Hold Tight Petite Sew Along - Finishing

Hold Tight Petite Sew Along - Finishing

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It’s the final week of the Hold Tight Petite Sew Along and today’s post will cover assembling the blocks in a Quilt As You Go (QAYG) quilt sandwich or assembling the top and making a traditional quilt sandwich, quilting, hand quilting and binding.

As Blair Stocker’s Wise Craft Ruby Ruler™ Ambassador series August Ruby Ambassador (Read my interview by Blair—here) I thought what better way than collaborate with Blair on the Petite Sew Along and use her rulers to help navigate color and value in a fun quilt project.

Here’s what we’ve accomplished in three weeks:

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Blair’s ruby-hued artist’s viewfinder tools the Ruby Ruler™ and Ruby Minder™ where invaluable tools in the first week’s study on Color and Value. I blogged about how, as a designer, I go about selecting colors for my fabric collections or a color story for a quilt and how I used the Ruby Minder™ to check my selections of Art Gallery Fabric Pure Solids. If you missed the first week, read more here. Plus you’ll find additional color theory materials covered on Week #1 and Week #2 of the original Hold Tight sew along as well as in the skill-building demonstration videos. Find these helpful videos on my Sew Along page which are available for viewing any time.

To catch up on what happened during week 2, read my Cutting & Piecing blog post here. Use templates to cut out shapes and sew curves with ease. Find out how with my videos for Week #2, #3 Part 1, and #3 Part 2 on the Sew Along page.

During the Hold Tight Petite sew along, Blair Stocker will be following up my Wednesday morning blog posts with a Facebook Live session. This workshop-like experience with Blair on Facebook is a huge bonus along with connecting with more than 1,500 other quilter’s via Blairs private Facebook group! Blair will host live sessions to support my sew along blog posts and share with you her expertise. Note: Blair’s FB group is free to join by answering three questions when requesting to be added to the group. If you can’t join in the live sessions—no problem—the videos are available for replay and ready to view when you are!

Hold Tight Petite quilt by Sharon Holland

Hold Tight Petite quilt by Sharon Holland

This sew along is free to join—no sign up forms—just follow along and have fun. You’ll will need, however, the Hold Tight quit pattern. If you don't have my Hold Tight quilt pattern already, you'll want to purchase the Hold Tight PDF pattern from my Shop page. The Hold Tight pattern now includes two sizes—the original over-sized throw and the new petite crib-size quilt. The material lists, cutting requirements, coloring sheet, and full-size templates are part of the fully illustrated PDF pattern. These sew along blog posts serve to supplement the PDF but don't provide the detailed pattern information that you'll find in the PDF available for purchase. If you’ve purchased the original PDF prior to August 5, 2019 and didn’t receive a special newsletter email from this blog sharing the link to the Petite Add-On download, see my SEW ALONG page to get your copy of the bonus size. You’ll find the Add-On download that contains the crib-size material list, cutting guide, and coloring sheet. Note: You’ll still need the original Hold Tight pattern for quilt details. The current PDF in my shop has been updated with both quilt sizes so patterns purchased after August 5, 2019 include both quilt sizes—no add-on necessary.

WEEK #3 - QAYG and Finishing

I like options, don’t you? I also like to be able to quilt my own quilts. The original large throw-size Hold Tight quilt and the new Petite crib-size quilts are both nice size quilts for trying machine quilting on your sewing machine as well as adding some decorative hand quilting for the balloon strings.

Hold Tight quilt throw-size by Sharon Holland

Hold Tight quilt throw-size by Sharon Holland

For tips on how to machine quilt a traditional quilt sandwich (quilt top, batting, and backing sandwich), like the quilts from my first Sew Along (above), see Hold Tight Sew Along Week #4 blog post.

For those wanting to try Quilt As You Go (QAYG) keep reading as I walk you through how I finished my Petite Hold Tight quilt.

QAYG

Hold Tight Petite by Sharon Holland

Hold Tight Petite by Sharon Holland

My QAYG finishing method is a hybrid of QAYG and traditional quilting to secure block rows to a batting and backing sandwich. Once the horizontal rows have been stitched down to the batting/backing in a QAYG row assembly, the finishing of the quilt is more traditional with the addition of machine or hand stitching.

The quilting on my Petite crib quilt is minimal. The quilting stitches are about 4’’ apart and I could get away with this because I used Hobbs Tuscany Premium Polyester Batting for my batting. The beautiful loft of Hobbs Tuscany Polyester adds to the puffy balloon look and makes for a snuggly-warm quilt and doesn’t shrink.

Securing Horizontal Rows in QAYG

Once all the block are made and squared up see Week 2, sew the blocks into horizontal rows. This is the same for either size quilt.

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Cut and piece backing according to the pattern directions and for the size quilt you’ve selected. I selected Paper Flowers Aurora from my Tapestry collection for Art Gallery Fabrics as the print for my backing. Cut batting to size indicated on pattern. Hand or spray baste batting to backing to prepare for QAYG assembly. See Sewcial Bee Sampler Quilt Finishing post for spray basting batting to backing.

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Just as if you were assembling a quilt top, place the first two rows to be stitched right sides together, seams nested and edges matched. Pin at seams.

You can start from the bottom and working your way up, like I did (see above illustration) or begin from the top of the quilt and work down—the results will be the same. Center the pinned rows onto the batting/backing near the bottom if working up or at the top if working down. Pin row assembly to backing/batting. Stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance through all layers, removing pins as you sew.

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Carefully press the top row open and pin the flipped row down to hold flat. I like to roll the quilt batting/backing for easier handling.

Hold Tight Petite QAYG Assembly

Hold Tight Petite QAYG Assembly

Continue adding additional rows in the same manner. Press rows open as you go and continually check that the quilt top is flat and the backing is smooth with each row addition. Remove basting stitches if you hand basted the batting/backing layers.

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After all the horizontal rows have been added, machine or hand baste around the outside edge of the quilt with an 1/8’’ seam allowance to secure the outside block edges. Note: Leave the excess batting/backing until all the quilting is finished.

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At this point you have the top secured to the batting and backing but will need to add more quilting. You’ve basically better-than-basted your top to the batting and backing. Quilt as desired or you can go minimal like I did and machine or hand quilt in the ditch along the vertical seams. I hand quilted my vertical seams with 40 wt. cotton thread so it wouldn’t be very noticeable. You can just see some stitches if you look at the orange balloon in the above photo. You’ve now secured all the blocks down in a grid.

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For the rest of the quilt I selected four DMC Perle cotton threads and hand stitched 1/4’’ from the seam lines to echo the balloon shapes. I love how Blair’s Ruby Minder™ ruler also doubles as a thread minder!

To determine where my balloon strings should go and to avoid having to put marks on my quilt to get the straight guide lines, I used tape to mask out my lines. Watch how to hand quilt using floss and how to use tape as a guide, here.

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Once all the quilting is completed, add binding according to the pattern’s instructions. Trim batting and backing to edge of binding. Turn binding to the back of the quilt and hand or machine stitch to finish.

Hold Tight Petite by Sharon Holland

Hold Tight Petite by Sharon Holland

I hope you’ve enjoyed this petite quilt along and a further chance to play with with fun pattern, learn more about working with color and value, and sewing with curves. The Hold Tight Petite quilt is the perfect crib-size quilt and I love the puffy batting for it’s warmth and drape. My grandson needs a second quilt that he can drag around and snuggle with and he’ll be getting this one when I see him next month.

I’m excited to see Blair’s finished quilt and would love to see yours too! If you’re on Instagram, tag me @sharonhollanddesigns and Blair @blairs use the #holdtightquilt or #holdtightsewalong hashtag so we can follow your progress. If you’re sewing with Art Gallery Fabrics be sure to tag #artgalleryfabrics too! Don’t forget that you can join Blair’s Facebook group and meet others working on this quilt along with value and color insights from Blair’s expert knowledge of the subject.

Thanks for sewing with us!

Hold Tight Petite Sew Along, Begins!

Hold Tight Petite Sew Along, Begins!

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You’ve heard right, I’m hosting a sew along and it starts, today!

As part of Blair Stocker’s Wise Craft Ruby Ruler™ Ambassador series and being August’s Ruby Ambassador (Read my interview by Blair—here), I thought it would be a fun collaboration to merge my Hold Tight quilt and Blair’s ruby-viewer into a sew along workshop-like experience!

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Hosting a new sew along is the perfect way to introduce you to Blair’s ruby-hued artist’s viewfinder tools the Ruby Ruler™ and Ruby Minder™ and to continue our exploration of selecting color and value for your quilts that we started in the first Hold Tight Sew Along. The extra bonus to this sew along is the opportunity to connect you to more than 1,500 other quilter’s via Blairs private Facebook group where Blair will have live workshop-like sessions to support my sew along blog posts. Note: Blair’s FB group is free to join by answering three questions when requesting to be added to the group. If you can’t join in the live sessions—no problem—the videos are available for replay and ready to view when you are!

Wise Craft Ruby Ruler™

Wise Craft Ruby Ruler™

This sew along is also free to join—no sign up forms—just follow along and have fun. You’ll will need, however, my the Hold Tight pattern. If you don't have my Hold Tight quilt pattern already, you'll want to purchase the Hold Tight PDF pattern from my Shop page. The Hold Tight pattern now includes two sizes—the original over-sized throw and the new petite crib-size quilt. The material lists, cutting requirements, coloring sheet, and full-size templates are part of the fully illustrated PDF pattern. These sew along blog posts serve to supplement the PDF but don't provide the detailed pattern information that you'll find in the PDF available for purchase. If you’ve purchased the original PDF prior to August 5, 2019 and didn’t receive a special newsletter email from this blog sharing the link to the Petite Add-On download, see my SEW ALONG page to get your copy of the bonus size. You’ll find the Add-On download that contains the crib-size material list, cutting guide, and coloring sheet. Note: You’ll still need the original Hold Tight pattern for quilt details. The current PDF in my shop has been updated with both quilt sizes so patterns purchased after August 5, 2019 include both quilt sizes—no add-on necessary.

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Week #1 - Color and Value

Welcome to Week #1 of the Hold Tight Petite Sew Along! For this blog post and the following two posts, I'll share tips and tutorials to bring your quilting skills to a new level. In three weeks you’ll no longer be hesitant about working with color and become confident about stitching a quilt with curves!

From now until August 21, 2019 I'll break down the key components of the Hold Tight quilt pattern into three manageable tutorial blog posts. These tutorials will be useful to anyone working with fabric and patchwork regardless what quilt you’re stitching. In addition to my written posts, I’ve adding skill-building demonstration videos from the first Hold Tight sew along. Find these helpful videos on my Sew Along page and can be accessed at any time. Plus, for this Hold Tight Petite sew along, Blair Stocker will be following up my Wednesday morning blog posts with a Facebook Live session at 3:30pm PDT covering the same topic that same afternoon!

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For this sew along I’ve designed a 6-balloon Hold Tight quilt using Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids. This crib-perfect size is not only quicker to make than the original quilt because there’s fewer blocks but also has a manageable number of colors needed to achieve the balloon shapes and transparency effects between balloons. Either size you choose to make the principles of color selection and construction are the same.

Where to Begin When Choosing Colors

The Ruby Ruler™ and Ruby Minder™ rulers are perfect for helping to see values between colors by reducing hues to gray scale—allowing you to see value changes. But what does it mean when I say, value?

Value is the darkness or lightness of a color (hue). A high value change between colors can also be called contrast. Black and white have high contrast. A low value change between colors can be called tonal, making the changes (or steps) between the colors subtle and less noticeable.

Let’s assume you’re NOT working with a kit or fabric collection that a designer has already determined the color story. Most of you will be working from your stash of solids and/or purchasing fabrics for your Hold Tight quilt. Where do you begin in selecting colors and how do you get the transparency effect?

The answer is to think like a designer and artist. So as not to overlap too much on the great information I’ve already covered on Week #1 and Week #2 of the original Hold Tight sew along, I’ll cover aspects of color and value as I use them in my surface pattern design, artwork, and quilts. Be sure to take a look at those earlier posts if you’re wanting more insights into Color.

My Process

I’ve introduced you to the trick of using inspiration images for color selection on the Community Sampler Week #1 post and like I said, on Week #2 Hold Tight Sew Along. I used this same approach when selecting the colors for my fabric collections and my finished Hold Tight Petite quilt. Now, let me walk you through the process….

Spirited by Sharon Holland

Spirited by Sharon Holland

My next Art Gallery Fabrics fabric collection Spirited comes out November 2019. Before I even begin designing prints I consider the season the fabric collection will be released—in this case fall. Then I think about the mood of the collection or what sort of story I want to tell—this very much influences color, values, and of course print designs. When you’re selecting fabrics for a quilt you may subconsciously be asking these same sort of questions: What room will I be using this in, who is this quilt for and do they have favorite colors, what story or mood, energy, or feeling should this quilt have.

After I have my brief or concept from those initial questions, I then go to my iPad and start poking around on Pinterest. I start a private folder to gather my ideas and allow myself to go down that rabbit hole. For your assignment, I want you to do the same thing but try not to think literally (like in this case, balloons) —just explore a wide range of images. You’re bound to have a couple beautiful images jump out at you that check off all the boxes in those initial questions. You’re golden when you can find one or two—that’s all you need—that sum up your vision in that image. Here’s the four Pinterest-pulled images that were the color and storyline inspiration for Spirited. You can view all the prints from the collection, here.

Storyboard images pulled from Pinterest

Storyboard images pulled from Pinterest

I used this exact same concept to develop the palette for my Hold Tight Petite quilt and I’ll go further into exactly how I extracted the colors from my inspiration images for my collection and for my quilt.

Inspiration images pulled from Pinterest

Inspiration images pulled from Pinterest

Because I’m heavily influenced by my upcoming fabric collection and craving fall colors (my favorite season) I found myself wanting earthy hues and an ethereal, muted palette and had that as part of my brief. Nature has always been an inspiration for me in my art so I started a search on butterflies and found these two images that I thought would make a nice color story. It’s a rather limited palette of chartreuse, gold, burnt orange, rust, cornflower blue, and lavender. I could’ve easily extracted the green in these images but instead decided not to introduce that color into the analogous/complimentary scheme that was happening already.

An analogous palette is one where shades (black added), tints (white added), tones (gray added) of hues (colors) lie next to each other on the color wheel. Complimentary colors are two hues directly opposite each other on the color wheel and include the shade, tint, or tone of those hues.

Knowing that the 6-balloon quilt has spots for four transparencies I was conscious to select colors that if mixed could yield plausible transparency colors. See Hold Tight Sew Along Week #1 post from the first sew along—it talks all about color mixing.

Extracting Colors

I’m fortunate to have a lot of design tools in my bag of tricks and I use Illustrator or Photoshop to extract colors from images. I don’t have any specific suggestions but I’m certain there’s many wonderful apps available that you can do on your phone and get the same sort of results—just do some looking around.

I import my images into my program and use the eye-dropper tool to extract a color I like from the image. Of course one could go crazy pulling colors so I limited my pull to eight on my initial pull—knowing my background was going to be off-white, I didn’t need to include that in my selection.

What I was aiming for in my initial eye-dropper extractions was a pleasing range of colors of similar value (darkness or lightness) to maintain my idea of etheral but yet, if I were to line up those selected colors from darkest to lightest there would be a noticeable change in value steps. In my fabric design, artwork, and quilting I try to have one or two value steps between colors that will be touching so they can stand out from each other. You can see that in my above example the colors almost step dark, light, dark, light….

Remember, my background is going to be off-white which in my quilt will be the lightest value. Any of the colors from my initial pull will have enough contrast next to the off-white fabric. So, if your quilt has a medium value background you will want to be pulling a lot of light and dark fabrics for the balloons.

From that initial pull I (with the use of my Adobe program) I then let the computer select the nearest Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solid color (that I’d preloaded into my program). You can see the results of what the computer selected as the nearest equivalent. As for my textile designs I have all the Pantone colors preloaded into my program and do this exact same process on my first pass to creating a color story for a collection.

But what if you don’t have access to computer programs or apps? Go old-school and manually compare your fabric swatches. Here’s some ideas:

  • Print out inspiration photos

  • Take your own photos that could yield an interesting color story

  • Use watercolors or paints

  • Pull physical items from around your house that have colors you love

  • Use a painting or colorful printed fabric

  • Take a walk in a garden or museum

Getting Real

Now it’s time to get off the computer and start pulling fabrics in real life. I took my initial Pure Solids results to my sewing room and spread out my stash of Pure Solids to compare the print out to actual fabric. Here’s where your design instincts, the Ruby Ruler™, and your personal preference will go to work.

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The Goldilocks Syndrom

  1. The first photo is the fabric pull based on the initial computer generated AGF Pure Solids selection with two exceptions: The removal of PE-421 because it was too close in value to another fabric and PE-460 because it was too dark compared to the rest of the pull or too high of a contrast. I exchanged those fabrics with PE-485 and PE-457 and that’s what you’re viewing in this first photo. Colors don’t always translate perfectly from screen to reality, so it good to see them in person. I also wasn’t feeling the lavender (although its a gorgeous color and I so wanted it to work!). Viewing the lavender with the Ruby Minder™ I could see it was too bright or a pure a color (one without as much gray added) and not muted enough to play well with the vision for my color story. It threw a bit of a cog into my color wheel (ha ha).

  2. The second image shows that I’ve replaced the lavender with a mid-tone gray but when viewing the new selection through my Ruby Minder™ the gray and the blue were too close in value—making it ineffective as a transparency choice.

  3. For the third photo I selected PE-432, a lighter gray with a hint of yellow undertones so it related to the honeydew yellow. This color selection actually made more sense as a transparency color between the blue and the light yellow even though in reality mixing those two colors would produce a green—I wasn't going to bring green into my palette so this was my best neutral that would convincingly work as a transparency. A quick confirm with my Ruby Minder™ and it was just right!

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I cut out all my pieces and put them up on my design wall to double-check my selections before starting to sew. It’s hard to see the off-white background pieces against my white design wall, but they’re there. I used my Ruby Minder™ again to negate color and view my pieces in gray scale to see if the transparencies and balance was cohesive. That’s when I did just a bit more tweaking to color placement from my original plan and added in a ninth balloon color of PE-484 for a smoother transparency between the lightest yellow balloon and the dark gold balloon.

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Here’s my final fabric pull for my Hold Tight Petite quilt and I’m super happy with how it looks and relates back to my inspiration photos and brief for this quilt. I’m excited to see what Blair selects for her quilt and would love to see your inspiration for your color story and fabric pull, too! If you’re on Instagram, tag me @sharonhollanddesigns and Blair @blairs use the #holdtightquilt hashtag so we can follow your progress. If you’re sewing with Art Gallery Fabrics be sure to tag #artgalleryfabrics too! Don’t forget that you can join Blair’s Facebook group and meet others working on this quilt along with value and color insights from Blair’s expert knowledge of the subject.

Blair also has a wonderful online class, Make Modern Scrap Quilts Using Color Value which is an evergreen class—you buy its and it’s yours forever, there are no "sessions". Read more about this class on Wise Craft Handmade.

Looking Ahead

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This first week has been all about color and value and making your fabric selections for the size quilt chosen. If you’d like to work ahead and begin cutting out your materials you can reference the Cutting Templates and Fabrics video from the first sew along as well as the additional tutorial information found on the corresponding blog post from the first sew along.

Otherwise on week two I’ll blog about Cutting & Sewing Curves and Blair will being cutting and piecing live on Facebook. We’ll also have a fabulous giveaway from myself and Art Gallery Fabrics of a Hold Tight Petite Quilt Kit consisting of the pattern and the exact Pure Solid colors I used in my Hold Tight Petite quilt along with your choice of any AGF print for the backing! More details on that giveaway next week. Note to anyone winning a Hold Tight quilt pattern on this SAL that’s already purchased the pattern—we can substitute with your choice of a different PDF pattern from my SHOP.

Looking to week 3… I’ll be covering how to finish your quilt in a Quilt-As-You-Go method (QAYG) and talking about the hand quilting I did on my sample. If you’re interested in QAYG —don’t sew all your blocks together if working ahead! We’ll need the blocks as (horizontal) rows for securing to the batting and backing. More about that on the final week.

Hold Tight Petite Quilt-As-You-Go quilt assembly peek

Hold Tight Petite Quilt-As-You-Go quilt assembly peek

Week #1 Giveaway

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Right now, over on Instagram, Blair and I are holding the first giveaway. Visit my IG feed @sharonhollanddesigns and enter to win a Hold Tight quilt pattern and Ruby Minder™ ruler for yourself and a tagged friend! Follow the giveaway rules on the post. Look for the post giveaway image on my feed just like the one above and enter by commenting. Two pairs of friends will be randomly drawn from the comments on around 4 pm Eastern Friday, August 9, 2019 and notified on Instagram.

Both giveaways for this tour will be held on my Instagram account @sharonhollanddesigns. Be sure you’re following myself and Blair @blairs and Art Gallery Fabrics @artgalleryfabrics so you don’t miss a thing!

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. 

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #3

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #3

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Welcome to Week #3 of the Hold Tight Sew Along where I'll be 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 and take part in the sponsored giveaway prizes for each week of the event. 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. The videos support Weeks #1 through #3 and you’ll find these helpful videos on my Sew Along page. All the videos will be available on Week #1 of the sew along for those wanting to work ahead and 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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Even though I’ve labeled this pattern an intermediate skill level quilt pattern, I firmly believe that even a confident beginner can tackle curved patchwork with ease because you’ve completed the following:

  1. You’ve printed out the PDF instructions and templates to 100% scale (not borderless) onto US letter size paper and because you’ve cut your fabrics true to size (see Hold Tight Sew Along Week #2 post).

  2. You’re sewing with an accurate seam allowance. As with any patchwork sewing its imperative to stitch with an accurate 1/4” seam allowance. Take a moment to read the Seam Allowance section on my Perfect Patchwork tutorial.

I’ve prepared bonus videos for this week’s tutorial and you’ll find the Hold Tight Sew Along Week #3 parts 1 and 2 are extremely helpful for pinning, sewing, press, and squaring up your blocks. Find all the Hold Tight Sew Along videos on my Sew Along page.

Sewing Curves

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First image: To begin, find the center of an A and B shape and finger press a crease. With the largest A shape on the bottom (right side up), pin midpoints with the smaller B shape, right side down, on top.

Second image: Align a short, squared end of the B shape to the corner (straight) edge of the A shape and pin. Repeat on the other side.

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Place the pinned pieces over your knee or a pressing form to help the curved pieces align. Place additional pins at equal distances so the curved edges match.

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Using an accurate 1/4” seam allowance, stitch with a short (2.4-2.6) stitch length. Slowly sew the seam along the curve with the sewing machine needle in the down position. By having the needle lowered into the fabric when the machine is stopped this allows the presser foot to be raised and holds the fabric in place without loosing the needle position.

Remove pins as you sew. Avoid pulling or pushing the pieces to be sewn so as not to stretch the bias curved edges. Continue to check that the raw edges are matched and lift presser foot to reduce any bulk in fabric before lowering and continuing to stitch.

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Once two pieces have been sewn together, finger press the seam open. Press block in an up and down motion (not side to side) to avoid distorting the block.

Note: For this quilt I recommend pressing the seams open because it will be easier to assemble the quilt top and avoid bulky seams.

If you’re piecing a B/B/C block where three shapes are sewn to make a block, press the first seam open before proceeding to stitching the second seam. Once a block(s) are pieced, proceed to Squaring the Blocks.

Squaring the Blocks

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Use the Block Trimming Template found in the PDF and make a plastic template. Transfer all markings onto the plastic. See Week #2 blog post. I’ve added in some extra wiggle room into the Hold Tight blocks and they’ll need to be trimmed exactly to size for quilt assembly. Tip: Use rolled Washi tape to hold the plastic template in place while cutting. This also allows the template to easily be rotated when trimming a different side.

First image: For an A/B, align the square edge of the Block Trimming Template to the right angles of the A shape (lower left) as this piece will have the least amount of distortion from sewing.

Use the curve marking of the Block Trimming Template to match template with the curved seam on the block.

Second image: Before trimming the block to size, take a moment and make sure the seam allowance area of the Block Trimming Template is covering fabric on all sides and that the curve(s) of the template and block match and seam allowances are true. Trim sides as necessary to square the block.

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When trimming a B/B/C block, use both curve markings on the Block Trimming Template (see second image where the curved markings have been highlighted in black). Align template to block curves and double check that seam allowance is correct on all sides before trimming.

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A sew along’s a lot more fun with sponsors and giveaways, right!? Our friends at Dritz Sewing, the Fat Quarter Shop, Hobbs Batting, and Omnigrid have generously provided the Hold Tight Sew Along with products I know you’ll love! 

Every Friday I’ll be posting weekly a 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 Hobbs Batting

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I’m so excited for this week’s giveaway. Our friends at Hobbs Batting are offering batting prizes for two winners. We’re holding a giveaway here on the blog (see entry details below) and another winner drawn from the #holdtightsewalong Instagram hashtag pool.

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The lucky winners will be able to select three, throw-size batts of their choice from the following fine quality Hobb’s Tuscany brand battings. I personally love the Hobb’s Tuscany batting collection and found it to be the best batting for handling, drape, stitch definition, and quality.

Tuscany Poly

Tuscany Unbleached Cotton

Tuscany Bleached Cotton

Tuscany SUPREME Cotton

Tuscany Cotton/Wool

Tuscany Wool

Tuscany Silk


Giveaway now Closed. Congratulations to Margaret Swan!

Note: This giveaway is open to EVERYONE! If you're a "no reply" or anonymous commenter, please remember to include your email address in your comment--you can't win if I can't get a hold of you!

1. Simply leave a comment here under this post! (First comment entry).

2. Follow Hobbs batting on one of their social media platforms *  Blog  *  Instagram  *  Facebook  *  Just let me know that you did by making a separate comment here to record that entry. (Separate comment - second entry). 

3. My followers get a third entry! If you follow via subscribing to my posts, through Bloglovin (or other service), or on Instagram, just let me know by making a separate comment here to record that entry. (Separate comment - third entry). 

4. Help spread the word!! I know that many of you already do, so I thought it would be nice to add that as another way to enter! Spread the word about the Hold Tight Sew Along on YOUR instagram, facebook, tweet, pin, blog post, etc... (separate comment - fourth entry). 

That’s FOUR possible entries! Enter now through Monday, April 8th! The winner will be picked at random around 4 pm Eastern. I will post the name of the winner on this post once they've been notified and responded to my email.

Don't forget the giveaway for this week is also held on Instagram for an additional chance to win and will be randomly drawn on Monday. The winner is 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 and don’t forget to tag me too!