Thursday, February 15, 2018

Explore - A Finished Word Quilt

Have you ever been in the fabric store minding your own business and then you walk by the cutting table and see something someone else is purchasing and suddenly it becomes a must have? That does not happen to me often, but it did with the map fabric that borders this quilt.

My husband loves old maps and I knew this fabric would be perfect to use in a project for him.

We live in Georgia so I made sure to fussy cut the border strips to capture our home state.

That map fabric has been hanging around for a couple of years and right after I brought it home, I paired it up with this dark brown solid. At that time, I was taking a Craftsy class about quilting with your walking foot. One of the techniques was to matchstick quilt around letters, causing the empty space for the letters to stand out. I loved the result but was not such a fan of matchstick quilting. The result is beautiful, but it is a slow and kind of boring process. I decided to try a small free motion meander for this project.

The first step was to choose a font. I chose something straight from the selection in my word processing software and blew it up to a size 500 font. I printed the letters, then traced them on wax paper with the shiny side down. I centered and lined up the letters and pinned them in place. With the letters pinned, I cut the dark brown to the right size and cut and stitched the borders in place. Once the top was complete, I removed the pins from each letter, one at a time, and pressed the wax paper to the quilt top.

Next, the quilt was layered using two layers of batting. Once the letters were pressed down, I had to be really careful. The wax paper is just sticky enough to stay in place but it comes loose quickly if manipulated too much. The quilting is stitched in a dark brown thread. Each piece of wax paper was removed once the outline of the letter was completed.

I am very happy with the result. The biggest challenge was to keep the meander small so that the letters would really stand out.

If I could change one thing on this project, it would be to choose a lighter fabric for the letters. The light has to be just right for the letters to show.

Without the right light, it looks like a boring dark brown rectangle.

See how much more the letters stand out on the back? Part of this is because of the lighter fabric and part of it is because the thread is much darker than the fabric so all of the quilting stands out more. The lighting is terrible in this picture. The fabric looks gray but it is really a pretty blue.

I thought this would hang on the wall but after seeing it on our living room coffee table and knowing that this room gets lots of light throughout the day, I think we will leave it right there as a table runner.

This project was on my list for both 2017 and 2018. It was a last minute decision to take the plunge and get it made. I knew my husband would like it so it became a Valentine's Day gift for him. We don't generally go for all the commercial hoopla surrounding holidays so sometimes there is a gift and sometimes there isn't. We know we love each other all the time and that is what really matters. This year seems to be an exception though as he surprised me with two mugs to add to my growing Fiesta ware set of dishes.

This project was completed in six hours. The finished size is 34 x 15 inches.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts.


  1. What a wonderful gift for your DH!! (We don't to many gifts, either. For the same reason, along with being too practical for our own good.) I've wanted to try that technique for quite some time. Haven't found a "worthy" project... yet!!

    1. Thank you! Hoping to try again soon with both lighter fabric and contrasting thread. Hoping that combination will let the word shine through.

  2. I love the quilt and the sentiment!!! When I tried doing letters this way I had the same problem with them not really showing up and mine was on a tan fabric. I really think that the problem is using thread that too closely matches the fabric. Great job!!!

    1. Thanks, Frances. I have one more word project in mind. I'll try contrasting thread for that one and hopefully, that will do the trick.

  3. I love this and want to try this for my daughter. they would love the subtleness of the letters on it also.


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