Friday, August 07, 2020

Machine Quilting Preparations

When I teach machine quilting, I always stress the importance of preparing and thinking through all the choices before you start:

I 💖 this machine!

1) machine - I only quilt with my 25+ year old Brother 1500.  It has been a work horse for all these years and it can reportedly stitch 1500 stitches per minute. I don't know about that as I would never sew that fast, but it sure does a great job! (no affiliation to any of the companies listed here, just a really happy customer of these products)
2) thread - for me, it's always Aurifil 50 weight. My machine loves this thread and I never have tension issues to deal with, so I buy it by the cone (6452 yards/5900 metres).
3) needle - I have the best success with the topstitch 90 needle for machine quilting. I do not have any skipped stitches (when I'm using the Warm and Natural batting which I purchase by the roll).
Oil, quilting foot, needles and bobbins
4) oil - add lots of oil before quilting so the thousands of mechanical movements can be smooth and slick.
5) bobbins - I usually wind up 3 bobbins full of thread to start quilting a project.
6) quilting foot - I chose the open toe embroidery foot for the free motion quilting on this project. The thing I dislike about it is that it gets caught on every pin, but I like being able to fully see when I am quilting loops. I will try to be very careful when I rearrange the quilt as I go along to avoid snagging the pins.

orange duck watching the looping stitches
I decided to start by quilting loops on the sashings. I enjoyed visiting the scrappy blocks as I quilted on by. The goal was to make all the loops go in the same direction, but I couldn't seem to remember that, and they ended up going every which way. 

***The invitation of machine quilting is... to suspend your perfectionistic tendencies and ENJOY the process wherever it leads and however it looks! It helps me to remind myself that I am not trying to create a masterpiece, I'm just trying to finish a quilt!

In this block the deer is running away, the fox is sound asleep, and the rabbit is supervising the quilting!


deebriese said...

Thank you for your great tips. Long time quilter and only do straight line quilting..because i always think it looks terrible.

slrquilts said...

Not creating a masterpiece just finishing a quilt...thats me...afraid of messing up a quilt.

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Thanks for a great tutorial. I am always hung up on my far from perfect machine quilting. I like your advice to just let it go and enjoy the process. I feel so much better now!

SandraC said...

Very nice! If I understand correctly about your loops....I can just say from experience that it seems easier and more natural to have the loops going in opposite direction. Lol, that's probably why you were finding it difficult, you were fighting what your brain was trying to do

Louise said...

That's a fast machine! I think mine goes almost as fast, but I keep it set at the "turtle" end of the speed settings. Learning to use a topstitch needle was a game changer, too. I'm glad you're enjoying revisiting all the blocks :)

MissPat said...

While I greatly admire the talent and skill of those quilters who densely quilt with multiple motifs and fancy designs, I much prefer to use a few simpler motifs and quilt more sparingly. And I'm finally satisfied with my less than perfect stitching. Done is better than perfect and the recipients hardly ever even see the quilting designs.

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

This is one of my favorite quilts that you have made Kathy - it is a beauty!!! Your quilting always looks great and I have heard that your machine is a great workhorse. I tried to quilt on a domestic... but no luck. Lucky to have my long arm. BUT is is not a computer driven, it is driven by my brain and hands (LOL). Hugs

priscilla said...

I love this! Was wondering if you also quilt in the ditch along w/the loops? I always start off in the ditch then finish up with more loops, etc or whatever strikes my imagination!

Cheryl D. said...

What great advice. Enjoy the process and remember I’m just trying to finish a quilt not create a masterpiece, I’m going to try to remember that. Machine quilting is my least favourite part of the whole process. Your quilt is turning out lovely. Thank you for the tutorial, have a great day..

Jenny said...

Thanks for the tips. I always like to have several bobbins wound and waiting. Sadly, I dont really enjoy doing free motion so I'm not at all terribly good at it.

Colleen said...

I've had this same machine for about 8 years and LOVE it! Every time I think I want to set up one of my other machines and give them some love, I always go back to my Brother machine :) My favorite part of the quilting process is the piecing and this machine has been the best for accurate 1/4" that I've used. My least favorite part of quilting is...well...quilting. I'm terrible at free-motion no matter how much I "practice". I'm just not coordinated...haha.

Miaismine said...

Thank you for sharing, Kathy! I always thought you used a long arm, but wow! I'm barely beginning to experiment with machine quilting on very small projects. Thank you for your tips!