Press for Success! The ULTIMATE guide to ironing quilt blocks

Quilters spend a lot of time with our irons! I get tons of questions about ironing and pressing, so here’s the lowdown on pressing your fabric, and a mini-tutorial on how to press your seam allowances.

For new quilters, it’s important to learn that pressing is NOT the same as ironing! When you iron a piece of clothing, you’re trying to smooth out wrinkles, usually with a light hand and lots of side-to-side motion.

When making a quilt, you want to press straight down and avoid any side to side pressure that might distort your fabric. Your objective is flat, undistorted fabric, a square block, and seams that lay FLAT.

Spring Cleaning: progress over perfection

The first thing to fall by the wayside when energy is scarce will always be cleaning.

So it’s no surprise that the sewing studio got even more out of hand than last year. All the systems in the world won’t keep a space tidy if you just don’t have the energy to put stuff away, or your temporary holding places have filled up and you aren’t up to the task of dealing with them.

Arctic Vortex Quilted Tree Skirt – the scrappy large one

When I started my quilted Arctic Vortex tree skirt to go under my Christmas tree, I wanted it to feel like an eclectic collection of meaningful bits and pieces, with maybe a bit of filler to pull it all together.
I went through a dozen iterations of fabric pulls until I landed on the red, green, and navy colour scheme to work with the ornaments on my tree, while letting the fun and meaningful print fabrics in my stash shine.
No matter how I quilted these blocks, the busy fabrics would dominate the quilting.

Arctic Vortex Quilt Along Week 8

It’s time to bind our Arctic Vortex tree skirts and quilts!

Putting binding on a hexagonal quilt may seem intimidating if you’re used to only doing mitred corners when binding square or rectangular quilts. I’ll show you how to bind the 120° mitred corners smoothly and easily, then we’ll take on the 60° mitred corners where the quilt splits to make a tree skirt. Finally, we’ll use the stretch of bias binding to bind the inside curve of the tree skirt.

Step 1: Make binding

For going around curves, your best choice is always bias binding. Lucky for you, I have a brand new tutorial with the absolute fastest way to make as much bias binding as you need. Best of all, there’s no marking, no scissors, and only 2 seams to sew! Check it out!

Arctic Vortex Quilt Along Week 7

Can you believe we’re finally ready to quilt our Arctic Vortex tree skirts and quilts??

Whether you’re going fancy or keeping it simple, quilting is the most exciting part of the quiltmaking process. It’s the alchemy that turns it from fabric and batting into a quilt!

Step 1: Quilt As Desired

That’s really the only step. Or rather, I can’t break it down for you much more than that, since it really depends on how you’re quilting your quilt. If you’re quilting by hand, I’m of no use to you, since I’ve never hand quilted!

If you’re machine quilting, whether it’s a sit-down machine or a longarm, free motion or walking foot, here are a few tips that will help you have a bit more success, hopefully.

Arctic Vortex Quilt Along Week 6.5

Hold on a second. Just because you have a finished quilt top, doesn’t mean it’s time to start quilting! This week, we’re taking some time to plan and prepare first, so that the quilting goes a lot smoother. And yes, you can start quilting once you’ve taken these important steps.
Step 1: Choose your quilting method

How are you going to quilt your project? By hand? Using a walking foot? Free motion on a domestic machine? Longarm? Send it to a longarmer? Some combination of the above? This decision will influence all of the subsequent steps. Take stock of your preferences, skill set, budget, and available time.

Step 2: Plan your quilting

The eternal question: How Do I Quilt It? We could do an entire 8-week course on this subject (and hey, maybe I will some day!) but my favourite way to plan out my quilting is to draw on a picture of the quilt top. You can use your colouring page and pencils, a clear report cover with a whiteboard marker, or a photo of your quilt top and a drawing app. Try out a few different ideas and see what looks good and what feels doable in terms of density, complexity, and efficiency of movement.

If you haven’t planned the quilting for a triangle/hexagon quilt before, you can follow my design process as I worked through the quilting plan for Rebecca Bryan’s Solstice Modern Triangle BOM.

Welcome to UFOvember 2021!

They lurk at the back of our craft cupboards, taking up space and emotional energy: the UnFinished Objects.
You started the project with the best of intentions, but then you ran out of something: materials, time, passion for the project, motivation, direction (how do I quilt it????), the skills to do it justice…
You’ve invested precious time and money into the project, so you’re not about to trash it. With the pandemic putting further pressure on our crafty budgets, time, and energy, this is the perfect time to dust off those UFOs and help them back on their journey to completion (and potentially fast track some holiday gifting!).
Welcome to the 2nd edition of UFOvember! Over the next 30 days, I invite you to join me in examining our crafty orphans and deciding whether to Resume work on them as planned, Rework them with a Plan B, or Rehome them to another crafter, who can joyfully get them across the finish line.

Arctic Vortex Quilt Along Week 6

🎵It’s beginning to look a lot like a quilt top🎵 This might just be the most satisfying week of the entire quilt along for me. Our Arctic Vortex quilt tops are finally coming together! Maximum satisfaction, minimal frustration. Let’s jump right in!

Step 1: Get organized!

Whether you’re using a design wall, design bed, or design floor, now is the time to lay out all your blocks, adjust their placement, and make sure you’re happy with the finished arrangement.

For me, the key is getting the stripe effect to continue from one block to the next. In the center of the quilt, all your lightest strips should meet (or all your darkest — just be consistent.)

At the “bottom” of each Vortex block, lay out 2 setting triangles. I find that the sashing strips on the large size add another stripe into the mix, so I wanted to continue the long light-dark-light stripe down the left edge of the block, while on the medium size I preferred the contrast of a dark-light-dark stripe.

Once you’re happy with your layout, pin or stack your blocks so you can chain piece them together.

Arctic Vortex Quilt Along Week 5.5

Awww yeah!!!! This is the final week of piecing! Are you excited to see your quilt coming together before your eyes? Next week is when it all comes together, but first, let’s finish making the final triangle blocks.

Step 1: Make strip sets.
Check the Arctic Vortex Quilt pattern for how many strip sets to sew and which order the fabrics go in. Remember to double check if the instructions call for WOF (40-ish inches) or half-WOF strips.
Whether you’re making a mini quilt and excited to finally start sewing, or if you just want a refresher on sewing tricky angles:

Arctic Vortex Quilt Along Week 5

Can you believe we’re half way through the Arctic Vortex Quilt Along? If you’re making the mini quilt, you’re finally ready to sew some quilt blocks! The rest of us are shifting gears from diamond quilt blocks to some super speedy triangle quilt blocks to fill in the outer edge of our hexagon quilts or quilted tree skirts.

Step 1: Make strip sets.

Check the pattern for how many strip sets and which order the fabrics go in. Remember to double check if the instructions call for WOF (40-ish inches) or half-WOF strips.

Whether you’re making a mini quilt and excited to finally start sewing, or if you just want a refresher on sewing tricky angles: