Thursday, March 31, 2011

3-D Bow ties

Note: American Quilter magazine has made it easier to view all the entries in the Mystery Quilt contest. The quilts are now presented as a slide show and you don’t have to keep going back to the home page and clicking on the title for each quilt. Go here:

My Danica’s Pink Butterfly Quilt is No. 18 in the slide show.

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During the time I was in Tennessee with my daughter, I made a little 18 x 18 inch quilt with fabrics purchased at the Stitchery Quilt Shoppe in Dyersburg. I gave the quilt to owner Linda McCulloch, who has been so nice to me whenever I dropped into her shop to browse and chat because I was stressed and tired from caretaking. I promised Linda I would post the directions on my blog. So here goes.

This quilt consists of nine 3-dimensional bow tie blocks (finished size, 4” each) made from muslin and reproduction fabrics. It would be a very cute scrap quilt made from light prints for the backgrounds and dark prints for the bow ties, and it would look good in batiks, too. If you are buying fabrics, buy fat quarters for the bow ties and at least ½ yard for the outer border and binding.

First I cut my fat quarters into 2½” strips, one strip for each bow tie, then cut the strips into three 2½” squares. Next, cut 2½” strips of muslin into 18 2½” squares, OR, use any light-colored fabric for your background. You need 45 squares: 2 background squares and 3 bow tie squares, such as these, for each small block:

Assemble the bow ties according to the directions I posted on Feb. 26 here:

When you have sewn and pressed the blocks, experiment with different arrangements of your bow ties. I finally settled on an arrangement with the bow ties slanting upward from left to right, all the same direction. Sew the blocks together in three rows of three blocks each.

I chose three border fabrics (dark, light, then dark again) and cut strips 7/8” wide, 1¼” wide and 2½” wide. Measure the quilt before adding each border to determine the length for each border strip. I love that red fabric, so the outer border fabric matches two of the bow ties in the quilt.

Layer the quilt over backing and batting, then quilt. It would be very easy to use a walking foot and quilt in diagonal lines across the surface. I stitched in the ditch around the two inner borders and then used free-motion quilting on the blocks and outer border. Note that I quilted right OVER the dimensional center of the bow ties. On a previous quilt, I tried avoiding the center of each bow tie, but I prefer the way this looks. A small quilt like this is an excellent way to practice your free-motion stitching. You haven’t invested too much time, so if your stitching doesn’t come out exactly the way you wish it would, well, you got in some good practice!

Square up the quilt by trimming the edges. I got a little distortion with my free-motion quilting, but not much. I used the same red print for my binding: Cut 2½” strips, join the strips, then iron them in half lengthwise. I sewed the raw edges of the binding to the right side of the quilt, then turned the folded edge to the back and hand-sewed it down. I put a few stitches in the corners on the front and back to create mitered corners.

My 5-year-old granddaughter, Danica, “helped” me make this quilt. Well, at least she talked to me the whole time I was sewing it! She thought it was for her, poor thing, so I had to make her something out of the leftover pieces. (I got really creative with a new doll quilt, but more on that later.) Here she is, licking the bowl after we made brownies, joined by my daughter Genevieve, who at last was well enough to WANT to lick the brownie batter. It’s the chocolate cure!!

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