Finished is Better than Perfect!

Finished is Better than Perfect!

Did you ever start a project with only halfway working out the entire project? Or, have you ever done a similar project in the past and figured this one would work out the same way?

Well, that's what I did on this small crib-sized quilt.

It wasn't until I got to the borders that I realized I should have treated the outer sashing pieces as a border on this quilt-as-you go project and I had worked myself into a corner.

Unfortunately, since I was taking step-by-step photos for instructions, that threw all of those photos off. Rather than add another UFO to my stash, or spending an entire day picking out stitches, I performed some not so elegant work to get the borders in place.

It still looks fine (mostly) but to get the step-by-step photos, I used the 4 left-over blocks to make a coordinating wall-hanging.

Although I do make quilts, I really don't consider myself a quilter. Oh, yeah, I can piece but the actual quilting part?

I leave that to the pros and send it out to a local longarm quilter. So when I do actually quilt—beyond stitch in the ditch—I usually do it with my embroidery machine and use a quilt-as-you-go technique and that's what I chose for this "Ocean Dreams" quilt. (Size: 37 1/2" x 48")

Marine designs are very popular in home decorating right now and as a former sailor stranded in the desert, I’m particularly attracted to them. I found these bold, stylized images appealing because they can be interpreted in a number of ways by the digitizer and look great in just about any color.

Also, since I’ve introduced the “It’s a Girl” quilt in 2011, I’ve had many requests for a similar quilt for boys. This “Ocean Dreams” quilt would make a great quilt for a boy of any age.

Just stitch more blocks for a larger quilt. As with the It’s a Girl Quilt and the Fuzzy Wuzzy Ducky Quilt (blog post), I’ve used a quilt-as-you-go technique. It’s a Girl! quilt is all “redwork” style designs while Fuzzy Wuzzy Ducky quilt (from Baby's First Quilt collection) is applique combined with quilting blocks.

Note: You can watch a YouTube video on It’s A Girl! to get a good overview of the process. Since many of the techniques on this quilt are the same as those in It's A Girl, I won't repeat them here. Just watch the video!

I used the same technique on each of these quilts that I learned in a class quite a long time ago and just adapted to machine embroidery.

My Affiliate Links Disclosure

Hi everyone. Just to let you know that some of the links on this site are affiliate links. What that means is that if you click one of them and buy something… I get a commission. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and I only recommend things that I’ve tried and tested, so please, please, please… use my links.
Fine Print: Lindee G Embroidery is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Lindee G Embroidery is also an affiliate for Embroidery.com, Nancy’s Notions, Embrilliance, and Craftsy. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, which helps to offset the cost of running this site. :)

There are other ways to do quilt-as-you-go and after just finishing writing all these instructions, I found a new class on Craftsy, Piece by Piece: Quilt-As-You-Go Techniques with Marti Michell, that has lots of great tips and techniques that I plan to try on my next QAYG project.

The Designs for Ocean Dreams

The Designs for Ocean Dreams

I’ve added two motifs to the original collection and modified one of the originals to fit a 4 x 4” (100 x 100mm) sewing field, then digitized each motif in two styles: satin and bean.

Here you can see the motifs I used on the quilt blocks. Click the image to see a larger view.

Then, I created a geometric quilted border to echo each of the 4 x 4” (100 x 100mm) motifs. A nautical rope frames the design.

I’ve kept the quilting borders as separate designs for maximum flexibility; it’s much easier to combine designs than take them apart. Also, by keeping all the pieces separate, the designs can be easily modified for the widest range of hoop sizes and variety of uses.

To make the quilt as shown, you’ll need at least a 150 x 150mm sewing field. I used the 200 x 200mm hoop with my Baby Lock Ellisimo and added the included basting box, which is 7¼” (18.4cm) square.

I like to use basting boxes for placement as well as securing fabric to the stabilizer. Extra utility files make stitching the pieces for the quilt easier.

I’ve chosen a natural colored cotton for the light blocks, a lightweight denim for the contrast blocks, and red ticking for the sashing strips on the front. I wanted cornerstones with a single star.

Since I was creating this quilt when patriotic fabrics were prominent, I thought I’d find something easily. When I didn’t, I digitized a star. It’s also included with the collection in three versions: one as just the star and a two with differently sized basting boxes for placement.

Because of the QAYG technique used, the cornerstones are not constructed in the standard manner. If you choose to have embroidered cornerstones, you can combine multiple copies of this design in your hoop leaving a few millimeters between each placement and feel confident you have enough fabric.

I found a blue and white cotton fabric that matched the denim color and looked rather like waves for the back. A busy backing fabric helps to camouflage the less-than-beautiful embroidery stitching.

Instructions

A 24-page fully illustrated detailed instruction PDF is included with the 42 designs in this collection so I won't go into all the details here. Instead, I'll just give you a quick overview so you can see how quickly the quilt goes together.

Preparing the Designs

The designs are digitized so that you can combine either the satin stitch version or the bean stitch version of a motif with it's coordinating quilting motif along with the optional basting box.

All the designs are set up so that centering each element in the hoop should perfectly align all parts, so while I combined in software, you could also combine at the machine. I recommend the following combination:

  1. Basting box 1 (placement guide)
  2. Basting box 2, in a different color from basting box 1 (attaches front block). (Can be the same color as the motif.)
  3. Center motif
  4. Basting box in a different color from the center motif, but can be same color as the quilting (attaches batting and backing)
  5. Quilted background (two colors)

Steps 1-3 above can be stitched in the same color thread; the color changes are just to force a stop. On a multi-needle machine, program in a stop at the appropriate times.

I merged in the three designs in Embrilliance and they were perfectly aligned. I did need to do some resequencing along with duplicating the basting box, but that's quick and easy.

I prefer doing tasks like this at my computer rather than my sewing machine because it's easier to see what I'm doing, it's faster, and I can save the design on my computer for future use.

Embroidering

Embroidering

Normally I prefer to hoop items between the rings of the hoop because the hoop is part of the stabilizing process. For this project, I precut all my blocks to 8" square and used a floating technique.

These designs aren't all that intense and floating conserved fabric. The block is trimmed to 7 1/4" square after stitching and the finished block is 6 1/4" square. Half inch seams are used for this QAYG method.

  1. Securely hoop the stabilizer.
  2. Sew basting box 1.
  3. Remove the hoop from the machine and center the top block over the basting lines. You may wish to hold it in place with TESA, although if it is well starched, I simply hold it in place with my fingers while the basting box sews again.
  4. Return the hoop to the machine and stitch basting block 2 and the motif (color 3).
  • 5. Remove the hoop from the machine and tape the batting and backing to the back of the hoop, batting side next to the stabilizer. You can stitch through blue painter’s tape or cellophane tape with no problems
  • 6. Return the hoop to the machine and stitch the rest of the design.
  • 7. Repeat with the remaining blocks.
  • I embroidered all 24 blocks in 1 (long) day on my Baby Lock Ellisimo, so in just one day, all my blocks were embellished and quilted! It only used 3 colors so that did help but you are interacting in other ways so you'll need to stay pretty close to your machine during stitching time.

    Note that this is a multi-step process so that the motif is not sewn clear through the quilt sandwich but only on the top fabric.

    This is the same way I did the Fuzzy Wuzzy Ducky Quilt (see blog post). On It's A Girl, the I used redwork designs for both the design element and the quilting so the entire design is sewn through the quilt sandwich.

    Sashing

    Sashing

    Sashing is added in the same way as It's a Girl! quilt, which only has sashing between the blocks and not around the outer edges. This is where I got into trouble on the Ocean Dreams.

    I started adding sashing strips to the right side of the finished blocks while other blocks were still being stitched. Sashing strips should not be added to the right most block in each row! If I had planned out my block arrangement ahead of time, I could have still added the sashing strips and known which blocks to leave out.

    When adding the sashing strips, you'll need to add one to the front and one to the back. Watch the It's a Girl YouTube video for how-to's on the sashing and how to attach the rows. The only difference on the sashing rows in this quilt is that it's pieced instead of one long strip.

    Borders

    Borders are added similarly. Piece the sashing strips for the first outer border for the front and use wide strips (width of total border plus seam allowances for the back). The narrow red and wider blue borders are attached by sewing through all three layers of the quilt thus quilting the back border at the same time.

    Instead of ruffled edge, I did a standard bias binding finish.

    How Long will it Take to Make?

    Well, since you have instructions and won't be making the same mistakes I did—nor will you be trying to take photos of all the steps and make notes as you go—you could make this quilt in a weekend, especially if you plan out your arrangement ahead of time. Of course, that doesn't count shopping for fabric…

    Using your embroidery machine to quilt while you piece blocks on another machine can make maximum use of your time and producing a quilt of this size quick and easy!

    My Affiliate Links Disclosure

    Hi everyone. Just to let you know that some of the links on this site are affiliate links. What that means is that if you click one of them and buy something… I get a commission. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and I only recommend things that I’ve tried and tested, so please, please, please… use my links.
    Fine Print: Lindee G Embroidery is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Lindee G Embroidery is also an affiliate for Embroidery.com, Nancy’s Notions, Embrilliance, and Craftsy. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, which helps to offset the cost of running this site. :)

    Where to Get Ocean Dreams Quilt Designs & Instructions

    You can instantly download Ocean Dreams with all 42 designs plus the 24 page fully illustrated step-by-step instructions to make both the quilt and wall hanging here. All of the center quilt block motifs used in the quilt will fit a 4x4" sewing field and the quilt blocks will fit a 150x150mm sewing field. You'll find more tips and construction details there than I've shown here.

     

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    About the Author

    Lindee Goodall

    lindee crafsy ovalLindee Goodall is a veteran master digitizer who's won awards for her beautiful designs, been a guest on numerous PBS sewing shows, written articles for a variety of home and industry related magazines, and is a Craftsy instructor.

    Lindee G Embroidery is her second company, following Cactus Punch, which was founded in 1994.

    About Me

    lindee crafsy ovalHi, I’m Lindee Goodall, a machine embroidery designer, digitizer, and educator  in Tucson, AZ.

    It’s pretty accurate to say that I’m addicted to digitizing and I have a major fondness for cats, all things Mac, and Filemaker Pro. It’s my passion to help keep you in stitches—embroidery stitches, that is!

    Mission

    To inspire and nurture personal creativity and productivity by connecting embroiderers and digitizers with innovative, high-quality products and information that significantly elevate their enjoyment and experience while maximizing the use of technology. In other words, more toys and more fun!

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