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First Quilt

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Taleo posted on Mon, Mar 11 2013 12:07 PM

Hi, I'm new to quilting just finished putting my first one together. Does anyone have any starting suggestions for the quilting part of this project. My quilt is basted and waiting with my sewing machine for my return. Thought I do stitch in the ditch, is that done free motion or  in the conventional way of sewing any object?

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Patti replied on Tue, Mar 12 2013 10:49 PM

I think stitch in the ditch is actually easier the conventional way.  It can be hard to keep free motion straight.   Just when you do quilt, start in middle and work out.  Make sure you alternate directions.  Like sew down, then sew up. sew down, etc.  Otherwise the quilt can kind get wonky!

Patti

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gini replied on Wed, Mar 13 2013 9:55 AM

I would make a small quilt sandwich to practice, unlike patti, I found that stippling was way easier, because I didn't need to keep to a straight line.   So fix up an 18 inch practice piece a try some designs,  draw a line and try staying in the line.    I have a practice piece that I use before I start quilting, to loosen up.   Whichever you choose, I know your quilt will be wonderful.

gini in north idaho

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I'm like Gini. I keep a practice sandwich all the time so I can practice. I also practice right before I start another quilt. I was so not good at doing stitch in the ditch but that is just me. I think you have to do what is comfortable for you. Everyone feels a comfort level with different things. What ever you decide, I like Gini, think it will be wonderful.

Georgetown CA I'd Rather Be Quilting

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Taleo replied on Wed, Mar 13 2013 1:59 PM

Thanks Patti, one really needs to know how to start. Took your advise last night, some mistakes but I feel encouraged now that I have someone to ask about the tasks.  Thanks again

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Taleo replied on Wed, Mar 13 2013 2:02 PM

Thanks Gini very good advise, practice seems like a good idea. I'm so excited to learn different techniques, I will make sure I do this "Quilt Sandwich"?  So I can see what I am able to do.

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While I hand quilt most of my quilts, I have done straight stitching by machine with a walking foot on a few.  I took a class from Harriet Hargrave, the fairy godmother of machine quilting.  She taught to anchor start the quilt with stitching in the ditch through seam lines in the center both horizontally and vertically, then anchor those seams on either side of the center anchors.  If your blocks are set on point anchor diagonal seams as close to the center as possible.  After anchoring the seams you are free to stitch any pattern as you like.  If you don't want those anchor seams to show, stitch them with water soluable thread so when you are finished, you can wash the quilt and those seams will disappear.  She also advocated that the seams to the right of your center seam all be sewn toward you,  then turn the quilt and stitch all those seams toward you then you have half of your quilt stitched toward you and half away from you.  If you are not confident in stitching in the ditch, you might try invisible thread in your machine with a 50 or 60 wt thread in the bobbin.  That way your stitches won't be all that visible if you wobble a bit.  She also recommends Sew Art  or YLI invisible thread because they aren't as stiff as other brands.  I have tried both and prefer Sew Art.

I highly recommend her book "Heirloom Machine Quilting."  There is a lot of information in it.  She, like other teachers, advocates practice, practice, practice.  Since I haven't, I'm not able to produce the beautiful quilts she does.   I have to admit that I prefer the look of hand quilting over machine quilting and do not like at all the all over meandering that looks like a jigsaw puzzle, but when I saw Harriet's quilts in person and could touch and feel I told her that I would machine all my quilts if they could look like those.  Her response was 10,000 hours of practice.  I told her that I didn't think I had 10,000 hours left in my lifetime, but the message was still the same practice, practice.

Happy quilting!

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