Tuesday, December 18, 2012

THQA 2012 Final Post!

Hard to believe it is my final post for my quilt along - it sure has been fun seeing everyones' versions. Thank-you so much for quilting along with me!

Famous last words in quilt patterns are "quilt as desired"! Deciding what to quilt can be such a hard part of quilting, so I wanted to leave you with some suggestions. It is just "my thing" to encourage people to quilt their own quilts - so I hope you will quilt it yourself. It is very "do-able" on a domestic sewing machine (DSM). 

Tips -

When you are quilting your quilts there are some things that will make it easier -

   - The type of batting you use. If your batting is stiff it will be more difficult to quilt, even if you have the best set up. Silk is the best to quilt on a DSM, but if you can't find that, wool or a very good quality cotton or cotton/polyester will be fine. I like Hobbs, but that is because that is the brand that is sold locally. Remember "Warm and Natural/White" was not developed for quilts, but for window coverings, and it is hard to quilt on a DSM - it's too stiff.

    - Having a good set up for quilting. The little plexiglass surround that so many of us have will not work for quilting a large quilt - it catches and the quilt does not move easily - extremely frustrating.

This is my old set up when I quilted large quilts. It is an old piece of countertop with a notch cut out for my sewing machine (the notch is the same as on the plexiglass surround). The legs are just pieces of 2x4's. The whole thing is on my dining room table. I have seen people make something similar with layers of the blue styrofoam insulation.

Because I sew so much I decided to invest in a cabinet this year. This one has an extension leaf at the back and a table top that can be added on the front/side (it is a Koala Cabinet).

The important thing is that the weight of the quilt is supported.

  - The right height chair will make it easier on your body.

I also place a piece of 2x4 in front of my sewing machine foot pedal to rest my heel on.

I like to pin my quilt layers together - I admit I don't use too many pins, probably every 8". I tape the backing down - don't over stretch the backing, otherwise it will bounce back and cause puckers when the tape is removed. I used flannel backing for this quilt, since it is a lap quilt. The batting is wool.

I start by Stitching In The Ditch. This is really important to secure all the layers, it will make quilting each block easier.

I only stitched in the ditch along the zig-zag rows around the blocks, and not every single seam (the above picture is the back showing the stitching in the ditch).

I use my quilting gloves to stitch in the ditch, and gently pull the seams so that the stitching will lay right along the seam line.

If you have pressed the seam allowances to one side, stitch on the side without the seam allowance underneath. I used 100Wt Invisafil thread, in a coordinating colour, for stitching in the ditch on this quilt.

This is the walking foot for my machine (I also wound a few bobbins before starting). It is important to use because it moves all the layers evenly.

I bunch the quilt around the sewing machine, making sure that the area that I am working on moves freely. There is a lot of repositioning when quilting on a DSM. Try not to let the weight of the quilt lay on top of the area you want to move - it is too heavy
Also make sure that you know what a single layer of the quilt feels like under your hands, so that you will know if an edge of the quilt is accidentally caught underneath.

On to the quilting!

Since this is a sampler quilt, I quilted quite a few different designs, hopefully you will get a few ideas.

I quilted parallel lines in some of the zig-zags using the walking foot. I moved the needle over and used the edge of the foot as a guide. All the quilting is done with 50Wt cotton thread. I used a #80 Titanium needle.

I marked the turning point for the lines before starting.

The finished zig-zags.

I quilted feathers in the alternating zig-zags. Starting with the centre spine.

Adding feathers/lobes along one side,

then the other side.

The following pictures are close ups of some of the blocks for ideas -

the half blocks are all quilted the same
The next three are all the same blocks with different versions of continuous curves.

Stencils work for the blocks too -

Here are some of my tutorials for free motion quilting -

Friendship Mini Quilt FMQ ideas
Easy Machine Quilting
Free Motion Feathers Part 1 (with video)
Feathers Part 2
Bump-Bump Feathers (with video)

I tried many different designs on this quilt, because I wanted to give you ideas, but I did repeat design elements throughout the quilt.
Quilting turns fabric into a quilt, it is your way to express your creativity - I hope you will give it a try and have fun!

If you are new to free motion quilting I recommend Continuous Curves for quilting the blocks.

the back of the quilt
I have a tutorial for the binding.

For my 50" x 70" quilt I needed six 2+1/2" strips of fabric. When I am cutting multiples of the same width of fabric I place a few layers of masking tape under my ruler at the width I need (each little strip of tape is made up of 3 or 4 layers of tape).

When I add the binding to a large quilt I don't trim it first (I always seem to catch the backing underneath when I trim first),

but I do trim the corner where I add the label. It is made from a 4" square of fabric, folded on the diagonal. I then slip stitch the fold down by hand when I stitch down the binding. I find this the easiest way to label a quilt, otherwise I never seem to get around to adding a label to a quilt.

I just use a fine Sharpie marker to label the quilt - it does last through washes.

This quilt was a joy to make, thank- you for quilting along, and thank-you to everyone for their words of encouragement! I look forward to seeing your finished quilts! 


Missie of Traditional Primitives said...

Thanks for showing such detail! I love the work you do!! You are an awesome quilter and teacher!

Doniene said...

Joanne, it turned out just fantastic!!! Thanks for all the wonderful details. I am making lap quilts for my girls for Christmas (yes, I'm still in the process!!LOL) But I'm machine quilting and your tips are wonderful! I am very happy with what I'm doing in my very "novice" stage. I'll post about the quilts after Christmas because all my girls read my blog! I do have one question. What a Warm and Natural (it's what is sold locally for me) batting. I've been using it and I don't seem to have much trouble with it. Is it different than the white?

Hope you have a Blessed Holiday Season filled with Love, Joy and Peace!

luv2quilt2 said...

I am so far behind that it will take me months to finish, but I'm still progressing. Thank you so much for such an interesting QAL. I've truly enjoyed it and hope to have a finished quilt to show you before too long.

Auntie Em said...

I didn't quilt along, but I did follow along and enjoyed seeing this quilt come together on your blog. Thanks for the great quilting tips. Your finished quilt is a beauty.

Ariane said...

Wow! Love your quilt!! I love the quilting you did!! Thanks for sharing it with us!!!

Needled Mom said...

It looks beautiful and the quilting is gorgeous.

corina said...

Lovely quilt. I really appreciate all the photos you have taken of the quilting, along with tips. I know the hardest part of finishing a quilt for me, is trying to figure out what to quilt. Happy Holidays!

Karen said...

You've done another fabulous quilt-along, Joanne! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and talent with us all. I wanted to do this one, but have too many UFO's to finish up; plan to though, in the New Year.
Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Heather said...

Your photos are so helpful. The thread details show up very well. I really must try feathers again , thought this time i'll only mark the centre spine.

As a follower of your blog, I am writing to invite you to join in gallery of Christmas Tree Skirts. Today I have written a post about the tree skirt that I made several years ago. I eagerly look forward to putting it under my tree each year. I hope that you will join me in featuring your Tree skirt. one you made, one that has been handed down for generations, perhaps it was a gift. Share your story and photos in a blog post (it can be an older post) and then visit my post and add your link to Mr. Linky and then leave a comment.

Thank-you for considering this opportunity. Feel free to share it with any of your online or personal friends. The more the merrier.



Barb said...

great tips - your quilts is lovely. I look forward to seeing more finished quilt alongs.

momto1 said...

Joanne, your quilt is just gorgeous. I didn't quilt along with you, but I certainly enjoyed ever post you did on your progress. Your instructions are very clear and concise, and you provide such a wealth of information. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us! I'm looking forward to trying some machine quilting, too, just because you've been so encouraging.

Soph said...


Joan said...

Joanne, your quilt is stunning! Your quilting is also! and your explanations show such a lot of thought. I hope the New Year brings you lots of opportunities to go out in the world " hands on" You are a fantastic teacher. I think Craftsy would do well to have your teaching skills with her..

Quilt Rat said...

Excellent tips! I absolutely love to see such a variety of quilt motifs mixed into a quilt. Looks fantastic!

CindyC said...

Your quilt is beautiful. Your quilting also is great! I wish that I had found your blog earlier in the year and had done the quilt along. You inspire me for quilting. I have enjoyed and been in awe of your quilting with the free motion quilt challenges. Thank you for your posts.

Pine Valley Quilts said...

Your quilt is gorgeous, lovely quilted feathers

Grit said...

Wow, fantastic. Thank you for sharing.

Greetings from Germany,

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