Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Quilting Tutorial

I've not created a tutorial before but hopefully this will be coherent enough for someone to follow should they so desire.  

This is a very simple, basic design of straight parallel lines diagonally from corner to corner (i.e. northeast to southwest) and then crossing diagonally from corner to corner the other direction (i.e northwest to southeast).  On a rectangular quilt, the pattern becomes a diamond shape.

Because I didn't want to mark every single line with tape - which would not have stayed in place, nor did I want to mark with any type of writing tool due to the time it would take, I had to find an alternate method.  Following, is how I chose to go about that.  This quilt, which measures, 53" x 62" took approximately six hours to quilt this way.  That time included having to make adjustments, and to fix a few mistakes I made along the way as well as my own learning curve.
To begin, I apologize for not having a photo of the whole quilt laid out on the table with tape making a large "X" from corners to corners.  That would be the first step.  Lay your quilt on a flat surface, layer and pin.  Stretch a line of blue painter's tape from one top corner to the opposite lower corner - you may need an assistant.  Make sure the edges of the same side of the tape are on the same side of the respective corners.
This paper diagram illustrates how the tape is laid.  You would do the same across the diagonal for the other corners thus creating that "X".  Painter's tape is tacky but does not leave residue; it is also not sticky enough to use the same piece repeatedly, nor to mark every single line ahead of time.  Hence, my need to come up with a way to quilt without marking beforehand.
This shows where, in same places, I needed to stick a pin to hold the tape in place as it was already lifting.

The first line of stitching is run along the right edge, which should also be the side which the corner points are on, from corner to corner. 
This photo shows the point where the diagonal tapes crossed each other.  Once the two crossing diagonal lines are fully sewn, the tape can be completely removed (if it hasn't already fallen off).
I utilized this tool on my right hand.  It was very helpful.
This is the other tool I used.  The ruler is 8" x 4".  I wrapped blue painter's tape around it as well.  That defined the measurement I needed for the space between the first sewing line and the needle on my machine so that I would get the lines spaced at 3".  It also helped provide a slightly rough surface that helped hold the ruler in place as I worked.
This closeup shows how I snugged the edge of the ruler up to my presser foot and where I marked with the tape.  The right edge of the tape would be laid atop the first line of stitching.  You'll note it measures just over 2 3/4"; that's because it takes into account the width of the presser foot from the needle.  For a true 3", it should have been slightly less, but when pressing the ruler down on the fabric it squishes it and this actually did measure to 3" when quilted.  [I wasn't overly concerned about exactness, as long as it was close.]
 3" between stitching.
For each row of stitching, including the initial guidelines, I began by setting my needle off the fabric, and pulling the bobbin thread to the top.
Once it was pulled through, I lowered my needle, raised the presser foot, and swung both loose ends to the back before lowering the presser foot again.
Before sewing, I placed the right edge of the ruler against the presser foot aligning the right edge of the blue tape on the previous line of stitching, shown in the picture above.
The bottom edge of the blue tape needs to also be aligned with the previous stitching line.
This is the positioning of my left hand while applying enough pressure to prevent the ruler from sliding as I sewed keeping the edges of the ruler and the presser foot together.  Note that the tip of my ring finger is right on the edge of the ruler in essence overlapping the ruler and the fabric which helped to keep it from sliding to the left.  A glove may have helped here but I didn't use it.  Also, I would have to stop as I progressed long enough to push and rearrange the bulk of the quilt both behind the needle (to get it out of the way as it occasionally hindered the ruler's movement) and what was resting in my lap for freer movement, letting the machine move the fabric.
My right hand was positioned here with three fingers on the quilt and my index finger and thumb steadying the ruler against the presser foot.  My index finger loosely stayed on the ruler and my thumb would help push it forward as the machine fed the fabric through.  I would run it pretty close to the end of the ruler.  Before removing my left hand from the ruler, I would make sure my machine was stopped, and the needle down (not automatic on my machine) before moving the ruler for the next 7" or so of stitching.  I continued stitching this way the entire diagonal length of each row spaced 3" apart.
Coming onto the quilt.
Over the edge and into the quilt body.
Progressing through the quilt.
Within the quilt, crossing opposing diagonal lines.
Needle down, time to move the ruler.
The ruler is moved and aligned, ready for a little more distance.
When I would reach the end of each row of stitching, I would run off into the batting/backing and pull the bobbin thread to the top again before cutting the thread.  This left no dangling threads on the back of the quilt.  That is pretty much it.  Just diagonal straight lines, using a ruler, and no other marking implements beyond the initial blue painter's tape.  How easy is that?

Along the way....
I enjoyed watching this pile grow, removing the pins as I quilted...a great feeling!  The more it grew, the closer I knew I was getting to being finished.
Oops, there were some errors, oversights, along the way.  I should probably have taken a few more breaks than I did, but I was intent on getting this finished.
This was another one, but this one occurred when I was putting the binding on as I hadn't yet trimmed the edges.  You can see the diamonds from the quilting very well here on the backing.
The stitching shows fairly well on the front.  I think a 3" width was good for this quilt, but for another, a narrower one might be better.  I don't think I would hesitate at all to use this method. 

1 comment:

  1. Did you use a walking foot for the quilting or just a regular foot?

    Thanks for the tutorial!


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