Exploding Heart Quilt Along - Week 6

Thursday, February 11, 2021

It's the final week of the Exploding Heart quilt along! Cue the streamers and balloons! You definitely don't want to miss the final giveaway at the end of the post too!!

Exploding Heart quilt along

You can find all of the previous quilt along blog posts here:

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If you're new here, hello! I'm Laura! I design quilt patterns, and I'm a self-proclaimed deal hunter! Be sure to join the popular Quilting & Sewing Deals Facebook group where I post sales, deals, and coupon codes from all around the web!

Exploding Heart quilt pattern

This QAL uses the Exploding Heart quilt pattern. 

Get the PDF version here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/822272908/

Get the paper version that will be mailed to you here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/836168813/

**The QAL has ended, but sign up if you want to be notified about the next QAL!

Week 6 / 6

This week is all about finishing your quilt!

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to watch this week's video and enter the giveaway!

This week includes several decisions: batting, thread, backing, and quilting design.


Batting choice is often decided by a mix of personal preference and how you plan to use the quilt.

I personally like and use Warm & Natural batting because it washes well and the texture is close to quilts I have used in the past. A similar option is Pellon's natural cotton batting.

Natural cotton batting

If you used a light or white colored background, then you will likely want to use a bleached cotton batting instead of the natural color like Hobbs Bleached CottonWarm & White, or Pellon's white cotton batting.

Batting types

If you've used a dark background color like black or deep purple, you might consider a black batting like Hobbs 80/20 Black. It does not have much lint and quilts very similar to other 80/20 battings.

Black batting

I am going to use Hobbs wool batting for one of my Exploding Heart quilts I'm making. Wool doesn't crease as much as cotton and it has a bit more loft. It's a great choice for any season.

Of course there are many other types of batting that will work great too! I do watch for sales on all kinds of batting and post them in the Quilting & Sewing Deals Facebook group! Come check out the group!


Polyester or cotton? 30wt or 40wt or 50wt or something else?

When it comes to thread, use what works for you. I am definitely not the quilt police! If you're using a longarm, then 40wt polyester thread is a great choice! If you're using a domestic, then 50wt cotton thread is a great choice!

The smaller the thread weight number, the thicker the thread. So if you really want your quilting to show up, use a 30wt thread. If you want the piecing to take center stage, then choose 40wt or 50wt so the quilting does not take away from the design. The quilt pictured below was quilted using a pale pink 40wt Aurifil thread.

Free motion quilting

I personally use Aurifil thread for as much of my piecing and quilting as possible - both on my domestic and longarm. I use both 40wt Aurifil and 50wt Aurifil in my longarm - usually chosen by which weight has the color I want to use. The quilt pictured below was quilted in a bright pink 50wt thread.

Free motion quilting

As far as what color of thread you might want to use, I tend to say to use your favorite color! I used to always match my background fabric, but have recently thrown caution to the wind and choose a color from the focal fabrics. I'm thinking lime green, turquoise, or pink for the one below!

Exploding Heart quilt along final week


The back of a quilt is an opportunity waiting to happen!

If you want to use regular cotton fabric, you could choose a fabric with a large design that you might not find easy to cut up into smaller pieces.

Quilt back and label

You can purchase 108" wide backing fabric (I'd recommend 2 1/2 yards of that for this quilt), or you can purchase regular quilting cotton and sew two pieces together along the selvage. I'd recommend 5 yards of fabric for that method.

108" wide quilt backing

Another great choice is to use minky! Everyone in my family loves snuggling with a minky-backed quilt!

Minky quilt back

Quilting Design

Heart free motion quilting

When it comes to quilting, you must first decide if you want to do it yourself or send the quilt top to someone else to quilt for you.

Gammill longarm machine

Let's chat about sending it to a longarm quilter first!

A longarm quilter can quilt an edge-to-edge design onto your quilt (a design that is repeated over the entire quilt) or do custom quilting (different parts of the quilt have different types of quilting). Custom quilting requires much more time to complete, and will have a greater cost. Be sure to communicate with your longarm quilter about what type of quilting you would like. Some longarm quilters have batting for you to choose from, and others ask that you send your batting with your quilt top and backing. 

There are often longarm quilters near you! Ask at your quilt guild or local quilt shop for recommendations.

If you do not have someone near you, then here are my suggestions for longarm quilters you can mail your quilt top to!

Beth at Cooking Up Quilts is located in West Virginia and offers both edge-to-edge and custom quilting. She has generously donated FREE edge-to-edge quilting for one Exploding Heart quilt top for this week's giveaway!! Visit her website HERE. (And go to the bottom of this blog post to enter to win the giveaway!)

Sherry at Powered by Quilting is located in Albuquerque, NM. She's offering 25% off edge-to-edge quilting of your Exploding Heart quilt through the end of March 2021! If you put "Exploding Heart QAL" in the referred by section of the form, you can get 20% off quilting services of ANY quilt! Visit her website HERE.

Photo courtesy of Powered by Quilting

Five longarm quilters from the Longarm League are also standing by to help you finish your Exploding Heart quilt top! Send it to one of the following quilters by June 1, 2021 and receive 20% off their edge-to-edge quilting services!

Longarm league quilters

Karyn at KarynQuilts is located in New York state and offers edge-to-edge and custom quilting. Visit her website HERE.

Kayla at Patchwork River Quilting is located in Idaho and offers edge-to-edge quilting. Visit her website HERE.

Missy at Southern Home Quilts is located in North Carolina and offers edge-to-edge quilting. Visit her website HERE.

Stef at Jack & Theo's Quilting Co. is located in Illinois and offers edge-to-edge and custom quilting. Visit her website HERE.

Tasha at Oh Thimbles is located in California and offers edge-to-edge and light custom quilting. Visit her website HERE.

Each longarm quilter will have different designs for you to choose from. You can pick your thread color too!

If you'll be quilting it yourself on a longarm, you might opt to do your own custom quilting or ruler work!

Free motion quilting

You can also use your domestic machine to do the quilting! A walking foot would allow you to quilt straight (or straight-ish) lines and make some stunning designs!

Walking foot quilting design
Walking foot quilting in spiral

A free-motion foot on your domestic machine opens up many quilting possibilities similar to using a longarm.

Free motion quilting design


Once the quilting is done, you just have to bind your quilt! I bind all of my quilts by machine and add a quick label as I sew the binding too. Find the tutorial for how I sew my binding here: https://www.sliceofpiquilts.com/2017/04/machine-quilt-binding-tutorial.html.

Machine sewn binding

This quilt is a great one for using your leftover scraps to make a scrappy binding!

Scrappy machine sewn binding

I order my satin labels from HERE.


After your quilt is quilted AND bound, then you can wash the quilt when you're ready. I suggest throwing a couple Color Catchers in the washing machine with the quilt. If there's any bleeding, you can rewash the quilt several times with new Color Catchers. Once you're satisfied that there was no bleeding on the quilt or any other issues, then put the quilt in the dryer or hang it to dry if it's not too cold where you live! (**Note: If you use wool batting, you can wash the quilt in cold water in a gentle or delicate cycle, but you'll need to hang or lay the quilt flat to dry.)


**If the video doesn't load, you can view it here: https://youtu.be/EwRLRM1IoQw.


  • Commit to finishing your quilt! Order the backing and binding fabric, batting, and thread. Contact a longarm quilter if you will not be quilting it yourself.
  • Share a photo of your quilt top - or finished quilt! - on social media! Use #explodingheartQAL and #explodingheartquilt in the caption of your photo.
  • Search for #explodingheartQAL on Facebook or Instagram, and like and comment on at least three posts to encourage others that are sewing along! There are so many great quilts to see! 
  • Enter this week's giveaway at the end of this post!
Exploding Heart quilt along

QAL Schedule


Exploding Heart quilt along sponsors

Now for the FINAL giveaway of the QAL!! This week will have TWO winners! One winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Hartland Quilt Shop - a wonderful quilt shop in Howell, MI, and another winner will receive FREE edge-to-edge quilting on their Exploding Heart quilt from Beth at Cooking Up Quilts!!

Let's all quilt along!

Disclaimer: Giveaway is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Blogger. By entering, entrants confirm they are eligible to win. No purchase necessary to win. Open to US residents age 18+. Giveaway starts at 12:00am CST February 11, 2021 and ends at 12:00am CST on February 18, 2021. One winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Hartland Quilt Shop (value $100). One winner will receive edge-to-edge quilting on an Exploding Heart quilt top (value approx. $80). Odds of winning determined by number of eligible entries received. How to enter: complete a task on the Rafflecopter widget. Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter on February 19, 2021 from all eligible entries and notified by email. If winner can not be reached via email or prize is unclaimed after three days, a new winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter. Winner is responsible for paying any taxes related to the prize. By entering this giveaway, you release Slice of Pi Quilts from any liability whatsoever. Void where prohibited by law.


  1. All ready to send my quilt to be longarmed!! I have a great flannel back for a cozy feel.

  2. Loves making this quilt - on to quilting

  3. Picking out my backing! I am almost ready! Thanks for a great quilt along! Churcaeatauburndotedu

  4. I just got my quilt back from the long arm now time to bind!

    1. I'm working on my backing (a panel with borders) and hope to get it on my longarm today. I found a free pantograph and got it printed and ready to go! My binding is also cut and pressed, so it'll be ready when I get done quilting. Whew!

  5. Just finished laying out all the pieces. Time to stitch the blocks together, then the rows then find the perfect backing. Then it'll be off to the longarm for quilting. I've really enjoyed the process which is what quilting is all about.

  6. I have 7 more rows to finish. By weekend, the top should be done.

  7. I am planning to have my quilt quilted by someone else. I am planning to do minky on the back and I do not want to struggle with it.

  8. Waiting for the backing to arrive and for the polar vortex to pass before taking the quilt top outside to picture. I love how mine turned out!

  9. I just got a Grace Q-Zone Hoop Frame. Will try quilting myself.

  10. I’m going to quilt my own! I’m currently taking a fmq class, and I’m excited to try my new skills!

  11. I finished my binding yesterday. I chose minky for the backing - this is one of my favorite quilts of all time!

  12. Well I joined in, got the pattern and ready to start but fell and dislocated my elbow 🙄. So now I will follow along with these blogs and get it done once I'm able to sew.

    1. The pattern is very easy to follow (just in case you can't get to the blogs).

  13. I’m taking mine to longarm last of March, it’s my sister, and will make a trip to TX to get it done and visit!!

  14. I finished my quilt early, as I am on vacation and away from my sewing machine for two weeks. I quilted mine at home doing wavy (wonky) straight stitching. It is gorgeous! On vacation, I am hand embroidering a label for it (wedding gift) — and will gift it when I get back. ❤️

  15. I just finished piecing my backing yesterday. Off to a longarmer today!

  16. I'm running a bit behind, with 4 more rows still need to be sewn together before I can finish the quilt top. I plan on doing ruler work & FMQ on my quilt top. I really hate to see this QAL finish as I've enjoyed it so much. I've been blown away with all the inspirational sharing on Instagram and am now following everyone who has shared as they are all so creative. Thank you for hosting this super fun QAL.

  17. Backing is ordered. Binding fabric is on hand. I've selected the quilting design. So close to finished!

  18. I’ll be quilting it myself. Have my backing and waiting on batting to come.

  19. I am running behind. I'm currently sewing my rows-halfway complete.
    7 used blue batiks for the heart. It is beautiful!

  20. I'm almost done preparing the backing, I have the batting ready to go, and I'm eager to quilt this myself for my niece and her fiancé's wedding gift!

  21. If I have time I will have it quilted by a long -arm quilter but if I can’t get it scheduled, I will quilt it myself on my home machine. It will be a wedding quilt so I have a deadline.

  22. Thank you Laura for designing the awesome pattern and hosting this QAL. So much fun and I actually finished a gift WAAYYY before deadline for a change!

  23. I'm not very good at quilting yet but I would quilt it myself.

  24. I am going to try quilting it myself.

  25. I'll be quilting this myself. Can't decide whether to go custom or e2e for this one. The center heart would look so pretty customized!

  26. I’ve done my piecing on a borrowed machine, as mine is not reliable enough, and I’ve had to give it back now, so I’ll have to wait and see if I can borrow it again soon to quilt myself. Current economic situation doesn’t allow for longarming...

    1. Meaning I’m having to wait just a little while to finish, but I’ve really enjoyed doing this.

  27. I'm still squaring up my blocks, so I’m way behind, but I’m hoping to make this quilt 2 or 3 more times as wedding gifts throughout the year.

  28. I just finished trimming my blocks and starting the lay out! I can't wait! It's so beautiful.

  29. This was the 1st QAL I completed on time! Ty for a great event that was paced just right!!

  30. I have a brand spanking new long arm and will attempt to quilt myself!!

  31. I plan on quilting myself on my little domestic machine.

  32. Just posted a pic to Instagram and my hubby's FB (no I'm not on FB) of my quilt top. It's completed as far as the pattern goes. I'll be adding borders to contain all those seams. Now I need to find a backing, select a quilting pattern from a longarmer then after binding, and adding a label it'll be ready to gift.

  33. This is my 1st quilt along I did, it was so fun doing and watching the heart come out. I did mine scrappy, it's finished and off to the quilter. I don't know how to post a photo of it.


Thank you for visiting and for your comments! I try to reply to comments via email, so if you're expecting a response and don't hear from me, check if you're a no-reply blogger. Happy sewing!