August 30, 2022

Book Review - How Do I Quilt It?

 I was sent a digital copy of How Do I Quilt It? for review. All of the opinions in this post are my own.

If you're anything like me, deciding how to quilt your newly finished quilt top is sometimes a tough decision. I've been known to sit with a basted quilt under the needle of my machine, ready to start quilting and with a deadline looming, just staring at it because I don't know what to quilt. I've even been known to tell myself, "Just start with something!"

Well, Christa Watson of Christa Quilts has written a book to help with those decisions, especially for beginner quilters. Christa is a quilter, fabric designer and teacher who believes that anyone who wants to can quilt their own quilts on their home sewing machine. Her new book, How Do I Quilt It?, offers a ton of suggestions to help quilters decide how to quilt their quilts and it includes both walking foot and free motion designs. You can get a signed copy of the book from Christa's shop here.
How Do I Quilt It - book review |
All pictures in this post courtesy of C&T Publishing 
I have to say that I fell in love with the book with Christa's first sentence, which says, "I like to call myself a perfectly imperfect quilter." I can so relate to that! When I'm talking about my own quilting, I often say something like 'no two flowers are the same' or 'there isn't a properly straight line anywhere' or something similar. I also usually end off by saying 'but I'm okay with that.' I'm having fun when I'm quilting and trying for perfection would just take all the fun out of it.

In the book Christa covers both the mechanics of quilting (the tools and set up) and the design possibilities. The section on how to get set up gives us a look at all of the tools she uses, plus a step-by-step description of how she spray bastes her quilts. While I've always pin basted and have no interest in changing to spray basting, I still find it interesting to read all the nitty-gritty details of how someone else approaches it. And if you do want to try spray basting, she tells you everything you need to know to be successful.

Then we get into the heart of the book - the quilting! Christa uses a simple nine patch block to show the different designs, both walking foot and free motion, with a picture of it stitched out, plus diagrams showing the stitching path and several variations for each design. There are simple designs and more complex ones as well as some that are dense and others that are lighter. Whatever style a particular quilts needs, you'll likely find something to suit it.
How Do I Quilt It - book review |
To round things out, Christa includes three patterns - Daisy Chain (shown here), Pinwheel Tessellations and Loose Weave.
How Do I Quilt It - book review |
For each quilt, Christa shares three different ways to quilt it - one walking foot, one free motion and one custom quilting plan. Again, there are diagrams to show the stitching path for each variation and tips for working your way around the quilt. Those tips for how to move through the quilt would be helpful for figuring out how to make your way around any quilt.
How Do I Quilt It - book review |
While How Do I Quilt It? is geared more for those just learning machine quilting, there's plenty of eye candy and tips to make it helpful for more experienced quilters, too. And if you are just beginning to learn to quilt your own quilts on your domestic machine, it's an excellent resource for you!

August 26, 2022

Prairie Points Pinwheel - a Free Baby Quilt Pattern

I have always loved pinwheel blocks. In fact, one of the first quilt magazines I ever bought was picked because of a pinwheel baby quilt pattern included in it, though I don't know if I ever actually made that particular quilt. I was also intrigued recently by the idea of making a quilt with some 3D element, which led me to the possibility of making pinwheels with prairie points, which is how Prairie Points Pinwheel was born.
Prairie Points Pinwheel quilt pattern |
I'm sharing the free pattern for Prairie Points Pinwheel on Amy Smart's blog, Diary of a Quilter, today, so head over to that post to get all the details of how to make one of your own. The baby quilt finishes at 36" x 36", which also makes a great wall hanging or table topper size.

While I went with blues (of course!) and a pop of orange, I did create a few mockups in other colour ways. I would love to make all of them!
Prairie Points Pinwheel quilt pattern |
Can I just say that pinwheels made out of prairie points are ridiculously cute? Not to mention how tempting it is to run your hands over them to flip them back and forth. All while I was working on this, I kept thinking of some little toddler playing with his or her quilt, which definitely increased my own enjoyment.
Prairie Points Pinwheel quilt pattern |
Prairie Points Pinwheel is stash friendly and even scrap friendly. All of the white background pieces came out of my white scraps, except the long outer borders. I know there are at least three different brands included, so there's some variation in how white the white actually is, which you can kind of see in this picture, but I wasn't at all concerned about that. It is a scrap quilt, after all!
Prairie Points Pinwheel quilt pattern |
As for the blues, I thought for sure I could cut them from my overflowing basket of blue scraps, but it turns out I have an abundance of small blue scraps and much less in the way of larger pieces. No worries, though, I also have an overflowing drawer of blue yardage and larger pieces leftover from previous projects, so there was no problem finding enough.
Prairie Points Pinwheel quilt pattern |
At 36" square, this used one of the batting scraps that was too narrow for my usual baby quilts, which are typically 40" or 48" square. Looking through my batting pieces, I'm either going to have to start making narrow wall hangings or placemats, or start piecing the scraps together. I'm not against piecing them together, and I've done it before, but most times I just don't want to take the time for it when I'm ready to baste something. I think I should try to just set aside a time specifically for straightening edges and then piecing them together so they'll be ready to go when I need them. Somehow that doesn't sound as fun as starting a new quilt though, does it?

I chose to quilt the background with my go-to double loop, since it makes me think of the wind blowing pinwheels around. And I gave myself permission to quilt it fairly small, so it would seem to be the right scale compared to the pinwheels (I do still love quilting small, lol). I thought I'd have to pin the prairie points out of the way, but it was easy enough to just hold them back while I quilted under them.

I started out quilting with Aurifil 2024 (white), though I was a little nervous that I would run out before I got to the end. I was right to be nervous and actually only made it through about half of the quilting before the white was gone. Oops! Quilting small really eats up the thread! I debated ordering more, but that would have meant putting the quilt aside for about a week while I waited for the thread to arrive, which I didn't really want to do. So then I decided that Aurifil 2311 (muslin) was close enough that probably no one would ever notice the difference, so I threaded that in and got back to work. As I said before, it's a scrap quilt, so it seemed only right to just go with what I already had on hand.

I love how the unquilted orange cornerstones and seam lines show up on the back!
Double loop free motion quilting |
Another bonus of the 36" size, I didn't have to piece anything for the backing! I can't explain why, but piecing a backing feels like way more work than putting together all of the blocks for a quilt top. This quilt top fit on the width of a piece of yardage, though with only a couple of inches to spare on each side. It was plenty for me, but if you were sending it to a longarmer you'd likely need to piece the backing to give them enough extra on the sides.

Of course, the quilt needed a trip to the beach for its photo shoot! I love how this shot shows off the texture and the 3D-ness of it.
Prairie Points Pinwheel free quilt pattern |
And the golden hour light was perfect! Sometimes it's almost impossible to get a picture of a white quilt that actually looks white, but it was actually pretty easy for this one.
Prairie Points Pinwheel free quilt pattern |
For the full Prairie Points Pinwheel pattern, go to the post on Amy's Diary of a Quilter blog. And when you make yours, I bet you won't be able to resist playing with the prairie points!
Prairie Points Pinwheel free quilt pattern |

August 03, 2022

Fifty-Fifty in Daisy Fields and the Pattern Release

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking a link, at no extra cost to you.

Today is doubly exciting: I get to share my new Fifty-Fifty quilt and it's release day for the pattern! You can get the Fifty-Fifty pattern now in my shop as a PDF or you can PREORDER the printed pattern, which will ship to you as soon as they're in my hands from the printer. Newsletter subscribers, be sure to check your inbox for a discount code 😉

Two block quilt designs are classic, but what happens if you split those blocks in half and then recombine them? You get a Fifty-Fifty quilt, that's what! It's a modern spin on traditional log cabin and starburst blocks and it's so much fun to make.
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern |
I used the new Daisy Fields fabric line, designed by Beverly McCullough for Riley Blake, to make this 48" square baby size Fifty-Fifty. There is so much to love in these fabrics - the daisies, the hexagon elements, the colours...I just couldn't resist them!
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern |
The Starburst blocks are paper pieced and, of course, I used freezer paper to make them. It's so nice knowing I'll never again have to rip out bits of paper from paper pieced blocks! If you'd like to learn how to skip the ripping out part of paper piecing, sign up for The Bulletin so you'll be notified next time I host a workshop.
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern |
With a fabric line called Daisy Fields and daisies all over the quilt, the quilting design was a no-brainer. I love when it's easy to decide how to quilt something, don't you? I use this loopy flower meander quite often. It's quick, simple and it doesn't have to be perfect to look good. Some flowers have five petals, some have six and some have seven and it's all good.  And while there are usually two loops between flowers, sometimes there are more, especially if I had backed myself into a space too small for a flower. No problem, I just threw in a few more loops and worked my way back to a more open space.

I used Aurifil 1135 in 50 wt for the quilting. It's a subtle bit of colour on the blues, teals and white of the quilt top, but it's not overpowering, and it blends into the yellows. I love the bit of colour it adds to the solid white back, too! And the texture is fabulous!
free motion quilting flowers and loop meander |
Fifty-Fifty was first published in Make Modern magazine last year as a throw size, and I've now expanded the pattern to include this baby size and a queen size. It's amazing what a difference fabric choice makes! Even though both quilts use teals/blues and yellows/oranges, they look so different!
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern |
Sometimes I have fun playing around when I want to post something on social media. I think the Fifty-Fifty baby quilt made a great backdrop for the lilies currently blooming in our front yard 😊
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern |
Head to my shop now to get your Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern. I can't wait to see your Fifty-Fifty quilts!