Friday, October 28, 2016

Quilting from the Center Out

As mentioned in yesterday's post I did make all the usual rookie mistakes and I'll show some fixes.  I began with the walking foot and baste-stitched in the ditch with a long stitch, knowing I would be removing the stitching as necessary. I did pin baste too, but removed those before machine basting. 
My friends told me about spray starch and I did use this to make a very smooth start to quilting but I managed to wrinkle everything as I quilted anyway.

The way I hold the quilt makes all the difference. I don't use gloves or any other 'helpers' since I learned to quilt in a bedspread factory in the late 80's. There I quilted using T-pins (ouch) and awful sit down machines that had cables for the foot feed, huge 120 sized needles and two threads at once through the needle. Homemade quilts are nothing after machining designer weight cottons, with super thick poly batting. Ugh.

My right hand goes under the quilt and grabs a bunch, turning my wrist so it rests on the sewing table. This is the mover hand. The left hand is just a guiding hand. Of course there is stopping and starting, pivoting etc. I don't hold my breath but do use a fast needle for a smooth stitch.
 I don't mark my designs, with the exception of a soap sliver and a wavy line to quilt next to, for large open areas. The soap line disappears with a spritz and the iron.

When I find myself with an uncontrollable bubble, I unquilt the offending mess, and go to the ironing table and press it all smooth to start over. Consistent patterns would prevent most of those goofs. Alas, I am playing around with different designs and causing myself problems.

The really helpful thing is to accordion the quilt around the machine, so it moves without catching on anything. The only part you need to quilt is there, right under the needle. My thread is 30 wt. cotton and is quite visible because it is heavier. It helps to see what I've quilted, so a fine thread is just too difficult to see. My needle is a 75 or 90, whatever...

 Here's one of my rookie mistakes. I quilted the sections all around this Friendship star block and it resulted in a big poofy mess for the block part. Knowing that spirals and close together lines take up a lot of fullness made me do these designs to rectify my goof. Now I will have to follow thru and quilt all the stars the same way. No biggie.
No more poof!


  1. Gorgeous quilting designs! It's so fun to see your work.

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  3. Very helpful to see your technique. Your results will always the the standard I work toward. Practice, practice...

  4. Thank you so much for the full review of methods. Have you tried spray basting? It's the only method I"ll use now because it's so successful! I then put long straight pins throughout and use pinmoors (google them) to secure until I"m right on the design with my sewing much faster than any other method.

  5. I LOVE your quilting designs! As Nancy said, it's something to work towards. I do a lot of free-motion quilting (for me, gripper gloves with the finger ends worn away works best) and this post was a revelation. I've seen a lot of quilting designs, but yours are fresh and new and wonderful. I'm figuring they are all original. WOW! Thanks for the close-up look.

  6. Thanks Melody, as always, you are so helpful and such a great teacher!