Monday, October 10, 2011

How to layer a quilt

Or How to Quilt without having to sew around the pins!!

No, I’m not giving up on knitting!  I worked on several quilt tops this past summer and wanted to get them quilted by the end of the month.  Two are Halloween quilts, one a table topper and the other I can hang in the foyer.  One other quilt I’d like to have finished by the end of October as well, is a ‘challenge quilt’ from the Springfield QU president.  She gave her membership committee chairs a bundle of about 15 sized fat quarters or larger that she had dyed (I was the membership chair).  I got a bundle of purples, orange and pink.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them until I was looking through one of the Buggy Barn quilt books that I had.  The book is called Certifiably Crazy and the quilt is titled ‘Spring Fever’.  The blocks are about 16x16”  I wanted something a smaller so I took the pattern template to Staples and they were able to downsize the template so the squares would be about 7” squared.  I really like their patterns because it takes fat quarters, but cutting and piecing the squares is time intensive.  You lay the fat quarters all stacked on the table.  Place a copy of the template on top of the fat quarters and then start cutting out the puzzle pieces, making sure to keep each stack together.  Then you take a stack, and depending on the instructions, either take the top one or two pieces of fabric and place them on the bottom of that particular stack.  Confused?  Purchase one of their pattern books which includes detailed instructions on their stacking and shuffling method.  I’ll share pictures when I’m done quilting.
On the topic of quilting…I wanted to share how I get my quilts ready to be quilted.  After reading an article in the November 2009 issue of ‘Machine Quilting Unlimited’, I’ve used this method to sandwich my quilts.  The article is geared to quilting a whole cloth quilt, but I took the tips and applied them to quilting ‘regular’ quilts.  I’m including the link to the magazine in case you want to order it.

Here is the quilt top with batting and backing.
Quilt pinned with curved pins.  I use the Kwik Klip to close the pins, it keeps my hands from hurting after closing 20-30 pins.
The article I mentioned above recommends basting the quilt with Superior Threads Vanish Lite thread, for both the top thread and bobbin.  Yes, I pin, then baste the quilt and then remove the pins after I’ve basted the quilt.  The article recommends keeping the pins in, but I remove them to make it easier and quicker to free-motion quilt.  Without pins, but with a basted quilt I can ‘go with the flow’ when I’m doing free motion quilting and not worry about running over a pin and damaging my sewing machine..  The thread is water soluble so after I’ve quilted, sewn the binding and added the sleeve I wash the quilt and I’m all done!
I baste about 6-10” apart making a grid.
Here is the quilt, quilted and hanging at the Quilter’s Unlimited quilt show.
Let me know if this method does or does not work for you.