The last round-up! Machine quilting and finishing guide for Babs' Block of the Month quilt
Once you have stitched the blocks together and added the borders you will be ready to attach your chosen appliqués.
As you can see I attached bows and ribbons to my version of the quilt because I wanted a really pretty and very different quilt for my guest room. My other bed quilts being simple and traditional.
You will have seen the templates for birds, bees, snails etc, in the magazine and it might be fun to add your own appliqués to personalize your quilt. (I wish I had added a little mouse – now plan to put one or two in my autumn version).
Bondaweb was used for most of my appliqués, but again you may decide to use the Linda Straw method of reverse appliqué. A matter of choice and experience.
Some of you may even prefer to use hand appliqué.
With fused appliqué it is easier to stitch through the layers by machine embroidery.
I machine embroidered around the inner and outer edges of the Bow followed by the ribbons using a fancy embroidery stitch and contrasting thread. Satin-stitch, zig-zag, blanket stitch, or any other embroidery stitch can be used effectively to edge the ribbons and other appliqué shapes.
It is important to practice quilting on a spare sandwich comprising fabric – wadding - backing fabric. I used 80:20 wadding for this quilt.
Try different tension settings on your machine with different types of needles, wadding and threads until you have achieved the effect you prefer. Don’t use cheap needles and do change them often.
I used 100% silk thread obtained from Little L’s. It is strong and slides through the needle beautifully, but is expensive. I used Madeira invisible thread in the bobbin, which I filled only half-full on low speed. No problems with either threads. Silk thread, as I mentioned, is strong.
I tried all sizes of twin needles but finally settled for size 1.6mm which gave a tiny ribbon effect.
Marti Mitchell’s book – ‘Machine Quilting in Sections’ is useful for those who prefer to machine their quilt in sections. I used the traditional method for this quilt.
I used a gun and lots of Taks to layer the quilt on a long dining table. No problems and a trouble-free method which I heartily recommend after years spent crawling over the floor with sore knees. See step-by-step instructions in Table Top Basting in the Techniques section.
After layering the quilt I stitched 1/4in in from around the edges using a very large straight stitch, after which I trimmed excess the wadding and backing from around the quilt, followed by a wide zig-zag stitch to neaten and stabilize the edges.
Now looks like a proper quilt!
It’s always best, if possible, to anchor large areas of a quilt before tackling the smaller, intricate areas.
I began by machine quilting in-the-ditch around the blocks, to anchor them, using the following at this stage: Madeira invisible thread in bobbin, 100% silk thread on spool, a walking foot and single quilting needle. I loosened the top tension and practised on a spare sandwich, as above, until happy with the result and there was no puckering of stitches.
I stitched in-the-ditch around the coloured four-patch squares, using the same threads as above, before stitching around the outside edges of the motifs.
When happy with the result I attached a 1.6mm twin needle – an open embroidery foot - 2 spools of silk thread on the machine and only half filled the bobbin with invisible thread. I dropped the feed dogs and began to carefully machine quilt the blank areas around the motifs in each block. I used a ‘loose’ vermicelli’ stitch as you can see.
You MUST stitch on a separate practice piece to check your tension and perfect your stitches before tackling the quilt.
I use a 10” quilting hoop when machining intricate areas.
Using twin needles gives a ‘ribbon’ effect.
I intensified the quilting in some blocks.
Added some trapunto in form of treble and bass clefs in the corners
Reverse resembles a whole cloth quilt
Quilted and neatened edges – now ready for the binding
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