In my last post I shared with you my recent finished quilt top. The problem I now face and in fact I face every time I finish a quilt is “How on earth do I quilt it!?”
I love making quilts, of course I do, I wouldn’t make them otherwise. The whole process of falling in love with a pattern or design, picking the fabrics and sewing them together is so much fun, and very therapeutic. However whenever I get towards the end of a quilt top I find my heart starts to get a little faster and the nerves kick in. I have spent literally hours and a fair few £££ on this project and there is nothing quite as satisfying as a freshly ironed crisp quilt top, I don’t want to ruin it with my dodgy quilting!
Almost every quilt I have finished has faced the wrath of my seam ripper when it comes to quilting. Standard procedure; I excitedly albeit warily baste the quilt (my second least favourite task). Taking the quilt over to the machine, I spend about half an hour setting up the quilting table, winding bobbins, changing the needle etc etc. I then take my first tentative line, depending on how I have decided to quilt this will be either following a seam or a line I have pre-marked. I always struggle with this first line! It can be quite an adjustment (for me) going from sewing small cotton blocks together to an entire quilt with 3 layers with a mix of fabric and wadding. It’s heavy and cumbersome and I’m a bit of a weed! I’m so nervous during those first couple of lines I forget to breathe!
Of course I’m NEVER happy with those first few lines, it’s wobbly and the stitches go from super tiny to too long and if I’m super unlucky my basting has failed me and it has all ruffled at the back. It’s inevitable that the seam ripper comes out and I lose the will to quilt and the love for my hobby. At this point I am at a junction with two places in mind, either it goes in the “naughty quilt cupboard” like this quilt did for months! Or if it’s something that needs doing for a gift then there is a process of quilt then seam rip, quilt then seam rip with a fair few tears and swear words thrown in until I fall into some sort of rhythm and suddenly it starts to come together and lo and behold I actually start to enjoy it!
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get to a stage where I start off with this feeling, and paying for it to be sent to the long arm quilter is sadly not a financial option. If only I had the confidence and ability to try free motion quilting! At least then it’s not all about perfectly straight lines, but of course I don’t want to practice on something I have been working hard on, so I really must set aside some scraps and time to practice.
I know I need to get over my fear, I mean it is just a quilt after all and when it’s finished and folded on the back of a chair or on a bed who is really looking at how straight or perfect the quilting is!? However in this “Insta-worthy” world we live in I do fear putting not so perfect sewing out for all to see. Personally when I’m scrolling through Instagram or looking at blogs I don’t zoom in on pictures and analyse them, I admire what I see. However I have noticed whilst out, either waiting at the doctors or for a train, there are people who actually do do this! (OK so not sewing pictures) They are zooming in on pictures and completely scrutinizing them, it’s a little scary! But I am getting off topic a little, making it “Insta-worthy” is just a small element of my quilting fears!
I know the saying practice makes perfect is so true and I’ll know I’ll get there eventually, whether that be an acceptance of my flaws or an improvement of my skills or both, because at the end of the day all it comes down to is confidence or lack of in my case. I will aim to stop stressing and try enjoy it more. Failing that there is always hand quilting but that is a whole other blog post! :D If only it didn’t take so long or hurt those fingers quite so much! I do love to add hand quilting details but am yet to attempt a whole quilt, well one bigger than a doll quilt anyway!
So if you have read this far, thank you! I’d love to hear how you decide on your quilting and if it scares you too? I hope it’s not just me!
3 thoughts on “How do you quilt yours?”
I am like you and I really enjoy making the quilt tops but I dread the quilting part of it. I usually tend to machine quilt the tops and then hand-quilt everything else. It takes me FOREVER but I find that I have more control of the pattern and I like how it tends to pucker a little more than machine quilting. My mom used to free motion everything but mine always looks lumpy and terrible. You’d think my relationship with a seam ripper would be better because we spend so much time together…beautiful work! Keep it up. I can’t wait to see the finished product!
I was like you until I decide that finished is better than stored in a bag unfinished.
I only fmq one quilt, and it was great look at them finished but it was horrible, needles broken, tears, cursing, angry… Almost throw away machine and quilt… Maybe some day with a bigger machine. For now I stick with straight lines or zigzag or serpentine stitch. I read Emily Dennis blog, Quilty love, she has a tutorial for zig zag quilting.
I am far away for be an expert but now I have some quilts made by me entirely and not stash away waiting for quilting.
I always let quilting ideas percolate. Some take longer than others. And some also take a bravery test stage, where I put it off until I gain the gumption to try. I would love to master fmq, but it just isn’t my forte. Maybe one day, right?!