I really enjoyed playing with relief quilting when I made my FABRIC mini quilt a couple of weeks ago. So much so that I decided to make another one! I took plenty of pictures while making it so I could post a tutorial. I hope you will give it a try. The effect is wonderful and it is such an easy process.
This time I wanted to try stitching the word on a piece of fabric with fusible stabilizer and then building the quilt from there. It worked out wonderfully. Since I already had one mini that said FABRIC, I decided to make another that said THREAD. This idea was inspired by a comment left on the first post by Diana, of A Red Delicious Life. She mentioned wanting to make one to hang above her thread. I decided to do the same. Now I have one to hang above the closet where I store fabric and another to hang above the thread collection hanging on the wall in my sewing room. Thanks Diana!!
Let’s get started.
I am going to provide the sizes that I used but this is so flexible. Increase or decrease as you like. My quilt finished at 11″ x 23″ so if you want a different size, adjust accordingly.
- Background Fabric: one rectangle measuring 7″ x 19″
- Heavyweight fusible interfacting: one rectangle measuring 7″ x 19″
- Scraps for your border
- Stencils for tracing the word THREAD. I used letters that were 3″ high.
- Frixion pen or similar fabric marking pen
- Binding fabric: Two strips that are 2 1/2″ by 42″ (Width of fabric)
- Quilting thread. I used YLI thread in a variegated green and loved it!
Trace the word on the fabric with the fabric safe marking pen of your choice. I didn’t leave very much room between the letters because I liked the way this looked. You could certainly adjust this to your taste. Also, I didn’t leave a ton of room on either side. Again, adjust as needed by cutting your background wider if you like.
Using a walking foot, begin stitching long straight rows above, below and between the letters. I didn’t stitch the outline of the letters. This happens later on when you are quilting everything together. For now, just fill in every bit of space above, below and between each letter. You might choose to use a free motion foot for the little openings within a letter (e.g. the A and the D) so you don’t have to start and stop, twisting the fabric. I kept working with the walking foot because the block is small and easily rotates. Each time I came to the botton or top and needed to move to the next line, I very slowly stitched one stitch over, sometimes doing so by manually turning the wheel on the machine so I moved just one stitch. This kept my rows extremely close together. If you have a needle down function, this helps. Just go one stitch and let the needle stay down while you turn the piece. Now and then, the width looked to wide to me and I would back up and fill in with another line of stitching. Remember you will be viewing this from a distance and it looks much better that way. While stitching, you are looking at it from 6-8″ away and you’ll see every wobble. Not a problem. You are going for the overall effect.
Making good progress here. The word is complete and it is time to begin working on your border.
I made an improv border by taking squares and rectangles in my color scheme (basically greens, purples and blues) and built four pieces, two for the ends and two for the top and bottom. I didn’t worry about size too much. I made them a bit longer than the side I wanted to sew them to and since I wanted to have them trim out to 3 inches, I made sure the whole thing measured wider than 3 inches. Note: If you are not comfortable with this scrappy improv process, I recommend grabbing a copy of 15 Minutes of Play by Victoria Findlay Wolfe at your library. She does an excellent job of guiding you through. Alternatively, Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts did a Quiltalong last summer called Scrap Vortex. In this post, she talks about building with scraps. It might be of help to you.
After playing with them on the design wall, I trimmed each to a width of 3″. I sewed the top and bottom borders on first and then added each side.
The next step is to make a quilt sandwich with your top, the batting and your backing fabric. I pieced the batting from scraps I had. Just pin it around the border tightly since you are going to quilt in the center first. My batting was just barely bigger than the top but since it was such a small piece I felt ok with that. Normally I use batting that is a good two inches larger than the top all the way around.
Continue to use your walking foot and slowly stitch around each letter. It is a bit like connecting the dots as you want to trace over the place where you stitched over to the next line. Just move slowly and turn frequently (with your needle down while turning) when stitching over a curve.
I love the way the letters come to life when quilted to the batting. Next I moved on to the border. I love the little spools of thread that I quilted on the first piece and carried them through to this piece as well. Considering the thread theme of this project, it worked well.
With each spool, I filled in the top and bottom so they would show up a bit better. If you like this idea, take a look at this tutorial of Lori Kennedy’s over at the Inbox Jaunt.
The spools are whimsical and they add a bit of movement to the quilting as the ‘thread’ flows off each spool.
Once you complete the quilting, trim, square and bind. Finished!
Isn’t this adorable?????
And both of them together?? All kinds of cuteness. What fun (and easy) projects both of these were. I have the sleeve sewn on to FABRIC but still need to make a sleeve for THREAD. They will be on the wall soon. I’ll post a picture next week.
I hope my explanation is helpful. If you make one, let me know. I would love to see it!
I’ll be linking to the usuals which can be found at the top of the page, under Link Ups.