Cricut Maker Block of the Week Quilt: Week 12 – Quilting the Mini Quilt

Getting your quilt top finished doesn’t mean you’re done with your quilt! In the quilting world, we call a finished quilt top a “flimsy.” Which isn’t derogatory at all… it just means the quilt doesn’t have the batting and backing attached to it yet… and it is still, well, flimsy! So, this week I’m going to show you how to quilt your mini quilt. Which is really one of the first times you have options in making this quilt… and you have a lot of them! There are a couple different ways you can baste your layers. I’m going to show you the two most popular ways – spray basting and pin basting. And there are lots of different ways to quilt your quilt. I’m going to show you two different techniques – Walking Foot Quilting and Free Motion Quilting.

Cricut Maker Block of the Week - Walking Foot Quilting

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Basting the Quilt

First let’s talk about basting the quilt. “Basting” is a sewing term that basically means to temporarily secure layers together. I have used three different kinds of basting – Pin Basting, Spray Basting, and Thread Basting. I’m going to go over the first two here.

With Pin Basting, you use safety pins to secure the layers together. This is a fairly quick way to baste. Pins are placed at intervals (every 6″ or so is a great number) to hold the layers together. As you quilt through the layers, securing them permanently, you remove any pins that are in your way. Once you’ve finished quilting you remove any pins that have been left behind. The pros of pin basting are that it is inexpensive – safety pins are inexpensive to purchase, and reusable. Once you have a stash of pins for basting, you won’t need to buy them again. Also, pin basting is preferred over spray basting for people who are sensitive to chemicals. However, it can be tedious to pin across a large quilt. And, the quilt is only secured in the pinned spots. It could potentially shift in the spots between the pins. You’ll see me go over Pin Basting in the Walking Foot Quilting video below.

Spray Basting is my go-to method, because it is fast. I can spray baste even a large quilt in less than 30 minutes, and have it ready to quilt. It can be expensive – the cans are more expensive than safety pins, and when they run out you have to buy more. I have used all of the following basting sprays, and they have all worked well: Thermoweb Basting Spray, Dritz Spray Adhesive, 505 Temporary Spray Adhesive, and Sulky KK2000. If you are sensitive to chemicals, you might want to look at the label before using one of these sprays. They should always be used in a well-ventilated area. If I’m gifting the quilt to a baby or small child, I like to pre-wash the quilt before gifting to remove any spray residue.

Walking Foot Quilting

Now that we’ve talked about basting, let’s talk walking foot quilting. If you’ve never quilted a quilt before, this is a great option. You need a different foot for your machine. This foot is called a “walking foot.” With a standard sewing machine foot, the feed dogs on the bottom pull the fabric through the machine. When you have several layers, you want the whole thing (we call this a “quilt sandwich”) to feed through evenly. The walking foot essentially adds a set of feed dogs to the top that pair up with the feed dogs on the bottom. This pulls the whole quilt through evenly and prevents puckers or shifting.

Check out this video which shows you how to pin baste, and shows you how to use a walking foot to quilt your quilt:

 

Cricut Maker Block of the Week Free Motion Quilting

Free Motion Quilting

For Free Motion Quilting, you don’t use the feed dogs at all. You move the fabric around under the needle. To do this, you engage the lever that lowers the feed dogs. Also, you use a sewing machine foot that has less drag on the top of the fabric (and more visibility around the needle) like a free motion foot or embroidery foot. It can take a little practice to get even stitches while free motion quilting. You want to sync the speed at which you move the fabric under the needle to the speed at which the needle is moving (which is controlled by how hard you press on the presser foot). I liken this to turning a corner in a car. You want to turn the steering wheel at a speed that is in sync with how fast the car is going – once your foot, hands, and brain are all on the same page, turning corners is no problem!

Check out this video which shows you how to spray baste, and shows you the basics for free motion quilting your quilt:


 

That was a big week! We basted our layers together and quilted them! Next week we will get the quilt trimmed up and bound – which is the final step!

 

If you’d rather not bind the quilt, you can skip to Week 14. This is a bonus video that shows you how to turn the quilt top into a lovely large pillow, instead of a mini quilt!

Free Motion Quilting Practice Designs

I am so excited to share these Free Motion Quilting Practice Designs with you!! One of my most popular videos is where I show you how to make  8 quilting designs using one basic motion, I regularly get comments from people who tell me they can’t wait to try the designs. This is going to make it so much easier! Free Motion Quilting Practice Designs This post contains affiliate links which help support this site with no additional cost to you.

 

When you first start Free Motion Quilting, you spend time getting used to working with your machine. You need to “synch” with your machine. Like a mind-meld, but for quilting. My friend Christa Watson calls this the “hum-purr”. (By the way, if you don’t know Christa, go check out her book Machine Quilting with Style. An awesome book for Machine Quilters! And check out her blog Christa Quilts.)

Since you’re spending that time finding your “hum-purr”, it can be hard to also focus on your design, and where you want to go next. So, when I found out that Cricut was coming out with a water-soluble fabric pen, I was EXCITED! I could draw out those designs for you, you can draw them with your machine (any Cricut machine that can operate with a pen – it doesn’t have to be the new Cricut Maker.)

Here is what you need:
Cricut Machine that uses pens and the Cricut Design Space
Cricut Mat (I used a fabric mat)
Cricut washable fabric pen
12″ square of cotton fabric for drawing on (light color that the pen will show up on works best)
13″ square (or larger) of scrap batting
13″ square (or larger) of scrap fabric for backing
Sewing machine with Free-motion foot
Super slider (optional, but I love it)
Basting Spray (you can pin baste or thread baste – but I love spray basting)

  1. Pen draws linesDownload one of my .svg files for Free Motion Quilting. Right now I have a loopy fill and a border file. Let me know what you think, and I’ll add some more.

drawn designs for free motion quilting

  1. Open Cricut Design Space.
  2. Upload the file into Design Space. It is an SVG file, so it is pretty easy.
  3. Resize the file to whatever size square you would like.
  4. Ungroup the image.
  5. Remove the background shape (I have it sitting in a square for easy resizing)
  6. Over in the right-hand panel, click on the scissors, and change that to write (select washable fabric pen, 1.0, Blue)
  7. Your file is ready!

Put your 12×12 fabric on the mat. Load the mat, put the fabric pen in the pen holder, and let the machine draw the design.

Cricut fabric pen can draw free motion quilting designs

 

Once it is done, you can unload the mat, turn this layer into the top of your quilt sandwich, and start quilting! If you haven’t watched my video, I give you all the basics for Free Motion Quilting these designs in my post on 8 quilting designs using one basic motion.

free motion quilting practice

I’m using my favorite Wonderfil 12wt thread here. You can use whatever you like – but I love this thread for really standing out against any fabric!

Once you’re done, admire your work for a minute.

Free Motion Quilting practice - border designs

Then, you can wash away all that blue ink!

washing away the ink

How cool is that?

FMQ Practice Designs on the Cricut Machine

By the end of a practice square or two, you’ll have found that hum-purr, and be ready to try it on your own, without practice lines!

Want to know what to do with your practice pieces? You can save them as reminders of your quilting journey. If you like, you can trim them up, bind them, and turn them into mug rugs and place mats.

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8 Simple Free-Motion Quilting designs – using ONE basic motion

Last year, I created this video showing 8 simple Free-Motion Quilting designs that you can make using one basic motion. If you learned cursive writing as a child, chances are your teacher started you off writing cursive ls or cursive es. Using this same looping motion, you can create 8 simple quilting designs that can be used as quilting fills and border designs.

You might not be able to have this video handy at all times, so I’m sharing a handout that goes with this video. I created this handout for a basic free-motion quilting class that I taught at my local quilt shop. You can download the PDF of this quilting printable here.

8 simple quilting designs from one basic motion

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