Today we released a new pattern - how exciting. Actually we released two, but I'll tell you about the other one in a day or so. Anita's new Christmas design "Joy Christmas Banner" is a fun project - I had to make it. (Just for your information we have a special pre-release price of just $6.49 until 7th July - click here if you want to know more) and below you will find some extra tips to help you with this project and quilting in general. In fact, I'll probably make a few blog posts.
Basically this pattern is suitable for a beginner. It has easy steps to make the letters. These can have binding added and used as pot holders or joined together to make a horizontal banner. I would class the vertical banner which I made above for intermediate quilters as the binding can be a little tricky with the different angles.
Even so, anyone can make this Christmas banner and if you are an intermediate or advanced quilter, you might like to enhance your experience by adding extra quilting like I did below.
First I decided to use metallic thread - not ideal for the beginner. I love the look of metallic thread, especially that sparkle on a Christmas project. It does take you longer because you need to slow down and not run your machine as fast as you normally would, otherwise the thread will break. It's also a good idea to use a metafil needle which is designed especially for sewing with metallic thread - a top stitching needle works too. These needles have larger eyes for the thread to go through and a groove down the shaft of the needle to help prevent the thread from breaking as it pierces the fabric.
You can easily use a background quilting filler to quilt down around the letters. This is what I choose to do. Normally I would stipple quilt it, but this time I decided I would use an easier technique suitable for beginners. Straight quilting cross-hatch. I have a few tricks to speed cross-hatch quilting up so you can do it quicker. Instead of drawing all the lines on the quilt, I use a strip of masking tape to sew along side. It's easy to move it over and align it with the row of stitching after the first row is completed.
I also quilt from one side of the quilt to the other, even when a letter or object is in the way that shouldn't be quilted. I simply jump over it by stopping at the edge, lifting the needle and dragging the thread over to the next starting point. You can see I've done several rows in the photo below.
Oh, I should have mentioned that instead of doing the usual cross-hatching, I made a double cross-hatch. That's two rows together (1/4" apart) instead of one. Did you notice?
Back to those threads. After I've finished quilting, I just go back and cut them all off, close to the quilt top. You should cut them longer and run them through to the back if you didn't secure the ends as you quilted.
So this is what the quilt looks like with more cross-hatching completed.
I have done all the rows in one direction using just one strip of masking tape. Now I need to decide if I should leave it like this or do the rows in the opposite direction. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts. I'd decide tomorrow and let you know.