Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Oodles of teasers and machine quilt a big quilt on a domestic machine my way!

And now for some teasers...oodles of teasers! I know what the quilt looks like so when I viewed the following images I thought "they will know for sure" but then again, maybe not! Perhaps I'm too close to the forest to be able to see the trees.....literally!

A melange of challenge fabrics and my own fabrics. These fabrics were not bleached.

A melange of challenge fabrics andmy fabrics bleached.

No challenge fabrics here - there are just my fabrics unbleached!

Just my fabrics with a little bit of blue challenge fabric in the upper left hand corner.

Some hand embroidery. Can you guess what this might be? Unlike my quilts Flora and Faunda and There's a Snail in Grandma's Flower Garden there are no snails in this quilt! So what could this be? Don't get tied up in "knots" trying to figure it out! It's really quite simple!

More hand embroidery! I know you know what these are!

Daisies and a butterfly all hand embroidered! The butterfly measures about 1/4"!

And yet more embroidery! Now what could this be?

And the last bit of embroidery!

Transitioning from one fabric to another!
 The second transition!

And a third transition! 

And now for something entirely different.....machine quilting on  a domestic machine my way!

I’m a great believe in doing what works for you. When it comes to machine quilting what I usually do is a little different from how others do it but it works really well for me. Once my quilt top is ready to be quilted I have two goals. First, I want to get rid of the excess batting as soon as possible and backing because they just get in my way AND second when I am finished quilting I want to be done! So here's what I do:

Step 1:  I pin baste my quilt making sure everything is smooth and flat. I like to lightly spray starch and press both the top and the back before pin basting.  See my tutorial for homemade spray starch.

Step 2: Once this is done I like to use a technique outlined in Harriet Hargrave’s book “Heirloom Machine Quilting”.
With my darning foot (free motion quilting foot) I anchor all the major seam lines vertical and horizontal excluding the border. What this means is stitch in the ditch. If there is sashing I stitch both sides of the sashing, vertically and horizontally. If the blocks are pieced without sashing then I just stitch those seams. I generally use Bottom Line thread in a colour that blends well with the colours in the quilt top or I use invisible thread. I don't use a walking foot because it doesn't give me freedom of motion. When I make a quilt if something isn't perfect AND I can't live with it I fix it. If something isn't perfect and I CAN live with it I leave it. This means there are sometimes little wobbles in the quilt top. If I use a darning foot to stitch in the ditch I can work around them because I am free to move in any direction. This picture is a little wobble and I'll be able to stitch in the ditch around the wobble rather than through the wobble.
Step 3: I next quilt the border and then bind the quilt. I’ve never seen anyone else do it this way but once everything is anchored with stitch in the ditch the quilt is stabilized I can quilt the border and bind the quilt. I never bind the quilt befor the border is quilted.

Step 4: I now go back and quilt the centre. The pin basting is still in place in the centre of the quilt (I don’t remove the pins until I am ready to quilt in that area) so everything is stabilized with the pins and the stitch in the ditch.

This method works well for me because I get to quit the border earlier which means I can remove the excess batting and backing. This makes the quilt a little smaller and lighter which means it is easier to move under the sewing machine. Also I don’t get the extra batting or backing caught in the quilting! I hate when that happens and I have to remove the quilting in order to free the excess fabric! So there you have it! Machine quilting my way!

Until I post again, happy sewing!


  1. Thanks for sharing your technique on machine quilting. I will have to keep that in mind for the next big one, haven't done any really big ones yet as I really struggle with moving around so much bulk. And those embroidered details are incredibly cute, as per usual! :)

  2. great ideas and fun to look at for inspiration

  3. Wonderful information - thanks for sharing! I domestic machine quilt all my quilts - including the queen size ones - and I also do the stitching in the ditch to stabilise it all first. I'm going to get that book - sounds a great read. Am always looking for easier ways to fit the quilt under that needle - so very interested to hear you manage to bind before attacking the centre. As well as making the quilt a bit smaller it would get rid of all the fluff that comes off the wadding edges..
    Love your work - love your hand quilting - so inspirational!

    1. Thanks again Hilda! Another excellent book that I highly recommend is Machine Quilting Guidebook by Diane Gaudynski. I've read her book and Harriet's book from cover to cover more than once. Diane recommends using the darning foot for stitch in the ditch and it works a charm. These two books are probably one of the best investments for those who want to learm to machine quilt. And I'll keep you posted on my progress on the applique baskets quilt!

    2. Oops - the correct title is Guide to Machine Quilting by Diane Gaudynski. The title I mentioned above is a book but it isn't the one that I meant to recommend. I'll post a picture of the book I recommend in the April 25th post!

  4. Thank you, I love your method of quilting the border and binding the quilt first. You have a wonderful blog which I've just discovered and your quilts are works of art.

    1. Thank you Andrea! This method of quilting works really well for me. I've demonstrated it for some of my friends. They've tried it out and it has worked for them too! Thanks for the kind words about my quilts!