Finished! Mod Sampler Quilt: Stars & Stripes Forever

It's been almost three weeks since my last post. I didn't really plan to take such a long break, and now I have a lot of catching up to do.

Last time, I was just about finished with my Stars & Stripes Forever version of Oh Fransson!'s Mod Sampler Quilt-along.

Remember, I've always said that I am *not* a quilter, just a sewing enthusiast who likes to try all sorts of sewing projects . . . but I do have more than few quilting patterns I'd like make sometime soon, so this quilt-along seemed like a good opportunity to practice all the steps in the process of making a quilt before diving into something more complicated.

I've done piecing before and was very pleased with the way most of my blocks turned out. I used a special 1/4" clear piecing foot with a guide to get uniform 1/4" seams throughout the project and most of my blocks ended up being exactly the right size without much squaring up.

This is the largest quilted item I've every attempted; the others were small wall hangings or bags, so making the quilt "sandwich" was never a challenge until now. I really like the method suggested by this quilt-along. I used the floor in the entryway to lay out my backing and batting and used curved safety pins to keep it all together for the quilting. The batting in this quilt is an 80/20 cotton/poly blend; I followed the package instructions for pre-washing it before making the quilt sandwich.

Last year I bought a Fab-U-Motion with Stitch Regulator and have used it only a handful of times, so I decided to use it on this project to experiment with free motion stippling. I've never really done free motion quilting successfully before owning this gadget. There is definitely a learning curve to using the Fabric Mover, and by the time I finished this quilt, I was dreaming of squiggly shapes in my sleep. Some of the spots are not the prettiest free motion quilting you'll ever see, but there are some spots that I think are quite good. After about 3 hours, I finished about 1/3 of the quilt:

Mod Sampler Quiltalong

Here is how I set up my work area - used clothes pins to keep the quilt from shifting around on the fabric mover:

Mod Sampler Quiltalong

My squiggles are kind of on the large size, but since this is the first time I've used this technique on a large scale, I was more interested in learning the process rather than refining the pattern. Just as I was finishing up the last section of this quilt, I felt that I was finally able to feel how to make a random pattern. I'm confident that the next time will be even better.

Mod Sampler Quiltalong

Putting on the binding was very similar to other smaller projects I've made, it just took a lot longer to piece and attach it. I used binding clips (instead of pins) to keep it in place while sewing and they really do make a difference. The binding was sewn entirely by machine -- I'm not really interested in doing much hand sewing anymore. I used a blanket stitch from the quilting menu on my sewing machine and stitched from the front.

Here is the front of the finished quilt:
Mod Sampler Quiltalong

Penny and Keli inspected the back; I think they approve:
Mod Sampler Quiltalong

Here we are napping with our new quilt:
Mod Sampler Quiltalong

You can see all the photos for this project in our Mod Sampler Quiltalong Set