Cathy’s Ladder of Success

The QM Scrap Squad is a select group of seven QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue of Quiltmaker and make their own scrappy versions to inspire you.

QM scrap squadB3 Cathys Ladder of SuccessThe featured quilt from the May/June issue is Ladder of Success, designed by quilting legend and early QM editor Judy Martin. We’re so pleased to feature Judy’s design as part of our 30th anniversary celebration.

ladder1 Cathys Ladder of Success

Ladder of Success, designed by Judy Martin, made by Donna Smith. Fabrics: Andover Fabrics.

CathyBuel1 Cathys Ladder of Success

Cathy Buel from Clinton Township, Michigan

Today’s featured quilt is by Cathy Buel from Clinton Township, Michigan. You’ll hear from Cathy below. She makes several really good points, which we have highlighted in blue.

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I was so happy when I received this pattern. It was right up my alley and it’s a perfect pattern to use up your scraps.

cathysfabric Cathys Ladder of Success

Cathy's focus fabric

The first thing I did was to pick a focus fabric. This is the fabric I used for the first and third borders and the binding.

I pulled all my fabrics from the colors of the focus fabric. This gave me an opportunity to use lots of scraps. The pieces I used were from 3″ to a fat quarter.

Whenever I make a quilt that has a lot of different segments, I make a chart on a graph paper index card (you can get these at any office supply store). I draw a picture of the segment, the size, and how many I need. I put it in a small plastic frame and keep it next to my sewing machine to use for reference. I do this with just about anything I sew.

0071 300x224 Cathys Ladder of Success

Then the sewing began…I made some practice blocks.

practice blocks 300x128 Cathys Ladder of Success

Luckily these all made it into the quilt. The center of the quilt came together very quickly.  I was loving how it looked.

ladder of success 1 300x248 Cathys Ladder of Success

Next came the borders. I cannot emphasize how important it is to measure your quilt center correctly before adding the borders. If you don’t, the borders will be wavy. I always measure the quilt center in three separate spots and take an average of my measurements. I do this for both the horizontal and vertical border strips. This works for me every time.

005 300x224 Cathys Ladder of Success

After the quilt top was finished I chose my backing fabric and batting. This time I used a batting I was not familiar with. There is so much information on the packagingalways check the packaging to see how far apart your quilting needs to be. In this case: 8″ to 10″.

Batting 300x247 Cathys Ladder of Success

I chose to quilt my top on the diagonal.  This made the distance in between quilting lines approximately 3″–4″ apart. All the quilting was done on my Brother sewing machine.

quilting 262x300 Cathys Ladder of Success

Once the quilting was done, I trimmed my quilt and sewed on the binding. I know a lot of quilters sew down the binding by machine but I still love to sew it down on the back of the quilt by hand. It gives me time to savor the finishing of my quilt.

I do my labels on the computer. I design and print it on paper to check how it looks, resize if necessary and then copy it to fabric ironed on to freezer paper sheets. After the freezer paper is removed, I cut to size and set the ink with a hot, dry iron and then attach it to the quilt.

Ladder quilt label 300x191 Cathys Ladder of Success

Here is the finished quilt.

New 1 002 2 243x300 Cathys Ladder of Success

This has been such a rewarding experience. I’ve learned so much and am excited to start the next quilt. Until then…Happy Quilting!

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Cathy’s thoughts are so full of wisdom! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about her process and her finished quilt. More Scrap Squad quilts to come in the days ahead.


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