Checkbook Quilter

Checkbook Quilter

 

checkbook

Checkbook quilter is a term that I just started hearing in the quilting world.  What it’s referring to is someone, like me, that pieces their larger quilt tops themselves but does not do the actual quilting themselves on their home machines.  I have friends who are fantastic quilters on their regular machines but so far, I haven’t mastered that skill.

If I have a small project like the hedgehog quilt we did at the beginning of these posts, I will do stitch-in-the-ditch quilting.  This term refers to quilting along the seam lines where two pieces of fabric come together.  I also will sometimes quilt diagonally across a smaller project.

Long-arm Quilting Machine
Long-arm Quilting Machine

However, if I have anything larger than a baby quilt, I usually pay a long-arm quilter to quilt for me.  This term might bring up a very strange image of a person with extremely long appendages but instead it is referring to a long-arm quilting machine that you can load an entire quilt on and using a sewing machine that moves around, quilt the quilt top. If you need to find one, you can ask at a local guild or fabric store.

Detail of Leaf Quilt
Detail of Leaf Quilt

Years ago, a quilt that was machine quilted was not prized as highly in quilting shows as hand quilted pieces but that has changed. Machine quilters can create amazing patterns. You can ask your quilter to do an all over pattern or to highlight certain portions.  Several years ago I made a highly complex leaf quilt and had to search to find someone that would quilt each leaf for me.  The quilter, Nancy Samples, did a fantastic job and it is one of my most prized possessions.

Detail of Amish Quilt
Detail of Amish Quilt

Of course, hand quilting has a long history and for some quilters, it is the only way to go.  I’ve done it a few times but have never tackled a full size quilt.  The image above shows  an Amish wall hanging from years ago. The trick of good hand quilting is to keep your stitches even.  You insert the needle, bring it up again and repeat until you have loaded the needle.  It is often referred to as a rocking motion.

There are different methods to transfer the quilting pattern to the quilt. In the past, I have used  a quilt stencil and a water soluble pen to mark the quilt.  Other people use chalk and a pouncing pad  to mark.  Other quilters I know prefer to do free form quilting.

If you have someone quilt your project, please remember to give them credit in your label.  Too often, they are the unsung heroes of the quilting world!

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We’re Going Batty For Batting!

We’re Going Batty For Batting!

My new Vigorelli Sewing Machine
My new Vigorelli Sewing Machine

This post is about quilt batting but I just had to share my new pride and joy. I found this antique sewing machine at a local thrift store for $19.99 with a cabinet. I don’t really need a new machine but it was too beautiful to leave behind. Evidently these machines were made during 1950’s in Italy. The more well known Italian machine is Necchi and Mr Vigorelli worked for him and then left to produce his own sewing machine. I just love the color and the cabinet is in great shape.

Now on to batting…..
Batting  is the fluff between the quilt top and the backing. You can buy it two ways;  pre-cut bags or on big rolls in fabric stores. The pre-cut packaging has the quilt size on the cover; twin, double, queen, king. **When you are picking out the batting size be sure and include 6″ on each side of the quilt top.** Your choice of batting depends on several factors; use of the project, the weight you want for the project and the method of quilting you plan to use.

Polyester Batting
Polyester Batting

When I am making a baby quilt or a quilt  that is probably going to get washed a lot, I use polyester batting. It is durable and lightweight. It comes in different loft so you can make the quilt extra puffy if you like. Thinner if that appeals to you.  The lower quality polyester has a rough feel so try and touch it  before you buy it. It is not recommended for hand quilting.

Cotton Batting
Cotton Batting

Cotton is my next go to for batting. It comes in all kinds of specialty types. You can find organic, unbleached, even a poly/cotton blend.  I like the feel of it when I’m sewing and I like the way it makes the finished quilt lay when it is done.  This brand comes in 4 different lofts: Request, Select, Deluxe and Supreme. This is good for handquilting.

Wool Batting
Wool Batting

I myself have never used wool batting but I understand it is beautiful to work with especially for hand quilting. It is also warm and breathable. One website I read said that it shows off quilt stitches really well and resists creases so it is very popular with people who show their quilts professionally.

Black batting is a nice idea if you have a quilt project this is mainly black fabric. That way you are putting a black color behind the black fabric.

It’s also a good idea to keep the extra bits of batting that might be left over from your project. You might want to make potholders or a table runner or another type of small project in the future.  Another tip is that often times, if you are getting your quilt top professionally quilted, the quilter will have their own batting and you can include it in the price of the quilting.  Be sure to ask.

And that brings us to our next topic, quilting.

*Photos of the batting types were taken at my local quilt shop, The Quilted Angel.  Thanks for letting me take photos in the store.

This One’s for Muggs – The Jellyroll Race

This One’s for Muggs – The Jellyroll Race

jellyroll
Jellyroll from Moda

A friend of mine, Muggs, asked for an easy quilt to make so I wanted to show her the Jellyroll Race. I mentioned jellyrolls in my first post. It is a genius marketing idea where the entire fabric line is cut into 2 1/2″ strips and rolled up together.

For the Jellyroll Race, cut off the selvage of the strips (the ends that sometimes have writing on them or little holes) and then just start sewing, right sides together end to end. This is a great time for chain piecing. If you are unfamiliar with this term it means sewing piece after piece without cutting the thread on your sewing machine. Finish sewing one of the pairs together, lift up the presser foot on the sewing machine, grab the free end of the last piece added and place the next piece right sides together and keep going. You end up with loops of fabric connected by thread that you have to clip but after that you have a very long continuous 2 1/2″ wide string of fabric.

strips sewn end to end
Jellyroll Strips Sewn End to End

Next, you need to find both ends of this long string of strips.I didn’t have anyone around to help me so I tied one end to my fence and stretched it all out. You wouldn’t have to do that but it is a lot of fabric to handle. If you have the time and inclination, you can press all the seams open before you put it together. ** You need to cut off ~ 20″ of one end of the long strip. ** This makes the rest of the piecing look staggered. You don’t want the seams to line up when you sew it together.

Once you have done that, put the two strips right sides together and start sewing. Your fabric strip is only 1/2 as long as it was originally but it is still a lot of sewing. As you near the end, cut the loop that is forming from the two strips being sewn together and stitch all the way to the end. Press open the two piece strip set and once again, find the end and make another loop, sewing along the long edge.

Quilt top
Full Size Quilt Sewn from Jellyroll

Keep doing this until you get the width you want. As the quilt top gets heavier, I like to pin the area I’m sewing. I stopped when the top measured 52″ X 62″. This is a nice size for a throw size quilt. If you want to make it bigger, you could add borders. I’m not sure where this quilt is going so I will just live with it for awhile on my design wall.