Sunday, 26 September 2021

and then there's the quilting...

And then there's the quilting... I think it’s super that some people are able to do beautiful work on their home sewing machine but I’m not one of them. This year though, I had planned (again) to quilt a few more quilts myself. And I've got a couple of quilts all layered & pin basted ready for machine quilting, but here we nearly at the end of September and I've not spent any time quilting!
Anyway, in a mad moment this weekend, I decided I'd give machine quilting another go. No, no, not FMQ as I really struggle with that! I was thinking more along the lines of lots of "organic" texture. 
This is a quilt that I pieced years ago, some of you may remember it, where I combined some early Liberty lawn fabrics with a solid cream/white cotton, {wink wink} I hadn't given the quilting any thought when I decided on that cream!
I have zero skills or tricks to share as far as how to machine quilt anything. 
My main concerns here were choosing line patterns where I didn't have to turn the quilt every few inches, and ensuring I was all set up so that the drag of the quilt didn't send me off kilter. Oh, and getting it all finished before my pins rusted! {Many thanks to Yvonne @quiltingjetgirl for all your +ve advice}.
For the quilting, I really wanted something to add some texture to all those cream -ve spaces. My goal was not to ruin the quilt top with my quilting. 
I decided on simple, straight lines, mimicking all of the straight lines in the quilt. I made the lines different in each open space, anywhere between 1/4" - 3"ish? apart, those lines definitely got wider apart as I worked my way out to the edges! 
I treated each little area as a practice run, and if something didn't work, I didn't do it again. Basically just making it up as I went along really.

… and I must say 
… I'm really ok with these organic quilting lines!

Here's a few things I learnt while stitching away:
  • This turned out to be a super quick and easy process, why did I put if off for so long? 
  • Organic straight lines are so fun! Especially since there's no pressure to keep them perfectly straight.
  • My first few blocks ended up with slight peaks in the middle, so I reversed things and started in the middle and worked my way out... Quilting101 right
  • It's certainly easier to focus on quilting small areas one at a time, like those 7" squares. BUT I ended up with heaps of threads to bury!
  • On chatting more with MrD - we had a lo-o-ong conversation about $$ v time spent - I've now worked out, it would have been heaps easier & quicker to simply travel along a seamline to get over to the next spot! Wished I'd thought of that yesterday!
  • While stitching long vertical lines from edge to edge is time consuming, it could be more practical from the point of view of burying those thread ends into the binding, yes? Something I'll definitely consider on my next quilt too. 
  • I'm thinking lots of simple and functional lines of stitching rather than decorative quilting is the way for me to go in the future!

Quilt details:
"Liberty Love"
Cotton batting to add that snuggle factor!
The backing was a big piece of vintage fabric I found in town at a 'sallie amani' shop, 
I'm unsure what sort of fabric it actually is, it's softer than a cotton. 
I finished the quilt with a black & white stripe for the binding, 
love the contrast with those itty bitty busy Liberty lawns
Machine quilted by me
Finished quilt measures: 60" x 52" 
Still threads to trim & bury, but I was so excited to share!
- linking up with Cyndy for 'oh scrap' here

If you managed to read right through to the end, thanks for not zoning out!
And because it's always fun to hear from you... what is your "go to" quilting design?


ADDIT: Options available for securing started/stopped lines of quilting - my personal method is to tie a knot and bury thread tails within the batting layer. I'm going to explore using a self-threading needle, from all the feedback I am getting they make this process quick and easy.


  1. WOW! This is fantastic! The biggest thing I ever quilt on my machine is a table runner and maybe the odd (very odd) baby quilt, but seeing the success that you've had maybe I should give it a try. Love the look of all of your organic lines.

  2. Such a lovely quilt finish! Your organic lines are perfect for the look of the quilt. There's just something about not worrying about perfection that always looks better to me! Good for you getting through this project and conquering the method!

  3. I favor one great big spiral. About 5/8" apart. Use the longarm for a really fast 20" spiral, then baste the rest while it is still on the longarm. This avoids shifting. Cotton batt all the way. Then finish on the Bernina. Lately I have been using liberty fabric for the back.

  4. Your lines look fantastic, and I really like how you did different designs in each area!

  5. You’ve done an awesome job, Linda! I hope this inspires you to do more of your own machine quilting. My first machine quilted finishes were not going to win any prizes, but ‘done’ was better than ‘perfect’ for me, at that time. Now I know what works for me- straight lines, grid work, simple ruler work and some simple free motion quilting designs. I can highly recommend self-threading needles. They make the job of burying those threads much, much quicker!

  6. Congratulations on your finish! I like the binding too, good 'frame'.
    Thanks for sharing your machine quilting adventure, Lots of good inspiration.

  7. A fabulous finish. For someone who doesn't do a lot of quilting, you've done such a great job on the quilting. Gorgeous!!!

  8. Great idea for quilting those cream spaces. I can only straight line machine quilt on either side of columns and rows of blocks but this is a possible idea to try. Well done!

  9. Great job! Varying the designs from one block to the next makes for such an interesting and dynamic finished quilt.Congratulations!

  10. I really like your quilt and your quilting looks great on it. I quilt on a sewing machine and I usually quilt queen size quilts. I just recently saw a post using a quilt holders (similiar to a weightless holder) and thought I would try that. I ended up buying two pet grooming arms and attached them to my sewing table. I used it on a crib size quilt and I thought it was life changing. I can't wait to try it with my queen size quilts. It took all that weight off of where you are quilting. I used the pet grooming arms because they were much cheaper than anything specific for quilting. I just did a search to see what others were doing and decided on the pet grooming arms because they were cheap and easy to use. Good luck with your future projects!

  11. Looks like you did a nice job quilting. I think it's great that you determined to do the quilting yourself. Often, it's not a matter of being UNABLE to do it, but a mental challenge - telling yourself you CAN do it. Believe it or not, as a quilting instructor, I have to give myself the same pep talk before starting to quilt my own quilts - "You can do this!" And 90 percent of the time, I don't know how I'm going to quilt it. Generally, I begin with one area, and - just as you did - work it out as I go. Occasionally, after getting into a rhythm, I'll go back and remove the very first quilting stitches to redo them, but that doesn't often happen. The beauty of quilting your own quilt is that you stitch character - your personality - into it. That's the very best way to quilt! Good for you to have done that! Keep up the good work!

  12. Well, for not knowing what you were doing you did a great job. I would never attempt it. I'm a hand quilting person so it never goes fast - when I want or need it to I stick to straight lines like you did here. It's a beautiful quilt!

  13. That is great. I think the way you have quilted this one has worked out very well. Hope we see more with you doing the quilting.

  14. I love your quilt design. I thinks it works really well with this quilt. Thanks for sharing with oh Scrap!

  15. Fabulous outcome - well done for 'making' yourself tackle it and then enjoying such wonderful success.

    Sydney, Australia

  16. Upon looking at your quilt I thought you were a seasoned quilter. You did a great job with lots of good ideas. I tried some free motion with my domestic machine last week. FAIL! I took out all I had done and replaced with long organic squiggles. What's up next for quilting?

  17. Organic lines and a bit of walking foot quilting were all I ever mastered on my Bernini in terms of FMQ. You are off to a wonderful start!

  18. Your quilting looks so good. I have some tops ready and want to give machine quilting a try but haven't so far. Normally I hand quilt but I have some finished tops and know I can not quilt them all by hand.. I need to get them ready for quilting and give it a go. Seeing your result is encouraging, so hope to try it this year.


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