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Thread: Question about Machine Quilting

  1. #1
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    Question about Machine Quilting

    I've just finished a quilt top and I'd like to machine quilt it... I've only machine quilted a table runner before, so I don't have much experience with this... I've got a few questions... this is my first post here...

    Instructions always say to reverse stitch when machine quilting to lock the stitch in, but I've read you aren't supposed to reverse with a walking foot. Would it be possible to lock the first and last stitches with a few super small stitches, instead of reversing?

    Also, how do you quilt the borders? Do you just continue the same lines that you use in the middle of the quilt all the way through to the edge of the border?

    Another thing... the quilt is a rail fence pattern.... do you think that would lend itself more to free motion quilting or to straight line, walking foot kind of quilting?

    Thanks so much for any advice/help you can give!

  2. #2
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    Quilting is usually personal preference so you will get lots of opinions.
    1. I like to pull my thread tails up, knot them and using a easy thread needle to bury them in the quilt sandwich. Some people do like to do tiny stitches to lock the ends of the thread instead of knotting.
    2.You can quilt the border along with the quilt if you want or do it separately, it's up to you.
    3.If this is your first try at machine quilting then using your walking foot and doing straight lines will probably be easiest.
    Make sure your sandwich is basted well before starting to quilt. Some people like 505 basting spray, some like safety pin basting, some like needle and thread basting. You should be able to find videos on basting on Youtube.

  3. #3
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    I always quilt my borders separately with a different pattern. I disagree that straight line quilting is easier. For one thing, you have to sew straight and for another, you have to wrestle the quilt under the machine too many times. With free motion, you can do a block size area at a time then move on - a lot less working the quilt sandwich around. Meandering isn't hard if you have learned to sew in all directions - just think big puzzles pieces. I think the curves of meandering would be nice on a Rail Fence. Draw your pattern with the index finger of your writing hand on any surface to imprint it on your brain, then have at it. I am ready for feathers, so I will be doing that a lot.

  4. #4
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    Just curious, but is it easier to do stitch-in-the-ditch with free-motion instead of conventional sewing?
    Pat H
    Carencro LA

  5. #5
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    stitch in the ditch- is not a free motion technique- stitch in the ditch is a straight line (walking foot) technique- free motion is generally done with a free motion (hopping foot) with the feed dogs down (disengaged) so you can move around in curves, designs without the feet trying to feed the fabric- a walking foot with feed dogs up (engaged) makes it possible to quilt in straight lines staying in the ditch.
    what ever you choose you should make a small quilt sandwich & practice so you can get a feel for the process.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  6. #6
    Senior Member cizzors's Avatar
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    I have always backstitched with my walking foot (no more than 4 stitches) and never had a problem.
    Never outsmart your common sense.

    Karen

  7. #7
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    If you're afraid to do a backstitch, you can always begin and end with a few "in place" stitches (0 length), to help secure your thread.
    Neesie


    By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
    ~Richard Dawkins

  8. #8
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    Thanks, Neesie! I have never tried FM SID so I didn't know. Up to now, I've been using the conventional method. Also, I don't even OWN a walking foot. I have found no need for it. The machines I have seem to feed all layers through nicely.
    Pat H
    Carencro LA

  9. #9
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    LOL, stitch-in-the ditch is not easy! The easiest I have found for newbies (of which I am one) is the straight stitch in the cross-hatch pattern using thin painters tape as guide lines. But that could just be me. I have several quilting feet to give free-motion quilting a try but I'm too busy to practice!! One more granddaughter then I'll have the "most do's" done. And for more experienced quilters, newbies really need the full explanation instead of acronyms. LOL
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
    Done is better than perfect.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the great responses! The table runner I did was a pinwheel pattern, so when I quilted it, I just sewed inside the seems about a quarter of an inch and it seemed to work well. The Rail Fence pattern would be hard to quilt with stitch in the ditch because there are no uninterrupted vertical seam lines.... only horizontal. That doesn't mean that I still couldn't do straight line quilting, I'd just have to go over places where there wasn't a seam.

    I have practiced free motion before on smaller sample quilt sandwiches that I made just for that purpose, so I'm not unfamiliar with the process.... I'm not that good at it yet either though and don't want to ruin this big quilt after putting so much time into it.

    I've never seen any tips or advice on quilting over/through the borders, so I'm still a little confused as to how to do it.... When I quilted the table runner, I just didn't quilt the borders at all. I thought about just running a decorative stitch straight down the middle of the borders, but again I don't know if it is safe to use the walking foot with anything but a straight stitch.... the needle bar is what makes the walking foot work, and the needle bar moves left and right with the needle during decorative stitching and the part of the walking foot that attaches to the needle bar does not move from side to side, so I can't understand how it would be possible to do that without damaging something.

    Thanks again fro all the responses.... if I get anywhere, I'll post a picture )

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