21 May

It wasn’t weird at all

You may remember that I bought this quilt as a top from Wanda about a month ago. I thought it would be weird  to quilt and finish someone else’s work, but it wasn’t at all. In fact, it was really fun and as soon as I started working on it, I couldn’t stop. Firstly, Wanda’s workmanship is impeccable. All the seams were even and all edges and points aligned. There were no poufs to “quilt out.” Basting was easy-peasy. The quilt is not quite twin sized, so I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it came together despite it’s being large enough to wrap oneself up in.

More significant though, was how the quilt revealed itself to me as I worked on it. Normally, I would already have a relationship with the fabrics from piecing them together. But since I didn’t piece this one, I got to meet each and every fabric and see how it interacted with it’s neighbor as I quilted. I enjoyed seeing how individual stripes modulated in color, and loved being surprised by each pairing that picked up on a hue in it’s partner. It was quite fun.

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I don’t know how many readers are relatively new to quilting and it’s associated gadgets. I may be preaching to the choir, but here are two of my favorites: my walking foot, and the bar thingie that came with it. Walking feet come in several varieties depending on your machine, but they are all variations on this foot-with-box contraption. The purpose of the walking foot is to move the top layer of the quilt sandwich at the same speed as the bottom layer and thus eliminate lots of frustrating puckering. I do all my straight line machine quilting with my walking foot. On this quilt, I kept the quilting simple, because really, with fabric like this, fancy quilting is just unnecessary.

Often, I just use the side of the walking foot as my guide for stitching parallel lines. That’s how I did the first round of quilting 1/4″ from the edge of each zig zag. I wanted to quilt a line down the center of each zig zag too, so I used one of the guide bars that came with the walking foot. It is L shaped and slides through a hole in the back of the walking foot and is locked in place with a screw. You can adjust it so the “leg” sticks out anywhere from right next to the foot, to about three inches away. I also have another guide bar for the other side of the foot, depending on what I want to line up with. (As an aside, my machine came with another two guide bars that fit into the back of many of the regular presser feet too.) Once you get the hang of it, there’s all kinds of uses for these guides. I measured the width of my zig zags (4″) and set my guide bar two inches from the needle. Then, off I went, quilting down the center of each zig zag, making sure the leg of the guide bar followed the seam line. In the photo you can’t see the lovely line of stitching behind the walking foot, but it is perfectly parallel to the edge of the yellow zig. You can see that I am about to pivot the quilt and sew the zag (this is where the needle-down function on many newer machines is also very convenient). I considered more lines in between these, but the quilt didn’t seem to need them. It’s for a kid’s bed, so it didn’t need to be quilt-show-fancy.

12 thoughts on “It wasn’t weird at all

  1. OK….here goes me admiting that I had no idea what that leg was for with the walking foot. I have had Berninas for the past 6 years and have quilted hundreds of things, but I never figured that seam guide thing. I swear I learn something each time I come over here! I KNEW there must be a way to quilt even lines without masking tape….Maybe my next quilt I will try the straight lines? Thanks for showing pictures of how to use it. I hope the Bernina police don’t come and take my machines away due to my ignorance. ;o)

  2. I can see why you wanted it..it’s so YOU! A tiny bit frilly, a medium bit funky, and a whole lotta WOW. I can really understand your happy dance as you quilted it, getting to meet each fabric as it approached the needle. Sounds fun.

    Many years ago, I made a small business of finishing craft things for people. Worked great on both ends. I couldn’t afford the project to work on, they weren’t interested in working on it-but wanted it done..and I got paid at the end!

  3. All those Kaffe Fassett fabrics are luscious and gorgeous. Beautiful quilt! What’s perfect is that it’ll be easy to constantly change the room’s accent color around and the quilt will still be perfect.

  4. Well, I’ll be! I pulled out the walking foot for my 20+ yr. old Bernina about 6 months ago for the first time. So after reading your post this morning, I decided to look in my foot box & what do I find – the bar thingie! I keep studying your picture though-my walking foot is a little different (clunkier)& I don’t find the hole to insert the bar thingie into on either side! Ther must be a way-I’ll keep looking!
    The quilt is gorgeous!

  5. I liked hearing how you learned something new about relationships by quilting another person’s top. What a great discovery. Most people think of quilting as the drudgery part of the process not the learning part. Thanks!

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