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Carla H. Posted: Wed, May 27 2009 3:16 PM

Hi, does anyone know the best way to start machine quilting. I mean, should I start with stitch in the ditch, or someother stitch....or does it just take time and lots and lots of hours of practice. I will be using my pfaff machine until I can afford a long arm...and that will be awhile! So any suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks

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medidit replied on Fri, May 29 2009 5:12 PM

Maybe someone could post a short video on machine quilting for beginners. I know I would watch it!

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Pam replied on Fri, May 29 2009 5:23 PM

Hi,  I just read the post and thought I would share about my newest purchase.

I just bought some practice panels from RGA Designs.  The practice panels have lines pre-printed on them and can be quilted on either a long arm or a domestic machine.  I actually called the number on the web site the women who answered was very helpful.  The woman I spoke to said that you should sew over the lines as many times as you want to get the movement down (I wouldn't have thought of re-sewing over them more than once - so that was helpful).  She said the skill builder companion book & panels #1 & # 2 are geared toward quilting on your domestic machine. 

I JUST got my panels and the book this week.  So, I haven't actually used the pre-printed panels, but I did read the book about 25 pages and did some practice with my pencil.  So far I really like it.  I have been disappointed with other books I have purchased.  So, was really pleased when I got these.  

Good luck!!

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Geneva replied on Fri, May 29 2009 5:42 PM

hello,  I've only been machine quilting for a year, but have a couple of suggestions.  Although I did do a stitch in the ditch on a small wall hanging which worked out, stitch in the ditch is not the easiest.  I would suggest a meandering stitch that has loops for free hand quilting as a first design.  I've heard and read that is a good idea to practice with paper and pencil to get you body when learning new patterns.  For example: If you are learning leaves or stars or feathers.  There are a number of books with quilt designs and you can use those to recreate the design first on paper and then on sample fabric.  You may want to do several smaller projects before attempting a large quilt.  Hope this helps.

Geneva

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Sandy H. replied on Fri, May 29 2009 8:58 PM

Hi Carla,

I just purchased the book Foolproof Machine Quilting by Mary Mashuta.  It focuses on quilting with your walking foot and has great basic information for the beginner.  For instance, she suggests that you should do some stitch in the ditch to anchor your quilt before you start doing the motifs in the individual blocks.  She also has good ideas on using paper templates for quilting around instead of marking your quilt and she explains how to make these simple paper templates.  It's the best book I've ever seen and I have my practice quilt sandwich ready to start on tomorrow.  Good luck.

Sandy

  

Southwest Florida

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Sherry W. replied on Sat, May 30 2009 12:05 AM

With a walking foot, a quilting machine needle and if you have machine quilting thread...practice on a piece of  fabric with batting and backing lines drawn on the fabric- straight lines, stopping, pivoting and parallel lines without drawn lines, but using the extension bar ...Also follow straight lines in the fabric designs...then try stitching in the ditch- while gently pulling the seam "apart" ..

After that learn what tension touse for free motion quilting, and use the free motion quilting foot and go slowly and evenly while trying curves, swirls, loops, etc...

Good luck- just experiment!! My first free motion quilting was fun until I looked at the back- all kinds of loops-loose thread!!     Sherry  W.

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Laura Lee replied on Sat, May 30 2009 12:07 AM

Will try to keep this short & sweet.  I machine quilt on my Bernina and have no plans to go to a long arm. (too hard on my back.)  Instead I keep the quilt in sections about the size of a sofa throw to quilt and then attach them.  (go online for instructions.) 

No matter what I have planned to quilt I stitch in the ditch around the blocks first  (usually with monofilament thread) so things won't pull on me.  After that anything goes.  I  learned to free-motion quilt by making a quilt sandwich from muslin and batting.  Draw your pattern on paper and go over it again and again until you've "learned" it, then try it on the quilt sandwich.  Try stipples, leaves, Greek keys, mice, whatever suits your fancy.

If  I want an exact pattern on a block I use Golden Threads..trace it, pin it on, sew it on, rip it off!

Hope this helps.

Yours in Stitches, Laura

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Jan replied on Sat, May 30 2009 4:54 AM

I have done quite a bit of machine quilting over the years, but now only do small items.  I love piecing tops, but prefer having the quilting on bed-sized quilts done by a professional.  I enjoy doing stippling.  I think practice is the key to any machine quilting.  A walking foot is a must for straight sewing, but dropping the food dogs and doing free-motion stitching can be very liberating!!!  When I look back on some of my earlier efforts, I smile.  I guess as we get better at something, it is easy to be critical of our earlier attempts.  My suggestion would be to practice, practice, practice.

Jan from SE Iowa

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The best way to start machine quilting is to put thread in your machine and a practice piece under your foot and hit the pedal! 

You will have a lot of decisions to make along the way-do you like the look of stitch in the ditch as it highlights your fabric and pattern, or do you want to add detail to your work with free motion?  Do you want to have your thread match or be a contrast? 

Really, there is no wrong way to start because it is a journey, not a destination.  YOU get to decide what you like and what you want your quilting to say.  There is always something new to learn.

Oh, and keep a journal of what worked and what you liked!  Have fun! 

Susan

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I started with stich in the ditch, but I'm now using free motion stippling.  I have a lot of fun with it and I get better with time.  Since I'll never be able to afford a long arm I'm trying to learn to quilt the block before I assemble to quilt so I don't have to deal with the bulk of quilting a large quilt on a regular maching.

Charlotte

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Sandy H. replied on Sat, May 30 2009 1:28 PM

Susan,

Great idea about the journal!

Sandy

  

Southwest Florida

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Make sure you make notes on what thread you use on top and in the bobbin, and the tension.  That way you don't have to reinvent the wheel each and every time you use a different thread.  Ask me how I know this!!!

Susan

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Linda replied on Sat, May 30 2009 9:57 PM

I have found that by watching the 'free' video demonstrations by Patsy Thompson Quilting Designs has helped my sooooo much....she even has free pdf files for pattern ideas to download.  I really think you would enjoy looking at her site...by the way she quilts on her regular sewing machine.  I happen to be very lucky and have the Pfaff grand quilter with the inspira frame but.....it still takes LOTS and LOTS of practice.

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quilterliz replied on Sat, May 30 2009 10:40 PM

I use my walking foot to stitch in the ditch around blocks to anchor the blocks.  Make sure your needle is the right size for going through the many layers.  Stippling does take practice, so use scraps to make a quilt "sandwich" and use a dark thread to see both the top and the bottom.  I use templates or drawings for other free motion designs, since I am still learning those techniques.  Good luck!

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Medidit,

 

Thanks for reading my question! It is good to know there is someone out there seeing what I write about!

 

Carla :)

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