Can anyone else yell – HOME STRAIGHT BABY!! Yes that is correct guys – we are heading into Week 6 of our Quiltalong today and its going to be the best one yet!
There will be a lot of information in this post as we talk about pinning, quilting and binding so be prepared for a slight overload as we talk through lots of key concepts in quilting all at once.
But first lets look at a few of the amazing makes coming from our Facebook Group this week. I love how active and engaged these wonderful women are and there is not a single quilt I don’t want to make or own myself. Not only does it show how just how versatile the Lemon Squeezy pattern is, it also proves there is no such thing as one beautiful style of quilt. You can throw anything at this pattern and it will turn out beautifully each time.
Now as we finish our quilts this week I will share the tips and tricks I use for using my dining table to pin, wavy style quilting and binding. As I always say though – this is MY way of doing things and it never has to be yours. If you have a tip, trick or style that works for you by all means use them. I just wanted to share my weird and wonderful way of finishing my quilts.
Pinning your Quilt.
I prefer to use the dining table for my pinning as it is way easier for my back if I am not bending over the floor. Plus with animals always looking for a nice cosy place to curl up it is fraught with danger if I step away even for a second. I use a helper when I pin my quilts to elimate the sliding around and help keep things straight but it is possible to do without one if you need.
First step is to prepare your backing and lay it FACE down on your dining table. Bribe someone in your house to hold it for you to stop it sliding all round the place. It costs me a cheeseburger usually which is a pretty fair price. Those wrinkles you see will be smoothed out when we add the top.
Now this step is somewhat controversial. I iron my quilt top to my wadding. I do this for lots of reasons but the main one is that you are taking a step out of your pinning process as the wadding and batting stick together enough to be laid on the backing as one piece. It also means the wadding gets a good iron too. Finally you position your batting on the wadding and can move it around as you need without interrupting all 3 layers.
Carefully lay your top/batting on the backing fabric. This is where a helper comes in really handy. He transitions from holding the backing only to securing all three pieces while you start smoothing and make sure it all fits properly.
I then slide and move the quilt sandwich all around the table making it as smooth as I can with my hands, making sure there are no serious wrinkles underneath or issues with things not being lined up. Once I am happy I move the quilt back so the centre of it is in the middle of the table. This is where I start pinning.
I always pin my quilts from the centre fanning out as I go. I use curved pins for ease and pin no more than 15cm apart ever in any direction. The more you pin the better the finished product even if it is a total pain to do so. I know many people prefer to spray baste but I dont like the overspray going everywhere so stick to the old fashioned method. This is the point where I make sure everything is as smooth as I can get it. I place in a pin and then firmly smooth with my hand to the next point making sure it is all nice and tight. Having a solid table underneath makes it so much easier to pick up wrinkles in the backing you need to smooth you go.
Starting from the middle of the quilt I pin every square and row to the bottom then slide it back up again, make sure nothing has moved on the top (I call my helper back if it has to help me smooth it all back out) and then pin the top half. Using this method a standard throw size quit takes me around half an hour.
Quilting your Quilt
If you have been following me a while you will know wavy quilting is my current go to. It is so easy and quick to do plus relatively stress free once you relax into it. Again I start from the middle and work from left to right, turning the quilt around completely when I need to work on the other half of it. There is no fixed rule with wavy quilting but I follow some basic steps each time.
- I use a LONG stitch length (think 3.8) plus a walking foot. This helps the quilt glide better.
- I always start with the centre seam of the quilt as it runs the whole length and is the best place to start. It is a simple case of just allowing the quilt to meander from left to right however you choose.
- I quilt along the visibile seam lines first and then backfill as I like. I prefer quite dense quilting lines so always work back however you dont need to.
- As I am quilting I try to move each line in a different direction to the one before it so that you get that organic wavy feel. I never cross over my lines although I know others who happily do.
I have attached a video to show you the basic idea behind wavy quilting. I am not using my big quilt as the thread was indistinguishable but instead a grey solid piece of fabric so you can see the lines clearly. It is not a great video because this pushes me WAY out of my comfort zone but it hopefully help those that need a visual cue. On a side note it is also the reason this post is a bit late – it was a steep learning curve creating a you tube channel to put this on lol.
Binding your Quilt
There are a hundred different ways to machine bind a quilt and again nothing is wrong. When I was first learning this tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew helped me immensely and honestly it is still one of the best out there. A simple google search will give you lots of other options though if you want to try something different.
Now I have decided to reveal my finished quilt next week along with all the other talented makes so you are all going to have to wait a few more days. It is worth the wait I promise! Instead though let me show you another make I completed last week for the Quilter for Koalas Instagram Swap. This cushions uses the Elizabeth Hartman koala pattern which is so incredibly clever in construction. That quilting was SO time consuming but so worth it I think.
Right I think that is all the information one can handle for one blog post except for one really important thing – LAST WEEKS QUILTALONG WINNER! Sedef from Down Grapevine Lane has donated the pattern to make a gorgeous mini quilt and 3 fat quarters from her private fabric collection as well. Congratulations goes to Deb White (@hamishandjoshysmum). Please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can organise your prize.
Our Quiltalong wraps up at the end of this month giving everyone participating a few extra days to get their quilts photographed and in the draw to win. With all the panic and stress in the world right now I have made an executive decision that only your top needs to be completed for you to be eligible for the grand prize. I think many of us are under enough pressure now with kids home, work stresses etc so my aim is to keep this out of that league. You have until the 31st March to either place a completed photo of the top in our Facebook group or on Social Media using the hashtag #lemonsqueezyqal. The winner will receive this fat quarter bundle from our major sponsor Bebeloush Designs. in the fabric that started it all – Bloomsbury by Bari J. Lauren has been a wonderful support with fabrics during this quiltalong and I would be so grateful if you could show her some love as one of the small fabric businesses we really need to rally around and support.
Our Quiltalong runs for 6 weeks to the following timetable:
Introduction Post: Sunday 2 February – What are our plans?
Week 1: Sun 16 February – Welcome to the Quiltalong and Fabric selections
Week 2: Sun 23 February – Cutting our fabrics
Week 3: Sun 1 March – Making our first lot of blocks (Block A)
Week 4: Sun 8 March – Making our Block B blocks
Week 5: Sun 15 March – Laying out and assembling our quilts
Week 6: Sun 22 March – Finishing off