Charm Square Quilt – FINISHED

Finished my charm square quilt! Amazing! Sized for a baby, colors for an adult! This works well as a lap blanket for an adult, or a present for someone in a wheelchair.

This is the perfect size for a beginner’s quilt. Honestly, though, it’s not the most useful size for an adult – you’d want it to be at least 45 x 60, or 60 x 60 to be useful as a television throw.

I like the look of the quilt without the ugly hand ties the best. Quilters say that they use that technique mostly for charity quilting, and I can see why. It can be done quickly and cheaply, and it is functionally a good option. But, let’s be honest, it’s not a style most of us would want in our homes.

I’m guessing that Gibson did not add a machine quilting option because that lets her sell three separate “Learn to Sew” classes on Craftsy. The second class is a slightly bigger quilt, I think 45 x 60, with a fluted edge and machine quilting, and the third quilt is the biggest quilt, with a (I’m guessing, the dimensions are not listed) a twin blanket sized quilt, and has a bound edge and machine quilting.

charm square quilt 1

charm square quilt 2

I’m not usually a fan of recommending classes I haven’t taken, but if you want a really thorough and well rated quilting class (that is 14 lessons long, instead of the usual 7), check out “Startup Library: Quilting” and use coupon code “S5R63K6” for 50% off the class (which I think is good until either the end of August 2017 or until August 14, 2017, I don’t remember which). I confess I have not bought the class yet, because I am still debating between that class, Gibson’s other two classes, and the “Start Free Motion Quilting” class that is on sale today for $12.00 (instead of the usual $39.99). And I actually would prefer to learn Free Motion Quilting (“FMQ”).

NOW, I must say, do sign up for the FREE CRAFTSY CLASS (sponsored by the rotary tool maker Olfa) called “Piece, Patch, Quilt: Basic Quiltmaking Skills” by Gail Kessler. The instructor is fantastic, the skills thorough (but more geared for advanced beginner or intermediate quilters). I would start with the first Gibson class, the Baby Quilt class that I did, and then progress to the others. EVERY SKILL she teaches in her one class is in the Gibson class and the Startup Library class. The Gibson class and Startup Library class simply act as filters and keep the more advanced information out of their classes, which make it easier for a beginner or total newbie. But they do it as a cost, so YMMV.

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Charm Square Quilt – Step 4

Turned edges (so no hand sewing!)
Machine quilting (none of those tacky hand ties).

How does this work?

Follow Gibson’s instructions for assembling the quilt:

ASSEMBLING THE QUILT:

  1. Cut batting into 45 in by 45 in square. DO NOT IRON. It is best to let it lay overnight to air out and get rid of wrinkles.
  2. Lay batting on the floor. Tape it down.
  3. Put the quilt backing on top of the batting, right side up. It should be a 45 in by 45 in size. If you need to iron it first, iron it first. Make it as flat and nice as possible. How good it looks now is how good it will look in the end.
  4. Put the pieced quilt top on top of the backing, RIGHT SIDE DOWN. It will be the smallest cloth piece. This is okay, you are going to align it later.
  5. NOW, mark off (with two pins on each side, like Gibson!) the opening of the quilt – a four square size in the middle of the side of the quilt.
  6. Pin off the perimeter of the quilt, with a pin every 3 to 5 inches.

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  1. You WILL want to backstitch a few stitches at each side of the quilt opening. Keep your machine in needle down position from here on out.
  2. Align sewing machine foot to valley of pinked charm square for a 3/8″ seam allowance. Stitch all the way around the perimeter of the quilt.
  3. When you are done, flip it inside out like a duvet cover. Make sure you are reaching between the pieced quilt top and the quilt back.
  4. Yay you! No need to add a binding, your quilt has one automatically because of this inside out trick. Use a knitting needle to poke out the corners so they look sharp.
  5. Pin the hole closed. Use your fingers. Don’t iron it, you’ll mess up the batting. (Lesson 4: Chapter 6: 21:55).
  6. Lesson 5 Chapter 1 picks up where the hole has been pinned shut. Gibson uses a pin every centimeter. Stitch length 3. Now you are topstitching the hole shut. 1/4 in seam allowance. You will do a backstitch at the beginning and end of the hole. Needle down option. Gibson uses a decorative color here.
  7. Remember to stick to the 1/4 in seam allowance. The inside seam allowance was 3/8 in and you want to catch those loose ends with the topstitching on the other side.
  8. Topstitch all the way around the perimeter of the quilt. (The needle down position is important for the corners).

NOW this is where I diverge from Gibson’s instructions. At this point she goes off on her tying the quilt tangent. I will proceed with machine quilting instructions from here on out.

  1. Stitch in the ditch. This means that you take your walking foot and basically go back and forth over each and every single block at the place where there are already seams. You topstitch ON TOP OF those existing seams.
  2. My batting can be quilted up to 25 cm apart. That is 9.8 inches. Each square is 5 in. So at this point, I am basically done with this quilt, and any other stitching I add is a cherry on the cake.

Charm Square Quilt – Step 2

 

At the end of the previous step, you had nine strips of nine squares.

Now, snip away the extra thread at the top and bottom of each seam.

Then, iron! Lots of ironing. Or, to be accurate, “pressing” – vertical action, not horizontal.

Right side up.

Fold each seam back. Press each seam to set the seam.

Then press the fabric toward the darker fabric (you have to alternate each row, if you don’t have a black checkerboard pattern like I do).

Make sure there are no folds at the seam.

Lay everything out to make sure it looks nice.

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There ends Lesson 3 Chapter 4.

 

Charm Square Quilt – Step 1

Lay out the 81 squares in a 9×9 pattern that you like.

I covered my bed with the design and rearranged until I was happy.  Somehow this took over an hour.

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Then I picked up each row, starting at the bottom, and worked my way to the right. I had nine piles of nine squares.

The first pile is the bottom row in the picture, left to right. I stuck that in a book. Then I flipped a page, and put the second row into the book. I continued until all nine rows were in the book. The three extra squares are in the end of the book so that they don’t get lost.

There ends Lesson 2, Preparing the Quilt Top – Labeling the Rows.

Charm Square Quilt

This is my first quilting project. I am following along with Amy Gibson’s “Learn to Quilt: Charming Baby Quilt” Craftsy Class. I’ve already watched through the whole class once, now I’m watching it again while sewing along.

Finished size of quilt is 40.5 in x 40.5 in

MATERIALS:

1. Quilting cotton, 1 1/4 yards, not prewashed

Kona cotton, 2 yards

2. Precut squares, aka 5 inch charm squares, quantity 81, not prewashed

Black squares
Design squares

3. Low loft cotton batting, make sure batting specifies quilting distance as 10 inches

4. Cotton thread, 50 weight

I am using black thread.

5. For the ties, pearl cotton, embroidery floss, or yarn

I am a knitter, so I have a bunch of yarn.

I also have embroidery floss from many failed attempts at embroidery.

6. Patchwork foot is basically a foot with an attached seam guide for making 1/4 inch seams. It may be replaced by a normal sewing foot with a separate magnetic seam guide.

I don’t know if I have a patchwork foot; honestly, I can’t identify it if I do have it. But I have a general foot, and a magnetic seam guide, so I’m just going to go with that.

QUICK SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT NOTES:

PREPARING THE QUILT TOP:

  1. Stitch length should be 2.0.
  2. Stitch allowance is 1/4 in.
  3. You should have 81 charm squares. Lay them out in a 9 x 9 pattern.
  4. Do not backstitch to secure the stitches (neither at the beginning, nor at the end).
  5. Finish up with nine strips of nine squares apiece.

PIECING THE QUILT TOP:

  1. Fold seam toward darker colored fabric. [This works because Gibson has her squares in a checkerboard pattern; if you don’t, just alternate row to row].
  2. When joining two rows, align the pressed back seams in an alternating way, so no huge bumps are created. With this quilt, it works basically automatically since the black squares are every other square.
  3. When the rows are joined up, from the back you can see the seams are pressed alternatively.

ASSEMBLING THE QUILT:

  1. Turned edge finish – batting first.
  2. Batting on bottom. Taped down. Quilt backing on top of it, right side up. Quilt top on top of the backing, right side down.
  3. How do you raise the height of the presser foot??
  4. Align sewing machine foot to valley of pinked charm square for a 3/8″ seam allowance.
  5. Flip it inside out like a duvet cover.

TYING THE QUILT:

  1. Topstitching STARTS at the opening of the quilt and then goes all the way around the whole entire quilt.

ADDING FINISHING TOUCHES:

  1. Right sides together. You are sewing a pillowcase, then flipping inside out and finishing.
  2. Tuck in the last remaining open side. (Flip inside the pillowcase like a messed up cereal box).
  3. Iron to create crease.
  4. Hand sew the label onto the quilt.
  5. Blind stitch. Start with knot at corner.
  6. This is like doing the hem on a pair of pants.