Quilt Finish & Quilting Fun

Have you all been able to sneak some precious quilting time into your holiday vacations? I know I’ve been enjoying some much needed vacation to finish up lots of projects. This is a quilt I just finished before Christmas that I started, oh, 2 years ago? Or was it 3?

It’s called “Wonky Town”, and it’s now hanging proudly in my daughter’s room. It started out as me experimenting with Wonky Log Cabin blocks from all my scraps, but then I lost a little steam and the eight finished blocks just sat in my UFO pile. Then last April I joined up with some bloggers on Flickr in a wonky quilt block swap, and I decided this was the perfect opportunity to dust off those blocks. I asked the other members to send me wonky houses and trees, and I made a couple of my own. Those are what became the focal point of the quilt. I added a solid border to frame it and some rainbow binding, and Wonky Town was born! It’s not without its flaws, but I love it!

Because I knew this quilt was for hanging on a wall and because it had so much white space, I decided to try out some really dense free-motion quilting. Now keep in mind when you look at this quilting detail shot that I did this all on my Juki TL-2010–a home sewing machine, not a long arm, so be gentle. 🙂 I’m very proud of how this quilting came out.

I used the Ocean Current design from Leah Day’s wonderful quilting pattern site in the white areas because I thought it resembled wind. I sure learned a lot about echo quilting doing this part! I think this area took me about 10 hours of quilting time. Whew! In the houses and trees I did different freehand designs to complement the shapes using blendy thread colors. In the log cabin blocks I did square spirals. All of it was freehand with no marking, which was very fun and freeing.

Because my Juki has a little cone thread adaptor built right on it, I used our EssentialPRO in Cream for the background quilting. I had Essential Cotton in White in the bobbin the whole time because I had a lot of bobbins already wound. I must say, I am now an EssentialPRO convert. When people talk about polyester thread not being linty, I now know exactly what they mean. After 10 hours of quilting, I had barely any lint to clean out of my machine, even having cotton thread in the bobbin. By contrast, I used Essential Cotton thread for the houses and trees (about 1 hour of quilting time) because I had more colors of it, and I cleaned about a marble sized ball of lint out afterward. Big difference! I highly recommend the EssentialPRO if you do any quilting on your home machine and have a cone thread adaptor (either built in like my machine does, or separate, like this popular one we sell). Coincidentally, our EssentialPRO is on sale for 20% off right now for a few more days, so if you’ve been wanting to try it out, now is a great time. Sale ends 12/31/11. I know I just stocked up on several of the neutral colors to have on hand for future quilting! The dense freemotion quilting was very time-intensive, but it was really fun, so I know I’ll be doing it again sometime.


  1. Jamie Lee - December 28, 2011

    Hi, this quilt is so cute! I am going to use it as inspiration for a bee I am participating in. I am the first person to go in January, so this photo came none too soon for me! Are the unfinished blocks 12.5 inches? Thanks for such a timely post!
    Jamie Lee
    ps. I love CT thread! I use it all the time. My Janome doesn’t have a cone adapter or anything, but I just put the cone on the spool holder and it works perfectly.

  2. kaholly - December 28, 2011

    Oh, that IS cute!! Well done!

  3. Jessica - December 28, 2011

    It looks great! I love how the houses and trees are framed by the wonky log cabins. Great colors, too.

  4. Sally - December 28, 2011

    I love the way that the wonkiness makes me keep looking and looking at all the detail. Great colors and shapes!

  5. elsa - December 29, 2011

    Love the little wonky houses ~ so cute!

  6. Jenna - December 29, 2011

    I love that it took a long time. Looks so terrific, love the white space. This will go into the category, “Successful UFOs!”

  7. Shannon - December 29, 2011

    It is adorable.Nice job!

  8. Linda Christianson - December 29, 2011

    Your quilting looks great! I have been thinking about finishing some UFO for 2012, but the sale on fabric has booked my projects for a year. Thinks for the thread tip, but does poly wear better than cotton? Should a person put poly on a all cotton quilt?

  9. Maria Carroll - December 30, 2011

    This is a fun quilt to look at with it’s bright colors and wonky log cabin blocks. And I just ordered several spools of the Essential thread because the colors I needed weren’t available in the EssentialPro, so I’m hoping it’s as good as the Pro thread. Am so looking forward to giving it a try. Thanks for the tip on the thread and at 20% you can’t beat the price. Hoping mine arrives before they go off of sale that way if I like it I’m going to order probably at least one spool of each!

  10. Melissa - December 30, 2011

    Hi Linda,
    Good question! Teri addresses this a bit in her Guide to Thread Tutorial: http://www.connectingthreads.com/tutorials/A_Guide_to_Thread__D89.html
    She says, “Polyester is generally strong, durable, and colorfast. Since it’s one continuous filament it isn’t “linty” like cotton, however that means it isn’t as soft and because of this can cut your cotton fabric over time as it doesn’t wear at the same rate. This is really only a worry if you are making an heirloom quilt you want to last for generations. If you are making a ‘for everyday use’ project, polyester will do just fine and in some cases where you want the quilting to show up more, it will do better. Because it is stronger it will sink down into the fabric a little more and give your quilting a little more definition.”
    I don’t consider any of my projects “heirloom”, as they get washed so much and used (and clawed by cats and stained) in my household, so I don’t worry about the longevity 100 years from now. It’s definitely personal preference. Most long-arm quilters I know even use poly thread, unless their customers specifically ask for cotton.

  11. Judy - December 30, 2011

    Neat quilt with the houses and trees. I especially like the quilting. I am a Leah Day fan. She does great work! I really was glad to see your comments regarding the polyester thread. I’ve bought some CT thread and like it, but it does seem linty, especially with FMQ. I was looking for a different thread to use for FMQ, so this came at the right time. I’m ordering the Essential Pro thread tomorrow. Thanks!

  12. Jenice - January 1, 2012

    Very cute! Thanks for sharing information about the quilting. I have the same machine (with frame) that I use for my quilting and have found it to be a great tool.

  13. Kathleen - January 9, 2012

    The quilting looks great. Thanks for the tip on the EssentialPRO thread…. I’ll have to try it.

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