Cherish Nature Quilt

4:27 PM

Quilt Finished plus Easy DIY Machine Quilting Tutorial!

Last year I bought a Moda layer cake on super sale from Deb Strain's line called Cherish Nature.  I loved the colors and nature inspired prints.  All the colors were similar to my living room and I got it with the intention of making a lap quilt for the living room (which  gets used as our family room most of the time too) and finally got it done when I visited my mom a few weeks ago.

The layer cake is 42 10" squares.  I used every square in this quilt, and had to get a one extra square of just a coordinating broadcloth for the blocks.
I liked this Chrysalis Lattice Quilt pattern/ tutorial I found from Moda Bake Shop's blog because it used the layer cake squares to show the larger prints, simple clean design (which means easier to piece together) and it was on the diagonal.  I did change a few things, rather than square blocks, I cut my larger squares into strips--either 2" or 3" wide to add a little random into the design.  Each "random stripe block" has two 3" wide strips and three 2" wide strips so with seam allowances, it ends up being 10" square. 
The quilt is quite large, 80"x80" so kind of a big lap quilt.  I used warm and natural batting and machine quilted it myself.  The binding is 1/2" double fold bias tape I made with chocolate satin and those cool clover bias tape gadgets.

So far we've been using it on the chartruese suede chair.
It's a big chair and we can squeeze our whole family in it.  I usually call it our "reading chair" because it has an arched lamp behind it and we read to our kids most of the time here.  It sits between the living and dining/kitchen area so it's right in the heart of our house. 

I used aqua broadcloth left over from the bird pillow tutorial for the quilt border.  The paint for this entry bench we built was color matched from this fabric. 

So far these guys seem to like it...not that they really noticed it was new-- just a blanket to spit up or wipe dirty hands on to them (even though napkins were steps away RJ!!)

My mom always "signs" her quilts by sewing her name and date in a corner with the free motion presser foot, and the tradition stuck with me.  I just did the year on this one. 

This quilt was one of the last big projects for the living room.  When me bought our house each room had a page of ideas and things to make/ fix.  This quilt makes my list feel complete.  There's always little things, like putting something in that clock frame, figuring out the stinking mantle-scape which I never have any ideas, etc. 

Now for those that care, I put the tutorial for the new way to machine quilt after the jump.

So I like quilting, but I am a novice just getting started.
Piecing a quilt top is easy, most of the time straight seams and that's all.
But when it comes to quilting the thing, it gets tricky.

Option 1:
Hand quilting on quilting frames pioneer style.
This is the quilting I only knew until adulthood and learned to quilt with.  It's not perfect, but always is my preference. But I don't have room or even own quilting frames, and I don't have the time to quilt it all by hand either.

Option 2:
Long arm quilting businesses.
You can pay people to whip out your quilt with a long arm quilting machine.  But I don't have $200+ for a stinking quilt.

Option 3:
DIY Long Arm Quilting
This was actually my plan when I visited my mom.  She lives in St. George, UT and there's a business called Lets Quilt that has many long arm quilting machines and you pay $15/hr to use them to quilt it yourself.  They have staff to teach you how to long arm quilt.  I went in and talked with the ladies while I was visiting my mom, but they said a first timer would take at least 6-8 hours to quilt my queen sized quilt, which would cost a minimum of $100 or so with thread and tax, etc.  So this option was a little better, half off if you do it yourself, but still way out of my budget.  I've always wanted to try it out, so maybe in a few decades once student loans are just a distant nightmare, the cost won't seam as hindering as it does now.

Option 4:
Machine Quilting Yourself on Your Own Little Machine
I've machine quilted larger quilts in the past just on my own sewing machine and it gets really frustrating and the results aren't always that great.  Remember my sister's birthday quilt

So now, the new, affordable, easier way to quilt!
Piece Quilting on Your Own Machine
This is actually my mom's technique she taught me while I was down there moping about not wanting to pay to long arm quilt it myself like I planned.

Here's the main idea:
Rather than try to quilt the entire quilt, just assemble it in 3 sections as you go.  Less fabric and weight to manipulate (better results and no sore arms) and you can easier work from the center out.

So here we go.
1. Sew your quilt top together in 3 sections.
Rather than piecing the entire quilt top together, just do sections.  Usually with a normal quilt you put it together in rows and would have 3 rectangular secitons.  My quilt design is on the diagonal, so I made a long center section with two triangular sides sections.  

2. Layer Quilt for only center section
Take your quilt back, batting, and center section of your quilt top and lay them together.  Do your best to get all the wrinkles out and center them so they'll all fit.  Pin the edges of the quilt top through all layers with safety pins.

Next to get rid of the bulk, cut off the side sections of batting. 

Then you can just tightly fold/ roll in the excess quilt backing to the edge of the center section and secure it with safety pins.
3. Quilt Center Section 
Because the sides are rolled in, it's easier to quilt the center and keep all the layers uniform on the back.  Just make sure you leave atleast 2" unquilted on the edges where you'll need to add the sides.

4. Piece side section to quilt
Take one of your sides and sew the last seam to connect it to the center section.  This is why it's important you didn't quilt right to the edge on the center section.

5. Baste on batting
Take your side of batting you cut off earlier and baste it back on to center section of batting.

6. Quilt side section
Roll up the empty quilt backing side and keep rolling to roll in the quilted center section, leaving you with just one side to quilt now.  Work from the center section to edge.

7. Add last side section and quilt
Repeat the same steps, sewing on the quilt top, basting the batting, then quilting the last side section. 

The quilt is quilted all on your little sewing machine!  It's also 1 am and you're eating ice cream to celebrate. 

8. Add borders
To add the borders, I just sewed a side with the fabric right sides together through all 3 layers. 

Once you open the first border, sewing on the next white border (through all 3 layers of quilt) attaches them together on the quilt top, but eliminates the need to quilt the borders at all.  Once the white border was opened face up, I did go along and baste the last raw edge through all 3 layers and trimmed off the excess batting and quilt back. 

9. Bind quilt
Many different methods, once again I go for the fastest route and machine sew on my binding.  I just don't have time to hand sew the binding on a queen sized quilt.  For this quilt I actually used a zig-zag stitch and quite liked it...unconventional I know, but I like it and none of my quilts will ever be entered a quilting contest unless I want to be totally embarrassed, so my sloppy ways suit me I guess.

Another big discovery from my mom:
She had a quilting presser foot she'd bought.  We both have Bernina's, so I'm not sure if all brands of sewing machines have quilting feet, but here's an example of the difference between a regular free motion presser foot and the quilting presser foot.

The opening is huge for quilting, not only letting you see better where you're sewing, but holds the layers of your quilt much better to make a smoother quilting stitch rather than bunching up a layer here and there.  I was able to work a lot faster with this presser foot and it looked a lot better in the end.  Bernina's are $ Christmas maybe???  Or just a good excuse to have to go visit my mom when I make a quilt.

So there are my new pearls on machine quilting yourself for those that are too cheap to pay professionals, or patient enough to hand quilt yourself.

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  1. wow, jessica! i am seriously impressed. the one time i tried to quilt with my machine (a twin size mind you) it was a total mess.

  2. Jess, you are a genius. I love how you did this in sections!

  3. That's so clever! I've been a fan of your blog sometime, and I love the idea of handquilting the way you describe doing it growing up; but I know I"ll never have the patience to do a large quilt that way.

    But it is truly clever how you have quilted in sections.

  4. What a beautiful quilt - I have long wanted to try my hand at quilting. Your gorgeous babies look snug and happy.


  5. Great post. I've just pieced a queen size quilt top and am dreading quilting it. Wish I'd have seen this first. The kids look great on that oversized arm chair with the quilt.

  6. Good job! I recently bought a free motion quilting foot from the dealer where I bought my serger. They had a universal foot in that one and in the 1/4" foot. They had me bring in my 25-year old New Home Machine to make sure it would fit my machine and to show me how to use it. I have only used it on small projects so far but I have a wall hanging that I should be finishing up and am eager to try it out. Your machine quilting is encouraging. I paid for the quilting on my first full sized quilt recently and I would much rather do the next one myself. Thanks Jessica!

  7. I'm not really a quilt-type person--most of them look kind of ... I don't know, 1800s to me. But this, I love. it's gorgeous! I want one! I think the colors, fabrics, textures, designs--all are simply perfect. Can I adopt you? :)

  8. I love it! The room looks amazing! I want to hire you to come to my house!

  9. Jessica - this quilt is awesome!! I love everything about it. I like your strippy blocks better than the 4-patch look too. Love, love! And it looks wonderful in your room! Thanks so much for letting me know. I'm so glad you made one!

  10. This is a really clever way to quilt!

    I would like to share a link to a youtube video I found about a creative do it yourself sewing table for quilting and then part two of how she used it. I think any ideas that help us create easier are great! (I am not the woman in the youtube video & am not connected with her in any way)

  11. this is one of those tips i smack myself in the head for not having thought of before. THANK YOU for bringing it to the table! now i want to get started on another quilt!

  12. Ah! You're a genius and I love you! I just found you through Pinterest (someone pinned your shirred-waist skirt...) and I'm so going to re-attempt quilting now! I've done machine quilting on my little machine, but only a twin size for my oldest son and it was a nightmare. Will definitely try your version NEXT! :)

  13. Jessica, I've just finished free-motion quilting my grand daughter's queen size Lover's Knot quilt! I've decided that it won't happen again unless I can quilt it in sections. Love your idea of keeping the backing whole and trimming off the excess batting until needed. BTW, I dont consider myself too cheap to pay someone but rather it isn't fully 'mine' unless I do it myself.


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