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Currently touring this beautiful country of ours and enjoying the places and people we meet along the way. May never stop!

©Cindy Schulz Photography

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Machine Quilting for Beginners

Aside from gardening, another hobby of mine is quilting. I don't like things going too slowly, so machine quilting it is. I don't have enough patience for hand sewing.

First: I joined a quilting class.
Second: I purchased my first sewing machine with hints and tips from my quilting teacher.
Third: Didn't know how to sew, so quilting class number one, was also sewing lesson number one!
Don't get all agasp and think wow I couldn't do that! Yes you could, cause I did! As my quilting teacher pointed out...."it's just straight lines, or crooked lines", "anyone can do that", and fortunately she was right! Anyone did....me.

Since then, the bug has well and truly bitten. I enjoy all types of quilting from applique, to patches, to well....anything that I fancy. I like to make quilts that you can toss in the washing machine, hang on the cloths line, and then use. I'm not into show quilts. If you can't use it, I have no interest in making it. Hence, every bed in our house has its own quilt. My son has a quilt (African Animals), by nephew has a quilt (Skulls and Crossbones). If I'm making a quilt for someone, I like to take them fabric hunting with me if possible so they can choose the main fabric/theme for their quilt. Then the rest is up to me.
As a beginner sewer, I only use 3 different feet on my sewing machine. A standard sewing foot for zig zag and straight sewing, a walking foot for ditch stitching when quilting and a free sewing foot for ....well....free sewing when quilting. Another tool I like is an implement that you use to "mark a line" on your quilt to help you sew straight for long distances this is particularly  useful.

My favorite quilting tip is to pin (with safety pins) all 3 layers of the quilt together, instead of basting. Pinning works really well (use non rusting pins) and the pins are easy to remove as you sew.
All you need to do is tape the back of your quilt  (right side down) to a solid floor (not carpet), then place your wadding on top of that and lastly your quilt top (right side up). Your quilt back is held firmly in place with the masking tape and should be larger that the quilt top. The wadding should be slightly smaller or the same size as the back and your quilt top should be the smallest. Once all 3 are sitting together, start from the middle and pin about 100mm apart, gradually working your way to the edges, smoothing out the top as you go. When pinning is complete, untape the quilt back from the floor, all 3 layers are securely held together, reading for you to quilt. (sew them together).
Walking Foot

3 feet I use

Free sewing foot




Line marker


Ready to "walk the line". Note pins holding 3 layers together.

Cross hatched square - quilting

Skulls & Crossbones quilt top

Skulls & Crossbones quilt back with label.

Foundation Sampler - Front

Foundation Sampler - back

Purple Hearts - Front

Purple Hearts - back

African Animals - Front

African Animals - Back