This was my first sampler quilt, first quilt-as-you-go quilt, and my first free-motion-quilting quilt. As always seems to be the case (nothing ever being easy), – I have learnt a lot.
- if you quilt as you go, quilt everything before joining, including the borders
- fabric may be the same ‘type’ but fabrics of different quality will also have different ‘qualities’
- free-motion quilting requires much practise
- free-motion quilting has a miraculous effect in ‘pulling it all together’
- be patient with yourself, your fabric, and your thread which WILL break – several times – and you will – eventually – finish
If not for the quilt-as-you go method, I just would not have had the strength or patience to try dense free-motion quilting. As it was, my machine did not cooperate and the bobbin tension was uneven. I must investigate those little teflon discs you can put under the bobbin: see if that helps. I also had enormous difficulty with the quilting threads not rotating, so that if I forgot for a moment to keep pulling thread out each time I changed my hand position, the thread would snap. Again and again – Grrrrr. I used two shades of Cotty Variegated, Caribbean and Bouquet. It was fine, I love the thread quality, until I had used up a fair bit and then the reels just would not spin. Anyone else experienced this?
Next time, I will quilt the borders as well as the main area before joining them together. In this case, I quilted the main body in three sections: each section was quilted and then joined, and then I quilted over the join. I then added carefully measured border pieces unquilted, but I had the devil of a job quilting them. There was fluting and it was difficult to achieve a useful and lasting grip to achive useful areas of meander. A rubber glove on my left hand helped, but I will investigate other make-it-easier devices. T’other thing I learnt was that fabric from Walmart (I was over excited at the thought of supermarkets stocking craft wares – I have had this fabric since my first trip to the US – for about eight years!!), is thin and weak!
There was one ‘flute’ that I could not, despite much unpicking, distribute evenly. I had to make a little pleat in the backing border and stitch it neatly down before completing the meander quilting. I then applied the label – over the pleat. Tsk tsk……..
The label is made using my beloved Bubble Jet Set 2000 to prepare a piece of the main fabric for printing.
Then to my favourite bit – the binding – well one of my favourite bits. I know some quilters hate doing the binding, but it is such a satisfying task – like edging borders in the garden, a real finishing touch. I love making binding
and I love applying it. I am especially grateful to Heather Peterson for her excellent and invaluable post on joining bindings – so obvious once you know!! This part actually went like a breeze and I hand stitched it finished while listening to a good play on Radio 4.