i’m swooning and i need advice

probably breaking some major sewing blogger rule here by posting two projects in a row made from the same fabric, but i need your help!

swoon block

we recently painted Em’s room the pink she has been asking for FOREVER.  in doing so, i decided she needs a new quilt for her bed, because her old one (my first quilt ever that i was so proud of) was rejected.  she said it wasn’t “cozy” and threw it to the ground even if i just folded it at the foot of the bed!

boo, Em!  booooo.

i gave it to my sister, and i think my niece is much more appreciative of it.  harrumph!

swoon block

so anyway, i decided to make her a new quilt, which will be all pink solids and backed with flannel so it’s cozy to the touch.  i decided it’d be neat to do just one star block on a field of pink.  i purchased the ever-popular swoon pattern and then decided that since i’ve never done a complicated pieced block before, i should make one for practice.  that’s where this one comes in.  i made it from washi two scraps of dear stella, kona snow, and some peach shot cotton (note: mixing shot cotton in with quilting cotton is rough!).

here is my practice swoon block.  it’s big – 24″ square!

swoon block

since i’m not much of a quilter, i kind of hated cutting all the pieces and grumbled at how long it was taking to make the HSTs and my first flying geese ever.  but once i started putting the components together, i got super addicted to making it!  it was so fun to see the block take shape like a puzzle.  however, i see now why quilting bloggers often post just a block at a time rather than only showing finished quilts; they’re a lot of work!

swoon block

as i hung this block up to take photos, i really liked how it looked against the charcoal wall in our bedroom (my husband painted it one day when i was out at my parents’  house with the kids – it was something i’d wanted to try for a while and he did it for me as a mother’s day surprise – i LOVE surprises and i love my wall!).  so anyway, i think i want to turn this block into a mini quilt and hang it as art in our room.  he’s in favor of the idea too (good man).

questions for you (especially the quilters out there):

  • how do i quilt it?  i have a free motion foot but i’m not too great at it, so straight line ideas are preferred.
  • should i add a border, or just bind it?
  • what color binding?

i’ll definitely show you once i’m done with it…but i need to get to work on some school sewing first!  Em starts pre-K right after Labor Day!!

47 thoughts on “i’m swooning and i need advice

  1. girllikethesea says:

    Yow! I adore everything about the combo of fabrics, the swoon block, and your totally kick ass charcoal wall. I vote no border. Just binding. It makes a graphic impact against the wall without a border. Can’t wait to see it all finished!

  2. rachel says:

    i love it. my kids are into cozy, too! my daughter requested a quilt made of velveteen. i find velveteen sweary to work with, so i made her a wholecloth quilt of velveteen. we both love it. i gave it to her for her birthday and I would jokingly tease how much I coveted it. so – she gave it back to me for Christmas (!)- which was super sweet, but I could not accept it, of course. That was her special quilt. but her thoughtfulness really moved me!

    personally, i like hand quilting. it’s really meditative and i like to have something to keep my hands busy and to alternate with my machine sewn projects. i used to sew on a Brother and i found it so frustrating to quilt with, even with a walking foot. (then again, i sewed on it every day for three years without having it maintenanced so that could be part of it too!). i hated quilting on my brother. my husband surprised (shocked!) me with a bernina for Christmas and it’s so much better on thicker fabrics but i still think i’d only stick to simple quilting with it. i’ve heard it takes a while to get used to free motion.

    your piecing looks fantastic!

    • rachel says:

      ps- i should add – i like to hand quilt anna maria horner style with pearl cotton and large (1/4″) running stitches. it goes really fast and looks so charming (IMO). i find it so much more relaxing than wrestling a large piece of fabric under the machine.

    • kristin says:

      LOVE the velveteen quilt idea, whole cloth was a good idea. what a sweet little gal you have!

      hand quilting is a great option – i always hand sew my binding but hand quilting seems very doable on such a small project for sure. i know i’ll need to upgrade from my Brother soon…maybe for Christmas. i’ll start dropping hints. 😉

  3. Darci says:

    Yes, your piecing looks really clean. I say no border, but I think you’ll ought lose your points if you aren’t careful. So maybe a kind of small border in your background color. I think maybe you could do 2 lines of outline quilting. The first row outline the outer edge of the motif, and the second row outlines the center peach star or maybe the peach star is quilted on the inside edge. Print out a pic of your block and draw on it with a pen to get a feel

  4. thegrimtuesdayLaura. says:

    I’m not a quilter as such, but I have made a couple of quilts and played under about a hundred of them being hand-quilted by my grandmother.

    Neither of the ones i made were ‘quilted’. And the ones of my grandmothers that i have on our beds are not ‘quilted’ either. they are tacked – in some cases with yarn, some with thread, some with buttons sewn on at intervals.

    some of the grandmothers pieced quilts she did quilt, generally by hand. i’ve spent many a winter playing under her quilt rack while her fingers flew. as she got older she figured out that she didn’t have to quilt around each piece, just every other one.

    as for straight line quilting, do you have an edge stitching foot? it may have another name, but it is a foot that has a guide-piece in the middle of it. it helps line up edge stitching and other things that have to go *just so*. It might be an option!

    • kristin says:

      what a wonderful story, thanks! my grandma knitted and my mom sewed garments more than quilts, so i’m always in awe of people that have wonderful vintage quilts in their families. i have a walking foot and a free motion foot, but not an edge stitching foot that i know of…

      • Laura. says:

        I’ve been using my edge stitching foot to do the topstitching on some patterns.it is *really* handy for keeping things lined up on curves and sharp points.

        All of these wonderful quilts that I have are patchwork – true patchwork! I’ve found pieces in them from my grandmother’s suits, tops, my grandpa’s dress shirts, my uncle’s crazy 70s golf pants, my mom’s dresses, and baby blankets, doll clothes, and there is one square that i’m *sure* is from my mom’s wedding dress scraps. There is one (my couch blanket) that I’m going to have to re-back soon. And only because it’s had a rough life for about 40 years.I hate to do it, but when there’s a hole that the baby can fit her head into, it is time!

  5. Laurel says:

    I can really relate to your post, as I made two super-sized Swoon pillows for my daughter and she tossed them to the floor as well. **sigh** Anyway, this block is gorgeous and I think it will look perfect as a mini quilt in your room. I would add some type of borders so that you don’t lose the points on the edges. When I made the Swoon pillows for my daughter I did random curved arcs that intersected across the pillow for the quilting. I thought it kind of looked like shooting stars. Just a thought! : )

    • kristin says:

      i totally thought this would be a pillow but it ended up way bigger than i expected! it’s a substantial block! i like the curved “shooting star” arches! oh geez, so many great ideas here!

  6. Jane says:

    Kristin, first, yay for surprise paint jobs!!! I love the color! Second, awesome job and it does look PERFECT in your room! Third, I totally empathize with you all on all that cutting!! argh, I found myself hemming and hawing over just strips!! I definitely need to get over that if I want to make a quilt some day. Fourth, ha, sorry I have no advice as far as the quilting goes…The non quilter in myself…says no border…and I think that a turquoise pop of color would look great for the binding…contrasting with the block and the wall nicely, but I don’t know what I’m talking about soooo 😉 Great job!

    • kristin says:

      hehe thanks jane! love the turquoise binding advice. i might have some in my stash; i also have a blue seersucker that could look good – striped bindings are fun. i guess i haven’t even though of backing either (probably because it won’t show much).

  7. Stef says:

    This is so fun against those great charcoal walls!! I would say, skip a border, and I keep looking at that octagon – you could quilt in nice straight lines in progressively larger octagons. Can’t wait to see it hanging up there all finished! Also, I can’t wait to see Em’s room – it totally cracks me up that she got you to paint her walls pink. I’m sorry about her quilt rejection, but I’m glad we’ll get to see another quilt. 🙂

    • kristin says:

      oh good call – could be good to play with the different shapes in the quilt and switch up the quilting a bit too – maybe octagons with something else inside the square?

      oh yes, it’s full blown pink! and i actually really like it!

  8. Lotti says:

    I love the swoon block, it’s one of my facts and it looks gorgeous on your charcoal wall. I’d straight line stitch in V shapes to mirror parts of the block, sorry it’s hard to describe what I mean! There are loads of swoon blocks/quilts on flickr that could give you some inspiration. I personally wouldn’t add borders, just do a really narrow binding. Look forward to seeing what you decide

  9. courtney says:

    no borders…. the block looks great! i’m not a fan of quilting on home machines… i think it looks so much nicer when it is quilted on a longarm machine. check out piece n’ quilt, she does fabulous work and is extremely reasonable! it’ll make the quilt more snuggly because it’s put together much tighter. 🙂

  10. I'm Feelin' Crafty says:

    I’d say a little mini white border between the squares… And I’d do the binding in the pink. I love love love this quilt square up against that grey wall. So maybe this one ends up in your room… Very Cool!

  11. Heather says:

    I think that the peach fabric would make super cute binding…No border, just the binding would be so cute. It looks great!

    • kristin says:

      I’m pretty sure it’s “Piping” from Devine Color. I’d need to check the can but it’s out in our shed. It’s a great color though, I’m in love with it.

  12. ms27bossy says:

    I would do a border of your lightest fabric and stitch in the ditch around the central star before binding with the washi dress fabric. Alternatively add a border and frame it!

  13. kate says:

    love it!! My advice: send it to me!!

    I would totally bind it in pink. I always “quilt” with straight lines, I would just picks some lines to trace and stitch in the ditch or something. It looks great on your grey wall.

  14. Meg - Lilybird Stitches says:

    Ive been sitting here for ever and a day thinking about what I would do! I would def add a boarder. Even if you don’t loose your points in binding, they will be so close to the edge it will feel cropped. Think of it like a matted photograph! I would do even a 1″ boarder in your lightest material.

    I would stitch in the ditch, or get crazy funky and tie that bad boy.

    And you don’t really need to bind it. You could always sew wrong sides together, turn, and top stitch – especially if you do a boarder! Though if you were to bind, I would suggest a light gray – perfect to pop the star and to keep the boarder from Wong lost on the wall!

  15. erin says:

    I didn’t read all the comments, but I think it might be nice as is, framed between two pieces of glass. Or hand quilting would be lovely and it’s small enough that you won’t get too overwhelmed. Any way you choose to finish it, it’s beautiful, Kristin!

  16. Susanne says:

    I just did a ‘stitch in the ditch’ around the bigger square and then the smaller square inside. I really makes the stars pop out.

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