I’ve Got Your Back

Well, YOU have to have your back. Blog includes tips on quilt backings. Selection of valentine, love, heart quilt patterns for sale by download. Different sizes from 12″ hot pad to lap quilts. GREAT directions with diagram and some photos.

…Well, YOU have to have your back. When quilting, we have to think about how to make up the back. In my grandmother’s day, they used cheap muslin or a sheet. Actually, a sheet can be a good choice; however, if hand-quilting, be sure to examine the thread count and check if your needle is comfortable sliding through. As for muslin, it’s not a cheap as it used to be (what is?), but you can now get it in a double-wide 90″ in a nice quality.

I will admit that I recently used a (gasp!) POLYESTER microfiber bed sheet, and it was the softest, silkiest backing I’ve ever made. I had pre-washed all the fabric, so why not? We now use polyester thread, which, by the way, works MUCH better in a quilting machine. (My favorite is Omni by Superior threads).

These days, however, there are 100’s of more interesting choices for backings than a solid-color sheet. You can buy 108″-wide fabric now. Although a local shop may not carry many colors, you can go to Keepsake Quilting on line for a huge variety. They sell it by the yard or in 3-yd packages and are currently putting a few on sale every “Wide-Back Wednesday”–some fabulous prints.

You may have to piece the back, though. Buy twice the length you need, of course, but I suggest using one whole width and then distributing the next by cutting it in half lengthwise and sewing half on each side. No particular reason except I think it looks better than a seam down the middle.

Have you ever had to lengthen a back piece? I certainly HAVE. Sometimes I’m just out of fabric (or I miscut!!! ARGHH) What to do??? No naughty words–just PIECE it. Look how darling this last “Hearts for the Sweet” turned out.

Hearts for the Sweet cc2323

I only had 1 yd of fabric for a 42″ quilt, so I started with a 6 1/2″ strip of the red I’d used on the front. That was the first mistake…I forgot to count in the seam allowance of the one-yard piece. OOPS! 2nd mistake–I shouldn’t have cut the strip until I’d pre-washed the fabric. OOPS again! It shrank. I was a good inch short, yet a backing really should be a little longer and wider. Oh no!!

OK, …back to the drawing board. I had cut a lot of strips of the rainbow print for the ruffle and just happened to have one left–thank goodness! Not only was it 3″ wide, perfect width, but it’s so cute that it looks planned.

I later came back with more red for the embroidered label, which I whipped in the middle, overlapping a bit, just to be artistic. The back of this quilt is almost as darling as the front. Remember that unlike bed or wall quilts, the back on a lap quilt won’t be hidden. The morals to the story are to “Make it Attractive and Remarkable, maybe even Gushworthy” and “Two Wrongs Can Indeed be Righted.”

Hearts for the Sweet cc2323

This new valentine quilt just published this week is simple. It includes directions and lots of photos this time as well as diagrams for inserting a ruffle or a regular binding. After all, we do love our little boys, too–this could be quite masculine in primary colors with vehicles or spiders or something….ick, maybe not spiders with hearts, but you get the idea. The ruffle has lace on the edge, making it extra special, but it’s really fast to make with a binding instead– without having to tediously gather the ruffle. Another idea is to buy wide ruffled lace instead of a ruffle.

If you have plenty of time in the next week, you could attempt this “Check Out My Purple Heart,” but it’d also be great for Father’s Day with its sophisticated spin on mulberry with yellow to tone down the “pink.” It’s also a large 54″ square, a great size for a man (or woman–hey, try it in pinks ,roses or lilac!)

Check Out my Purple Heart cc2309

The wall hanging below will take considerably MORE time and may not be ready until Christmas or someone’s birthday, but it was so much fun to make from scraps. Those are little paper-pieced log cabin blocks, which are easier when sewing small blocks. However, the pattern could easily be enlarged by simply enlarging the blocks and could be sewn traditionally if you prefer. (I’d like to make it queen-sized for my bed, with a rosy burgundy heart.)

Love in a Little Log Cabin cc2108

On the other hand, you may be pressed for time. I get it! You can still create a marvelous little valentine for your sweetheart, friends or family in just a few hours. This 12″ Platter Pad is both useful and decorative. You can even replace the top-sewn lace with double-folded bias tape if lace is inappropriate–super-quick finish–you don’t have to satin-stitch the edge!

Simply Sweet Heart cc2016

I really hope you’ll take time to sew a special valentine. So precious–so few calories! I’ve omitted the links for fear of going onto SPAM lists, but you can go to my website: https://sewgocreate.com and easily search “Hearts” or “Love.” Some of these are on sale until Feb. 14….spreading MY love to you. Libby

Have you gotten gas recently?

If so, you’ll know that the extremely low gas prices invite fill-ups, especially if you have “monster machines.” Wait, no monster trucks? Well, maybe you need a few in your life. You do if you have a little big man on the way!

Monster Truck embroidery on “Stacked Baby Blocks” quilt by LJ Christensen

This “Stacked Baby Blocks” quilt is perfect to showcase embroideries of ANY kind, whether they be racecars or angels or little duckies. Alternatively, it can showcase 6″ pieced quilt blocks or just printed panels–your choice. It’s made with a simple stitch’n’fold method so that it’s ready to bind when you finish piecing, withOUT quilting. Or you may quilt if you prefer. The block above is actually gently stippled–it just doesn’t show here. But the Warm’n’Natural quilt batting doesn’t require a lot of stitching, so it’s fine. I chose cotton flannel (sometimes called flannelette) for the cute backing.

I decided to put all my baby quilt patterns on sale for just $3.50 each for the next 3 weeks. Get ahead of the curve! Click for “Stacked Baby Blocks”:

cc 1012 “Stacked Baby Blocks” –heavy metal edition by LJ Christensen

Just had a GREAT THOUGHT–how about putting PHOTOS of family members in the blocks so that baby can learn not just Mommy and Daddy, but grand-parents, aunts, uncles, cousins….even during “social distancing”!!! Now there’s an idea! You can order the photo print fabric, but be careful–some are not washable! Read the details.

Other baby quilt patterns on sale for $3.50: “Baby Basket Weave Blanket” made from jelly roll strips and lined with batting before weaving.

“Baby Basket Weave Blanket” by LJ Christensen

“Bouncing Baby Ball” , which can be flat solid balls or pieced and stuffed 3D balls (great scrap quilt).

“Bouncing Baby Ball Quilt” by LJ Christensen

“Goodnight Moon…and Stars” with 3D star points and a dark blue, turquoise or black background:

“Goodnight Moon and Stars” by LJ Christensen

and for those who prefer pastels, “Baby Butter Mints”:

“Baby Butter Mints” by LJ Christensen

I hope some of these inspire you because making baby quilts is really fun!

A Tisket, a Tasket…

You, too, can quilt a basket! Really, you can….well basket-weave a quilt, that is. This darling baby quilt is made from jelly roll strips lined with batting. After they are turned and pressed, you weave them just like those hot pads we used to make in primary school. Then “quilt” along the strip edges, and ta da! It’s read to bind with no backing, pinning, stretching. You’ve constructed back and front at the same time. People will marvel because it’s so novel, yet it’s easy!

So if you have a “little one” who needs an Easter basket but can’t walk yet, here’s the perfect solution, also perfect for a baby gift any time. On sale for just $3.50 for the entire month of March, get this pattern for your stash. Just pay through a credit card, and it’ll wend its way through the ether to you. It’s a great way to use up scraps, too, including scraps of batting.

Click here for more info.

“Baby Basket-Weave Blanket” cc2310
by LJ Christensen

My mother loved baskets. I think her love affair began when we lived in Austria and she learned to carry a basket to market like the Europeans do. Even the stores expected you to have your own. There were always a myriad of baskets to choose from.

Years later, back in the States, she was intrigued enough to take a basket-making class, and as usual, she’d teach me what she learned. Yes, I made a couple egg baskets myself. One time, when I lived in England, I even cut branches from my willow tree and boiled them to get the bugs out. They were stinky from being cooked, but I managed to make a basket. After I tried a few, though, I gave up the practice. I will admit it messed up my nails, and I’m vain about my nails (especially now that I spend $$$ on getting manicures!)

However, making a few baskets was a really interesting experience. My mother and I both bought a lot of baskets over the years, not expensive ones, but just interesting shapes and sizes. I’ve used them for craft table displays quite often. Now I have some special quilt patterns in one of my bigger ones, and this week I filled one with 2800 watercolor quilt squares!

Does anyone remember the beautiful piano watercolor quilt on the front of a book from about 25 yrs ago? I’ve wanted to make it for decades–literally! I’ve been collecting florals and plan to start soon. Remember watercolor quilting? You use florals cut willy-nilly and then piece them by gradations of shade. Coming up for the website, I have an idea developing for a watercolor background with a white cross for Easter. Stay tuned. It should be available soon. Start collecting your spring florals! Spring is close!