Quiltin Tips

I have been watching Craftsy free classes lately.  I watched a beginning quilting class even though I am fairly seasoned by now, I never assume I know everything or even just “a better way” to do things.

This class was broken up into segments for a total of at least two hours.  I wished I would have watched this class two years ago before I started quilting, but I can still outline some of the things I learned that I may try.

1.  Join sashing and borders as you do binding, diagonally – reason: the basic idea is that the seams blend in better.  I think this would work better with prints, but I’ll try this on my next project, but probably won’t do it with solids.

2. Never cut thread longer than tip of finger to elbow for hand sewing – reason, the thread tends to tangle less and is easier to handle.  Now, if you are doubling your thread, you would make two such lengths.  I tried this with the binding on a baby blanket a couple days ago, although I did go a bit longer than finger tip to elbow, probably 18″, but I have to say my thread did tangle less.  So, I’ll probably be doing this more often.

3.  Use spray basting for smaller projects – reason: it really works well for basting, and it doesn’t work for larger quilts.  I wish I had known this a couple years ago, because I tried it for a big quilt, and well, I got fold overs on the back.  Since, I have used it for smaller projects, but it is expensive, and so for really any size projects, safety pins are still fine.  I do prefer the quilter’s curved safety pins in the size 2.  Size 1 is too small, maybe good for potholders and smaller projects.  Size 3 are too big.   I’ve also found that contrary to my belief, regular safety pins work about the same as the curved ones.  I love the Sewology pins at Hobby Lobby, and Dritz are okay, but I didn’t much care for the Singer curved pins someone bought for me.

4.  For basting a big quilt in sections, like on your dining room table (which I do), place down backing first, wrong side up, and use binder clips to secure to sides, manipulating fabric to be taut, but not too tight, but not wrinkled.  Then add batting, smooth out with hands, reset clips.  Then add the top, smooth out, reset clips. Reason: it works better than the floor, and you get a much better finished project.  Now, I use these clamps I got for my husband for some woodworking project, or something, that he never used, and I find they work great – because I can’t get binder clips around the edges of my kitchen table (too thick).  I wish they were all the same size, and I can’t use the really small ones on my table, but otherwise, they work great for basting.

5.  You can hand quilt with or without a frame.  Sometimes, you just want the look of hand quilting, and darn if I haven’t mastered it, or even got it down to the point of saying I could do anything, even a potholder, with it.  The lady said you have to try something 8 times before you have really given it a true test.  I don’t think that applies to EVERYTHING, but maybe my 3 or 4 attempts at hand quilting weren’t quite enough.  I’d still like to learn this art, even if it’s dying out.  Maybe I won’t use it often, but if I CAN do it, without a frame, I’d like to figure that out.  I’m going to try this again soon – at least 8 times!

6.  Pin those joining seams from the bottom on both sides of the seam – so you don’t have to remove the pins.  Now, I wasn’t good at meeting those seams, then I figured out pins are actually necessary when trying to match row seams.  And, I was always a person who pinned along the seam line, until I figured out for quilting, you should do it from the top.  However, you have to remove the pins before you stitch the seam, even if one stitch before, because you don’t want to stitch over your pins (needle breakage and messing up your machine is possible).  This lady pinned from the bottom – thereby not having to remove the pins, they weren’t in the seam line.  I don’t know if it works better, but I’m going to try it next time and see how it works out.  BTW, I finally figured out a way to put in one pin at a diagonal, and my seams always seem to join up right. I’ll have to show that to you if this bottom pinning doesn’t work out well.

7.  For quilts where joining rows and seams doesn’t matter as much, or if you have a lot of seams and want the quilt to lie flatter – and don’t plan to stitch in the ditch, iron your seams open.    We do this on binding so there isn’t as much bulk, and I must admit I’ve done it sometimes on quilts I knew I was going to totally free motion to reduce bulk at the seams.  Now, they did this even when joining rows and such, which I find ironing to one side works better, but I have to admit, I haven’t tried it so much for joining (maybe I will).  Also, I wonder if you might actually be able to stitch in the ditch better?

So, that’s what I learned new or different so far.  Do you have any tips that you don’t see mentioned often that work well for you?

Next time, I’m going to mention a couple things I learned about color theory.

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