Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ready to Quilt? Now what?

Once you've chosen your pattern, fabrics, cut, pieced, pressed, and backed your quilt front you are ready to quilt. How do you get ready to take on quilting the three layers (quilt back, batting, and quilt front) together? I find it really helpful to get totally organized before I begin this process.

Do you remember this project? It is time to finish it!
I find piecing a quilt front to be a really creative process. I love pulling out all of my fabrics, both new and from my stash, and getting them all pre-cut and ready to piece. This is a messy process though...by the time the quilt front is complete, there are scraps and threads all over my sewing room. After I finish this step, I really love tidying up my sewing area; I fold and store scraps, I clip and toss any seen threads, I vacuum under and wipe my sewing table. Did you know quilting is also a very linty job? Well, it is!


Now that my sewing room is tidy, I turn my attention to getting my sewing machine ready. A thorough cleaning makes quilting so much smoother! And quieter!
I start this by taking off the "table" that comes with my sewing machine. Do you know that I just now started using this? I sewed on this machine for years without it. What was I thinking?!
Once the table is removed, I can gain better access to where the lint is hiding...be ready...it's bad...
This is what was lurking in my bobbin area.
This is what life was like under the needle plate. 
I start by using the brush and sweeping the dust bunnies toward me. Canned air isn't a great idea because it can blow the lint further into the machine (but it sure is tempting). 
I un-thread the machine and also remove the foot and needle to really get a good cleaning. I wipe down the outside of the machine, dust when the thread lives, clean the tension plates, and make sure I've gotten every bit of dust off that I can.
Dog~on! Look at her!
Are you singing Stevie Wonder's  "Isn't she lovely?" right now?
No?
I also clean the lint from the sewing machine feet and oil the machine as per the directions that she came with (I also give it a quick clean and oil about every 3-4 bobbin changes).
I put in a new needle and attach my walking foot.
Do you know that when I first started sewing that I only replaced the needle when it broke (like from sewing over zippers or pins)? 
I did! Now, I like to change them for every quilt or at least every other quilt. They aren't expensive and it is so nice to sew with a sharp needle. 

I also will sometimes put a piece of painter's tape to mark a certain measurement. I placed this one in the 1/4 inch mark.
I pre-wind five or six bobbins for quick reloads. I also keep a dish of pins nearby and a seam ripper handy so nipping random threads from the quilt front as I sew. 

One of the dishes I keep pins in is an old pyrex dish with a lid. My grandmother gave it to me and I LOVE it. The lid hold the bobbins while I sew. I love old refrigerator glass and whenever she sees neat pieces, she gifts them to me. 
When I quilt, I like to make my stitch length much longer than normal sewing length. 
The problem with that is that when I turn off the machine and them come back later, I forget. Then I have a row of stitches to remove. 
A quick post-it note to myself usually reminds me...
After all of this, I am ready to tackle the quilting.
While a lot of wonderful quilters send off their art to have it long-arm quilted, I am enjoying the process of doing it myself. I love to straigh line quilt or mirror some of the design from the piecing in my stitching. 
See the threads you'll come upon?
Seam ripper!
Can I tell you how much I adore these bunnies? This is still some of my favorite fabric ever. 
Do you remember this quilt and the fabric Tiffany put together for me?
Tiffany from Curly Girl Fabric totally knew what my quilt pattern needed and she was right!
 
She has LOTS of pre-made bundles in her shop right now but she is also more than happy to help you create the perfect bundle for your project. Just message her, give her your idea and fabric requirements, and poof! You'll be ready to start in just a few days! And you know...she already has some Christmas fabric in her store and it is not too early to get a jump start on Christmas presents. 
Tiffany has some great Amy Butler bundles...I have my eye on this one:

So go order some new fabric, clean your machine, and get started on a new project!

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