Monday, November 30, 2009

Quilting Makes a Difference Exhibit at Road to California

There will be something new and fun at Road to California this year -- an exhibit entitled "Quilting Makes a Difference". I was asked to be part of this and don't know how many other people are participating. Each of the quilters was sent a 36" square pieced top along with fabric for backing and binding. We are to quilt it any way we want, bind it and send it in by December 1st (OOPS!) to the Road to California office.

The whole idea is to see how different the quilts look depending on how each of us has interpreted the top and designed and executed the quilting.

I'll walk you through my process, starting with getting it ready for quilting....

My backing should be at least 2" bigger all the way around than the top, so if the top is approximately 36" square, my backing should be about 40"x40". I use 2" binder clips (you can get these at Staples or any office supply store) to clamp down two sides of the quilt and, since it is too small to clamp all the way around, I use 2" painters tape to "stick down" the other two sides.

I've found that painters tape doesn't fray the fabric edges as much as masking tape does.

Here's a close-up of one corner -- I place the painters tape parallel to the edge so I get a bigger sticking surface.

Leaving the binder clips and tape underneath, I lay the batting on top and smooth it out. I also want the batting to be 2" bigger all the way around than the quilt top. When I'm figuring out how much backing fabric and batting I need, it's easiest to just add 4" each to the width and length....

....then all I need to do is center the quilt top. Allowing that extra width and length for the backing and the batting makes it easy, eliminating the exacting placement that would be necessary if everything were the same size.

This is the stencil that I have decided to use; it is by Barbara Chainey for StenSource Int'l, Inc., number BC1030, 14" Feather Block. It doesn't fit the star shape so I will need to do some adjusting and re-drawing to make it work.

Marking in air-soluble marker makes a nice purple line that goes away by itself without washing. The good news is it goes away by itself, but that is also the bad news -- once you mark it, you have to be prepared to sew it right away!

These are my current favorite pins -- they're called Basting Brights and you get blue, purple, red and green in the same package. They're colorful and easy to see; small enough to not leave holes in the quilt fabric, but large enough to manipulate easily.

This is the thread I have decided to use for the star quilting -- it's a Sulky rayon, color #1185, Golden Yellow. Now that I have the center marked, I'm ready to take it to the machine. I'll do the feather quilting in the star first, using my free motion foot, then put my walking foot on to do the straight stitching in the ditch to outline the star.

Haven't decided yet, but then maybe there should be some straight stitching in the blue and more feathers in the border. I'll keep you posted!


  1. Hi Paula
    Are you going to be at Road where the display will be hung??? I can't make it but I too have done a quilt for this display, I would love to see all the quilts and how different they all are. We all see something total different when it come to the stitched designs. Here's hoping you post pics of all the quilts displayed. Have an awesome day...
    I Remain Crazy For Longarm Quilting... Sue Patten

  2. I'll take what pictures I can, Sue; I have found lately that a lot of the exhibits at shows request "no photography". If I can get them, I will!


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