Hold Tight Sew Along Week #4

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #4

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It’s the fourth and final week of the Hold Tight Sew Along where I’ve been sharing tips and tutorials to bring your quilting skills to a new level. No longer will curved piecing hold you back from stitching a quilt with curves! 

If you don't have the pattern already, you'll want to purchase the Hold Tight PDF pattern from my Shop page or from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop who now carries this pattern along with the Hold Tight quilt kit. If you’ve just discovered this blog or only just heard about this sew along, there’s still plenty of time to join in on the fun as the blog post for the sew along will remain up to access any time. To get up to speed, take a look at the Week #1 posting dedicated to color selection and working with colors like a designer.

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The Hold Tight Sew Along tutorials are useful to anyone working with fabric and patchwork regardless what quilt is being made. In addition to my written posts, I’ve adding skill-building demonstration videos to further your learning experience. I’ve added a new video dedicated to hand quilting and adding the “strings” embellishment to this quilted quilt before binding. View video support Weeks #1 through #4 on my Sew Along page. All the videos will stay a permanent feature to resource in the future.

These blog posts serve to supplement the instructions but don't provide the detailed pattern information that you'll find in the PDF available for purchase. The Hold Tight pattern will have your material list, cutting requirements, full-size templates, and be fully illustrated. My supplementary blog posts are just that, supplementary and meant to guide you along as you sew and give general patchwork sewing information for anyone sewing curves.

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Quilting

If you’re a beginner or just in need of a refresher on how to baste your quilt top, machine quilt, and add the binding, check out the Finishing blog post I had written for the Sewcial Bee Sampler quilt. Since I cover the way I put together my quilt sandwich and how I go about machine quilting in the Sewcial Bee Sampler post I won’t go over that identical information here but instead add information specific to the Hold Tight quilt such as batting selection, the machine quilting design I used on both of my Hold Tight quilts, and hand quilting the string embellishment.

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To help illustrate how different batting lofts look in a finished quilt I decided to use the exact same quilting design on both of my Hold Tight quilts.

The white background quilt on the left has a Hobb’s Tuscany Silk batting inside and the ombré quilt on the right has Hobb’s Tuscany 100% Polyester batting inside. I love both of these battings but they have completely different properties.

Here’s what I love about both of these products:

Both preform beautifully with quilting stitched up to 4” apart.

Both have a beautiful drape, light weight (no heavy quilt to wrestle with when stitching), and easy to handle.

Both are excellent for hand stitching and machine quilting.

There’s no shrinkage with Tuscany Polyester and only 3%-5% with Tuscany Silk (but I’ve noticed very little after laundering).

I’ve had no issues with laundering these battings and set my machine to Delicate Cycle, Cold Water wash and rinse, and low heat (delicate) drying.

The Tuscany Silk is similar to a cotton batting for stitch definition and feel but without the weight. The Tuscany Polyester is a high loft for a puffier look and is light as a feather (great for kids and extra snuggly quilts).

You can read further direct from the source at Hobb’s Batting plus take a look at their handing Quilting Products Batting chart to know what’s the best batting for your needs.

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I decided to do a very simple quilting stitch on these two quilts. The original Hold Tight quilt is filled with Tuscany 100% Polyester batting but has a dense, overall quilt design (see quilt below) so the quilt doesn’t puff as much as with the simple, looser machine quilting (see quilt on the right, above). It just depends on the look and feel you want to achieve.

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To stitch the loose Looping Scallop design you will need to do a little prep work of marking a horizontal line across the middle of the block rows.

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By dividing the block rows in half horizontally you’re making guides for two Looping Scallop quilting lines per block row. Stagger the two Looping Scallops in alternating rows as seen in the illustration above. I freeform stitched my Looping Scallops and they look in real life about as wonky as they do on my illustrated drawing.

For one horizontal row of Looping Scallops I used the block seam lines as my guide where I would make the loop. On the next row, that seam line was my midway point between loops that I eye-balled to land in the middle of the block.

I worked from the bottom of the quilt up, as I wanted the scallops to give a bit of a cloud illusion and this felt the most natural for me in creating the loops. You can work from the top down if that feels more comfortable to you. If you’re not sure about eye-balling where the loops and scallops are to be stitched, then draw out the machine quilting design or make a little mark at the midpoints for reference so you have more of a guide to follow.

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Once your quilt has been quilted and before you add the binding, you’ll want to add the hand stitching to create strings on the ends of the balloons. I’ve put together a helpful video all about Hand Quilting and you can find it on the Sew Along page with the other Hold Tight Sew Along videos.

I used all 6 strands of 6-ply Aurifil floss for my hand quilting thread.

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All of my Hold Tight quilt use Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids for the top. The white background quilt I’m calling the Art Class color way and you can see the full list of fabrics used on week #1 of the Sew Along. For the backing I had to sneak in a print and used Sporangia Plaid print from my Art Gallery Fabrics Signature collection as the perfect compliment to the colorful front.

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For the Ombré Desert color way I mixed it up a bit and made a gradient background to simulate the sky. Read about the colors that went into making this top along with the color inspiration for the quilt on week #2 of the Sew Along.

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The backing for the Ombré Desert color way is Destination Aerial from my Tapestry collection for AGF. It was the perfect shades of blues and peaches!

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I lucked out with the perfect (although a bit windy) day for photography and love how the blue of the sky looks with these quilts. The balloons look as if they will fly away!!!

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I can’t wait to see your finished Hold Tight quilts, there’s so many possibilities for coloring and even the finishing options make this quilt look completely unique. Be sure to tag me @sharonhollanddesigns when posting to social media and don’t forget to use the hashtag #holdtightsewalong to be entered into our final giveaway that will be drawn from the Instagram hashtag pool on Monday, April 15 (see below for more details).

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Let’s give a huge shout out of thanks to our fine sponsors and their generous giveaway prizes. I personally love the people behind these companies, their quality products, and their dedication to serving makers like you.

Thank you to our friends at Dritz Sewing, the Fat Quarter Shop, Hobbs Batting, and Omnigrid have generously sponsored the Hold Tight Sew Along.

This Friday, April 12th will be our last Hold Tight Sew Along giveaway on Instagram. By using the hashtag #HoldTightSewAlong on Instagram every time you post sew along photos to a public account (private account posts don’t show up in hashtag pools) your IG account is automatically entered into the weekly sew along drawings! Ideas for what to share include your sew along progress, the “I’m a maker” sew along badge found HERE, your fabric pull, blocks, and finished quilt.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @sharonhollanddesigns so you never miss a thing!

THIS WEEK'S GIVEAWAY SPONSOR IS FROM The Fat Quarter Shop

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You may need to be restocking your solids stash after this sew along so what better way add some color to your fabric cabinet than with a chance to win this giveaway! One lucky IG winner will be sewing with this beautiful 15-piece Art Gallery Fabrics Summer Sun Pure Elements fat quarter bundle generously offered by the Fat Quarter Shop.

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Don't forget the giveaways for this sew along are held on Instagram (not on the blog) and winning names are randomly drawn from the posts in the hashtag pool. By posting images of your Hold Tight color inspiration, fabric pull, blocks, or quilt. Use the official #holdtightsewalong hashtag every time you post your makes (to a public account) and you're automatically entered into the weekly IG drawings! See my Instagram Friday giveaway posts @sharonhollanddesigns for full details. 

Star Light Quilt

Star Light Quilt

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The very first time I made this star block was for the Community Sampler Cactus block and knew then and there I wanted to eventually make a quilt using just this block.

When sewing for my new Art Gallery Fabrics collection called Signature I designed projects around themed rooms and one of the rooms was to be a baby room which would be the perfect look for the Star Light quilt born from the Cactus block!

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This gender-neutral design is perfect for any baby and is a generous 50'' square finished size. I consider this an intermediate project but with my tutorial on piecing the star block and other tutorials of Quarter-Square Triangle Units and working with directional prints, I feel even a beginner could make this quilt with a little extra attention paid to accurate seam allowances and cutting and a care with the trickier aspects of this design.

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For my nature-loving baby I selected Signature prints and Pure Elements solids in a green, teal, and golden yellow palette that made me think of being outdoors on a summer's evening, chasing fireflies and looking at the stars. 

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This week Art Gallery Fabrics will be virtually publishing the Signature fabrics Look Book and it will be packed full of beautiful projects made with my Signature collection. To celebrate the Look Book and collection I've added this Star Light baby quilt pattern to my Free Patterns page

Download the free PDF pattern for full instructions and illustrations for piecing this large baby quilt. I've also included a Quilting Diagram for how I machine quilting my quilt. This is a nice size for quilting on a domestic machine. 

I used Hobb's Tuscany Silk Batting to fill my quilt and I love the lightweight, sumptuous drape it gives a quilt. Silk batting handles and launders just like cotton with very little shrinkage. 

Tip for machine quilting like I've done is to stitch all the stitch-in-the-ditch diagonal, vertical, and horizontal lines first then go back in and stitch the oval leaf shapes last.

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Be watching later this week for the Art Gallery Fabrics release of the Signature Look Book! If you're sewing with Signature and posting to Instagram, be sure to tag me @sharonhollanddesigns and use the hashtags #artgalleryfabrics #Signaturefabrics and #agfsignature so I don't miss any of your makes!

Community Sampler Week #16

Community Sampler Week #16

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It's finale week for the Community Sampler. I know many of you will not have your tops finished or quilted this week but both Maureen and I will be watching for you to post pictures of the finished quilts in the weeks and months ahead. Many are still posting their finished Sewcial Bee Samplers from last year's sew along so it's never too late to complete a quilt.

Be sure to use the #CommunitySampler hashtag when posting your Community Sampler blocks and quilts to Instagram and tag both my @sharonhollanddesigns and @maureencracknell so we don't miss any of your beautiful work!

It's been a real pleasure to co-host the Community Sampler. We've seen many returning makers from our last years Sewcial Bee Sampler and loads of new friends joining in this year's sew along. I hope you've learned some new patchwork skills or are continuing to improve upon what you already know. All the blocks and quilts I've seen are so well made and have beautiful fabric selection. Thank you so much for sewing with us!

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Surprisingly we still have a few new Makers joining our sew along at this late point. If you are just joining us, pick up the Introduction PDF on the Sew Along page and you'll get a material list along with coloring pages so you can get started planning your quilt. Then, work your way through the first Community Sampler post to the present and take advantage of the in-blog tutorials for the different patchwork techniques used throughout the Community Sampler. Both Maureen and I will leave all the Community Sampler downloads up on our blogs for you to download long after this event is done. Also, check out the #Community Sampler hashtag on Instagram, you'll see an amazing array of beautiful blocks as inspiration overload! Soon, you'll be seeing finished Community Sampler quilts too!

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There's nothing new to download this week and no tutorials--this week's post is purely show and tell for me to blog about my finished sampler and the design inspiration behind how a chose to machine quilt my sampler. 

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Last Wednesday's post showed how I had my top pieced and my backing fabric of Untamed Beauty Daybreak from my new Signature collection for Art Gallery Fabrics all selected and cut. The following day (Thursday) my husband and I took off for a trip to New York to visit our youngest son. 

We had a wonderful time visiting the city and packed an unbelievable amount of sight seeing into four days. We averaged 8 miles a day on foot and I've no idea how many more miles we traveled each day by subway, bus, Uber, or boat. We were Uptown, Downtown, and all around that town!

The Cloisters in New York City

The Cloisters in New York City

On Sunday we visited the Cloisters (a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art), which is a medieval castle housing exclusively art from the Middle Ages. Situated overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan, it's a specular place to visit. 

The Judy Black Garden in the Cuxa Cloister

The Judy Black Garden in the Cuxa Cloister

I loved the building and the amazing artifacts from the Middle Ages. We were lucky to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) and the Cloisters while the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination exhibit was in progress and I found the garment design so imaginative and inspiring.

The Bonnefont Cloister Herb Garden 

The Bonnefont Cloister Herb Garden 

But my most favorite part of the Cloisters were the serene courtyard gardens.

Garden at the Cloisters

Garden at the Cloisters

I didn't realize it at the time but the Cloisters courtyard gardens were to be the inspiration for the quilting on my Community Sampler quilt... 

We returned home just before lunchtime on Monday and we had already put in a long day because we'd needed to get up at 3 am to get to the airport in time for travel and check-in.

First thing I had to do once home was jump in and get my sampler quilted so I could work on binding that evening and photograph it Tuesday in order to put together this post. While I was spray basting I was thinking of how to quilt it. I sometimes feel like a Quilt Whisperer because I always let the quilt tell me how it should be quilted. 

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With my trip still fresh in my mind, I thought about those peaceful medival courtyards and thought how the sampler quilt reminded me of a walled garden and the blocks represent how every column had different relief carvings in their capitals.

Thinking of the quilt as an aerial view of the castle, I decided to treat the border and center of the quilt with two different quilting designs.

On the border I did a simple, wavy parallel lines that represent the woven twig fencing seen in the herb gardens.

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The center of my quilt is a free-form, stylized organic design to represent the flowers seen in the Cuxa Cloister gardens. I love how my Untamed Beauty print on the back looks right at home in this idea of a garden.

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The batting used in my quilt is my favorite, Tuscany Silk Batting from Hobbs Batting. The drape and feel is incredible and it's as easy to handle and quilt as cotton but with much improved properties over cotton. 

I chose to bind my quilt in the same Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements solid Sweet Macademia as I used for the background of my quilt. This keeps the quilt looking clean on the edge and that soft peach/pink color is the same as used in my Untamed Beauty print. By the binding coordinating with the print on the back, it now becomes a whole cloth look of printed fabric if I wanted to flip the quilt around for multiple looks. 

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Please visit Maureen's blog to see the beautiful Community Sampler quilt she's making from her gorgeous Art Gallery Fabrics Love Story collection.

COMMUNITY SAMPLER SPONSORS

Don't forget that this Friday's the final Giveaway Friday on the Community Sampler sew along. Because the finale is so big, Maureen and I handle this last giveaway differently than the previous weeks. Maureen will be hosting the blog giveaway with a special grouping of prizes and I will be hosting the Instagram giveaway with a grouping of special prizes. Our posts on Friday will include all the details for prizes and how to enter.

Happy sewing!

 

 

Community Sampler Week #15

Community Sampler Week #15

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You've done it! You're top is pieced and now it's ready to be quilted. My co-host and sister Art Gallery Fabrics designer Maureen Cracknell and I are so happy to have you sewing with us and can't wait to see your finished quilts.

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Surprisingly we still have a few new Makers joining our sew along at this late point. If you are just joining us, pick up the Introduction PDF on the Sew Along page and you'll get a material list along with coloring pages so you can get started planning your quilt. Then, work your way through the first Community Sampler post to the present and take advantage of the in-blog tutorials for the different patchwork techniques used throughout the Community Sampler. Both Maureen and I will leave all the Community Sampler downloads up on our blogs for you to download long after this event is done. Also, check out the #Community Sampler hashtag on Instagram, you'll see an amazing array of beautiful blocks as inspiration overload! Soon, you'll be seeing finished Community Sampler quilts too!

Finishing

Time to quilt and finish your Community Sampler! Download the free PDF on the Sew Along page.

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The Finishing PDF download will give you cutting and yardage requirements for a Community Sampler quilt with and without borders. If you've modified the pattern by enlarging the size of your quilt you will need to recalculate the number of binding strips needed, backing, and batting yardages.

  • Add 6''- 8'' to the finished dimensions of a quilt (3''- 4'' extra inches on all sides) for backing and batting needs. 
  • To figure binding: Add all four sides of the quilt plus an additional 12'' for seams. Divide that number by 42'' (the width of typical fabric) and the result is the number of strips needed. Round up if necessary.
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For my Community Sampler quilt I've pieced my top in Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Element solids. But, for the back it's time to add a print! My newest Art Gallery Fabrics collection, Signature is now available at your local quilt shops and online. I chose the Untamed Beauty Daybreak print from my collection because the background has the same soft peach/pink as the Sweet Macademia Pure Elements solids background on the front of the quilt and picks up the coral, honey yellow, and kelly green solid colors throughout the blocks.

To be honest I've not figured out my binding yet but I do know it will be a solid and may just depend on material I have left from the top--maybe a scrappy one!

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Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'm directing you to the blog post for Finishing that was originally posted during last year's Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along. There's where you'll find all the tutorial information for spray basting, quilting, and binding your Community Sampler. The sizes have changed but the concept for basting, quilting, and binding your quilt are the same. As stated in that post, there are many ways to finish a quilt and I am blogging about how I finish my quilts. If you have a preferred method, please do it the way you're comfortable with. If you intend to send your top off to be professionally quilted, discuss with your long-arm quilter how they'd like you to prepare your quilt top and backing for being quilted. 

Quilting

I'm not a professional quilter by any means. I get by and call my quilting style "organic" because it's not perfect and lines are not straight. Since I've not quilted my Community Sampler at the time of writing this post I cannot say with certainty how I plan to quilt it yet. I have an idea to do a loopy clamshell sort of quilting (see first illustration) but until I sit down to my mid arm machine I really am not sure. 

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Use your coloring book page from the first PDF download with a tracing paper overlay to test out various quilting options. 

I do have a tutorial on my Tutorials page for how to quilt a Baptist Fan pattern that is one of my favorite patterns. You can find tons of quilting pattern inspiration online or through the professional quilters resources I listed earlier. The type of quilting design that appeals to you is the best one to choose. Keep in mind the complexity and your skill level when choosing, so you don't get frustrated.

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Another great option that always looks good is a grid pattern. You can run the grid horizontally and vertically or on the diagonal. 

Keep in mind that different batting types have different properties and quilt spacing requirements. Read the packaging recommendations and plan your quilting accordingly. 

I know this is not possibly enough to answer all your questions on how to finish a quilt. Use the internet, books, and other quilters to help fill in the gaps I've not covered here. I've only written about the steps I use to finish my quilts and there are many other ways to achieve the same end results--find what works best for your skill level and needs.

Next week will be the full reveal of mine and Maureen's quilts and of course our grand finale giveaway prize! 

COMMUNITY SAMPLER SPONSORS

My co-host Maureen Cracknell and I are continually amazed by the joy and excitement each of you bring to our virtual community. Thank you for making this sew along so special. Please visit Maureen's blog and see the progress she's making on her sampler quilt, using her beautiful AGF fabrics Love Story collection. Be sure to use the #CommunitySampler hashtag when posting your blocks to Instagram and tag both my @sharonhollanddesigns and @maureencracknell so we don't miss any of your beautiful work! But, please be patient with both Maureen and I over the next few weeks if we don't comment back. Both Maureen and I are preparing sewing samples for our new spring collections and there's just not enough hours in the day (or energy) to get it all done!

Don't forget that this Friday's a Giveaway Friday on the Community Sampler sew along. Maureen and I will take turns hosting a giveaway each week where one of our generous sponsors will be featured and offering amazing prizes both here on our blogs and also on Instagram. Maureen will be hosting the giveaway this Friday and you'll be instructed how to enter at that time.

Happy sewing!