Monday, June 1, 2009

Everything is Better when it is Quilted...

Here's a sneak peek...I spent the day free motion quilting on the sunflower quilt. I am using a Bernina 153 QE. Someday I would love to have a George Long Arm Machine.
Yesterday I pieced the warm & natural batting then spray basted the quilt sandwich. This is the largest quilt I have machine quilted...100 inches square.

Click Images to Enlarge:

I quilted some of the background, then started on a sunflower

I chose a pinkish-red trilobal polyester thread.
It made a good contrast to the yellow batik sunflower.

Be sure to use a thread net on cone threads, especially polyester and rayon threads, they are slippery. The netting keeps the thread in place on the cone and keeps it feeding evenly during machine quilting.

I use Sewer's Aid when machine quilting. It is a silicone that is safe for threads and fibers. It does not leave a residue or stain your fabric. I squeeze out a line of sewer's aid along the side of my thread spool, to soak into several layers of thread. It is especially helpful when you have used fusible web for applique, as well as spray basting your quilt sandwich. It keeps your needle from getting sticky.

I like Titanium sewing machine needles. They are much stronger than regular needles, stay sharper longer, and do not get hot during free motion quilting. I also use a straight stitch throat plate on the sewing machine, rather than a zig zag throat plate. I get a better stitch on the back side of the quilt with a straight stitch plate.

Free motion quilting requires a good GRIP. Textiles draw all of the moisture out of our skin while we are handling them. I am partial to Neutrogena Hand Cream. I like the clear, rather than the white cream. Just a tiny pin head of cream keeps my hands moisturized and able to move the quilt sandwich easily under the sewing machine.

I also use Bee Bar for a good GRIP. It smells wonderful. No oils to stain your quilt, and it gives you a good grip. Hold the bar in your hands for a few seconds and it will begin to melt a bit, then rub your hands together. It lasts for hours before you need to re-apply.

This is the back side of the Bee Bar container. There is a website in case you are interested in giving this a try. I have used it for years and years.

These are the very best scissors for trimming threads closely on your quilt top during free motion work. They are little and lightweight. Just squeeze them to trim the threads. No wrestling getting your fingers into regular scissors.

You can see from this side view, that the end of the scissors are curved upwards. This prevents you from cutting into your quilt top while trimming threads. Yes....I have snipped several quilt tops....BEFORE I found these great scissors.

I decided to quilt some of the I am auditioning some green threads. I chose a mildly variegated green thread. Sometimes too much dark to light on a variegated thread can be distracting. I prefer one that doesn't have too much white in it, just a subtle change in color.

My last sunflower before I quit for the day. I used the pinkish-red thread here again on this sunflower and I like the contrast against the yellow batik.

Just creating and designing the sunflower quilt top was a pleasure, but I have to say....the machine quilting is really bringing it to life.

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Everything is Better when it is Quilted,

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  1. LuAnn! Your quilting is beautiful! You are having fun - I can tell! Love hearing and seeing how you are doing it! Thanx, Linda

  2. This quilt is just beautiful...I am in awe....Thanks for sharing your process.

  3. Hi LuAnn! Where did you get those cool scissors?

  4. Maria........most quilt shops sell them. If you cannot find them locally here is a link to purchase them online:

    I always encourage you to purchase locally to help support our wonderful quilt shops. For many of us who live a distance from town, sometimes this isn't always possible.

    You will absolutely love these.....I purchased a few to keep beside the different machines I work on. You get spoiled after you use them, and don't ever want to be without them for snipping threads off the surface of your quilted textiles.

  5. I appreciate all your tips related to machine quilting.

    Do you have the same issue with the Bernina QE153 that I do? Whenever I'm heading in the "11 o'clock" position (pushing the quilt that way), the machine skips stitches. It's very frustrating and has not been resolved by regular tune-ups. You too?

  6. Hi Linda,
    The only time I have ever had tension problems with the Bernina QE 153 is when I had a piece of thread jammed in the take-up-lever. The repairman removed it and it went back to a perfect, beautiful Bernina stitch. I have never had skipped stitch problems ever, in any direction.
    Have you ever had someone else free motion on your machine and see if it happens to them? I would have several people give it a try. If it happens to all of you, I would contact Bernina personally and report the malfunction.
    Good Luck,

  7. I'll be staying tuned in on your posts about your machines - I'd really like to know how the new sweet sixteen works out for you, and what you do the most with it. Is the Bernina what you do most of your free motion through multiple layers kind of work? I have a small Bernina special, that's 20 yrs old, and have given up on my Janome 1600p - I fell for the line the salesman gave me and have been frustrated and disappointed ever since. My bernina works great, it's just a bit small with such a limited number of stitches.