Tips-as-we-go quilting (1)

Quilting on the ‘Gardener’s World’ quilt has begun – just as well as I really need to complete it by Friday week! At the risk of boring to tears regular readers, I will just reiterate a few facts about my quilt before launching this quilting progress blog post series.

Gardener’s World is the theme category for this years Quilts UK exhibition being held at the Malvern Showground from 18th-21st May. I decided way back last July to enter a quilt of my own design – first time I’ve ever done this – and over the Winter the design gradually evolved first on graph paper and then on the design software, EQ7. I bought the fabrics for the quilt top in February, completing this less than two weeks ago. This past weekend, after a bit of a delay in the delivery of the backing fabric and wadding, I pieced the backing and put together the quilt sandwich using basting pins.

In the Cool of the Evening
The EQ7 representation of ‘In the Cool of the Evening’

That’s the history so far of my quilt named ‘In the Cool of the Evening’. Now I’d like to talk write/read/show you through the process of quilting this project which measures approximately 68″ square.

I decided to use a new-to-me wadding – Quilter’s Dream, Cotton select. Lately I’ve been a bit disappointed in the quality of my usual wadding choice, Hobbs 80/20. Although it is easy to machine stitch I’ve found the pieces I’ve bought recently have been rather lumpy with the thickness of the wadding being very uneven and creases have not smoothed flat. The Quilter’s Dream wadding arrived as a folded 3m length from a 92″ wide roll. It smoothed out easily and the depth of wadding throughout the piece is completely even. The ‘select’ loft is a little lower than I’m used to and easy to handle.

IMG_3455As well as ordering the wadding I also ordered the end of a bolt of Dashwood Studios ‘Streetlife’ by Jessica Hogarth. The colours and park design work so well with the quilt top – very happy face 🙂 There wasn’t quite enough fabric for the backing so I’ve pieced it together with some of the left over fabrics from the quilt top and included a label too.



First decision: Quilt in the ditch around some areas of the patchwork to stabilise the layers. As most of the patchwork seams were pressed open my initial quilting might be more accurately called ‘quilt on the seam’ rather than ‘in the ditch’. I know some quilters say never stitch along an open seam for fear the quilting stitches will break the seam stitches … I’m choosing to go with those who say it’s not a problem!

Second decision: As these in the ditch stitches re primarily being added to be part of the structure of the quilt rather than part of the design I chose to use the near invisible 50wt Aurifil 2600 I’d been using for the piecing as the top and bobbin thread. IMG_3461

Machine set up: I set my machine stitch length to 2.5; installed a 90/14 quilting needle; switched to an open toe applique foot; shifted the needle over as far to the right as it would go; decreased the pressure foot pressure; and double-checked that the integrated walking foot was engaged. If my machine had a speed control I would have set it to ‘slow’.

Tips and techniques for walking foot, in-the-ditch quilting:

  • Using an open toe applique foot allows a clear view of the needle and moving the needle as close to one of the ‘toes’ of the foot as possible provides a useful visual guide as you stitch along a seam.
  • If you need to change direction to follow a seam, create the final stitch manually before you turn the corner – turning the wheel to drop the needle and easing the edge of the seam in place by hand – then you can be sure of not falling short of or running beyond the seam.IMG_3472

I stitched in the ditch around the ‘flower beds’ (coloured in various shades of blue in the design above). I brought the bobbin thread to the front of the quilt each time I started a fresh section of quilting to save the loose threads getting entangled on the back. Now I’m going to sit in a comfy chair and hide all those threads in the quilt before progressing to the next stage in the quilting of this project…

Any questions about my choices and progress so far? Please do ask or make suggestions 🙂

Linking with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social (click the link to see Lorna’s latest Forest Friends designs and have a browse through some of the projects being worked on by quilters around the world).



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