifically for ruler quilting on your sewing machine; the quilting rulers you use for cutting will not work for this application). The QR foot is already attached to a foot holder and it is easy to distinguish with its high base.

 
QR Ruler Foot

QR Ruler Foot

 

There are certain settings to use with each of these feet and if you click on the image below, you can watch the video that explains all of the various choices.

 
 

 Give the various free motion quilting feet on the Janome MC9450 a try to see which one you like to use for various types of free motion quilting. There’s a free motion quilting foot for every application.

What free motion quilting foot do you like to use on your Janome MC9450? Leave a Comment below to let me know your preference.

 NOTE: If you have upgraded your Janome MC9400, you will also have these feet and the settings will be the same.

Creatively,

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P.S. Are you serious about improving your quilting? Do you want to connect with other committed quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

How do you Stitch the Perfect 1/4" Seam?

All quilters know that achieving a “perfect” ¼” seam is the standard of excellence in quilting, but sometimes you might want to use a scant ¼”, especially when you have a multi-seamed project.

Most quilting sewing machines have a ¼” foot – some machines, like the Janome MC9450 have several ¼” feet to suit the preference of every quilts.

Once you have your ¼” foot on your sewing machine, you need to test to see if your ¼” foot is truly allowing you to stitch a ¼” seam. It’s really easy to check this. You need to take 3 pieces of fabric 2½” wide and stitch them together with your ¼” foot. The centre piece should be 2” as ¼” of the fabric has been taken into the seam on both sides - ¼” + ¼” = ½”.

If the centre piece is larger than 2”, your seam allowance is too small/narrow and needs to larger.

If the centre piece of fabric is smaller than 2”, your seam allowance is too big/wide and needs to be narrower. In either case, you’ll need to make adjustments.

How do you do this?

If your sewing machine has the ability to move the needle position, this is what you will need to do in either of these situations. If your seam allowance is too narrow, you will need to move your needle position to the left – away from your fabric edge.

If your seam allowance is too wide, you will need to move your needle position to the right – closer to the fabric edge.

Well this is fine if you have a sewing machine that has a needle adjustment feature, but… how do you get a ¼” seam allowance if you don’t have a ¼” foot?

There are several methods:

1.     Use your ruler to measure ¼” away from the needle and mark this with painter’s tape. Can then use purchased notions such as these purple strips – or make your own guides.

2.     You can use Post-it notes or several pieces of masking tape or painter’s tape stacked up on one another and place these at the ¼” mark on the bed of your sewing machine.

3.     You can also stack up several (many!) index cards, one on top of one another to use as a seam guide.

I’ve covered how to get an accurate ¼” seam on your sewing machine, but what if you want a scant ¼” seam and what is this anyway? A scant 1/4” seam is just a thread or two narrower than a ¼” seam. It can come in handy when you have several seams all coming together as the thread and fabric take up some of your seam allowance, so in this situation, a scant ¼” seam might be the right solution.

Click on the image below to learn more about stitching a ¼” or scant ¼” seam.

 Whether you are using a true ¼” seam or a scant ¼” seam allowance, be sure to use this throughout the entire project so that all of your pieces will fit together the way they should.

How do you achieve the “perfect” ¼” seam on your sewing machine? Let us know in the Comments below.

Creatively,

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P.S. Do you strive to improve your quilting skills? Do you want to have fun doing it? Do you want to meet other quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. It’s not your grandmother’s quilting circle! Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

Book Review: Quilts With An Angle

If you are hesitant about stitching up blocks with 60 degree angles in them, you’ll want to take a look at Quilts with an Angle – a Field Guide by Sheila Christensen and published by C & T Publishing.

 
Photo courtesy of C & T Publishing

Photo courtesy of C & T Publishing

 

This is an in-depth look at how to create these types of blocks successfully. Quilts with an Angle not only explains how to stitch up blocks with different geometric shapes, all with 60 degree angles, but also talks about the tools you can use to get these degrees.

The book is divided into different sections, with a specific geometric shape, in each section. There are triangles, trapezoids, hexagons (so many quilters love these!), diamonds, and more!

I’ve got to admit that I haven’t made a quilt with 60 degree angles. They just seem to intimidating to me. Quilts with an Angle breaks these 60 degree angle shapes down to the basics and explains in detail how you can successfully create and incorporate them into quilt projects. There are lots of photos in this book to explain the techniques, as well as reference charts to help you.

 
Photo courtesy of C & T Publishing

Photo courtesy of C & T Publishing

 

Of course, it wouldn’t be much use to learn how to create these blocks without having projects to use them in, would it? No worries, there are projects in each section to demonstrate how you can use those particular shapes in them. By the time you’ve made these projects, you’ll be an expert in cutting a geometric shape with 60 degree angles.

 
Photo courtesy of C & T Publishing

Photo courtesy of C & T Publishing

 

Click on the image below to see more of Quilts with an Angle – a Field Guide. To get your own copy of Quilts with an Angle, click here.

Do you use 60 degree angles in your projects? Let me know your favourite tool for cutting shapes with 60 degree angles in the Comments below.

Creatively,

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P.S. Do you want to improve your quilting skills? Do you want to have fun doing it? Do you want to meet other quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. It’s not your grandmother’s quilting circle! Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

4 Tips on How to Quilt Your Quilt

The biggest problem I hear from quilters when it comes to the quilting part of their project is that they don’t know what motif to put on their quilt. They’re afraid that they’ll “ruin” their quilt, either through lack of skill or poor quilt motif choice. I’m not going to say that you can’t ruin a quilt through poor choices in these areas, but there are 4 considerations that I think will help you to avoid “ruining” your quilt. (And you can’t really ruin a quilt unless you tear it, stain it, burn it, etc. – everything else is just a learning opportunity).

This is what I like to consider before I choose a quilt motif for my quilt.

1.     What is the purpose of the quilt?

This is the first thing I consider before quilting any of my projects.

Most quilts we make are ones that we want to be used. They may be baby quilts to be dragged around the house, a lap quilt to be snuggled under when reading, or a bed quilt to keep us warm at night. These types of quilts will be used and washed repeatedly – they’re what I call “utility” quilts. These types of quilts don’t merit custom quilting. A simple pantograph or all-over design will work perfectly well for the majority of these types of quilts. Pick a quilt motif that compliments the fabric or design of the quilt and get ‘er done.

 
Pattern is Chock a Block by Chatterbox Quilts

Pattern is Chock a Block by Chatterbox Quilts

 

If the quilt top you have created is intricately pieced, it may merit custom quilting. If you would consider this an heirloom quilt to be viewed, but not used, custom or semi-custom quilting is the way to go. This might involve smaller, more complex quilting motifs or ruler quilting. You may want to use different quilt motifs in different parts of the quilt. This type of quilting takes more thought and will take longer to complete, but, if the quilt top merits it, this is the way to go.

Decide what type of quilting this particular quilt top needs and you are then ready to move onto the next consideration.

2.     What is the focus of the quilt?

When I’m looking at a quilt top, I need to decide what will be the focus or star of it: will it be the piecing or appliqué or will it be the quilting itself?

For appliqué quilts, you definitely want to emphasize the appliqué itself. The quilting should enhance or accentuate the appliqué, not compete with it. In this case, the appliqué is the star, and the quilting is the supporting actor. Keeping your quilting motif simple will work on this type of quilt.

 
Pattern is from Community Quilt Along by Chatterbox Quilts & QuiltFusion

Pattern is from Community Quilt Along by Chatterbox Quilts & QuiltFusion

 

If, on the other hand, this is a pieced quilt with lots of negative space, for example, a modern quilt, the star will be the quilting. You’ll be able to do lots of custom or semi-custom quilting in the negative space on these types of quilt. The sky is the limit here, so have fun and combine multiple quilting motifs to show off your skill.

Which brings us to the next consideration.

3.     What is your skill level?

I always say that it is better to do a simple design well than a complex design poorly. (I should have this tattooed on me!).

If you struggle to do feathers or don’t like how yours look, don’t do feathers on your quilts! If you are a master at stippling, use this on your quilts. Simple designs can look just as good as more complex ones if done well.

 
60th anniversary table runner - 1.jpg
 

Don’t think you have to do a certain quilt motif because you see it on many quilts. If you can’t do it well (yet!), stick to the designs that you have mastered. There will be lots more quilt tops just waiting for those feathers when you have mastered them.

The next thing to consider is…

4.     What is the style of the quilt?

Some quilt motifs are more appropriate on certain styles of quilts. I’m not saying that this is a rule (are there really rules in quilting?!), but it’s something to consider.

Is your quilt a traditional or modern quilt? You may want to use more traditional quilting motifs, such as feathers, crosshatching, etc. on a traditional quilt top.

If you have a more modern quilt, simple designs, such as geometric shapes, stippling, or wavy walking foot quilting, might be more appropriate.

All of these considerations are suggestions only as everyone has their own ideas as to what type of quilting they want to have on their own quilt tops, but they are a starting point to help you in making this decision.

In all cases, remember that if your quilt has busy fabrics, you won’t see the quilting well, so your beautiful custom quilting won’t be seen. If you choose to put this amount of effort into quilting a quilt with busy fabrics, don’t be disappointed when the quilting doesn’t show. The reverse is true: you will definitely see the quilting on solid fabrics, so go for that custom work.

In general, I like to use curved quilting motifs on quilt tops that have straight lines in them and straight line quilting motifs on quilt tops that have curved piecing in them. Use the opposite type of quilting motif to the quilt top to work harmoniously together.

For more information on choosing a quilt motif, click on the image below.

 These are some ideas you can use when considering the quilt motif to be used in your next quilt project. What are the things you consider when choosing a quilt motif for your quilts? Leave a comment below to let me know.

Creatively,

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P.S. Are you serious about improving your quilting? Do you want to connect with other committed quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!