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Baby Shoo-FlyTwo Wednesday have come and gone and I didn’t do a WIP Wednesday post, so I thought I would do a finish it up Friday post and link up with AmandaJean over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

I did finish up Baby Shoofly this week. This is a baby quilt measuring 42″ x 42″, however the four blocks are giant, finishing out at 21.” I used Madrona Road by Violet Craft for Michael Miller Fabrics. I tried out several of the modern quilting characteristics in this quilt: exaggerated scale, no borders, lots of negative space and clean lines.

Baby Shoo-Fly Close UpThis is my motto: Each quilt you make is practice for the next one. I thought you might be interested in some of the things I learned with Baby Shoofly.

White Background – when using a white or light background, it is very important to pick a backing fabric that is not going to show through to the front of the quilt and distract from the design. (Ask me how I know!) This time I used a light pink backing fabric and I think it complements the quilt top. Also, make sure to check for stray threads before layering your quilt top, batting and backing layers. I ended up having to pick out 8 rows of quilting because some threads from the dark fabric showed through to the PinMoor_Flower Head Pins_Magnetic Bowlfront of the quilt. I was going to leave it, but it bugged the heck out of me and I am glad I spent the time to pick out the quilting. Pin Basting – after watching Leah Day’s Craftsy class, I learned that she uses a product called Pinmoor and Flower Head straight pins for Pin Bastingpin basting her quilts. I hate safety pins and usually opt for spray basting, so I thought I would give this technique a try. I still had to un-pin and smooth the layers out from time to time, so I haven’t quite decided on this method of pin basting. I think all pins are very distracting when trying to machine quilt, but these are at least easy to remove. I usually only machine quilt small quilts with my domestic machine, so I will probably go back to spray basting. No Borders – I have left borders off my quilts for many years now. However, when bringing your design right to the edge of the quilt, as with my Triangle PointsChurn Dash Blocks, you run the risk of chopping off the points of the triangles when squaring up the quilt. Things sometimes get a little wonky after machine quilting, as was the case with Baby Shoofly. I had to decide whether I wanted a perfectly square quilt or intact triangle points. I opted for the square quilt. Probably only me and a few “quilt police” will notice the chopped off triangle points. In the future, I will consider a border the same color as the negative space so that I will have some “fudge-factor” room when squaring up the quilt. With this particular design, a white border doesn’t seem to work, it detracts from the negative space. How do I know? I am working on another Baby Shoofly and tried the white borders and took them off. (I guess you could say I am doing a study in Dry Wall T-SquareChurn Dash!) Squaring Up – A tip from Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr in their magazine, Modern Quilts Illustrated, sent me to Home Depot for a Dry-Wall T-Mitered BindingSquare. By using this tool and the lines on my table mat, squaring up the quilt was a breeze. Binding – Although my favorite part of the process, I have been pretty unhappy with my bindings lately, mostly the corners. I usually use the mitered (turn the corner as you go) method that most quilters use. My friend, Linda Hungerford, from Flourishing Palms blog, suggested I use her tutorial for mitered-corners. I have actually used this method before (sort of) from Ricky Tim’s Grand Finale DVD. Ricky’s method uses piping but the corner technique is very similar (just backwards) because Ricky is sewing the binding to the back of the quilt and turning to the front of the quilt to finish it off. Linda’s tutorial was great and I am very pleased with how the corners turned out. If you want to give it a try, you can find Linda’s tutorial here. I also used the Binding Miter Tool as suggested by Ricky Tims. It has been a while since I have made a quilt from start to finish by myself. I usually quilt by “check” if you know what I mean (take to a long-arm quilter). Hey, there is nothing wrong with that, they need to eat too! You would be surprised how many of the “celebrity” modern quilters have their quilts quilted by long-arm quilter, Angela Walters (also another excellent Craftsy teacher). When you find a long-arm quilter that does beautiful work, it’s hard to go back to doing yourself. After all, I just want beautiful quilts!