Quilting Basics - Part 4 - Answering Questions and Helpful Readers' Comments

Blogs are like books in progress. Although, as the author, you are always on the last page, writing your heart out, at any point in time, someone else can pick up the book, and start reading, and it is all new and fresh to them. Yesterday, someone linked to our articles on basic quilting. Because of that, there's been renewed interest in those postings, with new comments and emails with questions. It occurred to me that there were a few things I did not talk about, and some new questions asked. Instead of answering all the emails separately, I decided to add a 4th part to the series. I hope it answers some additional questions you might have had. Please, feel free to include any tips and advice you may have. So, here's some additional info... in no particular order. I will continue to add comments made by our readers over time, so check back periodically :)

Quilting Basics - Part 1

Quilting Basics - Part 2

Quilting Basics - Part 3

If using tracing paper, wax pencil, disappearing markers, etc. on your fabric to mark stitching lines, always test it on a scrap piece of your fabric first. Mark your scrap, then...Read more

Fairy's First Quilt

Fairy got the coolest sewing machine from Santa this year. I'm a tad jealous myself and have been borrowing it for all my little projects recently. ;) Unlike the toy or children's sewing machines we have tried in the past this Sewing Pretty with Hello Kitty by Janome is a REAL machine... just slightly smaller with the added bonus of being cute as can be. She will not out grow this machine any time soon. Although not fancy, it is sturdy and it really, truly sews.

Santa also brought her several different charm packs including Moda Bliss. Fairy spent some time laying out all her squares and decided to make a stripy quilt... lining up the matching patterns in their various colorways.

She is now working at piecing each row. Her attention span gets her through about 3 squares at a time... but slow and steady is just find and dandy.

Quilting Basics - Part Three - Embroidery

Quilting Basics - Part 1

Quilting Basics - Part 2

Quilting Basics - Part 3

Quilting Basics - Part 4

When I was done quilting the sample I made for our Quilting Basics series, I wanted to add a little embroidery to the piece. I thought back to those early days of coloring inside the doodles and instead of using crayons, I did a different embroidery stitch inside each shape.

A couple of notes about embroidering for quilted pieces. If the back of you piece is going to be seen, like on a blanket, do your embroidery BEFORE you quilt. This way, all the messy stitching will be inside the quilt, and the only stitches on the back will be of the actual quilting.

If the embroidery is going to be on a piece that you won't see the back, like a wall hanging, you can embroider AFTER you quilt. The advantage to embroidering after you quilt is your embroidery will have more dimension because you are stitching through several layers. Both techniques are acceptable. 

The choice is personal and depends on the project you...Read more

Quilting Basics - Part 2 - Stitching

Quilting Basics - Part 1

Quilting Basics - Part 2

Quilting Basics - Part 3

Quilting Basics - Part 4

Let's face it, the more we do something, the better we get. Sometimes when we try to explain a technique to someone, we find the chore daunting. We know when the bread has been kneaded long enough or how tight to hold our yarn when we knit. Experience has taught us that... we've learned what "right" feels like, but it is hard to explain that to someone else. The same is so when you do hand sewing and embroidery. Experience teaches us how to hold the needle, how tightly to pull the thread, and how far apart to place the stitches... we simply learn how it feels.

Sometimes, though, there are little tricks we can use to help speed the learning process. I will admit I'm a BIT anal when it comes to my stitching. My dad was an engineer and every so often his genes surface in me, requiring an engineer's precision. When I first started quilting, I was forever taking my quilting out because my stitches weren't even... or straight... or even remotely close to the same size! One day I got the...Read more

Quilting Basics - Part I - Getting Started

Quilting Basics - Part 1

Quilting Basics - Part 2

Quilting Basics - Part 3

Quilting Basics - Part 4

Probably the question I get asked MOST is... how do you get your stitches so even. My glib response is usually... years of experience. Although that is true, there are tricks I've learned along the way that helped my skills improve.

Quilting is all about stitches. By definition, quilting is sewing 2 or more layers of fabric together, usually with some layer of batting in the center for warmth or to give the stitching depth. Whether you are quilting a patch to a ripped pant knee or sewing a large quilt, the techniques are the same. If this is your first go at quilting, I do recommend you start with a small, manageable projects. Bulk equals additional complexities.

So, today, we are going to make a practice piece. When you are done, you may decide to incorporate it into something else, but this project is all about process. We will be creating a free form design, then learning the basics of quilting.

solid fabric - use a light weight cotton or...Read more