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Quilting the Retro Rubies // Retro Rubies QAL

This week I was able to finish piecing my Retro Rubies quilt top. I decided to add a wider sashing between each flower unit to make the quilt slightly bigger and wider. The quilt top finished at 66" x 68" which is a great throw size quilt. I was in such a hurry to baste the quilt I didn't even take a picture of the quilt top, but I suppose it will be a nice surprise!

The Backing


For the backing on the original Retro Rubies I made one inverted flower block and pieced it into the bottom right hand corner.

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For my second version I decided to make one JUMBO flower block which is twice the size. I used a 6" curves template from my recent Modern BOM 2 block here. This template wasn't made to work like the Retro Rubies templates so I had to use a 5/8" seam allowance when piecing the print fabric around the block. The JUMBO flower finished at 26" x 39" and I pieced it into the center of the backing. After I finished the backing I was thinking how cool it would be to have a quilt with just one flower maybe even bigger, someday.

Basting the Quilt

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I don't think I can express how much I dislike basting a quilt. Usually I use blue painters tape to tape the backing taut to the floor, spray baste the layers, and add a few pins for good measure. When I was basting my new Retro Rubies quilt that method was not working. The tape would not stay stuck to the floor and I had puckers and wrinkles all over the quilt.

By 11:00 p.m. I had enough, so I decided to try Sharons Schambers basting technique, which I have been wanting to try for months. You can watch her video tutorial on using boards to baste here. In the video she teaches you how to use basic trim boards (from Home Depot) and thread to baste a quilt. I used the trim boards, but still decided to pin the quilt. Next time I think I will try using thread just as she teaches in the video. This method was 100 times better then using tape! I felt like I had full control over all three layers and was able to achieve a smooth finish. Sharon advocates that this method gets you up off the floor, but if you are doing a larger quilt you would need two card tables setup to lay the quilt on which I don't have so I still had to sit on the floor. If you are making a smaller quilt than you should be able to do this on your kitchen table, while sitting.

Quilting The Quilt


Before you begin quilting you should always have a game plan. That game plan may change while your quilting, but you need to at least have some direction as to what and where you will quilt. The first step I always take when quilting is getting inspired. I have a Pinterest board for machine quilting where I pin inspiring quilting designs. Next I doodle, I printed off the Retro Rubies Coloring page and played with a few different ideas.


Once you know what you want to quilt than you can begin marking if needed. I marked 1/2" around each petal with a water soluble pen.

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I plan to use my walking foot to echo the petals, and then I will switch over to my FMQ foot to quilt the rest. Make sure to choose a thread that will blend well. I am using a off-white Aurifil thread which should blend nicely.

Featured Sponsors

Christa is the perfect sponsor for todays post! Christa has been a domestic machine quilter for many years. Christa has very helpful free motion and machine quilting tips on her blog and has a great selection of her favorite quilting notions most of which I also use in her shop. I use the Supreme Slider, Machingers Gloves, and Water Soluble pen on just about every quilting project!

Aurifil 50wt and 40wt Mako Cotton thread are my go to thread for piecing and machine quilting. I gave a detailed review on Aurifil threads a while back which you may find helpful. I often get asked where I purchase my Aurifil thread, because it can be pretty hard to find locally. I order all my thread from Follow That Thread. Donna has a huge selection of Aurifil in every color, weight and cotton, wool, monofilament and kits. I also love that you receive free shipping on orders over $30 in the US!

Giveaway Prizes!


Christa at Christa Quilts is giving away one pair of Machinger's Gloves to one lucky Pile O' Fabric Reader!


Aurifil Threads is giving away one 12 spool Tula Pink Premium Collection of  thread to one lucky Pile O' Fabric Reader. The collection case includes 12 colors of 50 wt thread in large spools containing 1422 yards each.

Giveaway Winners!

Alice-Christina has won a pair of  Machingers Gloves from Christa Quilts! Laura Baker has won the 12 pack of Aurifil Threads! I am looking forward to seeing how you will quilt your Retro Rubies! I will be quilting all week long and will share my progress on Facebook, Flickr, and Instagram.

    Post Comments

  • maggie p says...

    I am loving the look of straight line quilting right now! Trying to master it.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Chelsea says...

    I haven’t developed a style yet because I am still fairly new to quilting. I have done straight line, FMQ and paid for a longarmer to quilt one. I’m hoping that my FMQ will get better as I do it more and then becomes a style for me!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Jacklynn Grimm says...

    My quilting style so far has been just straight line quilting. I haven’t made anything huge (e.g. a bed-sized quilt) so I can manage this on my machine. I just recently purchased the springy free motion quilt foot for my machine, I need to practice that a bit before I try it. I have a folder in my computer of pictures of different examples of FMQ to try one day.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Liz Fane says...

    So far I’ve only tried straight line quilting with my walking foot but I’m collecting all the tools I need to try free motion.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Brittney Gossard says...

    I’m still pretty new to quilting, so I’ve only quilted with straight lines so far – I hope to work my way up to FMQ :)

    On August 20, 2014

  • Jennifer B says...

    I don’t have a favorite quilting style.. yet. I am working on piecing my first quilt and picked a rather… invasive piecer for my first. I just ordered a walking foot and I’m looking forward to working on my quilt some more and expanding my horizons

    On August 20, 2014

  • Regina DeMatteo says...

    I teach Machine Quilting on a domestic machine. I quilt on mine but prefer long-arm but I haven’t got one so I have to rent or borrow. One day…..

    On August 20, 2014

  • Kay Holm says...

    I am so excited to get started on my quilt. The problem is that my bobbin thread keeps messing up, globs of thread are on the back of the quilt. What am I doing wrong (just had the machine serviced, it is an old old Viking)?

    On August 20, 2014

  • Paula says...

    Being relatively new to quilting I haven’t yet had much experience. I recently discovered spirals and am enjoying quilting with those in addition to straight line quilting. I am also practicing my FMQ but am not yet happy enough with my proficiency to use it on an actual quilt. i’ve yet to try Aurifil threads, they aren’t available locally. At the moment I love the King tut variegated threads. They really sew beautifully. I’ve only really made smaller quilts till now, all spray basted. I’m looking forward to trying out the method by Sharon Schamber that you linked, I have just started to make a larger quilt and was dreading the thought of basting it already.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Allison D says...

    I’m still a little scared of FMQ but I’m trying to get better at it. So straight lines and FMQ both for me.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Sharon Lichter says...

    I would love to win the Aurifil thread. I am already using the Machingers gloves to quilt. A friend is storing her long arm at my house, so I am trying to get used to quilting on that. I usually tape down my backing on my cutting table and baste in sections. I have had pretty good luck doing it this way. If I want a lot of different quilt motifs on my quilt, I still like to quilt on my regular machine.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Lauren says...

    I’ve only quilted small projects, straight-line or echo (which I LOVE dearly), but I’ve paid to have the bigger quilts quilted because of the BASTING (what a FRUSTRATING process – to spend so much time and still have bunches and puckers)!! Thank you SO much for the Sharon Schamber references (who knew?!?). I can’t wait to try that method on a couple of tops I’ve put aside! THANK YOU! Oh, and I’ll still straight-line those, because I love straight line quilting!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Ivy says...

    I prefer straight-line quilting, but would love to try FMQ. I like Aurifil, but really don’t like quilting with the 50 wt. It’s too thin! I’m looking forward to quilting my next project with 40 or 28 wt thread. I mark if I’m doing outline quilting, with a Frixion pen. Otherwise, for lines, I can just use the bar on my walking foot. I don’t have any notions specifically for machine quilting, though will eventually get a slider, gloves, hoop, etc.

    On August 20, 2014

  • M says...

    I’m more into straight line quilting:) Yep, I’m a newbie!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Margaret says...

    Straight-line quilting for me. I am not confident enough to do FMQ. I need a lot more practice.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Alyce Rodriguez says...

    Straight line quilting is what I mostly do, although I have done a little FMQ on a few smaller baby quilts. My little sewing machine just doesn’t have the throat space to allow for more. Thanks!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Nancy D. says...

    I suppose I prefer straight line because I’m more practiced with it, but I’m loving the skills I’m learning with the various QALs on FMQ and maybe one day I’ll be really good at it. Mostly I use Connecting Threads threads, but I have finally bought my first Aurifil thread but haven’t tried it yet.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Nancy B from Many LA says...

    I wish I could quilt by check! LOL!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Hanke says...

    I use the walking foot,, I hope to learn FMQ. Nice quilt!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Sarah says...

    I love free motion quilting since I got my new Juki. I hate marking quilting lines; I don’t think I’ve found a good tool yet that I like for marking. I really wanted to try the supreme slider.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Maria White says...

    I must confess now. I’m following your BOM and have done quite a few quilt tops.. I haven’t quilted any of it yet!! I’m absorbing all the instruction and I’m guessing I’ll have to do it sooner than later :)

    On August 20, 2014

  • Deanna A says...

    I love all kinds of FMQ – straight lines, echoes, swirls. Aurifil 50 is great for piecing. I generally use Isacord for quilting as I have tons of thread since I also do machine embroidery.

    On August 20, 2014

  • carla says...

    Thanks for the chance to win! I only use my walking foot, whether that means curving or straight lines because I have a machine with tiny harp space. Maybe when I get a larger/better machine I can attempt FMQ.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Erica says...

    Since I’m still pretty new to quilting I generally do hand quilting. To date I’ve only done miniature quilts (although I am saving up fabrics and scraps for a 1:1 string quilt!) I like to have a good idea of the pattern I want to use and then I go to it! I don’t mark the quilt but I do try to keep and eye on the fabric (patterned or solid) as a way to keep the quilting pattern looking “right” or at least heading i the direction I want ;)

    My favorite notions = good quality thread that slides through the fabric! :D

    On August 20, 2014

  • Laura says...

    For the last three years I have been quilting my own quilts. I practiced A LOT on muslin sandwiches, progressed to table runners and then finally took the plunge. I love the results.
    I started with magazine and book designs and now I like to use pinterest to pin new quilting ideas. First I doodle because if I can draw it, I can probably free motion quilt it.
    I definitely like to plan ahead what I want to do before starting.
    The only lines I draw are for straight stitching and cross-hatching. I like to use my walking foot.
    My quilts are usually pieced, machine appliqued and hand embroidered so each block gets it’s own quilt pattern.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Kathy S. says...

    Do you prefer straight line quilting, free motion quilting, or quilting by checkbook? — I recently bought a longarm . I like to follow templates right now. I also like to do straight lines and freehand stippling. What threads do you like to use? Although King Tut makes a nice cone thread for my longarm, I am having a lot of luck with the cheap serger thread that I purchase at JoAnn Fabrics. This thread is $2.19 per 300 yard cone! The pastels break all the time. The neutrals work great with my Nolting. Do you mark your quilts? I don not mark my quilts. Whats are your favorite quilting notions? My digital camera, my Accuquilt GO! Baby, and a pair of tweezers (for Drunkard’s Path no-pin blocks) are my favorite notions.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Lawana Whaley says...

    Normally quilt with the pattern but have anew machine that I want to try my hand at FMQ

    On August 20, 2014

  • Heather B says...

    I’ve only finished one quilt. I did free motion, and it turned out okay. I would like to try straight line quilting for my next one, I think.

    I still can’t get over your fabric choices. Have you thought of selling kits or bundles?? I just drool at them in every picture.

    On August 20, 2014

  • florence says...

    I’m a real beginner so I have only quilted with simple design ( straight and circle lines).

    On August 20, 2014

  • Wendy says...

    I am pretty new to quilting too, so for me it’s straight lines. But since I got a walking foot I’m enjoying it immensely. I’d love to try free-motion, but my vintage machine may have other ideas :)

    On August 20, 2014

  • Bonnie Pfrimmer says...

    I am pretty new to quilting so I am still on the straight line quilting. I am practicing some pebbles but haven’t put them on a quilt yet.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Stephanie @ Quarter Incher says...

    Honestly, I usually send out my larger quilts to have them quilted. I don’t have the patience to quilt it when I’m done piecing it. A good friend of my Mom’s lives like 5 minutes from me, so i just drop them off for her to quilt. She always does a magnificent job! But having THREE computerized quilting machines/frames will do that for ya!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Sarah N says...

    I’m really into straight line quilting. In part because I’m not any good at FMQ yet : P but mostly because I like clean modern lines. I’ve stuck with Gutermann following a fiasco with another brand that constantly broke in my machine (of course after I invested in huge color collection of it!), but Aurifil was highly recommended by the woman I took a FMQ class from recently, and I’d love to try it out.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Margaret Schindler says...

    I am just learning FMQ and have been following you on the skillbuilder. I have had the nerve to touch my blocks yet I am still practicing on sandwiches.

    On August 20, 2014

  • jayne says...

    I love the quilting you did on that quilt! Yummy! My quilting process…I just go with it! Machine quilting. Nothing too precise. I love off kilter, wonky, waves. I’m trying to get into freemotion. I have never had a pair of (or used) gloves and wonder if they would make it easier? Do you use them? Maybe I can win them…wishing!
    I love thread too! What a great giveaway! Thank you so much!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Laura says...

    I tend to go towards straight line quilting because my machine is being free motion difficult lately. I’m getting a new machine in a few months, so I’m excited to do more free motion!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Carmen says...

    Ha, my quilting process isn’t much to share! I do prefer FMQ over straight-line, but I can only handle a meander right now. Some people make it look so easy!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Shayne says...

    I dabble in both but FMQ always makes me super nervous! Straight line is way easier for me!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Marci Girl says...

    Every quilt that I quilt is different, though I do prefer FMQ to straight lines. I baste on the floor, always using pins, and that great little tool that helps close the pins and I cannot think of the name of right now, it really saves my fingers!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Neva Asinari-Post says...

    FMQ although it takes me out of my comfort zone.

    On August 20, 2014

  • hannah says...

    I mostly do ‘organic’ straight lines, ha. Echo quilting, andi just enjoyed doing concentric circles on a mini quilt. I’m another lagging behind on your BOM! I really want to improve but sewing time is so limited and I do love piecing. I am an aurifil girl all the way and I love my quilting gloves too

    On August 20, 2014

  • Brooke says...

    I have been on a loopy quilting kick lately. I saw an awesome spiral that I want to try next though!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Gretchen says...

    It has been fun to watch this pattern in many versions. I am not doing the QAL, as I’m still working on my groovy quilt :) but this has gone on my list.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Gemma Jones says...

    I prefer FMQ, as I love the sketchy-design element of it. I use a fab pair of gardening gloves to help me grip the fabric, and I always have a gin and tonic before I start to loosen up my shoulders a little. ;-) Gx

    On August 20, 2014

  • Erin says...

    I love free motion quilting and I usually make my own quilts and I love it. I just learned how to quilt my own quilts last month and it is my favorite sewing project now, I LOVE IT!!!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Shawn J says...

    Well, being that I am a newbie, straight lines are for me right now haha
    (smjohns63 at yahoo dot com)

    On August 20, 2014

  • Therese says...

    I have basic quilting skills. I’ll need to find a free motion tutorial or on line class. I have thread basted quilts- especially if it’s hand pieced. Usually I use the curved safety pins. I have used stencils on borders of a small project. I like the cross-hatch look also. I often outline a block 1/4" away from seam & then expand out. Or for some charity donated quilts I do lines about 1.5"-2" apart, all across the quilt. I have heard about ‘Aurifil’ thread, people seem to prefer it. Hopefully I will win the Tula Pink Aurifil threads sine I joined the ‘City Sampler’ QAL.
    Thanks for the chance!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Diane W says...

    I am still a newbie at machine quilting. For small projects I like straight line quilting. For big projects I like quilting by check. I love using Aurifil threads!
    Thanks for the giveaway.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Cheryl B says...

    I am learning to free-motion quilt and am loving the freedom of stitching whatever I want. So much more fun than straight-line quilting!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Sandy Y says...

    I don’t have a longarm (yet). I pay for the big ones. right now I have a lot of them waiting to be quilted. I will free motion the smaller ones.

    On August 20, 2014

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Alyssa Lichner from Pile O' Fabric

Welcome to the Pile O’ Fabric blog, my name is Alyssa Lichner, I live in sunny Gilbert, AZ. I am a freelance web and graphic designer turned avid sewist. I write modern quilting tutorials and share techniques and inspiration here at Pile O’ Fabric… Read More

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