Quilting the Pixel Heart Block

I knew that as I was making the pixel heart quilt that I wanted to quilt it with a heart theme.  I had originally wanted to go with a sort of McTavish heart compostition.

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I really do love this design.  But I don’t think this would have been right for this quilt.  I intend for this quilt to be loved on and snuggled under and that is very difficult when the quilting is dense as it tends to make the quilt stiff.  I use the Warm Company’s Warm and Natural which tends to be very stiff when densely quilted.  I do know that the Orient batting by Quilter’s Dream tends to not be as stiff when densely quilted.  But, I am really a “use what you have” kind of a person, especially when I get batting for 60% off.

I decided on a swirl with hearts design.  I want to say that this design is an original of mine, so to speak.  I had been practicing the swirls from what I learned from watching Angela Walters but I feel like what I eventually made was not one of her designs.  This particular design flowed very naturally for me.  It was satisfying to quilt.

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I wanted each pixel heart block to be a bit different.  I did quilt each heart with an orange peel design.  I loved doing this and in hindsight, I wish I had done all of the squares with the orange peel design.  I am pretty happy with how all of the quilting turned out.  The more I do it, the more my stitches flow more smoothly.

When I first started free-motion quilting I was doing it on my domestic machine.  It was so frustrating for me.  I hated trying to drag a heavy quilt through my small throat and I hated my wonky, forced stitches.  Since I have switched to a longarm, I am in love with free-motion.  So much more of the beautiful designs I see in my mind are being translated onto fabric.

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So. Much. Applique.

I agreed to test the Dutch Darlings pattern by Christy  of Purple Daises Quilting.  It’s a beautiful quilt and I had been eyeballing it ever since I saw a snapshot of it on Instagram.  She uses a very glue dependent method of applique where all of the edges are turned in and held with glue against a foundation that stays in the applique pieces.

I have had the applique pieces cut for a while.  And I have stared at them.  All 172 pieces.

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But not anymore!  Today is the day that I gather my glue sticks.  And more glue sticks.  But seriously, so much glue.

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Orange Tulip.  Cotton and Steel has the best prints.

Once I get all of the applique pieces glued I think I might take the quilt to work and sew the pieces onto the quilt there.  We just got the Janome MC 9400 and I want to test out the Auto Pivot function.  Perfectly stitched applique?  Sign me up!

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I love this fabric.  I’m pretty sure I’ll cry when I run out.

Today, I am linking up to (for the first time!) Sew Fresh Quilts.

Pixel Heart Quilt

I run a casual quilt club at the Bob’s Sewing and Vacuum in Albuquerque.  Recently, we made some quilt blocks using an interfacing method for quick piecing.

Many manufacturers make fusible interfacing that has a grid printed on it.  To make these blocks you start with cutting your fabric to match either the size of the individual printed squares or a proportion there of.

Fusing all of the squares onto the interfacing doesn’t occur until all squares are placed.  To keep the pieces from shifting I dabbed a bit of glue from a purple glue stick onto the back of each piece.  I had to learn this one the hard way when a really cool Celtic knot shifted terribly when I moved from my work space to my ironing board.

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All of the pieces are laid down and glued.  You can see some of the pieces are not perfectly aligned.  This is okay, as long as you follow the markings on the grided interfacing and not where the fabric naturally wants to fold

After all of the pieces are fused with a hot iron, you sew all of the seams along one axis, right sides together at 1/4″.  Sew all of the seams on that axis.  You then carefully cut open each “seam tube”.  It is possible to just use a rotary cutter to cut the closed seam off, but I find this removes too much material.  You have to press these seams open.  It is super important to lift and press and use the tip of the iron to help open the seams to prevent erroneous creasing.

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This is what the back should look like after sewing one axis down.  I have started to cut the upper portion open.

Once all of the seams have been opened, you stitch on the opposite axis.  Cut the seams open and iron open.

TIP: When sewing the pixels together, crease the fabric along the line of the pre-printed grid and not where the fabric is folding from piece placement.  This will ensure more accurate seam junction and precise grid size.

The grid that I found is on point (not cool on point, but where the squares run diagonally instead of vertically or horizontally).  To make the illusion of a heart instead of a blocky mess, I had to make 4 of the squares into half square triangles.  If you want the same color of half square triangles, you can use the 4-at-a-time method with no waste.  If not, just use the traditional method or any other half-square triangle method you fancy.

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Top Left Block: Cheryl Arreguin; Top Right Block: Afton Warick @ Quilting Mod; Bottom Blocks by Yours Truly

 

Next time, I’ll talk about how I decided on a final layout and quilting design!