Monday, October 22, 2012

Quilt As You Sew

   I don't own a longarm quilting machine, wish I did, but I don't. Like many of you I started out piecing my quilt tops and sending them out to someone, who did have a longarm, so they could turn my pieced top into a quilt. I would have a vision of how I wanted that quilting to turn out and I would try to explain it to the person doing the quilting but even though their quilting was lovely, it wasn't what I had envisioned. It is hard as an artist to give your work to someone else to finish and I wanted to learn to do it myself.
   I bought books on how to quilt, took classes, bought a new Bernina, and practiced and practiced and I am still practicing. I'm not great at straight quilting but I'm pretty good at free motion squiggly quilting! Still a large quilt is hard to manuver through a home machine so I started to learn different ways to quilt smaller pieces and then put them together.
   I have been making a Modern Mystery Quilt, on the AQS site, My Quilt Place and it ended up to be in strips before the last step, which was to sew the strips together. When I realized that if I sewed the strips together, I would have a king size quilt, I would have to quilt in my machine, I decided to quilt it before I sewed them together, and this is how I did it.

   The first thing I did was add 5" background strips to each section to make them wide enough to make a king size quilt. Then I cut backing fabric to the same size as each section and also batting. Taking the first strip, batting and backing and make a quilt sandwich, using spray adhesive to hold them together, just as I would for a normal quilt.

   Choosing the thread was my next step. I decided to use 12 weight thread in a variety of colors to coordinate with the fabric. Now all I needed to do was quilt this one strip. As I said, I am still in the practice stage of straight or geometric designs so don't look too close!

    Now that section #1 is quilted, it is time to add the second section. I often use this method to add borders to quilts that I want to make larger. You can add borders to one side, two sides, three sides or all four.

                                                                                                         Place the backing RST against the back of the section, lining up the raw edges on the right side.

  Place the next section, RST, on top of section #1, matching the raw edges.

Now you have 5 layers, sew them together. 

Sew a 1/4" seam to attach these together.
  Then with the front and back still laying where they were, butt the batting up to the side and using a zig zag stitch sew the batting into place.
   Don't forget to put the right foot on your machine before zig zagging, I break more needles that way!

   Fold the front and the backing in place over the batting. Iron and using spray adhesive stick each side down on the batting. Now you are ready to quilt section #2. It isn't as easy as quilting each block and putting them together, but you only have to deal with one section in the machine throat at a time.
 After quilting this section add section #3 and quilt it, then#4 and #5. Noe you have a completely quilted quilt and you just need to square it up and bind it.


  1. good description, and good photos.

  2. Your quilt looks awesome! And I love the way your quilting it. I still haven't finished mine...I've set it aside to finish up some projects that I'm actually getting paid to make, so eventually I will get my mystery quilt done. :o)

  3. I love this way of quilting. I also love the way your quilt turned out. Mine is ready in strips I am going to try this. Years ago I made a quilt as you go log cabin for my sister. This looks great.
    Kathy LeBlanc