Quilting Don’ts

While reading other (more talented) quilters’ blogs, I came across the I Quilt linky party at Pretty Bobbins.

i quilt blog button

What got me thinking and eventually posting this was; Gemma said that newbies and pros alike were welcome to link in as long as we write about our quilting journey.

(Disclaimer: I’m a total newbie)

I thought I’d tell you what about what I learned while quilting this king sized quilt on my domestic JUKI machine.  Hopefully I can refer back here and tell myself what not to do next time!  This is my third machine quilted attempt.  I made a double sized quilt for my mom last year using a Granny Square pattern with wine glass (wavy-lined) quilting.  The second one, was this quilt,

20130915-101757.jpg   20130915-104022.jpg

I posted about it here

Funny thing, I used FMQing for this quilt and it was much easier than the straight line quilting.

So… here is what I’ve learned:

1. While basting, I set up a full sized hand-quilting frame. I have back issues and can’t spend that much time on the floor.  This seems to work great.  It brings the quilt up to table height and makes it much easier to baste.  The quilt gets pulled taut then pinned to the wooden rails.  The only negative: my family has to crawl underneath to get to the TV room, but I only leave it on the frame until basting is done.

2. Baste, baste, baste! On this quilt I didn’t use enough pins while basting. I have about 115 pins but should have used double that (at least) on a quilt this size.  I need to buy more pins!

3. While quilting, work from the inside of the quilt outward.  I thought I could cheat a bit and this is what happens:

See the puckering in the fabric?  Major DON'T!

See the puckering in the fabric? Major DON’T!

If the puckering does start to happen, STOP!  I kept going in hopes that it would magically disappear when the quilt was done.  Duh! Nope, my mistakes are front and centre.  Literally!  They are on the front and centre of the quilt!

4. After quilting about half of the quilt and having my arms nearly fall off from all the twisting, turning and tugging, I realized I should roll the sides of the quilt.  While working on the middle parts of the quilt, I rolled the outer edges of the quilt and pinned it to hold it in place.  This made maneuvering the quilt much easier.

5. While quilting, I use Machingers gloves.  They help me to grip all the layers of the quilt without hurting my hands.  If I hadn’t had these, there would have been a lot more swear words said in the making of this quilt!

6. I used an outline stitch to try to bring out the star pattern.  I like the effect but, the starting and stopping nearly killed me!

IMG_1001    20130930-225203.jpg    IMG_1009

7. I need to figure out a way to avoid the nests on the reverse of the quilt.  I pulled the bobbin thread to the top of the quilt on the start and end of each line of stitching.  That works great!  I think my tension must be off or something, because I still get the nests when I do either a backwards stitch or small stitches to lock the stitches.  NOTE: must figure out how to do this properly!

8. I did straight line quilting in the border of the quilt.  I love the texture and look of it but, DON’T move the quilt too much or lift the needle mid-way!  This is what happens:


9. I am happy with the binding (sort of).  I used the tutorial from Red Pepper Quilts and it seemed to work pretty well for me. I think I will add one more step though.  I will iron my binding over after stitching it onto the front of the quilt.  I think maybe if I iron it, I’ll be able to pull it over better to conceal the stitch line on the reverse of the quilt.  I used Clover Wonder Clips instead of pins to hold the binding in place.  I must say, they work great!  I do have to remove them before I would normally remove a pin but they still hold very well.  No more Pin Pricked Fingers while binding!

10. My corners are mitred!  Yay!  At least I did that right!


11. I do have one “OOOPS” with the binding:


Somehow the backing fabric snuck out from under the binding.  I may rip this out and fix it.

I’ve shown the quilt in all it’s gory mess.  This is a difficult thing for me as I tend toward the perfection side of life.  I’m learning to relax with things and let it be what it is.  As I posted earlier:

 I’m hoping once I wash it, the puckering will ‘blend’ a bit with the natural crinkly-ness of the quilt. Fingers crossed!

I’m also hoping by the time I’m finishing my 30th or 300th quilt (God willing!), 

I’ll look back on this one with love and laughter at my feeble kindergarten-like quilting.

So, lesson learned.  Quilt finished.  I think, all in all, it’s a good day!

As stated above, I’m linking with Pretty Bobbins and hope that someone out there will learn from my mistakes.

EDIT:  I posted this yesterday but for some reason, lost it somewhere in the wild “WWW” of the blogoshere.  I am reposting this and now linking it to TGIFF hosted by Quokkaquilts this week for the wonderful OctoberQuest2.

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29 Responses to Quilting Don’ts

  1. For starters… I am in total awe of you for doing a king sized quilt as one of your 1st projects! Thanks so much for sharing what you’ve learned. I did stars like that on a Christmas tree skirt last December and it was a ton of turning just on that so I can relate. You did a fabulous job!

  2. Shannon says:

    You’re doing great for a newbie! Just wondering if you have to take the wonder clips off when you sew (get to the needle) or are you not machine sewing the binding?

  3. Rita Ferber says:

    Thank you! I guess I didn’t realize how hard it would be until I got in too far to turn back! I will be trying to practice on smaller projects from now on!

  4. Rita Ferber says:

    Yes, I machine sewed the binding. I ended up putting the Wonder Clips every 2 inches or so. I needed a lot of them! I do like pins because I can sew right up to them but not pricking my fingers was a huge bonus! I had to take the clips out sooner than I wanted but, it seemed to hold just fine. I’m still deciding if I’ll use them all the time.

  5. When an awesome post!!! You have done an amazing job for a new quilter! Thanks so much for sharing your ‘lessons learnt’ 🙂 I think the puckers will definitely be less noticeable after the wash and to be honest, non quilters will never notice 🙂 I would recommend that you fix that bit on the binding though. I have that happen too and now I prevent it by serging/overlocking my quilt before I binding it. You could just use zig zag on your machine 🙂 I would love to make the focus of my post next week the beading issue that you’re talking about it. I’ve experienced it too and have come up with a few ways to avoid it. Thanks again for linking up and for this great post! This is exactly what I was hoping for 🙂

  6. Rita Ferber says:

    That would be a very helpful post! Thanks for your advice and encouragement!

  7. hi there, came across your blog in Lily’s Quilts small blog meet up, you are the link above mine. I have enjoyed your blog, thanks for letting me read it.

  8. Rita Ferber says:

    Thanks for visiting! I tried to go to your site but the link doesn’t work. What’s your blog URL?

  9. bravo to you for tackling this on your domestic machine! You’ve got lots of helpful tips!

    I’m so glad you shared at Needle and Thread Thursday! If you get a chance, I’d love for you to hop over and grab a button!

    🙂 Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  10. Rita Ferber says:

    Thanks so much for your encouragement. I’m trying to figure out how to add the buttons. Some work some don’t. I’m such a computer dork! I forgot how I did the one that worked! I’m going to keep trying though.

  11. Rita Ferber says:

    Kelly, I did it! Persistence, that’s all it takes!

  12. Great post :). I am still too chicken to quilt my bigger quilt top on my domestic machine but will try now :).

  13. Rita Ferber says:

    I know how you feel, I just went ahead and did it because otherwise my quilt tops would have stayed UFO’s. Now it’s a usable, useful item! Thanks for visiting!

  14. nohatsinthehouse says:

    Have you tried spraybasting? I find that even with such a large quilt spray basting sticks way better than pins, and I use 505 for fewer fumes 🙂

  15. Great finish and thank you for sharing all your learnings!

  16. Rita Ferber says:

    I have used 505 for small appliqué but didn’t think it would work for such a large piece. I’ll try next time. Thanks for the advice!

  17. Rita Ferber says:

    Ha! Hopefully I’ll have less learning “pains” next time! Thanks for commenting!

  18. RuthB says:

    I had the same thing happen to me with the binding not covering the quilt edge. It happened at a join in the fabric material. I use pins too and am curious about the spray basting. Good on you tackling such a big project! I can’t imagine the amount of time it took to baste it!

  19. Rita Ferber says:

    Thanks for your comments, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one that has trouble with this

  20. Kristin says:

    I just got some Wonder Clips myself, and I cannot wait to use them! Great post.

  21. Rita Ferber says:

    They do work great! Thanks for stopping by!

  22. Great post! Thanks for sharing your “don’ts”! I’m new to FMQing and appreciate all the tips and don’ts!!!

  23. Rita Ferber says:

    Ha ha! Please learn from my many mistakes! I’m sure I’ll make plenty more.

  24. Pingback: I Quilt Linky Party - artist trading cards | Pretty Bobbins

  25. Rita Ferber says:

    Gemma! Thank you! I love your post and really like the idea of sharing our quilting journey.

  26. Rita Ferber says:

    Thanks to Gemma at Pretty Bobbins for sending me some blogging love!

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