This is the step that intimidated me the most when I first started quilting, but it has become one of the most enjoyable steps in the process as I have become more comfortable with it. Improving my basting skills really helped boost my confidence with quilting - also, finding a quilting style that works for me.
There are a lot of different ways to quilt your quilt. I almost always do straight line quilting on my machine so I will be talking mostly about that, but I will give you some resources if you have other plans.
- Hand quilting - I LOVE hand quilting and it would be really beautiful on this quilt. If I had more time, or made fewer quilts, I would do it a lot more often. This post by Carolyn Friedlander has a lot of great resources. One really nice thing about hand quilting is that it is supposed to go slowly - so if you are a beginner, it is a little less overwhelming.
- Long arm quilting - if you have your own long arm machine, I am totally jealous! If you are sending your quilt to a long arm quilter, make sure to check in with them about how to prepare your quilt top and backing fabric. Also, this is a great time to support our long arm quilting sponsors: Thirty 4 Stitches Quilting, Love Bug Longarming, and Blue Barn Quilt Co (Linda will be offering 20% off on quilting for Violet Quilts).
- Free motion quilting - I decided a long time ago that I do not enjoy free motion quilting. Other people do it beautifully, but I do not. There are a ton of great resources out there about FMQ, but this is a great place to get started.
- Straight line quilting - My favorite! I do this on all of my quilts and will go into more detail on this post.
- Try different stitch lengths. I prefer a longer stitch length when straight line quilting - my machine defaults to 2.2 and I usually increase it to 3.7. I think the stitches are prettier and this is the sweet spot for me but you might prefer something different.
- Decrease the presser foot pressure if that is an option on your machine - my machine has a known on the top above the presser foot. I am not talking about the tension knob, that is on the front of the machine. The pressure knob is on the top. I decrease it just a little bit which helps prevent the quilt top from shifting. I have found that if I decrease it too much, my stitches don't look as good.
- Use a walking foot
- Make sure the tension on your machine is balanced - you shouldn't be able to see the top thread from the bottom of the quilt or the bobbin thread from the top of the quilt.
- Change your needle regularly - I buy these Schmetz bulk needles.
- Use thread that works well with your machine. Not all machines like all threads - I like Aurifil 50 wt and have also had good luck with Mettler.
I know not everyone feels the same, but I love binding my quilt. For the past several years I have been doing Big Stitch Binding, which has really transformed the experience for me. This tutorial also has lots of tips about binding your quilt so even if you are doing something totally different, it is worth checking out.
You also have the option to machine stitch your binding to the back of your quilt - this isn't my preference, but it is a very durable, quick method.
I like to save my binding projects for the weekend and will usually sew mine while watching a movie with my family.
This is the final post in the Violet QAL - I am going to try to post all of the finished quilts/quilt tops in my stories over the next couple of weeks! You guys have all done amazing work - thank you for quilting along with me!