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Designing Quilt Patterns

Now that the blocks have been created for the What’s Good for the Gal is Good for the Guy quilt challenge, I should back up a bit and explain how I came up with the design for this quilt. Designing the “challenge” quilt was definitely a challenge. It took time to figure out what it was going to look like, which is part of the fun of designing quilt patterns.

Because the person for whom I designed the quilt has a logical thinking mind, likes geometry, and the double helix, I figured it should be a geometrical design with several different shapes in it. But, they all needed to blend together to form a cohesive and eye pleasing design.

There are many different kinds of software available to help us create designs. Pfaff has one called 5D QuiltDesign Creator. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a copy, so I decided to stick with the good old standby of paper, pencil, pencil crayons, and eraser to create my design.

Designing tools
Designing tools

 

Designing on Paper

I have my blocks designed and, now, it’s just a matter of deciding where to put them in the quilt. I had already decided the snowball block would be along the outer corners of the quilt.

I drew a 7 x 7 row grid on a piece of paper and then drew in the snowball blocks and the background blocks.

Snowball blocks in the corners
Snowball blocks in the corners

 

My idea was to have the intertwined block going from the edge of the quilt to the center. I’d made 12 of them so that meant three from each edge down into the center. By drawing them into the layout, the piece is starting to come together. Normally, I start my design from the center and work out, but this time I’ve designed from the outside in. I love how they look a bit like a double helix when placed together – definitely the look I was wanting.

Intertwined block through the middle
Intertwined block through the middle

 

The hour glass blocks will go between the snowball blocks and the intertwined blocks. I decided to place one vertically and one horizontally. Because of the angle the pieces were cut on, the blocks create the illusion of a circle in the center of the quilt. One of my favorite things about quilting is how blocks give illusions of shapes and movement within a quilt.

Hour glass block added to design
Hour glass block added to design

 

With the design mostly complete, I can sew the blocks together in sections on the Pfaff Creative 4.5.

With the IDT system engaged, I’ll be able to sew the blocks together with no problems and no pinning required. One of the best parts about the IDT system is it feeds everything through evenly and smoothly matching the seams up pretty much every time.

I’ll use the quarter-inch foot with the guide to sew the blocks together into nine sections.

Blocks sewn into sections
Blocks sewn into sections

 

Designing the last 9 inches

Now that the sections are sewn together and the design of the challenge quilt is almost complete, I can add in the last nine inches of the quilt. The quilt is to be 72-inches square and right now it’s only 63-inches square.

The outer edge of the quilt isn’t going to be a border but an extension of some of the blocks, as if they’re running off the edge. It’s going to look a bit like this: extend the snowball blocks with a single strip to the edge of the quilt, as well as, one section of the intertwined block to create the look I’m after.

Extension of design all the way around
Extension of design all the way around

 

Sewing the final 9 inches

I start sewing the pieces together to create the last bit of the quilt and, suddenly, the Creative 4.5 whistles, stops, and gives me this message on the home screen: bobbin thread low.

Bobbin thread low message
Bobbin thread low message

 

With the bobbin easily visualized through the clear bobbin cover, I continue to sew. I thought that clicking the check mark on the “bobbin thread low” message would be a confirmation that I was aware. But, as soon as I started sewing again, the message came up again so it had to remain on the screen.

I continued sewing thinking that the machine would stop when the bobbin ran out. Nope, it just kept on sewing. But, the sound of the sewing changed, which alerted me to the fact the bobbin was now empty.

Clear bobbin case allows me to see the bobbin easily
Clear bobbin case allows me to see the bobbin easily

 

Winding the bobbin

Since I didn’t have a second spool of this color of thread, I decided to wind the bobbin with the machine still threaded.

I took the thread out of the needle, which is recommend to prevent the needle from bending and snapping in two while the bobbin is winding. It’s never a good thing to have sharp objects flying around!

Then, I thread the thread back up the left hand thread guide of the machine and through the bobbin guide at the top.

Also, make sure the presser foot is in the up position.

Reverse threading to wind the bobbin
Reverse threading to wind the bobbin

 

Once the bobbin is in place, a “wind bobbin” message comes up on the screen. I clicked start with the stylet. Pressing the foot pedal does not work; it just makes the needle go up and down – I did that first.

I love this feature of not having to unthread the machine to wind another bobbin.

Bobbin winding icon
Bobbin winding icon

 

Reverse back tacking

Since the bobbin ran out in the middle of the seam, I wanted to back tack to make sure nothing comes apart down the road. Normally, in quilting, there is not much back tacking done because seams are usually caught with another seam.

To back tack, press the reverse button, which is found at the bottom of the machine near the presser foot. It only needs to be pressed a couple seconds then continue sewing forward.

Reverse button
Reverse button

 

The final pieces

I’ve managed to sew some of the final pieces together and will carry on tomorrow with the rest of the missing 9 inches.

Here are the pieces that go with the intertwined block and snowball blocks. I just need to add some background pieces and I’m all set to add them to the completed sections.

Pieces for the missing 9 inches
Pieces for the missing 9 inches

 

Tomorrow, I’m going to finish off the missing 9 inches and start adding some applique to this What’s Good For the Gal is Good For the Guy challenge quilt. I’ll also see what kind of stitches the PFAFF Creative 4.5 has to offer for securing the edges of the applique pieces. Designing quilt patterns for the challenge quilt has definitely been fun and rewarding. I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops from here.

Happy Quilting

Jennifer runs Quilts by Jen, a fantastic educational resource for quilters with many great free tutorials ranging from how to choose fabrics, understanding the value of fabrics, pressing, building Bargello runs, pinning, binding, sandwiching, couching, quilting, and much more. Check them out!

2 Comments

  1. Carolyn Barnett

    I love quilting and i have to admit that it has been a long time since i quilted.I love your site.

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