Thursday, April 7, 2016

Flag Day quilt block

Craftsy advertised a darling flag quilt block for free on Facebook that I saw last Monday that I immediately downloaded.  Since my niece is getting married and I'm very into spending labor rather than money right now, I thought it would make a cute set of placemats out of my stash for her upcoming wedding!

I'm not done; in fact, I have only quilted two placemats so far, but I have learned a few useful tidbits!

First, here is the first one of the quilted placemats.  Free motion quilting isn't my bag yet so I used the walking foot for stitch in the ditch and echo stitching.

This is a close-up of the quilting stitches.

At this point, I used white in the bobbin so the stitching on the back is much more easily seen than on the front.

If you look closely though, you can see that each line of stitching was separate from the previous stitching.  Apparently this is not ideal.  You should try to use a single thread all the way through your quilt, NOT that I'm entering this in the county fair or QuiltCon anyway.  I stay-stitched the beginning and end of each line, but I didn't use any of the clever tricks to hide the ends of threads or keep them from bunching up.  I have now learned to draw the bobbin up through the quilt top and also to end the stitching by drawing the ends through the middle of the quilt sandwich.  Gail Kessler shows how to draw the ends through the middle of the sandwich to eliminate knots from pulling through in the free Craftsy class, Piece, Patch, Quilt: Basic Quiltmaking Skills.  (I highly recommend this class.)

Leah Day has quite a few invaluable YouTube quilting tutorials for using your walking foot such as Walking Foot Machine Basics too.

After watching Leah Day's tutorials, I got a little bit daring.  Not much but enough to pull out my fabric marker and free hand some zigzags into the next placemat.  I also replaced the white bobbin for navy although I left the white spool for the thread on top.

 I hadn't washed off the blue yet, but I think it helps make the quilting more obvious anyway.

The picture is upside down, and I have now rinsed off the blue markings so it is soaking wet.  I'll add a right-side up one when the placemat dries.  The backside markings are virtually invisible with the navy blue thread so I didn't bother with a picture.  I didn't use a single line of stitching, but I think I only cut the thread 4 times.  It went MUCH faster this time!!!

Because these are small pieces, I'm using 505 Spray and Fix fabric adhesive to hold the quilt sandwich together.  I'm not sure how to do bigger quilts yet although Gail Kessler's class above explains how to use safety pins.  I'll get there when I get there. :-)

Which takes me to my last point:

Never, never forget it! 

I wish I had learned that when I first learned to sew.  My mother laughed at how many mistakes she made, seams she ripped out, and taught me what places to worry about making perfect and places where it didn't matter.  I didn't learn it though.  I worried.  I fussed.  I made it perfect.  Therefore, I stopped sewing.  Life is kind of like that too.  Most issues aren't worth fussing over, and I'm finally learning that through quilting.

That's why quilting is so awesome.  It is so easy to just skip right over the errors.  Do you have any ideas how many mistakes I have made?  I don't either but I have only ripped out a handful of seams--and those would have been more noticeable, like one strip that said Celebrate that was upside down to the flag.  Since there is only one block per placemat, I ripped that seam out.  I think that was the only one I removed.

One more time:

Thank you!


  1. I love this. I should make a flag quilt for 4th of July :) .

    1. I thought about doing that too, but I already have a line-up of quilts I want to make before July. Craftsy has another pattern, the scrappy pinwheel block, that would be cute combined with the flag.