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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Quilt for Baby Reagan


Last week I got busy making a quilt for my granddaughter, Reagan.  She'll be One on Sept. 5th!!  I wanted to do something special and decided to make Reagan a "First" quilt for her "First" birthday.  I did not, however, want it to be baby colors or toy pictures - something that she would outgrow.  So, although the quilt is not large, it is small enough for her to use in her crib and large enough for her to use as a lap quilt when she gets older.  


Jelly Rolls are great.  I love 'em.  A Jelly Roll is a roll of 40 strips of fabric, each different from the same collection.  Each strip is 2.5" x 45".  For this quilt, I used the Jelly Roll by Moda's Martinique collection, and I used the book "Two from One Jelly Roll Quilts" by Pam and Nicky Lintott - page 88, the "Jigsaw Quilt."  I love this book!  Great designs and beautiful quilts and instructions for making the quilts with Jelly Rolls.  NOTE: You "will" need to get the Omnigrid 96 ruler to make these quilts and many of the quilt designs with Jelly Rolls.  You can order it online or try to find it at your local quilt store.  I searched and searched throughout Charlotte and finally found it at the Creative Sew & Vac in Ballantyne.  


I can quilt fast if I get all the cutting done, lay out the pieces to be sewn, and then chain stitch them together.  You can whip right through the quilt blocks in no time flat.


Everything is a 1/4" seam in quilting.  Usually that means you only have to follow the edge of your presser foot, but not always.  Before you start making a quilt, take a scrap piece of fabric and stitch a seam along the edge of the fabric using the edge of your presser foot as a guide, then measure it.  Adjust the difference to where you place your fabric for making your quilt so that you will always have an exact 1/4" seam. Accuracy is key in making a quilt that fits together seamlessly and accurately.


Always have a hot steam iron ready and waiting.  Pressing is as important in making a quilt as the stitching!!


I try to stay organized when I quilt.  I lay out pieces by size and color, and I lay out the completed blocks in groups of 10.  Of course, I throw the rest of the jelly roll fabric to one side - hey! I'm entitled to be a little messy!! 


Here are some of my finished blocks. If you are diligent about your cutting, 1/4" seam, pressing, and piecing the seams together with pins as you sew, you'll have beautiful quilt blocks and strong points on your triangles.


I had lots of little square pieces set aside.


This quilt called for 30 blocks, so I cleared off my kitchen table and laid them out until I was happy with the arrangement.


I sewed the blocks together in rows, then I sewed the completed rows together, matching seams as I pinned and stitched.


I had 9" strips cut from the 2.5" x 45" strips from the Jelly Roll.  I sewed several together for all 4 sides to form a border.  Then, I sewed the sides onto the quilt top first, then the top and bottom border to form a beautiful completed border around the quilt top.

When the quilt top was done I cleared off my bed, laid the backing (Right Side Down) onto the bed.  I took straight pins and pinned the backing to the mattress, making sure it was taut.  After the backing was nice and flat, I placed the cotton batting on top of the backing and the quilt top on top of that.

The backing and the batting should be considerably larger than your quilt top.  I place my quilt top in the center so that all sides have plenty of backing and batting around the quilt top.  Starting in the middle, safety pin your quilt top to all 3 layers, making sure not to pin it to your bed!!  Work from the center out to each side, and then the center to the top and the center to the bottom, pinning the quilt and making sure it is flat the entire way.  You are now ready to start basting!!


By basting, I mean "Let's get rid of those safety pins and straight pins!!"  I can't work with pins in my quilt, especially if I am machine quilting, so I baste the entire quilt.  Again, start in the middle and baste to the bottom, then baste the center to the top, center to left side and center to right side.  Then stitch center to corner for all 4 corners. 


Make sure you use a contrasting thread when you baste, it will save you tons of time removing the basting stitches.  You will have a lot of long threads in the middle of the quilt. Leave them there as it will make it easier to pull them out when you are done quilting.  After I did the initial basting, I basted long straight seams about every 8 inches down each side then from top to bottom to form a checkerboard of basting. Your basting will hold your quilt layers in place and prevent puckering and shifting of layers while you machine quilt.


I wear quilting gloves when I quilt.  The gloves make it very easy to grasp the quilt layers and move the quilt for stitching.  For this quilt, I started with "stitch in the ditch" which simply means I stitched along the seams of each block and triangle.


When I was done with the "stitch in the ditch" quilting, I added some "stipple" quilting to the larger white triangles throughout the quilt.


Quilting is a system.  Once you have the system down, it is a real joy to quilt and piece together your work.  After all the quilting was done, I removed the dark basting stitches which held all 3 layers in place. 

I laid it out on my table and trimmed away the excess batting and backing along the edge of the border.


Time to add the binding!  This is my favorite part, because it goes fast and then you're done and can admire your work.  Jelly rolls make this process easy!  I sewed long sections from the jelly roll together on the short ends, pressed the seams open, and began sewing the binding on the quilt.  I did mess up one thing here - I forgot to press under one long edge before I began sewing it to the quilt.  I suppose I was anxious to finish.  So, I'll save you the trouble - after you have pressed open your connecting seams on your binding, press one long side up 1/2".  Only one long side, not both, then put the long edge that is not folded up, with right sides together, along the top of your quilt and line it up nicely along the raw edge of your quilt top.  Using a 1/4" seam (or the edge of your presser foot) and folding under the beginning short end (so that when you finish sewing on the binding and you reach the beginning again, fold the binding over to the other side and you have a finished edge), begin to sew on your binding.  Start putting on the binding in the middle of the bottom of the quilt. That is where I always start.


When you get to the edge, stop your stitching 1/4" from the corner and back stitch to lock it.  Remove it from the machine and take it to your table.  Fold the strip up and away from your quilt giving it a 45 degree angle. (NOTE:  In this picture, I folded my quilt in half on my sewing table and that is why you see the back of the quilt above the top corner of the quilt top where I am applying the binding.  I didn't want the picture to be confusing)


Fold the finding back down along the other edge of the quilt and pin it in place at the top edge.  You will begin sewing from that very corner down the long edge to the next corner and do the same thing using a 1/4" seam allowance.


Add about an inch extra to the end of the binding.  When you are done, fold the binding over to the other side and line up the pressed and folded edge of the binding to the stitching from the other side.  Now, you can straight stitch or you can add a decorative stitch to this piece of the puzzle.  I always like to add a decorative stitch for the finished edge of my binding because it looks really nice on both sides.


And here is my finished quilt!!  I am really proud of the way it turned out and I think the fabrics are interesting and will attract Reagan's interest.  She can use it in her crib, or when she goes to the park.  She'll be able to sit and play on it in her family room or playroom.  Someday, she may use it to cover her legs and read or hang it on the wall.  However she enjoys this quilt as she grows up, I hope she will know that her grandmother Susan stitched a lot of love into every block.

Here is what a Jelly Roll looks like and if you click it on, it will take you to the Martinique Jelly Roll that I used to create this quilt:


This is the Martinique Jelly Roll by 3 Sisters for Moda!  Click on the image to get one of your own!


This is the book that I used to make this quilt - pages 88 - 93 "Jigsaw Quilt."  Click on the book to go directly to Amazon and order one for your own!


I hope that you enjoyed reading about how I created "Reagan's First Quilt!"  





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