Thursday, November 17, 2016

All You Need is Love Quilt and Pillow - The Process.... Sew Fun!

Welcome fellow quilters -- many thanks for stopping by!
If you're wondering what I've been up to....
This fall I had the pleasure to work with some fantastic new Susannah Bee Fabric by Susy Bleasby for World of Susybee.  It was exciting to work with this bright, new, modern line that consists of snippets of Susy's hand painted art.

The challenge was to create a quilt and a few pillows for the grand introduction at Fall International Quilt Market -- Houston.

You Know I'm always up for a Quilty Challenge!

Today I'm excited to share some of my Quilty process with you.

First... I fell in LOVE with the floral, journal and striped fabric!!  Although I didn't use it in my quilt, there's also a beautiful corresponding floral panel!

  It's so easy to create with fabric when you ADORE it!!

You can see and read about the fabric line here ==> Susannah Bee - The Buzzz

As I looked at the fabric it was screaming Love... but I wanted to find a way to use that awesome stripe AND build in a bit of negative space too... 

No Quilt is Complete without leaving space for some fun quilting!

The result:  All You Need is Love Quilt...    
and a complementary "love" Pillow
Here are images of the fabric line

Isn't it beautiful?

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The design options are endless...
Let me share the process with you!!
With the help of my trusty EQ7 expert, Terri Butler, I worked up a pseudo EQ7 design for the Heart Quilt.
Being a design-and-create-as-you-go kinda person, I knew the original EQ7 design wouldn't be the final design...
This is how things progressed: 

I sent this drawing ? (more like chicken scratch) to Terri to begin the EQ7 process:
Many thanks to Terri for getting the design into EQ7 so I could tweak it accordingly.
The image below is one of my tweaked versions and pretty close to the final design.
Here were a couple other ideas tossed about in EQ7:
For the quilt and the pillow I used the beautiful Susannah Bee buttercream journal page background.
 I love this print as they are actual written pages from Susy Bleasby's journal -- How cool is that!!
The images in this post DO NOT do this fabric justice.   

The quilt was targeted to be about 50" square so some fussy piecing was required to prepare the background fabric for the heart collage.  I wanted the two pieces to line up exactly so the journal pages would not be interrupted -- that was fun.  

Next, I prepared the varying length and width stripe pieces.
Because I would rather applique than piece a quilt, I decided to applique the striped strips to the background.  I prepared them with a lightweight one sided fusible interfacing (OESD brand).
I refer to this method as the "inside out" applique method.
Sorry no pics... {sad face}.

I cut the fabric strips 1/2" wider and longer than the desired finished size. With a 1/4" seam allowance, I sewed the fusible (bumpy) side of the one sided fusible interfacing to the right side of the fabric.  I trimmed the corners, turned the piece right side out through the open end, and pulled the corners out.
This process gave me strips that I could position, adhere, and machine applique to the background.    Before adhering the strips though, I decided to create the floral heart collage.
Because I am not real familiar with fusible products, I asked around about what 2-sided fusible I should use.  The general consensus was to use Wonder-Under, a lightweight fusible by Pellon.   I gave that a try.  It worked pretty well.

About 1 yard of the overall floral fabric was used to create the heart collage following these steps:
Iron the fusible to the wrong side of the fabric.
Fussy cut the pieces in chunks and singles. 
Position the pieces on the background.
Add pieces to fill in the entire heart.
Once I positioned the entire left side of the heart (without adhering), I traced the shape of the heart onto transparent paper using a dry erase marker.   This allowed me to flip the traced shape to the right side of the heart and complete the collage process while adapting the same general shape as the left side.
Once I was relatively comfortable that the left and right sides were similar shapes, I took a few overhead pictures, looking for flaws in the symmetry.
Once I was comfortable with the design, layout and symmetry, I removed the paper backing and pressed the fused pieces to the background fabric.
Making progress...
Next I positioned the striped strips.
Once positioned, these too were pressed in place (adhering the single sided fusible to the background fabric).   Adhering them to the background fabric made it much easier to apply the machine applique blanket stitch.
Before I began the process of stitching them to the background, I choose a thread color.
I decided on a neutral Aurifil 50wt thread (Color #2314) as it blended well across the light and dark shades of the Susannah Bee stripe.  I used the same weight and color thread in the bobbin.  I really love how it blended.
I machine appliqued each strip using Aurifil 50Wt thread, my walking foot (aka even feed foot) and with the machine set to a small blanket stitch.   
It finished beautifully.
I had one slight problem though, at times the single sided fusible interfacing would "sneak" out from behind the striped fabric -- causing a bit of confusion along the stitch line.  Honestly, I'm not sure if I did something wrong, but I would love to know how to avoid this the next time (no picture -- sorry).

Once the striped strips were adhered and machine appliqued, I choose to cut the interfacing and background fabric away to reduce bulk.  It was a good decision!
So here we are with the top all prepped... now it's time to think about how to quilt this top.
Ya'll have heard me say time and time again that I allow the quilt top to talk to me. 
In this case, the striped side of the quilt was screaming straight line quilting -- and wouldn't it be neat to have the straight lines cross... ?    
Better yet -- to make this quilt a little "different",  having randomly spaced cross hatch lines seemed like a fun idea.
To add a little order to my random, I decided to mark the cross hatching.  This wouldn't be necessary for evenly spaced lines, but it came in handy for odd spaced lines.  
I used a water soluble pen and my handy QP Edge Template to mark the initial lines.  I then added stitched lines as necessary so the density of quilting on the "straight line" side was similar to the quilting density of the "other" side.   

 Speaking of the "other" side... Long before the quilt top was complete, I was planning to quilt "fast feathers" in the negative space.
"Fast feathers" allow me to quilt feathers (which I LOVE) but don't require a lot of time or planning (which I love too!).  
With the time crunch I was under, "fast feathers" were my best choice for the "other" side.
FMQ Planning is now complete -- let's get that Quilt Back prepared...
I wanted to do something fun for the quilt back -- so I decided to add the word "LOVE" in Morse Code.
For those of you not familiar with Morse Code, you can read about it here.
I prepared the dots and dashes with the floral and striped fabric using the same "inside-out" method I used for stripes on the front of the quilt.
I used a cocktail glass as a circle guide.  
Marked the circle on the fusible interfacing.
Rough cut around the marked circle.
Placed the bumpy side (fusible side) on the right side of the fabric and stitched on the marked line.
I then slit the interfacing and turned the unit right side out.
I ironed the L-O-V-E to the quilt back and machine appliqued with a tiny blanket stitch. 
I followed a similar method to prep the dashes.
Once all the dots and dashes where machine appliqued, I choose to cut the interfacing and background fabric away to reduce bulk.
A close-up image of the cut away area:
More progress....!!
My quilt top is prepared, quilt backing is ready -- now it's time to prepare the quilt sandwich.
If you've been following me you know that I LOVE to work with 100% Wool Batting -- and my favorite brand is Quilters Dream.
(You can find Quilters Dream Wool at your Local Quilt Shop)

I layered the Quilt Back, 1 layer of Dream Wool Batting with the Quilt Top and pin basted the layers...
191 pins were used to baste this 50" square quilt!!
Now for the fun part - so exciting!!
With the Quilt Market deadline looming I needed to get right to the FMQ. 
I quilt on my home sewing machine, a Janome Horizon 7700.
You can read about and see my machine setup in this post.
First up on the quilting adventure --
Let's quilt that heart collage...
Remember, it's only fused down -- I needed to add some quilting and some depth to those little floral gems.
Because of the color changes through the florals, I decided to quilt them with
Aurifil Invisible Nylon thread.
Oh My - This Worked Perfectly!!!
I used Aurifil 50Wt in the bobbin and placed the Invisible thread on my upright cone holder.
I used a 75/11 needle, an echo foot, and I lowered the top tension considerably.
It was very simple to quilt -- I avoided going inside of the flowers and did FMQ around the raw edge of every cut flower.  
I couldn't be happier with the results.
The Aurifil Invisible never broke and it quilted beautifully!
Woohoo!! The heart collage is quilted...  
While in the vicinity, I loaded an Aurifil 40Wt thread and did some echo quilting around the heart.  The echo quilting gives it a finished look.
I'm so glad I did that.
Next up -- the straight line quilting.
I chose Aurifil 40Wt thread for the remaining quilting on this top. 
My goodness this thread is amazing!
No breaks, very little lint, great texture and sooo many colors to choose from.
{Happy Dance}
Because the straight lines were So Very Long... I used my walking foot for a majority of this stitching. 
One snag here though -- for some * unknown * reason  -- on the initial quilting pass, I choose to NOT extend the straight line quilting to the echo quilting around the heart.
THAT was a mistake.
Later in the process I went back in with The QP Edge ruler and extended the straight line quilting to touch the echo quilting.   
It looks so much more "finished" now... 
To be honest -- I'm not sure why I didn't do this initially.
Lesson learned....
All-righty then -- the Fast Feathers are next.
I started the fast feathers at the top of the heart collage and worked my way upward and outward.
I choose to use Auriful 40Wt thread with a 90/11 needle and my FMQ Ruler Foot.
I prefer to quilt with a round or circular foot when stitching rounded motifs -- it works well with my brain.
I worked about 1/4 of the way down the right side of the heart and stopped  -- I wanted to be able to work up from the bottom of the quilt and meet someplace in the middle of the right side of the heart.  
When quilting on a home machine, use caution when closing up large gaps of fabric -- the last thing you want is a quilt fold or pucker.  Sometimes it's a bit tricky.
Here is the quilting at the bottom of the heart (and working my way upward).
So happy to say the fast feathers worked like a charm.
- AND - 
I can't say enough good about quilting with Auriful 40Wt thread.
I love the boost the thread gives to the fabric and I adore the texture that the thread and wool batting combo provide.
I trimmed up the quilt top to be appx 50" square and prepared binding.
I was so excited to use the Susannah Bee stripe fabric for binding - I love it!
I cut the binding 2.5" wide and stitched it to the front of the quilt with a 3/8" seam allowance.
That chunkier binding looks even better when it's a stripe!!
(Thank you Terri Butler)
Now this is called a "Just In Time" Finish.
I packed the quilt up and carried it, a bobbin full of Aurifil thread, my 4" serrated edge scissors, and a needle on the plane to Houston.  
I hand finished the binding on the back of the quilt while in the air -- perfect!!
Here's the finish... 
I LOVE this quilt for many reasons...
The fabric is fabulous!
I learned from it...
I branched outside of my comfort zone.
I combined straight line and feather quilting
I finished it in record time!!!
It was exciting to have it hanging along side Terri's quilt and our pillows displayed so beautifully in the Susybee Booth at International Quilt Market.
How about the beautiful coral colored quilt designed and created by Miss Terri Butler.
Isn't it splendid!  
I'll never know how she does all that beautiful piecing.
A wizard I say!
Here is a picture of the great group of woman I worked with during Market.
Inspiring, supportive, thoughtful, funny, energetic -- amazing !
 (left) Sandy Pirdy - Owner Creekside Fabrics, Arcade, NY
Glynis Dohn - VP World of Susybee
Chris Trieck - Owner Luminata Millinery
A lake view:
A barn view:
The Duo at the lake:
One last image with low level natural lighting:
Well that was a whirlwind!
I hope you enjoyed reading about the process -- it was a long one.
I have so much to share in the next few weeks -- stay tuned for some fun reviews, a giveaway, a tutorial, a few more Market quilts and more quilty inspiration.
Have a blessed day!
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Happy Quilting!


  1. Well, Karen, that was a lot to digest, but well worth the read! I always learn so much from your posts! You really make me want to quilt, quilt, quilt! Love both these pieces. Love my Aurifil, too! XO

  2. What a perfect quilt for this fabric line! I love Susybee's fabrics, too, mostly the children lines. (Have you seen my finished panel?) They are so much fun and every child (and their parents) love them.
    Greetings from Germany, Rike

  3. Love love love your quilt. In regard to the white poking through your applique my Mum was a dressmaker and she would make the White ( stabiliser circles a bit smaller than the top pretty fabric ones a little larger so when turned inside out the White stabilezer is pulled further underneath. Maybe that would help ��

  4. What a beautiful job Karen! Thank you for the detailed tutorial, as well.

  5. That's really beautiful - fresh, romantic, modern - all at the same time! Your first two sketches, one was too much, the other too little. You fell perfectly at 'just right.' Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing your process.

  6. Oh, Karen, this quilt is so, so beautiful!! I've been following along on Instagram, but it's really fun to see the whole process laid out here in a single post. I love reading about all the many, many small decisions you made to get to this gorgeous finish.

    Thank you for sharing the "nitty gritty" of this work of art. It's just so fascinating!! I had to laugh when you wrote how much you prefer applique to piecing and that you did the rectangles that way. I just started doing curved piecing and I LOVE it...I'd rather piece a full circle than applique it! Isn't it funny how we each have our little quirks? :)

    I'm behind on my blog reading, so please accept my belated wishes for a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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