Ditto by Jaybird Quilts

Julie, aka Jaybird Quilts, and I have a running bet. I bet her last year that she couldn’t wear me out. That I could handle as many quilts as she threw my way…..and this quilt market, she tried. I quilted a bunch of quilts for her booth, and she nearly beat me…..I nearly couldn’t keep up with her. But I prevailed and am happy and slightly worn out!

Jaybird quilts quilt market booth

Photo by: Julie Herman

She released several patterns at this quilt market, but today I am going to show you her Ditto pattern.

Jaybird Ditto pattern

I really like this pattern and the diagonal lines that it creates. For this quilt, I quilted feathers in some of the “diagonals” and swirls in the rest. I know that Julie likes feathers, so I love to quilt them on her quilts.

jaybird ditto quilt

But I didn’t just quilt this Ditto quilt, I quilted a second one with Vanessa’s (V & Co) new fabric line, Simply Color.

ditto quilt made with Simply color fabric

First of all, I love Vanessa’s fabric line. The blues and greens are perfect!

Ditto quilt by Jaybird quilts

This quilt is a great example of “efficient quilting”. When I was quilting this quilt, I was running out of time. The closer I get to Quilt Market, the faster I need to be. But even though I need to be quick, I can’t just quilt an allover…..so I use a few “illusions” to give a quilt a “custom” look as quick as possible!

First, I determine which area(s) of the quilt will show the quilting the most. In those areas, I quilt the same way as normal. In this example, the area that showed the most was the green, so I quilted that with a swirl quilting design.

swirl quilting

Secondly, to quilt more efficiently (read: faster), I will quilt my favorite design on a bigger scale. So in this instance, I wanted to quilt circles, so I quilted them on a larger scale then I normally would.

jaybird quilts ditto quilt pattern

Then, in areas where the quilting won’t show up as much, I pick a design that I know that I can quilt quickly. So in this diagonal line, I quilted a basic swirl.  Something that would be quick and easy!

jaybird quilts ditto pattern

In the smallest diagonals, I picked a design that looks great but that I know that I can quilt quickly.

I love to quilt…..I love starting a new quilt and hoping it will turn out exactly like it looks in my head. I also love the satisfaction of finishing a quilt. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with “quick quilting”. I like to do the best job I can in the shortest time, and this quilt is a perfect example of just that!

I will be back tomorrow with more quilts from Julie!

Happy Quilting!


Deciding What to Quilt~ Borders

Well, it has been two weeks since my last “Deciding What to Quilt” post, but I hope that this one was worth waiting on! Today we are going to talk about quilting quilt borders. Some quilters love them and some quilters, like me, don’t like them. But I feel that I should clarify that it’s not that I hate quilt borders, it’s just that I am kinda on the lazy/impatient side. When I am piecing a quilt, I am usually over it before I even get to the borders….but I am getting off track.

Recently, Patricia sent me an email with a picture of her quilt.

quilt made with modern fabric

Photo by Patricia

But she wasn’t asking about the whole quilt top…..Here is what she had to say about it:

I’m thinking of taking off that outside border. I think it pushes the quilt into more of a traditional look and think it conflicts with Malka’s fabrics. If I were to figure out something fun to do in the borders, maybe it would work. My friends who used more traditional fabrics are planning on adding appliqué to that border. I don’t think that would be effective for mine. So what are your thoughts? Would you take the borders off? Extend the zigzag effect on up? Swirl it up? Play around with different sized circles? And for thread I think using the lighter shade of gray would work everywhere, except in those darker gray sashing areas.

When I am quilting a quilt with borders, I don’t have the option of taking it off. So I am going to answer it as if she is going to leave the borders on. If I were quilting this quilt, I would do exactly what she suggested in her statement, I would extend the piecing into the border. Something like this:

deciding what to quilt

I would keep the quilting designs the same as the piecing in the center of the quilt. I would then fill in the rest of the border with the same filler as I did in the center. Perhaps a geometric quilting design?

I actually did something similar to Heather’s quilt:

quilting in solid quilt border

It’s hard to see in the black fabric, but I extended some of the piecing in the center of the quilt into the border. Before I started the quilting, I  used a chalk pencil to pick a few of the strip to use for the quilting. I normally use a water soluble blue marker, but it wouldn’t show up on the black!

how to quilt it in the border

Unlike my suggestion above, I left the strips unquilted. I wanted them to contrast with the filler. To help achieve that, I echoed each side of the strip with another line and then filled in between them with pebbles. Here is a back view of the quilt.

back of modern quilt quilting

What about thread?

Back to Patricia’s quilt, I agree with her about the gray thread. The neutral thread will blend with the border fabric but won’t clash with the center of the quilt.

What do you think?

So, what do you think? Do you like borders? How would you quilt the borders on Patricia’s quilt? I know that she would love as many suggestions as she could get!

Happy Quilting!


The joy of quilting negative space!

Another fun quilt pattern of Emily’s that I quilted is Circular Reasoning


When I saw this quilt, all I could think of was all that white negative space. I couldn’t wait to have some fun with it! I usually try to think of things that I have never tried before, so when I had an idea of a different way to quilt it…..I went with it!

free-motion machine quilting

I quilted pebbles in amongst the letters, had wavy lines radiate from the center and finished off with swirls. You may  be thinking that it is a little over the top, but hopefully the matching thread keeps the quilting from overwhelming the center of the quilt.

Before I started I marked 2 circles on the quilt top, one around the letters and another one that almost touched the sides of quilt. This made three “rings” on the quilt. Kinda like this:

modern machine quilting

I quilted the swirls in the outer “ring” of the quilt and then quilted the pebbles in around the letters in the center of the quilt. Then I went back and quilted the wavy lines.

free-motion machine quilting

A self-indulgent photo of the back:

longarm quilting

Anoyone taking my Techniques for Quilting Negative Space class at MQX in Rhode Island next month will see me demo exactly how I quilt this design as well as many others. If you are planning to take any of the classes that I am teaching at MQX, better sign up quickly. Two of the classes are almost sold out! Guess I better get working on my handouts!

Happy Quilting!!!

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