2023 Quilt Along - Quilting Block 2

Kimberlee Tanner

It's now time for Month 2! This month we are focused on ribbon candies.  This is a fun motif that is easy to adjust to fit in different shapes. It's also a great design you can quilt in rows across a quilt for a fun all over motif. 


Preparing the Block

Before we can quilt, we need to prepare the block. If you want to see this, head to Month 1, we show you how in that video. Grab one of your 19" background squares and 1 - 19" batting square. If you want to spray baste them, spray the backing square and carefully lay the batting on top of it. If you are pin basting, you don't need to worry about this.

Next, fold the backing and batting in half on the diagonal and press it. This will help us line up the quilt block in the middle. Press it again on the opposite diagonal and press again.

Now that you have an X across your block, spray (if using spray) the back of your quilt block, then gently lay it down, lining up all the corners on your X. I find that folding it in half makes this easier so it's not sticking to everything.

If you are pin basting, after lining up your block, go ahead and put a few pins in. You might not need as many as a full sized quilt, but it's good to keep everything in place.

If you have a specific layout, quilt the blocks following the order below. We'll be trimming outside edges differently when joining the blocks to allow us to add the borders. 

The Quilting Plan

We are going to start our quilting plan in the center block and work our way out. This will create 1 set of threads we need to bury, but it also keeps everything in place and if things shift, they are shifting out and not creating extra backing fabric we have to deal with. Remember, don't do anything with the extra backing and batting yet, that will be used to join the blocks.

If you want to print out the quilting plan, click on the photo below and it will pull up a bigger version.

month 2 quilting plan

If you want to create your own quilting plan, click on the blank photo and you can print out the block and sketch your own designs.

If you are new to free motion quilting, I recommend printing out the blank block and practice drawing the designs, moving as if you were quilting the block. This is great practice, creates muscle memory, and helps you figure out how to move around without the stress of ruining the quilt block. 

Setting up your Sewing Machine for Free Motion Quilting

Now we need to set up our sewing machines. A couple of general tips:

  1. Put on your free motion quilting foot. This will let us move around the quilt block in any direction.
  2. Lower your feed dogs. If you can't lower your feed dogs, try setting your stitch length to zero. That way they won't move.
  3. Create as much flat space as possible. If you have an extension table or can set it level in your sewing table, this helps.
  4. Put your needle to stop in the down position.

If you have quilting gloves and want to use them, grab them! They can really help with moving your quilt around the machine.

Quilting the Block

Now we are ready to start quilting. We'll complete the plan as follows:

  1. Before we start quilting this block, we want to mark all of the straight lines. I used a ruler and the back of a butter knife. Use the lines and points in the quilt block to keep things even.
  2. We'll start in the center, quilting a ribbon candy in each of the four triangles.
  3. Whichever corner you end on, follow your marked line and quilt out. Then move along the ditch until you get to the next line. Alternate in and out until you have quilted all the lines. The video shows my preferred quilting path.
  4. After the inner lines are done, use the ditch to travel to a corner of one of the outer triangles. Fill with a ribbon candy, then follow along the edge of the block to the next set. Go down one triangle and then immediately out of the next one, using a ribbon candy motif. Continue around the block until all outer triangles are done.
  5. Follow along the outer edge of the triangle until you get to the little corner triangles. Figure out your continuous path, I recommend practicing it with your finger first.
  6. Quilt small arcs from corner to corner on each of the corner triangles, following the continuous path.
  7. Stitch along the ditch to the outside edge and follow along to complete the corner straight lines. 
  8. Move along the edge to the next corner and repeat the motif in all 4 corners to finish the block.

When quilting, remember to stop at the edge of the quilt block. Don't stitch into the extra batting and backing, we'll need these free for when we join the blocks.

Free Motion Quilting Tips

If you are new to free motion quilting, there are a couple tips that might help.

  1. If you are having trouble moving the block around, try stitching a little faster. This will also help smooth out curves. It seems crazy, but works. I promise.
  2. Doodle the design first. If you are comfortable doodling the pattern, you'll feel more comfortable stitching it.
  3. Sit up straight. Try not to hunch over your machine. You'll just end up causing unnecessary muscle strain and pain.
  4. Try different hand positions and holds till you find one that feels comfortable for you.
  5. Practice, practice, practice. Just like anything, you can't get better if you don't quilt! Be gracious with yourself and allow the opportunity to improve. No one looks at your quilting as closely as you do, so don't judge too harshly!
  6. Have fun! If it's not fun, why are we doing it? 

If you have any questions, please let us know!

Happy Quilting

Kimie and Missy

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