Quilt Along: Quilting the Quilt

How did you do last week?  Not too hard, right?  Now that you have the top pieced together and sewn, are you ready to start quilting the quilt?  This is the most time consuming part but definitely adds the character and handmade quality that we all love in our quilts!  So let’s get started!

We are going to begin by sewing your backing together.  You should have already cut the fabric for your backing in half.  Lay the two pieces face to face and sew the length the fabric on one side.  This is what it should look like once sewn together.

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{Sorry for the poor lighting, it’s the only room in my house that can accommodate such a large piece of fabric!}

Flip the backing over so the “good” side of the fabric is face down.  Press the seam.  Once you are done pressing the seam, iron the entire backing.  You want to make sure you get it as smooth as a baby’s butt so your quilt does not have any wrinkles or bunching.

Tip:  I use an extension cord and just do this right on the floor.  So much easier than the hassle of the ironing board.  

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Here is where your T pins and curved safety pins come into play!  Once you have your backing as smooth as you can get it, pin the four corners into the carpet.  It will help prevent shifting as we piece the layers together.  If you have a hard wood floor, you can just use tape.

Once your backing is secure, start building your quilt sandwich.  {Quilt sandwich is just the three layers of the quilt – the backing, the batting and the top.}  Roll out your batting.  Your backing will be bigger than the batting.  Smooth it out.  I just used my hands and Kyle’s.  He helps me with this part.  <—– good husband!

Next, add your quilt top.  {Again – seasoned quilters beware.  I think I’m about to do something that isn’t allowed.}  I iron my quilt top once it has been added to the top of the quilt sandwich.  GASP!  Won’t that melt the batting?  I have no idea.  I’ve done this for all three of the quilts I have made and haven’t lost one yet.

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Now you are going to carefully T pin the corners of the quilt top to secure it before moving on to the pinning.  And because I don’t think that’s enough, I always pin all the way around the edge of the quilt top too.

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If you noticed, you have gobs of extra fabric.  You can trim off the excess.  Be sure to leave about two inches to accommodate for any shifting that may take place as part of the quilting process.

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Get those fingers ready!  It’s time to start pinning this bad boy together!  Using your curved safety pins, pin through all three layers of the quilt.  You will want to do this every couple of inches or so.  It is better to over pin than under pin.  You will be really mad at yourself if you do not pin enough and the quilt starts bunching!!  Trust me!  I start in the middle of the quilt and work my way to the edge – pinning and smoothing as I go.

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Give your fingers a rest!  Good work!

Now you are ready to start quilting the quilt!

Preparation:  I start by winding about 4 extra bobbins.  It makes the process so much easier when you don’t have to completely un-thread your sewing machine in the middle of quilting.  {I didn’t learn that until this quilt.}  Make sure your magnet is handy to help with any spills, broken needles, missing pins, etc…

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Grab something to drink and put in a good movie!  You are going to need it!

Let’s begin quilting!

According to quilting guidelines, you are supposed to start in the center of the quilt and work your way to the edge to prevent bunching and puckering.  For this quilt, I started on row 6 of my blocks and worked my way to one edge.  Then I repeated the process for the other half.

To deal with the bulk of the quilt, it is easiest if you roll the quilt to feed it through the neck of your sewing machine.

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I am using a straight line quilting technique with my regular foot.  I have not progressed beyond this method.  If you are more experienced, feel free to quilt this as you see fit.  After all, it is an expression of your creativity!  But for the purposes of this tutorial, I will be posting about straight line quilting.

Using the left side of your foot as a guide, begin sewing down each long seam of the quilt top.  The left side of the foot will be running down the seam as pictured below.

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You want to stop your thread as little as possible.  If you run out of thread or the thread breaks, just start back where you left off.  When moving between long seams, I stitched through the edge seam.  You will be making a looping pattern as you move across the quilt.

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Start at #1.  Sew across the quilt to #2.  Sew through edge seam to get to #3.  Sew across the quilt to #4.  Sew through the edge seam down to #5.  And so on and so forth…

I know that sounds so confusing, but I promise once you get started, it will all make sense.

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For the edge, I just sewed around about three times to give it a little definition.

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Here’s what it looks like from the back.  Very simple!  But Reed LOVES it!  That’s what counts!

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If you want to add more, be my guest!  After all, it is your quilt!  Personalize it as you see fit!  This is a super easy quilting pattern.  I was able to quilt this in one afternoon.

Feel free to leave a comment with any questions or hit up my email!  If you are part of the Facebook group, feel free to ask in there!

Have fun quilting and I will see you back next week for the final phase of the quilt – binding!

Jill

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  1. […] followed Jill’s suggestion for the actual quilting process.  I quilted using straight lines along each strip and sewed around […]

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