Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Dipping into Quilting

So it struck me today that before making a quilt it might have been a good idea to actually learn how to do it.  Right now I'm just working via the osmosis of random tidbits I've read or seen over the years; I actually have *no* idea how to quilt properly.  I'm quilting by instinct. 

Also, I'm not tackling everything at once.  Starting tiny, and I even bought (!) binding for the quilt.   Just keeping it simple and unintimidating.

I like this unquilted look. 

But I'm struggling to like this quilted look.  I think it's the (lovely) perle cotton--it's so white.  I've never enjoyed contrast stitching.  And maybe it's also my big stitches, living large on these squares! Hmm.

So many questions.  Do you draw lines to show you where to stitch?  (I didn't, and decided to just do inside each square because drawing lines intimidates me.)  Is it *supposed* to get textural and a little puckery (which I like) or am I doing it wrong (which I don't care too much about, because I like it)? How big should the stitches be?  Do you start in the middle or along a side? Is it foolhardy to re-pin the safety pins as you go?  Et cetera. 

The good news is that the process itself is fun, if I can overlook the confusing parts. 

Annie took this blurry photo of me hard at work during art lesson. I like the size of this project! 

So I'm having fun, but next time we go to the library, I need to check out a book...for the next dip into the quilting sea.  


  1. Fun! Addie and I are about to start her first quilt--I always wanted to know how to quilt and then didn't try it until I was in my 30s and had to learn on my own, since I wasn't clever enough to tackle it while living in the same state as my mom. Good news though--it's not hard! If pioneer girls in the 1800s could figure it out, so can we!! Here's what I do: if my lines to stitch aren't going right next to the seam lines, I pencil them on. Or you can use lines of painters' tape for straight lines. For what you're doing, I'd just eye it though. The fabric will pucker up after you wash it, as long as you didn't wash the fabric before you cut it. The smaller your stitches, the more it'll wrinkle. You can start stitching wherever you like, which will happen anyway as you run out of thread and have to start again with new thread. And I can't answer the question about re-pinning the pins; I always unpin as I go and put them away, so I can see easily how much I have left to quilt. Also, if you don't love the look of high-contrast thread, next time you can use variegated thread in the tones of your quilt. You still get some contrast, but it's not as obvious, which will hide your stitches more, if that's what you're going for. (That's always what I'm going for; my stitches are nothing to display!!) I hope that helps! :)

  2. good for you!!! It took me a while to feel confident that I liked my quilting style, so I hope you feel that way soon, too. I LOVE your contrast stitching - I figure if I'm putting all that time into the stitches, I want them to show.
    About the pins: I rarely re-pin because it's just too easy to create a pucker in the back unless you are laying the whole thing down on the floor and making sure it's always equally smooth. I usually start quilting in the middle with the hope that any ease works itself out to the edges (starting at an edge and going to the middle could leave you with some tucks in the middle - oops).

    I'd advise caution with those quilting books. They are very intimidating and assume lots more equipment and patience than I have! I think you are starting just right and you could sidle up to any quilter or old lady and ask more questions. Ask me! I'll share what I know, which isn't much :)