All the previous preparation was done so that we could get to this IMPORTANT step.
Quilting by hand is a lovely relaxing pastime (as long as you’re not in a hurry to finish!!).
The first project I made, shown here above, was a 12 block sampler.
It was machine pieced and totally hand quilted.
You can see that some areas have faded from being on the back of the sofa, even though it was in a dark north facing window.
Of course, it has also been washed a lot too because the cat and the dog like it so much!
To get started you will need:
Small embroidery scissors
Hoop or frame
And of courseThread
Some people prefer to quilt without the hoop or frame and are very good at it.
I find I need the frame in order to keep my thread tension even and looking good and I can take my projects with me when I travel.
The Q-Snap frame comes apart and packs easily into a suitcase or tote bag.
If you prefer, you can get a larger floor frame which is more stationary.
Always start quilting from the center of your project and work your way out to the edges.
I usually recommend doing the minimum amount of quilting (recommended by the batting manufacturer), so that you don’t get bogged down and discouraged at the amount of time it is taking.
You can always go back and add more later, but after saying that I also want to say that in my opinion, the more stitching, the better it looks!
It is sometimes difficult to decide just how to start.
Start really simple by sewing ¼” inside or outside your seam lines.
This way you avoid the thick seams.
I usually stitch inside the seam line on the fabrics I want to recede a bit, and outside on the ones that I want to emphasize. Ok, lets get started.
I find most books teach you how to make a lovely dainty little knot, but to be honest, I find that dainty little knots do not stay where they are supposed to, so I find it better to make a big honkin’ knot!!
It is now hidden from view.
This is usually done by "feeling" the tip of the needle with the "under" hand.
Your finger underneath the quilt will get very sore from being pricked by that sharp little needle and that may limit the amount of time you spend on your project in the beginning.
There are products you can purchase to cover up that sore finger – I am not comfortable using them because I then cannot feel my needle and the quality of my stitches suffers. (If the needle causes little blood spots on your quilt, the best way to remove that is with your own saliva.)
Recommended Sewing Machine:
There is a huge amount of information required to get you machine quilting and I would highly recommend that you take a one day course to get started.
I also know there are some of you out there who will go ahead anyway and give it a try – Bravo!!
I would maybe suggest that you start with a practice muslin and batting sandwich.
You will need a walking foot if you wish to "stitch in the ditch” or in straight lines.
If you want to free motion quilt (stipple or meander) then you need the darning foot, and you need to know how to drop your feed dogs.
Once your quilt is layered and pinned or spray basted, put on your walking foot and starting in the center, sew in the ditch, i.e. along the seam lines of your block.
Or you could sew ¼” inside or outside the seam lines.
You do not need to use the same method on all the blocks.
This is your sampler (or learning) quilt, so take this opportunity to learn a variety of ways to machine quilt too.
Many of you enjoy creating the quilt top, but don’t want to take the time required to complete your creation.
Here’s where a professional Longarm Machine Quilter steps in and does the finishing and sometimes the binding as well. (See the picture below)
You may even be able to find a machine quilter who will take over a partially quilted project.
I know several have come through my studio, and the owners were delighted to have their quilts finally finished and on their bed!
Don’t feel guilty if you just want to create tops
Ask other quilters for recommendations, or call people who advertise in local Quilt Guild newsletters.
I would go to the their studio and take a look at some of the work they have done and discuss the options available.
Every different machine quilter has different requirements regarding extra batting and backing so be sure to discuss those too.
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