Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #14

Hello, and welcome to another of my Thread Talk installment! Today, I shall attempt to answer a few questions from the pool of questions you had asked about home machine quilting in this post.

[Americana Florals, featured in The Quilter, January 2011]


Cathy: Do you stitch in the ditch after or before doing your fancy quilting?

My two cents: Definitely before. Stitching the straight lines in your quilt serves to stabilize your quilt sandwich so as to minimize distortion from moving your quilt sandwich in all possible directions underneath that little throat area of your home machine when you free-motion quilt.

(i) To me, it’s important to quilt along the straight lines of the major sections of your quilt, i.e. quilt center, sashing, and border. That way your quilt is well-defined for adding free-motion quilting later.

(ii) Since home machine quilters don’t have the luxury of stretching and securing one’s quilt across a frame, I think it makes it even more important to quilt along the straight lines to stabilize the quilt.

(iii) If you don’t want to see the straight lines in the midst of your free-motion quilted motifs after your quilt is finished, you can always quilt the straight lines with water soluble threads just to anchor the quilt, and wash away the straight lines later.


[Quilting Around the Pieced Block, featured in Quilter’s World February 2011]

Sue Farrell: I would love to know how you decide to do the densely quilted feathers in the quilt above (picture of quilt shown above).

My two cents: I decided to quilt dense feathers in the border of the quilt above because feathers are beautiful to show off (design and texture) on a solid/mottled print. I normally don’t quilt feathers like that unless I know the feathers will be readily noticed (vain, I know!)

Now, in my beginning days when I was just cutting my teething in this feather quilting business, I did quilt on busy print quilt tops with beige backing fabric. I figured the busy print would hide my feathery mess well if I botched things up. Using a beige backing fabric allowed me to inspect my designs on the quilt back.


Kristen N: I would like to start doing free motion quilting but have no ideas where to start!

My two cents: Start with your current quilt project. Start thinking now about how you might want to quilt it. I don’t normally have a practice piece. I just jump right into a “real” project – I feel like that way, under the pressure of not wanting to mess up a “real” quilt, I tend to perform better. Even if it doesn’t turn out, you can always break out your trusted seam ripper. Trust me, I have!

[publish pending]


Diana: I would love to have more information about how to decide what designs to use when quilting a quilt.

Check out this link and this link for glimpses of my thought process. This article (part I in a two-part series) in Quilter’s World is a systematic approach to answering the “What to Quilt” question. Part II of the series is going to deal with quilting around applique shapes — due out in the April 2011 issue of Quilter’s World.

[publish pending]

That’s all the time I have to answer your questions this time. Let me know if my answers make any sense. If not, keep asking away! Talk to me!

[publish pending]

Thanks for stopping by. I think I am going to snooze for just a little bit while my Miss Baby is having a date with the Zzzz-monster. I have had less than 8 hours of sleep combined in the last 48 hours (by the way, that’s my answer to Anna’s question “I want to know where you find the time to get so much done!!!!) I think sleep is overrated anyway… ;)

Have a fantastic day!

French Bouquet: Sneak Peeks

Remember these fabrics I had shown you a couple of weeks ago in my red & green post? They are from RJR‘s Fancy Hill Farm collection. I think they are just released — it is another winner by Robyn Pandolph. I especially like the reds in the collection:

Here is a sneak peek of what I have done with the fabrics:

I had a dingbat moment with this project — I was very proud of myself at 1am one night this week for getting the project done. On the way downstairs to show my husband my latest “checked off” project, I noticed that something was amiss, QUITE amiss actually! One of the inner borders was 1/4″ larger than the rest. Keep in mind, this thing was already quilted, and all is left was the binding! I didn’t know whether to cry or scream or jump off a cliff!!! So I sat and took out every single stitch on the border to free up that section for me to re-piece the inner border with the right measurement, thinking that whole time I was such a dingbat!

Here you can see the scaling of the quilting. I love to do micro and dense quilting – in fact, I am passionate about it although I don’t get the opportunity to do it very much due to the time factor:

The center motif is adapted from an old Persian motif “prettied” up with some feathers:

Here you can see my “puffed up” flowers because of the wool batt I used:

And here is my home-machine version of McTavishing outside the wreath:

Before I leave, I want to thank you for all your comments on my doll post — armed with some “horror” cute doll stories, I am looking forward more of Baby’s destruction adventures! ;) Baby is not all destruction. She brought this home for me when she returned home from her walk with Daddy. I thought I would share it with you to top off my “bouquet” project:

Thanks for stopping by. I always love your comments. I look forward to visiting you back. Have a wonderful weekend. I shall see you next Monday!

To A Garden Tea Party in Quilter’s World (June 2010)

Yippee! I get to show another quilt in its entirety I completed many Fridays ago!! To a Garden Party is featured in the “For Kids” section of the latest issue Quilter’s World! Can’t you just see this in a little girl’s room?

Picture from Quilter's World

The lighting was perfect one afternoon last week, and I simply had to take pictures of the quilt in order to show the quilting on the quilt. But you can see here I had an all to eager helper who kept wanting to get ON the quilt!

The fabrics are from Somerset Cottage by RJR – another winner by Robyn Pandolph. If you are into Shabby Chic, and all things flowery — Robyn Pandolph’s fabrics are definitely for you:

As usual, piecing and quilting was done using my favorite Aurifil Mako 50 (color 2310) thread. Batting used was Tuscany Silk by Hobbs‘. The quilting was mostly free-motion except for the straight lines using the walking foot:

I like using my curly Q quilting motif when I am doing sparse quilting for a nice texture:

So, here are the car keys – are you ready for a Garden Tea Party?

Thanks again for visiting – I hope you have a glorious weekend.

Bloom Wherever You Are in THE QUILTER (January 2010)

Good day, you all! I received my copy of “The Quilter” yesterday. My Bloom Wherever You Are quilt is in the January 2010 issue. Can you believe it? We are swiftly heading toward the year 2010!!!

bloom wherever you are1

bloom wherever you are2

The fabrics used are from RJR‘s Always in Bloom collection. The fabric choices made the quilt look like it has a watercolor quilt effect:

bloom wherever you are3

The blocks are double tulip blocks. Basically, they are just slightly improvised log cabins! The log cabin blocks are fun blocks to make because they have so many different possibilities depending on your choice of fabrics, placements, or any twist you add to the blocks:

bloom wherever you are4

bloom wherever you are7

This quilt was quilted with the Tuscany Silk Batt from Hobbs Heirloom and YLI Silk 100 thread. That batt is a dream, I tell you!!!! It is more than easy to manage. I really enjoyed quilting the quilt as a result:

bloom wherever you are5

bloom wherever you are6

always in bloom6

always in bloom7

Quilting as seen on the back:

bloom wherever you are8

bloom wherever you are9

I wish you a good day, and hope that no matter in what circumstance you find yourself, you continue to bloom wherever you are! Blessings to you!

p.s. Should you want to super-size this quilt into a queen size quilt – just click here for more information!

Imitating the grown-ups!

Happy Monday, everyone!  I wish you a sweet day!

I am a home machine quilter who had aspired and am still aspiring to quilt more than just in the ditch with straight lines.  In other words, I wanted to quilt like the “grown ups” (those who quilt with longarm machines).  With practice, I think my imitation effort is starting to pay off just a little:


I had to redo my Sunbonnet Sue quilt for “Quilter’s World” because the original one just didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.  I hadn’t minded the re-do at all.  I am so much happier with the result from the second attempt:


A couple of  shots showing the quilting in the evening sun:



One of these days, I would love to try long-arming, but for now, I have to say I am quite content with just using my home machine.


This quilt is scheduled for the June 2010 issue of “Quilter’s World”.  Stay tuned for more pictures once it is officially published.


Thanks for popping by.  I always enjoy your visit!  Do leave me a comment so that I can visit you back.