Wednesday, September 24, 2014

TUTORIAL - simple hand quilting...

Yesterday I pieced my Shabby Roses Churn Dash quilt.
With only four more blocks to share with you, I've been busy this last week completing the remaining ones I'd not yet stitched and gathering ideas for how I wanted the finished quilt to look.

I've sewn 1" wide coral sashing between the 12 blocks, but around them I've added a floral border...
This quilt will be hung on a wall or door so I've chosen to use medium weight Pellon instead of heavier cotton wadding to sandwich between the flimsy and the backing...
As I've mentioned on a number of occasions I am not gifted at machine quilting, so you won't find lovely swirls and hearts and rosebuds if I've quilted the project myself!
But I am partial to wavy lines, so they now feature through the sashing and around the edge of the main section of the quilt...
The other thing I like to add is a touch of hand quilting with Perle #12 thread.
I've got a set of round rulers purchased last year from Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet...
...and one of them fit perfectly around the little Shabby Roses stitcheries.
I used this technique years ago when I was making my "Circles of Life" quilt, and haven't used it since, but it works a treat so I thought you might like to try it too.

You'll need some flexible clear plastic, a Sharpie pen, and either a round ruler or a compass to draw a circle.
The plastic I use is library plastic. Back in the day when we homeschooled the children our shelving overflowed with wonderful books, many of them quite old and valuable, so I would cover them in library plastic to help preserve them from wear and tear. There's still a few metres left on my roll and it is perfect for what I'm about to show you.

Decide what size you want your circle to be and trace it onto the plastic.
NOTE:  You can do this with hearts, leaf shapes, daisy doesn't have to be circles.

Cut out the shape along the drawn line.
Position it over the area of the quilt top that you plan to do your hand quilting, and pin it through the middle...
Tie a knot in the end of the thread, bring the needle through the back of the quilt and out the front right beside the edge of the plastic circle. 
Pull the thread gently, very gently, tugging the knot through the back of the quilt and into the wadding where it can sit and hide.
Sew a line of running stitch around the edge of the plastic circle...
Don't worry if the stitches are not all the same size!
I'm not a perfectionist with this as I simply love the handmade appeal of this type of quilting with it's natural variances...
 That sweet 'pop' from the hand stitching makes my heart smile...
Only 11 more to sew, I thought,  and then I noticed how perfectly the circle shape fits into the corners of the joined churn dash blocks... the corrected number yet to sew is 17.
It will be worth it in the end!

Here's a few of the "Circles of Life" blocks I quilted the same way...
The effect is quite nice, I think!

Update July 2019:
The complete pattern for the Shabby Roses Churn Dash Quilt is HERE in my Etsy Shop as an instant download.

Happy quilting,


  1. Your quilt is lovely...the handstitching is such a very nice touch to something so beautiful. I always enjoy your handiwork.

  2. I love your quilted circles, Jenny. Thanks for showing us how you do them. xx

  3. So lovely - made me wonder where my half completed circles of life quilt is ...hmm......

  4. God Bless YOU and thank you !!! I have been struggling with finding a method that I can accomplish the goal of quilting a quilt and this is absolutely perfect. Like you I don't do well with machine quilting and I learned the Amish method which drove me completely batting trying to make sure the stitches were even and the correct number of stitches (18-20 per inch !!!). I can now relax and maybe even enjoy the process. Not to mention the bonus of actually taking a flimsy and finishing the process. :)
    Your quilt is beautiful. I love the colors you chose. It just makes you happy.


  5. Your hand stitching is beautiful. Thanks for the great tip.

  6. What a lovely way to hand quilt. I love that it's something simple, cheap and easy to use. Thanks for sharing your tip with us. Your work is beautiful and I can't wait to see the finished product!

  7. B E A U T I F U L. . . . .
    I am trying to figure out how I can applause, clap, and whistle in a comment.
    Just such a happy work of art! Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  8. C'est beau toutes ces couleurs, tissus et broderie !!!!
    Bonne journée

  9. What a gorgeous finish!!! ... Though I don't have library plastic, I'm thinking that freezer paper would have much the same effect :) And I LOVE those rulers!!

  10. Thank you Jenny - this is such a beautiful touch. I'm going to have to try it on one of my quilts!

  11. That's an effective way to 'mark' your circle/shape without leaving even a temporary marking. It's looking great Jenny.

  12. O alvo de meu blog é divulgar o bom nome de Jesus. E levar cada crente mais perto de seu Senhor, ficarei feliz se quiser fazer parte dele, contudo não deixarei de visitar, e comentar em seu blog. Ficarei à espera da sua amizade virtual. Minhas saudações em Cristo Jesus.

  13. Jenny, Very pretty. Thanks for the hand quilting tutorial

    Patricia C

  14. Your quilt is so very pretty. I love your circle quilting, 'tis very effective. You'll get those 17 circles quilted in next to no time!

  15. Thank you for this! Such a simple method with a professional result.

  16. That is a nice effect, and I am not a great machine quilter - spoiled by being a longarmer for so may years, I think. I do love hand quilting, but it isn't a fast technique by any means! This might make it possible for me to get a few things finished now and then, though. Thanks for the tip on the circles!

  17. Great tutorial Jenny...Love it too...Your hand quilting is allways fabulous.

  18. Thank you for the tip. Your work look gorgeous.