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.

  1. I used a #90 Topstitch needle and #40 weight Madeira machine embroidery threads.
  2. I loosened the top tension of my machine and practised stitches on some spare fabric backed with ‘Stitch ‘n Tear’ stabiliser until I was happy with the result. Stitches will pucker if you attempt machine embroidery without stabiliser behind the work.
Ribbon Appliqué
1. Ribbon appliqué

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.

Machine Quilting

My trusty old workhorse
2. My trusty old workhorse
Practise on a spare quilt sandwich
3. Practise on a spare quilt sandwich

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.

Silk thread
4. Silk thread

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.

Twin needle
5. Twin needle effect

I tried all sizes of twin needles but finally settled for size 1.6mm which gave a tiny ribbon effect.

Layering the Quilt

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.

Quilt under needle
6. Quilt under needle

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.

Layered quilt Layered quilt
7 & 8. Layered quilt

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.

Neatening edges
9. Note neatened edges

Now looks like a proper quilt!

Quilting

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.

Stitching in the ditch Stitching in the ditch
10 & 11. Stitching in the ditch, anchoring around squares and motifs

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.

Twin needling
12. Twin needling

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.

Quilting with hoop
13. Quilting with hoop

Using twin needles gives a ‘ribbon’ effect.

Ribbon effect
14. Ribbon effect

I intensified the quilting in some blocks.

Ladybirds
15. Quilting around the ladybirds

Added some trapunto in form of treble and bass clefs in the corners

Treble Clef Bass Clef
16 & 17. Trapunto clefs in the corners

Reverse resembles a whole cloth quilt

Wholecloth effect on reverse
18. Wholecloth effect on reverse

Quilted and neatened edges – now ready for the binding

Quilted and neatened edges
19. Quilted and neatened edges, ready for binding

Preparing the binding

Preparing binding Preparing binding
Preparing binding Preparing binding
Preparing binding Preparing binding

Attaching the binding

Attaching binding Attaching binding

Finished!

Look - no wavy edges
Look - no wavy edges
Is this for me?
Is this for me?
What no mouse?
What no mouse?