Welcome back for the final installment of the 'a little happy Sew Along'. I hope that you had fun last week making your felt Christmas stockings!
This week we'll be completing the Merry Christmas Mini Quilt adding all the little finishing touches that make it truly special.
SCRUMMY SUPPLIES REQUIRED THIS WEEK
A piece of wadding/batting and a piece of backing fabric aprox 10 1/2" x 11 1/4", just make sure that they are both a little larger than your mini quilt top.
Quilting pins or Basting spray
Binding fabric, for mini's I use a slight narrower binding strip than I do for full size quilts, so for my Merry Christmas Mini Quilt, I cut one strip at 2 1/4" by full width of fabric or if you prefer for those of you who purchased kits you can use the strip enclosed (my normal quilting width binding) which was 2 1/2" x full width of fabric
12wt threads for hand quilting
Lets get stitching.........
First off you will need to make a quilt sandwich, this is basically where you will layer up the backing fabric, wadding and your mini quilt top. I have written a full step by step 'a little happy tutorial' for how to do this HERE. What I would add in is for all small projects (and I must confess on occasion for some larger quilts....oh the shame), I always use 505 Basting Spray rather than pins. If you haven't used it before 505 is a temporary adhesive and it really does make layering a doddle. I find it works best to spray the wadding rather than the fabric and a word of warning don't use to much, less is definitely more on this occasion and take care where you spray otherwise all your surrounding surfaces will be very tacky...believe me on this!! Don't panic if you place your batting in the wrong position, you can simply lift it, give it another spritz and re position. Sorry we do not post 505 Spray, but we have it available in our Ruskington shop.
Once you've made your quilt sandwich, you're ready to start quilting. I chose to hand quilt mine, but please feel free to quilt as you desire.
If you decide to hand quilt, here's a close up of what quilting I added........
1. As you can see from the picture I originally quilted around the tree in off white (Aurifil 12wt #2021) but it didn't really stand out enough for me, so I had a change of plan and used red (Aurifil 12wt #2260), which you can see in pictures further down in a moment.
2. I quilted at a diagonal through all the squares on the 9 patch using red. I used my Hera marker and quilting ruler to mark the straight lines which I then stitched on top of. (The Hera marker creates a crease in the fabric.)
3. I quilted either side of the ribbon in off white, again I marked the straight line first with my Hera marker
4. As before I used my Hera marker to draw a diagonal line through each square and the stitched in a zig zag from one side to the other and back again.
If you've never hand quilted before, this is an ideal project to have a go, so I thought I would talk you through what I like to do. I use a Merchant and Mills straw needle as they have a good size eye and I have no problem threading the 12 wt thread.
I start by making a knot in my thread..... A little happy tip..... my nan always told me that your piece of thread should be no longer than from your finger tips to your elbow..... I then bring my needle in from the back of my quilt to where I wish to start quilting, give it a little tug, so that the knot pulls through the backing fabric and beds itself into the wadding, without coming through to the quilt front.
I like the look of small stitches with a slightly larger gap in between, and tend to bring 2 or 3 stitches on to my needle at a time. I think this is one of those things where you naturally find your own rhythm and stitch length and it's best to not over think it, just go with the flow. I also recently discovered a new ergonomic style of thimble by Prym available HERE which I have found brilliant and it is saving my poor middle finger which previously was stabbed on a very regular basis!
When I've finished stitching, I do a couple of small stitches to secure my thread and then I take my needle back in to the wadding coming out a couple of inches away from where I finished stitching. I then pull the thread taught before cutting it off. The end of the thread then buries itself into the wadding and out of sight. I hope that you feel inspired to give hand quilting a go!
Once you have added your quilting trim away the excess backing fabric and wadding. Then add the buttons, one to the top of the Christmas Tree and one at the centre of each square at the bottom of the hanger. (Can you see how much better the red thread looked than the white for the quilting!)
Next sew your quilt binding, I like to machine mine to the front of the quilt and hand stitch to the back. For a full step by step 'a little happy tutorial', take a look HERE.
The final step is to tie your Felt Christmas stockings to the star buttons, hang up, stand back and admire.........you are done!
I hope that you enjoyed stitching your Merry Christmas Mini Quilt and it will bring a touch of homemade happiness and cheer to your home this year and for many years to come!
I have lots more Sew Alongs and Patterns which I will be sharing with you over the next few months, so I hope that you will visit again soon. Don't forget to add me to your Blog list so you do not miss out!!
Thanks for sewing along!