Quilted Hearts and Twister

Quilted Hearts and Twister

I’ve been wanting to make something for Valentines Day, and when the theme of “Red, White, & Blue” for Project Quilting Challenge #2 (Season 10), I knew what I wanted to make.

The challenge states you can use reds, whites, and blues…any shades…no other colors, but you DON’T have to use all three colors.

  1. RULE#1…Your project should contain ONLY the colors RED, WHITE, and BLUE. It does not have to use all three, but it cannot include any additional colors.

So I decided, with Valentines Day coming up, I’d limit my colors to just the red and white. I went to work scrounging in my fabric stash for every shade of red and white (with no other colors in them) that I could find.

After going through my patterns, searching Pinterest, and having a desire to use my Lil’ Twister tool again, I found a tutorial by Connie Kresin on the cutest little Twister heart pattern and decided that was the one!

I made a quick sketch of the layout of the square colors on paper, and then cut the fabric stash into 5 inch squares. Here they are (below) pinned on my design wall. I realized quickly that it’s best to have contrast between each square (except for the background that’s all the same white with red print).

I sewed the squares together.

Question: do you press the seams to one side (each row in opposite directions) so the seams nest together making the columns easier to sew together? Or do you press the seams open so there’s less bulk at the intersections, making it easier to cut and piece the pinwheels later?

I decided to press the seams open. It takes longer, but it sure makes cutting & sewing the pinwheels easier later.

The next step involves the Lil’ Twister square template. Just line the black lines on the template with where the seams intersect and cut. I twisted them slightly and carefully placed them side by side in a row as I cut them.

Before going on to cut the next row, I like to sew the row together, and even sew the rows together too…less chance of getting them mixed up.

after cutting everything out, you’ll end up with lots of tiny pieces of leftover fabric… I like to trim them to 2-1/2 inch squares to use in another project. I ran out of the background fabric, but if I had more of it I might have used these squares in one of the borders.

This is the fun part! I love ❤️ seeing the pattern–in this case the heart–emerge as I piece it together. Magical!

To keep everything nice and flat, I used Best Press on each row.

All that was left was to add a couple borders, add the batting and backing, and quilt it on my domestic machine (my sweet Bernina 570QE).

Using various reds (Aurifil and Sulky threads), I free motion quilted petals in each pinwheel. And with a walking foot and white thread, did a straight stitch around the heart shape and around the border.

and here it is!

I’m entering this Twisted Heart wall hanging in this week’s Project Quilting.

UPDATE: The voting is now closed. No prizes this time, but it did rank #11 out if 118 entries. Thanks so much for your vote!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Mosaic Quilts: My Infatuation Continues

Mosaic Quilts: My Infatuation Continues

So after seeing the gorgeous quilts by Heidi Proffetty (see my earlier post) and not having access to a digital fabric cutter (which is really a necessity for her technique), I thought I’d try creating another small mosaic art quilt using the simpler tiny squares recommended by Cheryl Lynch (see previous blog post).

I thought you might enjoy following along with the process.

The first step was to find a very simple, but inspiring photo that I could trace to make the pattern outline. I found a photo that I had taken last spring of a Trillium (my fav woodland wildflower).

I downloaded a tracing app for my iPad and used it to roughly trace the outline of the petals & leaves. Note: There are a lot of tracing apps out there (and I certainly haven’t tried them all), but this one (free) allowed me to upload my photo and trace over it with my finger or my computer stylus. It’s rough, but that’s okay…I can go over the lines again with a black Sharpie pen after it’s printed.

This particular app allows you to fade out the background (photo) so you can print only the lines, which saves printer ink. That’s a nice feature.

After saving the tracing as a jpeg file, I needed to enlarge it at 200% to get it to print to the size of a sheet of copy paper, which was the size I was looking for. Once my outline was printed, I used Cheryl Lynch’s technique of taping it to a piece of core board and then thumbtacking a sheet of Steam-a-Seam 2 over it, uncovering the top of the fusible to expose the sticky side up.

Next, it was time to go through my collection of cotton batik fabrics to see what colors might work for the tiles. I cut them into 3/4 inch squares, using Cheryl Lynch’s mini mosaic cutting guide and found that the more variation you have in the light/dark of each color, the better it looks.

Now for the fun part…placing each individual square fabric “tile” with a tweezers. It’s somewhat like putting a puzzle together…one area of color at a time, but you don’t have to make them all fit…you can trim pieces to fit as needed.

For a project this small it doesn’t take long to cut enough squares of fabric to get started. The variation in the value of each fabric color is the key. You don’t want them to look too flat by having each tile exactly the same color value. I added some bright yellow strips in the center of the flower.

It’s slowly progressing! It takes quite awhile to individually place each square with a tweezers, but it’s surprising how much is accomplished by working on it in 30 minute segments throughout a couple of days. Before you know it, it’s finished and ready to fuse to the “grout” fabric and add the tulle netting over the top …

…adding the borders, batting, & backing …

and do the machine quilting using white cotton thread and a walking foot. I stitched between the rows of mosaic squares in the “grout area”, and outlined the petals and leaves. I added a few quilted veins into the petals of the Trillium too.

Close up of the quilted veins & center of the Trillium

What do you think? Originally the background was all browns and green, but I decided it needed more contrast, so I took out some of the squares and re-did the top portion of the background in blue sky.

This one’s completed and for sale at my Etsy Shop.

I’m ready to try it again…how about you?

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

How to Hang a Quilt on the Wall

The best way to hang a quilt on your wall is to sew a fabric hanging sleeve to the back. Here’s how…

What you’ll need:

  • A strip of cotton fabric that coordinates with the backing (or plain muslin fabric), 8-1/2 inch wide by the width of your quilt
  • Needle & thread
  • a wooden dowel
  • nails or 2 Command Strip hooks

How to make the hanging sleeve:

Cut an 8-1/2” strip of cotton fabric the same width as your finished quilt. This will make your finished sleeve 4 inches wide. (*NOTE:  if you’re going to enter your quilt in a show, most require a hanging sleeve 4” wide; however, if you’re using a wooden dowel to hang the sleeve on your wall you only need the finished sleeve to be wide enough to slip the dowel through—so you can opt to cut it smaller…see note at bottom.)

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Fold under the short ends of your strip 1/4 inch or more and press; then fold it over once more about 1/4” or more and press.  Using your sewing machine, topstitch.

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Next fold the strip down the middle the long way (wrong sides together) and iron to make a crease down the center.

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Open the strip back up and press each long edge to that center creas.

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Now open the strip up again and bring the long edges together (wrong sides together), pin, and machine stitch a 1/4” seam. Now you have a long tube.

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Carefully press that seam open. Be careful not to disturb your original press lines on the edges.  (NOTE: You’ll notice that the sleeve doesn’t lie flat—the front side (without the seam) is a bit wider than the back, so it “curls”.  Don’t worry–it’s meant to be that way.)

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Lay the back of the sleeve (hemmed side) onto the back of your quilt, positioning the top crease about 1/2” from the top (or just a “smidge” under the binding)—and pin. Then pin the lower creased edge.

By hand, with a needle and matching thread, whip stitch the top creased edge and bottom creased edge to the quilt backing.  (NOTE:  Be sure not to sew all the way through the quilt…we don’t want the stitching to show on the front of the quilt.)

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You can also whip stitch the short ends to the quilt…but only the back part…. (NOTE:  Be sure not to whip stitch the front of the short ends—you need the ends open so you can slip the dowel inside the sleeve.)

Again, notice the front of the sleeve will poof out just a bit (see photo below). That’s okay! This is done on purpose to accommodate the width of the wooden dowel (or rod) so that the front of the quilt doesn’t buckle or get distorted when you hang it up.

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The wooden dowel can be any diameter, but I like to choose the smallest diameter dowel that can handle the weight of the quilt without bending out of shape.  For most of my quilts and wall hangings, I use a 3/8 to 1/2 inch diameter wooden dowel.  For my smaller wallhangings, I might even use a smaller one. If you’re hanging a very large bed-sized quilt, or a quilt that is unusually heavy, you might want to consider a larger diameter dowel or even use a metal curtain rod.

Cut the wooden dowel about an inch or less than your quilt back.  Twist an eye screw into each end.  Slip the dowel evenly through the hanging sleeve.  Hold the quilt (with dowel) up against your wall, positioning where you want it and being sure it’s level. Then mark with a pencil where the center of the eye screws are.  Then hammer the nails at those marks, and hang the quilt by putting the eye screws on the nails.

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If you’d rather not use the eye screws, you can cut the dowel almost the same size as the quilt, and hang the dowel ends directly on command strip hooks or nails instead.

That’s it!  Here’s a photo of my latest quilted wallhanging on my wall…

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By the way, this one’s for sale in my Etsy shop.

I hang all of my quilted wall hangings and art quilts this way. Here’s one in my livingroom… and a large landscape art quilt in my diningroom…

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And s photo of the hanging sleeve on the back of one of my smaller art quilts. I used a 3/8 inch diameter wooden dowel for this one…

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This method of hanging quilts works great for most of my quilted wall hangings and quilts. However, I’ve found a different method for hanging my small art quilts.

If you’d like to see that tutorial, just go to my earlier blog HERE.

Most quilt contests require a hanging sleeve that is 4 inches wide, so by cutting your original strip 8-1/2” it will end up being 4” wide. However, if you’re just hanging it at home, you don’t really need to start with your strip that wide. Just be sure your strip us wide enough so when it’s finished you can insert the dowel through it with a little extra wiggle room (don’t make it too tight).

I hope this tutorial on hanging your quilt is helpful.

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING,

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

How to Make Fold-Over Labels for Your Quilts or Other Sewing Projects

How to Make Fold-Over Labels for Your Quilts or Other Sewing Projects

Earlier I blogged about how to make a flat label to sew onto your quilts or other sewn items.  But today I wanted to make some folded labels to insert into the binding of my quilts for sale (see below).

QuiltLabel1I found a great tutorial by “Easy Sewing for Beginners” (HERE)  and I decided to use my Inkjet “TransferMagic” heat transfer paper.  (It has an Oops proof guarantee after all!).  Following the instructions, I created a document on MSWord, reversed the images/words, and printed it onto the heat transfer paper—being careful to put the paper into the printer the right way.

QuiltLabel2 I cut the labels out carefully and placed each face down onto two different surfaces—a wide twill tape and a 5/8” Offray ribbon–and pressed with a hot iron using the package instructions.

QuiltLabel3After they cooled, I peeled back the backing paper very slowly and carefully and it worked…

QuiltLabel4HOWEVER,  I didn’t like the shininess and the patchy look.

The tutorial mentioned using wax paper and a hot iron to “melt” the transfer into the ribbon to solve that problem. I tried it, being sure to cover the wax paper with parchment so it wouldn’t hurt my iron)…

and UGH, …this is what happened…see below.

QuiltLabel5Instead of melting it into the ribbon, it lifted up parts of the words and images.  It didn’t matter if I pulled back the wax paper before or after it cooled–it still happened.

I thought—maybe she meant “freezer paper” instead of wax paper.  …Nope—that didn’t work either.  The same thing happened.  Finally I tried parchment paper alone…same unfortunate result.

Her tutorial used a “glossy” transfer paper & mine wasn’t glossy.  I think that might be the reason…my heat transfer paper might not have been the same as hers.  But I’m not going out shopping today to spend time searching or spend more $$ to find out if another brand might work at this point.  

Without ironing the labels, they actually DO work, 

…but the shininess bothered me.  They just didn’t look as nice as I wanted.   And I wondered what might happen if they were exposed to heat later–for example, what if someone accidentally ironed them later? …and I wonder if any other heat source (like a hot dryer) might damage them?


So ON TO PLAN B!!!

Just as I did in my tutorial for making flat quilt labels, I prepared some tightly woven cotton fabric by ironing a sheet of freezer paper to the back and cutting it to 8-1/2 x 11 inches with my rotary cutter & ruler (see the tutorial here for more information).

I created a document on MSWord (just like before), but used the “insert line” feature to give me some nice dashed guidelines as cutting guides.  This time I did not need to reverse the images/words…

QuiltLabel6After printing them directly onto the prepared cotton fabric through my inkjet printer, I cut them out, giving myself about a 1/4 inch beyond the dashed guidelines on each side of the labels.

QuiltLabel7After peeling off the freezer paper backing, it was a snap to fold in the sides of each label along the dashed lines and iron them down.

QuiltLabel8I used matching thread and a straight stitch to top stitch along the side of each label.  Doing one after another (chain piecing) makes it go fast…

QuiltLabel9After a good press, and folding them in half…THEY’RE DONE!  AND LOOKING GREAT!

QuiltLabel11Now I really like these.  They’re not stiff, there’s no blotchy shine or patchiness, and they’re  heat set and should wear for a long time.

QuiltLabel1aI’ll keep them in a jar ready for me to sew into my future quilts…like this one.

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UPDATE:  I was curious how well these labels would wear after washing, so I attached 2 of them to a small improvised scrap quilt/binding & ran it (with my wash) through 2 machine washing & drying cycles and this is the result (see below)…


The label on the left is brand new…the 2 labels on the right were run through the regular washer/dryer cycle with regular detergent twice.  Not bad! 


And here (afew weeks later) are the three labels side-by-side after the third (on the right) was machine washed & dryed 5 times.  Not bad at all!

I hope this tutorial was helpful, and that it’s given you a few good ideas.  Give it a try and make some labels for your quilts.  
Whether you sell your quilts, give them to those you love, or keep them for yourself, it’s always important to label your work.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

DIY Four Circle Table Topper with Bernina Circular Embroidery Attachment

DIY Four Circle Table Topper with Bernina Circular Embroidery Attachment

I’ve been eyeing a special attachment for my Bernina sewing machine for quite some time.  I was at Mill House Quilts in Waunakee this past week, where they have all the newest Bernina sewing machines along with a great assortment of attachments and feet.  Then I saw it, they had it in stock!, so I finally decided to buy it — the Circular Embroidery Attachment.  (cue the trumpets) Ta da!

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I have lots of ideas of how I  want to use the attachment (none of which included embroidery–hehe), so I got online to find a few YouTube videos to visually see how to attach it to my machine and how they used it.  Here are some great links if you’re interested:

The attachment comes with 2 screws and a nifty small screwdriver, and attaches to the bed of my machine with one screw in the hole on the right of my pressure foot.  One video suggested taping the other end near the pin to be sure it doesn’t wiggle (which I did—see blue painter’s tape in the second photo below).

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There’s a sharp pin under that plastic nob on the left of the tape (see above).  You carefully take off that plastic bit and poke the center of your fabric through the sharp pin and replace the plastic bit, and that’s all there is to it.  You place the fabric under the pressure foot and “step on the gas” and it glides around in a circular pattern all on its own with little help from you.  You do need to stabilize the fabric so it doesn’t wrinkle and bunch up, but if you’re doing the project I’m doing, it’s not necessary.  The directions recommend using a open embroidery type foot, but since I’ll be sewing through a few layers with batting I’m using my walking foot.

The pin is on a sliding mechanism so that you can adjust the size of the circle you want to sew.  The distance between the pin and your needle x 2 = the size of the diameter of the circle.  So for this particular project, I measured and slid the pin at a distance from the needle so the circles would measure around 8-1/2 to 9 inches.

So here’s my first project using the Circular Embroidery Attachment – A Four Circle Table Topper.

I went through my stash of unused layer cake squares and chose 8 coordinating fabrics (4 peach/pink and 4 mint green), and cut 4 squares of batting to match.

Then I layered them starting with the batting on the bottom, mint fabric face up, then peach/pink fabric face down (so the 2 fabrics are right sides together).

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Line them all up and use your ruler to find the center and mark a dot lightly with a water soluble marker (or other washable mark).  Then take it all over to your sewing machine and put the pin of the circular embroidery attachment through all the layers at that center mark and feed the right end (edge) of the fabric under the pressure foot.

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It’s so easy!  It walks (sews) itself around in a perfect circle and comes back to exactly where it was started.  LOVE IT!

Here’s my short (very short) YouTube video showing how it works on my machine…(my very first one)…

After trimming around the edges with a pinking shears (or pinking rotary cutter if you have one), you cut a small slit along an edge being sure to only cut the top fabric.  Be sure the cut slit is in a spot where the fabric will eventually be folded over (so the it will be hidden).  Then turn the circle inside-out, using a blunt ended tool (like a bamboo paper folder, purple-thang, or bamboo skewer) to be sure all the edges are nice and crisp, and press.  OH, you might want to use a tiny bit of water to get rid of the water soluble mark you made in the center…you don’t want to permanently heat set it into the fabric with your iron.

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Use a ruler and a water soluble marker or chalk, draw a square box within the finished circle (being sure that the cut slit falls beyond the square in the outer edge (see top of the photo below).  Each of the corners of the square should just touch the edge of the circle.  I was lucky enough that my square ruler was a perfect fit.

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After making four of these, place them on a flat surface and see what arrangement you like best, turning up two edges on each one to expose the fabric underneath… it’s important that the “flap” that has the cut (used to turn them right side out) is in one of the seams so it’s covered.  Then it’s similar to sewing a 4 patch together—Take the 2 upper circles and match them BACK to BACK using the drawn lines as a sewing guide, pin,  and sew them together edge to edge, do the same with the lower 2.  Then sew the top 2 with the bottom 2 and it will look something like this..

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Iron the flaps down and use your favorite decorative stitch around each edge of the flaps (petals) to finish.

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I chose a blanket stitch in green variegated thread, but you could opt to use a straight stitch, any decorative stitch, or just tack the flaps at each center point.  You could even hand sew them down if you wanted to.  You need to at least tack them down (or sew them) to be sure that the cut you made to turn the circles inside out is completely covered.

And here it is, all finished

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What’s nice about this pattern is the quilting is done as you go, and the back is as interesting as the front…

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So it’s completely reversible.

And no worries if you don’t have the attachment…you can create these table toppers by tracing a circle (using a platter or template) onto the fabric and carefully sewing on the line.  That will work, but I’ve found this is a time saver, I can make any size circle,  and just looks a bit better too.

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I think they make a wonderful gift—Mother’s Day is coming up.

So I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and that you’ll try making a reversible 4-circle table topper.  I have them for sale in my Mulberry Patch Quilts Etsy Shop if you’d like to purchase one instead, along with lots of other ideas for Mother’s Day.

I’ll be posting other ideas for using my Bernina Circular Embroidery Attachment in the future…hope you’ll come back again! And be sure to post a comment below on how you use your circular attachment—any tips or ideas?

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

2 Minute No Sew Christmas Napkin Ring

2 Minute No Sew Christmas Napkin Ring

Want to add a festive touch to your holiday table but don’t have a lot of time?  Here’s an easy, no sew, way to make a colorful poinsettia napkin ring in 2 minutes flat.

It’s a technique my sister-in-law taught me over (well we won’t mention how many) years ago.  I’ve perfected the pattern, but the idea is the same.  There’s no sewing involved, and all you’ll need is some red and green felt squares (available at JoAnne Fabrics, and lots of other stores — be sure to use your coupon).

Click on the PDF pattern (below) and print it off.

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There are only three pieces. Cut them out of red & green felt as shown in the photo below.

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That’s all there is to it! Easy peasy.

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cut an X in the center of the green & red petals…simply fold in half & cut, refold in half the other way and cut.

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To assemble, fold the RED long strip in half..

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and pull the tips through the center hole of the GREEN felt petals.

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And then through the center hole of the RED FELT petals.

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and fluff by pulling the tips apart

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Roll up your napkin (or fold) and slip it through the “ring” and your table is instantly transformed.

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Now get creative—change the shapes of the outside leaves & petals…use different colors and you can make all sorts of flower napkin rings for every season of the year!

Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday Season…And a very HAPPY and HEALTHY NEW YEAR!!

Until next time,

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Using “Skitch” for Machine Quilting Ideas

Using “Skitch” for Machine Quilting Ideas

You’ve finished the beautiful pieced quilt top, have the backing all ready, and then it hits you—how am I going to machine quilt this?  There are so many options.

I’ve found a way to “play” with different ideas by using my iPad and an app called “Skitch”.

Skitch is an app that allows you to snap something (a photo, etc.) and mark it up, then save it.

It’s available for the following platforms:

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
  • Mac OSX
  • Android
  • Windows Desktop
  • Skitch Touch for Windows

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For more information on the Skitch app, click here  for a tutorial.

So…I simply snapped a photo of my quilt top with my iPad (or you could just take a photo of one block).  Then I opened the Skitch app on my iPad and imported the photo into the program, like this:

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I chose the thinnest  “pen” and white–there are several colors to choose from.  I found black or white were easy to see on this quilt.  And then I grabbed my stylus and just PLAYED with designs until I came up with one that I think will work! I sketch out lots of ideas that didn’t work, and just “deleted” them.

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How about a continuous curved line?  I can “map” it out on each block and sketch until I figure out a good place to start and stop the needle.  Here’s the design I finally decided on:

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…and here it is (below) on my long arm.

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I’m using my “rulers” to help me with the curves…

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I’m able to continuously machine quilt around one entire block, only having to stop/start when I move on to the next one.

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I think it’s working pretty well

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It was a lot of fun to be able to “play” with several ideas for designs by drawing with my stylus on my iPad with Skitch before actually committing to the design on the long arm.

So here’s the finished quilt top—completely quilted and ready to be trimmed and bound.

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And here’s a close-up of one of the sections (don’t look too closely!)…

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I hope this information was helpful, and that you’ll give Skitch a try the next time you’re pondering how to quilt your finished top.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts