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My Balance wall hanging is done!

Hi friends. I have finished my BALANCE wall hanging which portrays my 2020 Word of the Year in a creative way. I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

BALANCE Wall Hanging made and designed by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter

I have been working on this, off and on, since January. It was the free motion quilting around the letters that had me stalled for a while. Once I dug my heels in, it only took me two days to finish it.

BALANCE Wall Hanging made and designed by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter

I made this wall hanging to represent my Word of the Year in a way that is near and dear to my heart. I’ve been dabbling in modern calligraphy over the past year and I really enjoy the creative expression of it. It ties in really well with free motion quilting, too. I practiced the letters on paper until I was happy with them and then I drew the letters onto my fabric with a Frixion pen. For more information on marking, you can read Are Frixion Pens Safe to Use for Quilting here.

I made a quilt sandwich with wool batting and basted the layers together. Then I stitched over the letters using 12 wt. cotton Fruitti thread by Wonderfil and a size 90/12 topstitch needle. I have 60 wt. Bottom Line thread by Superior Threads in the bobbin.

BALANCE Wall Hanging made and designed by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter

I went over the letters several times to fatten up certain areas. I’m using my Babylock Crescendo sewing machine to do all of the free motion quilting and stitching. I know I need to talk more about my sewing machine and why I chose this one. I will get to it one of these days.

The filler stitching around the letters are two different designs that I learned from Diane Gaudynski in her book, Guide to Machine Quilting, which is no longer in print. Diane is one of the early pioneer’s of FMQ and has since retired. The first design is called Bouncing Bananas. It is so appropriately named. I had to practice this one first to get the hang of it.

The second design is grid-based and it’s an orange peel pattern. This one is definitely not perfect but I like the overall texture it gives. I had to first draw a 1/2″ grid on the quilt top (again with a Frixion pen) and that was my guide for the orange peel stitching. I didn’t take pictures of this one, but here’s a close up.

Now I just need to practice the word BALANCE! I am enrolled in Ali Edwards class, One Little Word, so I get monthly prompts in my inbox. This was not one of those prompts, but my own way of making my word visible to me.

BALANCE Wall Hanging made and designed by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter

I hope you’re all staying healthy and finding your way through the COVID 19 restrictions. It’s a very strange and unsettling time for all of us. You may have seen the requests for homemade face masks going around the internet along with many different patterns and tutorials. I’ve been testing out a few and I’ll do a separate blog post with my own recommendations.

Stay well and happy quilting,

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  1. I took Diane’s class and always loved the name “bouncing bananas”! I still have a piece to finish – on the cotton sateen she recommended. Its on my list but not quarantined with me…maybe later this year. The mini is a lovely way to keep that word in mind; balance is needed so much right now and once we are released we will need it in a different way. Its a beautiful piece.

  2. Your ‘Balance’ is beautiful, Julie! It amazes me how you free motioned the word so perfectly without machine embroidering it. Great job and You are a very patient stitcher!

  3. I love the word you chose. Likely, all of us could practice the use of balance in our lives. Your wall hanging and calligraphy are lovely. Thank you for all of the sharing you do with us.

  4. I look forward to your report on your Crescendo. I recently bought the same machine but because of the restrictions the coronavirus has put in place here, I have not been able to go to the shop for my free lesson. I’ve sewn a bit on my own, but will definitely need help from an expert to really get up to speed.

  5. I am constantly amazed at your skill and dedication to your craft. You are a wonderful person and a gifted quilter. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  6. Your Balance quilt is amazing! The word is nice and bold and the quilting is beautiful. You are very talented!

  7. Hi, Julie. I’ve been working on masks for a few days. Here’s a couple things I found: several youtube videos had 3 fabric layers with one being flannel. I used 3 layers of quilting fabric and found it stifling. I switched to interfacing inside and found it much more breathable. One comment wrote that polyester is not breathable, but everything I found online said it was. When I tried it on, it was much better than 3 fabric layers. One medical professional wrote in a comment that she did not like flannel, but I forget why. After watching several video tutorials, I pretty much followed this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FB–BOyTiU EXCEPT I changed the dimensions of cutting to 7 in x 9 in. I found that little increase covered the N-95 mask more completely. A neighbor kindly gave me one of his masks. I am not inserting a metal piece to help the mask conform to the nose. Instead I fold the completed mask in half “wrong” sides together and sew a little pleat at top and bottom–about .25 inch from the middle going down to center fold at about .75 inches. This helps it fit around the nose and chin without having to use a more sophisticated pattern and sew curves. I do not use elastic because I think ties will hold up better over multiple industrial washings. TIES: I cut 1.25 in. WOF, iron in half lengthwise, iron the edges to the fold line, iron into a finished strip and stitch down the middle lengthwise. I cut each strip in half and sew unfinished edge into the mask. The other edge is selvage and needs no fancy finishing. You’re probably well on your way to another excellent tutorial, but I thought I’d write in case some of my trial & error would be helpful to you. Thank you for your excellent tutorials.

    1. Thank you, Lori, for this information. I made a few masks yesterday and also decided that the next ones I make will be slightly larger. I don’t have much elastic left so thanks for the tie info.

  8. Fantastic quilting, such a good word and great quilting. I’m working on finishing some quilts so enjoy being able to sew and make wall hangings and saying prayers for all.

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