Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Love Lil' Twister Quilts!

A few months ago, I demonstrated the Lil Twister tool for some fellow quilters and provided them each with a small charm pack to experiment.
5x5 grid for heart pattern

Any pattern that uses all squares in a gridded pattern make great candidates for twister quilts.  To help demonstrate, I created a small heart made within a 5x5 grid.  Once I had it sewn together, I used my Lil' Twister tool to cut new blocks that were sewn together to form a Twister Heart.


Later that evening I set about adding some borders with another twister pinwheel in each of the four corners.  I layered it up with some cute cherry fabric for the backing and did some straight line quilting around the gridded heart.  But when I got the borders, I was totally stumped!  My sewing machine started to act up.  So out of frustration, it was banished to the UFO pile (out of sight and out of mind!)

Until this Tuesday night when Doug mentioned one of his colleagues having a baby shower and whether I might be able to make a quilt for the occasion.  Sure!  Not a problem...when is the celebration?  This Thursday!?!  As in less than 48 hours?  I knew there was no way I could get a baby quilt done so fast, until I remembered my little heart twister that was half quilted.  So I pulled it out and thought about incorporating some hearts into the borders and came up with some various quilting designs that could be accomplished using some good old contact paper templates, my trusty walking foot and minimal stop/starts.  I cut up some hearts and came up with this design.

Quilted Hearts in Borders--back side of quilt
To create the heart templates, I first measured the length and width of the border section and dividing by the number of hearts I wanted to include.  My border was approximately 18" x 6.5", and I wanted to include 3 hearts on each border with some buffer space between the binding.  So I started with a 6" square of paper that I folded in half lengthwise and cut out a heart shape of my liking.  I then traced the paper heart onto the back of contact paper three times, cut out and voila!:  My heart templates were ready for quilting.

I peeled off the contact paper packing and laid the center heart template sticky side down, centered along the length and width of the border.  Then I placed each of the neighboring hearts upside down with a small space (less than 1/16") to stitch in between without punching through the contact paper.  If I wanted to include more hearts, I would have added hearts on each end alternating the direction with a small gap for stitching.  For even numbers of hearts, center the middle two hearts and then work your way out.   

With my walking foot on, I stitched along the templates starting with the curved portions of the heart (start at the blue star and follow the yellow arrows).  Once the curved portions were done, it was all straight stitching (follow green arrows) as I went up and down along the pointed ends of the heart until I got back to my starting point.  After the 3rd or 4th use of the contact paper heart templates, the adhesive isn't as sticky, so a flower head pin or two can help with keeping them from shifting during the quilting process.

"Cherry Sweet Dreams" for Baby Vivan

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