Hello Quilty Friends!
Happy Thursday to you!
What have you been up to this past week?
Another week has zoomed by and I am not getting anything accomplished! Or at least it feels that way. We’ve had some lovely February weather here in northwest Pennsylvania and I’m getting those “Spring into Spring” feelings when I want to clean, sort, and organize everything! Hah! I wish I could find an extra 2 hours in every day to get started on that ginormous undertaking, but I do need to sleep at least a few hours every night. You would think working from home, I’d have so much extra time to work on stuff, but sadly that is not the case for me. ARGH!
I want to start with my studio because it kind of looks like a fabric store/flea market threw up. I totally serious here. One of my local quilt shops hosts a “fabric yard sale” every year and I think it’s time to get signed up for it! I wasn’t planning on it this year because of a few time conflicts, but now those conflicts have been postponed, so I am calling today to get my space reserved. Even with less time than usual to prepare, this will inspire me to do some purging in my fabrics and such.
What do you do when your studio gets taken over by fabric, notions, patterns, books, rulers, scraps, and everything else?
VRD Blog Hop Grand Prize Winners
Okay, you’ve all been waiting to hear who won the 2 Grand Prize boxes from the Blog Hop.
Drum roll please………….
Joy from Oregon
Charlene from Georgia
Here’s a photo from the blog hop showing some of the fun quilting goodies in the boxes:
As for the rest of the prizes, they are being shipping out this week, so if you are a winner and you haven’t received your prize yet, you should have it shortly.
Wow! I think I’ve gone through 3 rolls of tape preparing all the packages! But you know what? I smile while I put on the labels because I know how much each winner is going to enjoy their prize from the Blog Hop.
VRD Bella Vista Panel Quilt Tutorial
Recently, I decided to make a special quilt for a cousin of mine who is having some rough times. I knew I wanted to use a panel because panel quilts go together so quickly, so I thought I’d give our new Bella Vista pattern a go.
This is a fabulous pattern for those horizontal panels. Sometimes it can be hard to find a pattern that uses this type of panel, so Bella Vista is a great pattern to have up your sleeve. It also works with ANY style of horizontal panel and can work with different sizes, too, as long as you measure as you go instead of cutting everything out first.
Don’t want to use a panel? You could replace that section of the quilt with blocks, appplique, or even a novelty fabric. Just keep in mind, you might have to do a little math. Yay math! Love math!
You can buy the Bella Vista pattern HERE.
Looking for a panel to jump-start a new project? You can go HERE and check out Villa Rosa’s large selection of panels.
Let’s get started on our quilt project!
So, the first thing I did was gather up my fabrics. My cousin loves eagles so I chose this flying eagle panel and a coordinating eagle print along with a light grey (I decided not to use the medium grey you see in the photo) texture, red tonal, and a blue tonal for the binding. My plan will be to back this quilt with fleece to make a cozy quilt for my cuz, so it will be like wrapping him up in a warm hug when he needs one.
Quilts are one of the BEST forms of therapy for folks going through tough times in their lives, wouldn’t you agree?
You all know how much I love The Quilts of Valor Foundation and the impact they are making one quilt at a time. To learn more about the Quilts of Valor Foundation, go HERE.
My cousin does not have a military background, but he loves red, white, and blue and is very patriotic, so an eagle quilt will be a good fit for him.
Now I have all the fabrics ready, it’s time to get going on this quilt project. The first thing I’m going to do is trim off the selvedges on the panel. This panel is bigger than the dimensions of the panel in the pattern, but I don’t really need to cut it down. Instead, I will measure as I go before I cut my fabrics.
Here I am cutting the red strips for the first border.
Next I measured the panel through the center horizontally. Those who know me won’t be surprised when I share this little Lazy Quilter hint about measuring. Tehehe……
I don’t use a ruler or a measuring tape. Nope, not at all to measure when I’m putting a quilt together. Instead I use my fabric or border strip or whatever I’m sewing together in order to get the right measurement. I’m a pretty consistent quilter, so this works well for me. I will say that this technique may not work for everyone, so use it at your own risk. LOL!
I folded my panel in half horizontally and laid it on my flat surface. I smoothed it all out nice and flat with the edges even. Then I gathered up my border strips which were already sewn end to end to make longer strips. These will be sewn to the top and bottom as per the directions.
I carefully laid the border strips out along the folded center. Then I smoothed the strips and lined up the edge of the strip to the edge of the panel. I usually put a pin at the edge to keep things from sliding around. Finally, I took a deep breath and cut the border strips to the width of the panel. I repeat this process all over again for the side borders, too, except that I use the vertical center to measure with, instead of the horizontal. I hope this makes sense…….
Now let’s sew the border strips onto the top and bottom of the panel.
Let me tell you how I do that, too, because I have another little trick up my sleeve.
First, I find the middle of the panel and the middle of the strip, match them up, and put a pin in the centers. Next I smooth the border strip along the edge of the panel and pin the outside, matching up the edges of the strip to the panel edges. I also put a pin at the bottom outside edge of the strip in a horizontal fashion (see this trick in the photo below on the left side). This helps to keep the strip square to the panel. Such a simple little thing can really make a difference. I learned this tip from an experienced quilter when I a beginner.
Then I add some more pins between the center and the ends before I head to the sewing machine.
Here is the panel with the first red border sewn onto all four sides. Don’t you just love the cool framed and matted effect of the printed borders in brown and navy around the edge of the panel.
So far, so good. Let’s keep moving.
I cut my second border strips using the light grey fabric. Next, I sewed 2 strips together to make a longer border strip. I decided to sew my border strips together with a straight seam instead of doing a diagonal seam for this project. It’s quicker and has less fabric waste, but mainly the tonals will hide the straight seam. I like to press my seam open to reduce the bulk. (I did the same with the first red border, but didn’t do a photo of it.) Take a look at the last photo in this group and you can hardly see on the front side of the border strip where I sewed the seam.
Now to measure the grey border strips against the panel just like I did above with the first red border. Time to pin, pin, pin. Then sew, sew, sew. Oops, sewing over my pins………
Here’s the quilt so far with the first red border and the second grey border on all four sides. Looking good!
Now I’m going to add the third border, which only goes on the top and bottom of the quilt.
You know, if you wanted to, you could sew the next borders together before sewing the border strip sets to the top and bottom of the quilt center. Just sayin’…….
Anyway, let’s add the top and bottom red borders.
I can’t believe how big this quilt is getting to be! It will be a really nice size when it’s finished.
I think for the eagle print border strip and the last red border, I am going to sew the strips together and then sew the border strip sets to the top and bottom of the quilt center. I wish I would have done this when I sewed the previous red border to the top and bottom (as I hinted to all of you, above, which was really after the fact). I think it would have been a bit easier. Did I mention this quilt is getting big? LOL.
I had to be careful when I was sewing the eagle print strips together into a longer border strip because it is directional and I didn’t want my eagles flying in different directions. There’s just something wrong with eagles flying backwards……
Then I had to watch when I was sewing the outer red border strips to the eagle print border strips because of the eagle print’s directionality — I really didn’t want my eagles flying upside down when I sewed them to the quilt center.
So if you are working with a directional fabric, take your time and double check placement before you sew, that way you don’t have to rip out your stitches.
Okay, the border strips are sewn together and now I need to sew them to the panel quilt. Again, I have to make sure I’m sewing the right border strip set to the right part of the quilt, or my eagles will be belly up. Deep breath….here goes!
YAY! All the eagles are flying straight and true! I am so relieved about that.
(Psst. In the bottom right corner of the above photo, you can see prizes in priority mailers getting ready to be mailed — they took over my comfy chair in my studio!)
Here’s a couple more photos of the finished Bella Vista top. I headed outside for these photos, even though it was a bit breezy. I just love to see quilts swaying in the breeze on a clothesline on a nice day, don’t you? Right now I can close my eyes and smell the clean fresh outside smell of quilts (and laundry) hung outside to dry on a breezy spring or summer day. Ahhhhhhh.
I mentioned above that my plan was to back this quilt with cozy fleece. When I put fleece on the back of a quilt, I do not use batting because it makes the quilt too heavy and too thick. I will most likely machine quilt it simply, probably with a large meander. I have learned over the years, that when quilting fleece, it’s not a good idea to cross over lines when you are machine quilting because fleece stretches and the cotton fabric on the front of the quilt doesn’t stretch like that. I definitely don’t want bunchy areas and pleats on the back of my quilt.
I’ll have to head over to one of my local quilt shops so I can use the tables in the classroom to layer and pin this quilt. Of course, I’ll probably do a spot of shopping while I’m there…………. Sorry, not sorry.
Well, that’s it for me for this week.
Take care and I’ll see you all next Thursday!
Until then —
Sew. Laugh. Repeat.
Tricia @ VRD