Thursday, September 11, 2014

Celestial Star QAL: QUILTING

Celestial Star QAL with from blank pages...

Today's Topic: Quilting 
Assignment: Create a quilt sandwich and start quilting!
On the Blog: Blog about it and link it up using the link up at the end of this post. OR you can also link up photos from Flickr* or Instagram.  

On Instagram: Take a picture and tag it using hashtag #CelestialStarQAL.

There is a giveaway!!!
When you link up on this post, or on Instagram, (You can enter both places) you will be entered to win one of two fat quarter bundles:
Heather Bailey Bundle of Up Parasol (9 FQ's), your choice of colorway, 
sponsored by I Don't Do Dishes

Moda Crossweave FQ bundle, 
sponsored by Material Girl Quilts

The giveaway will be open until I pick a winner on Thursday September 18th.
To enter, share a picture of your quilting. You don't have to be finished, but you need to have started. 

You can pick up a pattern on Craftsy and in my new shop!.

*If you are sharing pictures from Flickr, I started a Celestial Star QAL group, where you can also share your photos, or start up a discussion, ask questions, etc. I don't get on Flickr much anymore, but I'll try my best to keep my eye on it for any activity going on there. I still think Flickr has a pretty good platform for groups, even if the rest of the site has changed.
**If you decide to work faster than my schedule, which is fine, be sure to take pictures along the way so you can come back and enter the different giveaways!

 Let's Get Started:
Be forewarned: It's a little lot wordy and I don't have any photos. But I'll add some when I get my quilt back finished and start basting my quilt. So skim it, or don't. It's ok. It just didn't happen. You know, life... it's what happens. ;)

First, after creating your quilt top, you need to create a back for your quilt. On minis or one block quilts, pillows, etc, I usually make the quilt back about 1 inch larger on all sides than the quilt top. And cut the batting about the same. For larger quilts, I've seen people make the back 2-4 inches larger on all sides than the front. Sometimes I forget this, and then it's a pain trying to match up the front and back when making a quilt sandwich. So, remember:

Make the back larger than the front!!

 It is also a good rule to make the batting larger than the front, but not necessarily larger than the back, though I often do when I'm making small projects.

Creating a Quilt Sandwich:

 There are a billion tutorials online for creating a quilt sandwich, and I honestly haven't looked at many of the newer ones (as in the last year and a half). I know there are some that people swear by, so you should go check those out. :) I kind of just do my own thing because it works for me. And one day I want to find a better way, because that's always a good thing. But for now, I'll share my tricks with you in case they work for you too! :)

I, like probably many of you, I don't have a designated basting spot. I kind of have to improvise with the room that I do have. I do LOVE spray basting, and that can mean a big mess. So the first thing I do is lay down a few old sheets and spread them out nice and flat. I make sure they cover a much wider area than my quilt is big to help catch any spray that goes beyond my quilt. This is also a good way to keep your quilt clean if you have to baste outside in your driveway or sidewalk or somewhere like that, which I have done in the past.

Next, place your batting right side up. Yep! There is a right and wrong side to batting. Here is a little blurb from APQS website. Read the full article HERE ("Batting has an 'up' and 'down'", January 22, 2013,

"The "right side” vs. the "wrong side”
"Batting that has been needle punched during its formation has a right side. Look at the batting and search for small pin holes or dimples in the batting. Needle-punching methods drive small needles from one side of the batting to the other as they compress the fibers together. These small holes will reveal the right side of the batting. You want your machine's needle to penetrate the batting in the same direction as the needle-punching machine.
"The wrong side of the batting will have more slubs, which are tiny balls of batting. The wrong side looks much like a sweater that has been worn one too many seasons. If you have this side inadvertently facing up when you layer your quilt, your needle can catch one of these dense little balls of batting and try to force it back through the batting and out the back of the quilt, resulting in bearding."

So, next I lay the "right side" of my batting UP. Spread it out flat, but don't stretch it.

On small quilts or projects I spray the entire batting and then place my small project over it. On a larger quilt like the one I'm working with, I lay the entire quilt over the batting, making sure it is aligned straight. Then I sit in the middle and carefully pull back one end. I spray a small section, about a foot at a time from one edge to the other edge (to the sides of me, not the edge in front of me, or parallel to the "fold" where I've pulled the quilt back). Then I carefully smooth the quilt over the section I just sprayed, working from the center to the outer edges. Be carefully you aren't stretching anything or your batting/quilt top will start to bunch. You want to smooth it just right so they are perfectly together without any bumps on either layer.

Then I repeat by spraying about a foot, then smoothing, spray a foot, smooth, etc. Repeat until you have finished with that side of the quilt.

After the first side is finished, I go back tot he center of the quilt, pull back the opposite side and do the same thing until the entire top is completely basted.

After the top is basted, I flip the quilt/batting over, smooth it out, and baste the back in the same manner as the front.

Now you have a "quilt sandwich".


Quilting. This is the fun, scary, adventurous, sometimes frustrating, very creative and where the possibilities are limitless stage. You can quilt by hand, on your sewing machine, on a longarm, or have someone else do it for you. I am not going to talk about how to quilt, because I don't claim to be an expert. I have a few tricks I like, and I'll share those later. But mostly I want to spotlight how you can showcase your quilt with how you quilt it.

Hand Quilting:

I love hand quilting! I think it looks amazing and I love the texture and emphasis it adds to the quilt design. Here are two of my examples of projects I've quilted by hand:

My Giant Granny Square quilt



The stitching is very simple, and shows up the most around the outside boarder. I used really large stitches around the outside as well as on the inside squares, which you can kind of see in the top photo. A fun way to emphasize the quilt.

My very first Celestial Star Block before I named it that, which I made a year ago using liberty prints.



I hand stitched around it using black pearl cotton. It's not anything flashy, but I like it. I think it really goes well with the overall feel of the liberty prints. And it's held up really well living on our couch for the past year+.

Machine Quilting:

You of can easily quilt straight lines on your home machine. I love to make wavy lines with my walking foot, a technique I really want to share when I get a moment to do so! Those are both risk free (mostly) and scare free ways to quilt your quilt.

My example of straight lines, on the diagonal. I used rainbow thread to spice it up a bit! :)

 I made this quilt for my niece. It was fun, and the biggest quilt I've made.

Echo quilting is a really fun way to quilt in straight lines, but still add interest. Here is an example from a quilt I made a few years ago:

 A quilt I made for my SIL as a Christmas present.

I love my BSR (Bernina Stitch Regluator) and although I didn't learn to FMQ (free motion quilt) with this, it's made it quite easy to be lazy on improving my skills. When I first was learning how to FMQ, I made a large picnic blanket and I practiced a different quilting design in each block. We use the quilt all. the. time. It usually lives in our van and we use it for picnics whenever we get the chance! Or for whatever else we are doing. It's been fun to have.

Anyway, there are lots of ways you can quilt using FMQ designs. I'll share a few from my picnic quilt. These pictures where taken as I was making it, so just know I took them a long time ago. ;p and remember, I was JUST LEARNING! and I wasn't using my BSR. So they are horrible, but worth it, and it doesn't even matter that they are horrible. :)

You can do simple designs, all over designs, or stippling:

 Originally shared on this post.

 Originally shared on this post.

Here is an all over design that I did on my daughters doll quilt. I love this with the variegated thread.


Or you can do fun designs to fill in the spaces.


 My daughter's car quilt. That we actually don't use in the car.

Or you can be a bit more artsy and "draw" some designs. This last one is the back of my picnic quilt, or a block that I "traced" as I quilted. I love the how the design shows up on the back.

I really love this one!
Originally shared on this post.

 I made up this design. Can you tell?!? haha.
originally shared on this post.

Originally I wasn't going to share my own quilting photos, but that was kind of fun to look back in time. ;) I had started a Pinterest board of quilting ideas, which you can check out, or browse for more ideas.

There are so many more quilting ideas and designs, and tutorials than when I made this picnic quilt a few years ago. Mostly I want to say, don't be afraid!! Get your hands dirty and do something daring!! No regrets! Have fun! And love whatever you decide to do!! Sure, it could possibly make or break your quilt. But who cares?! One thing I strive to do, is "OWN IT". Accept where you are right now in your skills, and keep doing things to help you get to where you want to be. And whatever you do, don't compare! How's that for a little quilting pep-talk?! :D

Alright, so now I want to see some of YOUR quilting! Use the linky below to share your blog posts or photos of how you are quilting your Celestial Star block(s)! I can't wait to see them! I'll pick one winner from this link up on the blog, next Thursday, to win one of the FQ bundles mentioned above.

Happy Quilting!!



  1. It would be pretty fun to do a QAYG celestial star block quilt

  2. I am obsessed with that liberty pillow you made. The hand quilting is absolutely amazing. Love it so much.


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