Sunday, August 22, 2010

Machine Quilting Binge

It's that time of year again. . .time for the machine quilting binge! I always have several quilt projects in the works, and once I finish a quilt top, I'll piece a backing, baste it, fold it up, and tuck it away under my sewing table (or sometimes, I'll just put the top away and figure out a backing and baste it later). Once or twice a year, I pull out all the projects that are ready for quilting and binge. Usually one or two projects get put off until next time because I haven't figured out how I want to quilt them yet.

There is a reason for the save and binge. I free-motion quilt, which is a skill that has a kind of zen. You control the speed of the machine, the rate that you move the quilt, and the pattern you are sewing. It takes practice, and I quilt better if I do a lot at once. I usually use a small wallhanging or neonatal charity quilt to warm up on. I find that it is stressful at first and all the muscles in my shoulders tighten up, and then as I keep doing it, I start to relax and the quilting gets better. I find the zen of machine quilting.

Here are my warm-up projects.

And this is me, working on a lap-sized quilt, the first in the stack. It took me a couple of hours to find the zen this time, but I got more than half of this one quilted today. I have two more basted quilts in the stack, plus two more basted wallhangings. I also have two tops with already pieced backs ready for basting (I ran out of batting and safety pins for basting), and two or three lap-sized tops without backings. I usually piece my backings from fabric in my stash. I have a lot of fabric, but I tend to buy 1/2 or 1 yard cuts, so I rarely have enough for a quilt back. Pieced backs are more interesting anyway. Sometimes the back of the quilt is almost as interesting as the front. I'll post some quilt backs on here later as I complete the quilting on this stack of quilts.

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