If you have been following along on my Sisterhood of Scraps stories, then you probably know about my love of the color Orange.
One of the Orange quilts that have been on my “MUST MAKE Pinterest Board” is this antique quilt from Barbara Brackman’s quilt collection. I was so excited when she let me include it in the Sisterhood series of books. Then comes along All Hallow’s Eve by Fig Tree and Co, and I became obsessed with the orange’s in this collection, the color is officially named pumpkin. Not too bright or not too orange….just right.
I knew I had found the perfect fabric to remake Barbara’s quilt. Stock # 20354-11 just in case you want to rush to the store to get some.
What really is the hardest decision in the quilt making process is how to quilt it. Finding a quilter that can work their magic takes some time. Several of the quilts in Sisterhood of Scraps were quilted by Maggi Honeyman, so I asked her to do a post about how she goes through the process of quilting scrappy quilts.
When Lissa asked me to write a post about quilting scrappy quilts, I knew it was a subject that is right up my alley. My quilt-making journey has been about scrappy quilts from the beginning. The more fabrics that are included in one quilt top, the better! So, when it comes to quilting them, I feel at home. Over the 19+ years that I have been quilting on a long-arm quilting machine for other individuals, there has been a big transformation in how we approach quilting scrappy quilts. When I started, doing an all-over repeated pattern on most quilts just wasn’t the preferred option. This has changed recently, particularly on scrappy quilts.
I am a very traditional piecer and my quilting style definitely tends towards traditional patterns, whether on scrappy or more fabric specific quilts. I always try and let the quilt suggest to me what it needs in the way of quilting when the piecer is unsure of how they want their quilt finished. The types of fabrics or the block design are a couple of ways a quilt can talk to you. Sometimes it takes getting the quilt loaded on the machine; and other times, the quilt speaks for itself. Feathers and crosshatching are always great go-to-patterns for custom quilting. For the more modern quilts, it has been a bigger stretch for me artistically. When deciding on ideas for quilting, I will use a piece of Press-n-Seal to carefully draw on top of the quilt, which helps me visualize how my idea will actually look on the quilt. There is also a multitude of long-arm machine quilters who have written fantastic books with design ideas, as well as internet resources, that have lots of ideas for custom quilting on all types of quilts. These books and the internet have changed the machine quilting world immensely.
Having said this about custom quilting, all-over/edge to edge designs have become much more acceptable, just as machine quilting is more acceptable than it was 20 years ago. When looking at scrappy quilts, I feel that the fabrics and the actual piecing pattern make the biggest or most important statement for a quilt. On these quilts with so much interest in the fabrics and design, the quilting simply needs to add texture and dimension. I will pick an all-over design for scrappy quilts as often as choosing to quilt it custom.
As with scrappy quilts, I have always loved pieced backs. My philosophy is to use what I have and that includes pieced backs. But what I really mean is if I don’t use what I have, then I can hardly justify buying more!! So, when customers bring pieced backs, I am quite ok with that. However, when there are lots of pieces used for the back, it is very easy for the back not to be “square”. Careful measuring and piecing is just as important for the back as it is for the front so that you have a nice flat back. While quilting the top, I can see when a bit of adjustment is needed and I can attend to it. When the back has some less than square properties, it is much more difficult to see and correct while quilting. Many of my quilts have pieced backs, as it adds another artistic element, and making quilts is very much an artistic outlet for most quilters. When I piece my backs, if I am not using some of my leftover blocks for part of the back, I use a ½” seam allowance with a slightly shorter stitch length and then press the seams open.
As far as pressing seams prior to quilting, when a piecer chooses to press the seams open, they should know that any stitch-in-the-ditch quilting is more difficult. Also, stitching in an open seam runs the risk of cutting the piecing threads with the needle while doing the quilting. If the seam is pressed to one side, it gives you the ditch to stitch in, which provides the stability and structure that stitch-in-the-ditch is intended to give. Having said that, open seam allowances allow for much flatter intersections to quilt through and over. Thicker seam allowances always benefit from very good steam/heavy pressing to ensure they are the flattest they can be.
I hope these thoughts have given you some insight into my quilting process for scrappy quilts. Everybody has their own process, but in the end, we are all makers in one big sisterhood of quilters. This is first, a way to relax, express ourselves, belong to a group, and have fun. There are no hard and fast rules and there is no perfection. Make it yours and know I truly love quilting with you!
Thanks so very much for quilting with me,
Thank you Maggi for always making my quilts SING! and sharing such great tips.You can find Maggi on Facebook.
and Instagram @sewmaggi
Join me back here tomorrow as I share what Maggi has been working on lately.
** Sisterhood of Scraps is available NOW from your favorite book retailer.
Today’s post is a guest post from the uber-talented Susan Ache. Susan is one of the contributing artists in my new book Sisterhood of Scraps. Susan shares with us all about hibernation and what she does in THE cold month in Florida. ( one little hiccup- that I am posting this in February but I think you will get the gist and enjoy Susan’s process.)
Susan’s quilt from Sisterhood of Scraps, Scrap Diving.
It’s not something I get to say often, but, I am a “guest blogger”. Thank you, Lissa, for inviting me to your space. Let’s get some introductions started. Happy New Year to everybody, I’m Susan Ache (pronounced like hockey without the H) and, I play just about every day on Instagram @yardgrl60. I live in Florida, sewing by day and stitching by night.
Now that you know all about me, let’s talk hibernation. I am not about to spend my fun blogging time talking about new year resolutions cleaning and organizing my sewing room with tips and hints. I am going to talk about how I turn my air down really low, throw food in the crockpot and hibernate in my sewing room for the month of January and sometimes February. Florida gets a few cold days in February while the rest of the country is bundled up and snowed in during January. Well, I like to be a part of that fun, so, let’s talk about what I like to spend my time doing.
Hibernating January is such a quiet month to plot and plan new quilt projects from my inspirations I have saved over the year. Let’s not even begin to think that I write it down or count the number of things I want to get done, I just like visuals to let me know that it’s all there for me when I want to start. You know those tabs you put in books to mark your favorites, or if you are like me, those patterns you put in a file, so you will never forget you want to make them. January is my time to sit and re-evaluate what I really want to get done and what I really have in my stash to accomplish that. I do love playing in my scraps, so most of the time, I am lucky enough not to have to cut into the “real” fabric, but, I do like to know that when there is something special I do want to make, I have the materials on hand. The best part about my process is that I don’t actually “kit” my projects. I get everything together, make little notes, and take a quick snapshot of it. I keep that little “kit” photo in an album in my camera phone and will always have exactly what I pulled that day right at my fingertips.
Here’s the thing, I love, and I can’t even begin to say how much I just love to sit down at the machine and make a quilt block. Hibernating January is my time to do this from all of my “kits” that I have pulled. There are three main reasons why I make a practice block. The first reason is that I like to see if I like the construction of the block and if there is possibly an easier way for me to construct it. The second reason, how many times have you started a quilt and realized halfway through that you don’t really even enjoy making the block. Well, by making just one or two blocks, I can pretty much tell if it is something I will enjoy making lots of. And, finally, my favorite reason of all, I have an extra block to throw in my “orphan” basket of quilt blocks, which always come in handy when I want to make a sampler quilt.
Having Hibernating January is also my time to play with all of the templates and rulers that I have randomly picked up at shops, shows, or online. Taking the time to see what those things can do certainly helps me have more fun during the year when I finally learn how to use them. Years ago, I found an entire little box in the back of my cutting table filled with all sizes of drunkards path templates. I spent Hibernating January figuring out how to make curved piecing more comfortable for me, and to this day, it is one of my very favorite features of a quilt or a quilt block, and I feel confident making them because I carved out some quiet non-stressful time to practice.
I want to Welcome Barbara Brackman today as she does a guest post about her quilt in my new book, Sisterhood of Scraps.
“When Using Stripes and Plaids Buy Extra Fabric to Match.”
Someone ignored that good old HomeEc advice to make the Orange Zig-Zag. Lucky for us.
The quilt top came from a Topeka, Kansas thrift store in the 1970s. I asked church ladies in Garnett, Kansas to hand quilt it in the ‘80s. I’d guess the quilt dates to about 1920 due to two fabric style characteristics. The oranges are all cut from the same solid and it looks like a 20th-century dye, not chrome orange, a 19th-century dye. It’s not really lightfast. I hung it too long one winter in Seattle where there’s not much sun; yet the orange faded a bit.
The light fabrics are shirting stripes and plaids, which were quite popular for everybody’s clothing in the teens. Even the giant black and white stripes were probably meant for a snappy men’s shirt, worn with a celluloid collar.
Ad from 1910
I’ve enjoyed hanging it over the years to the envy of my friends who decided to make their own. You might want to use Lissa’s pattern beyond the advice I gave them:
“Get a bunch of orange prints & solids and white stripes & plaids. Make a 60-degree diamond template. Piece rows. When you get bored piece some half diamonds along two sides.”
That’s how I do things, but my friends bought a 60-degree ruler and counted.
We had an orange-fest at our quilt show a few years ago. The quilt on the left is by Kathe Dougherty, a faithful copy. Karla Menaugh’s on the right was done in a Kaffe Fassett workshop.
Kathe was really able to match the look of a century ago.
Orange Zig-Zag by Carol Gilham Jones (Not Orange)
Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your quilt in the Sisterhood of Scraps.
Here is my version that primarily uses the Lollies fabrics by Jen Kingwell. I want to make a quilt exactly like Barbara’s and probably still will.
Please share your version by using the hashtags #sisterhoodofscraps.