We’re fast approaching the end of the Quilt to Give project. Now it’s time for the mechanics of quilting, where you have a couple of options.

Several of us at my office were involved with the making of the quilt. My original thought was to tie the layers together, using an old-fashioned, portable, quilting frame made of four 1″ x 2″ boards. That’s the way my family quilted. When push came to shove, we had other deadlines to meet, so our good friend Sue Petruske, at Pleasant Valley Farm Longarm Quilting, came to our rescue. Within three days the layers were quilted! You can contact Sue at petruske@centurytel.net.

Susan Petruske — Pleasant Valley Farm Longarm Quilting

If you’d like to machine quilt your project, there are books galore on this topic. The tips below are from my book, Quilt with Confidence. Since we did not quilt the layers ourselves, I don’t have photos to share with you. The illustrations are from the book, Quilt with Confidence.

Layering the Quilt

  • Cut backing fabric and batting approximately 3″ larger than the quilt top on all sides.
  • Place the backing, wrong side up, on a firm clean surface.
  • Securely tape the backing to the surface, using Sewer’s Fix-It Tape or masking tape.
  • Choose the batting best suited for your quilt.
  • Center the batting over the backing and smooth the surface so that it lies flat.
  • Center the quilt top, right side up, over the batting.

  • Pin quilt layers together using size 1 Curved Basting Pins. Start pinning at the center and work toward the outer edges.
  • Place pins 3″–4″ apart and no closer than 1/2″ from seams to allow room for the presser foot when machine quilting.

  • Remove the tape once the pinning is complete.
  • Baste a scant 1/4″ from outer edges.

Stitch in the Ditch

Stitching in the well of the seams is the easiest way to quilt this column quilt. Quilt from the center to the outside of your quilt to avoid shifting and bunching. Roll your quilt from the sides to the middle, leaving an open space in the center to begin the stitching.

  • Adjust the sewing machine for machine quilting.
  • Use a medium length straight stitch with a balanced tension.
  • Thread the top of the machine with cotton thread matched to the fabric. Or, use a monofilament thread. Available in clear or smoke colorations, monofilament thread blends with a wide variety of fabric colorations, making thread changes unnecessary.
  • Insert a machine quilting needle.
  • Adjust the machine to stop with the needle in the down position.
  • Use a Walking Foot to feed the fabric evenly. It’s important to prevent the layers of the quilt sandwich from shifting, and a Walking Foot helps feed all the layers through the machine smoothly and evenly. You’ll really need this foot or a comparable feature to prevent shifting of the long seams.
  • Machine quilt, stitching in the well of the seamlines with matching or monofilament thread (I love Madeira’s quality) so that stitches are less conspicuous.
  • Stitch around each column block, as well as along the border seams.

Be sure to post photos of your progress at the Sew Along with Nancy Zieman flickr site.

You’re almost there! The final step is next. Here are the links to all the steps:

Step 1—Sort out fabrics from several stashes

Step 2—Cut column strips and center patchy strips 

Step 3—Stitch column lengths

Step 4—Stitch the patchy center columns

Step 5—Create the columns

Step 6—Piece the quilt top

Step 7—Audition borders

Step 8—Add borders

Step 9—Layer and quilt your creation

Step 10—Binding and labeling

Quilt for Others with “Quilt to Give” Learn how to set-up and organize a Quilt to Give Event.

The gift is in the giving!

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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