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Machine Quilting Questions
October 15, 2012
10:26 am
Debbie Burgess
Lancaster, SC
Big Chicken
Forum Posts: 35
Member Since:
May 31, 2012
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KellyB, I didn’t take your quilting class at the retreat but I sure was inspired, anyway. I came home and pieced together a wall hanging size quilt top and now I’m stuck on the machine quilting. I just took a machine embroidery class to learn how to use my machine (Brother Innova 1500D), and I bought  an Anita Goodesign software collection of decorative quilt stitches. There is NO ONE that I’ve been able to find in my whole area who teaches machine quilting!


I’m stuck. I’m nervous. HA! I think I’m going to make some practice “sandwiches” and try some different things. Any suggestions are welcome. :-)

"No one ever finds life worth living - one has to make it worth living."
~ Winston Churchill

December 5, 2012
11:03 pm
N.E. Ohio
Forum Posts: 4921
Member Since:
February 10, 2009
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Practice sandwiches are an EXCELLENT idea! You’ll get a feel for how it works, and find out if your machine has issues with quilting. It sounds like you’ll find your way very well! No mayo on mine please!

Located in N.E. Ohio

December 5, 2012
11:04 pm
Forum Posts: 8497
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December 28, 2008
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If you are just beginning to quilt, it is very helpful to have a good general book for referance.  My personal favorite is Fons and Porter’s Quilter’s Complete Guide.  I have a very old copy and still use it!

Doing some practice quilt sandwiches really is the very best way to get the hang of machine quilting.  Even though I have done a LOT of machine quilting, I still have a few practice pieces around to get started with, especially if it’s been a while, and every time I do free motion quilting.

There are a lot of variables, and specific instructions really depend upon whether you intend to quilt in the ditch, do free motion, follow a quilting pattern, etc.  That pattern, or lack of one, the area being quilted, and your machine will also determine the need for an even feed foot or if some other foot will work.

But, since you addressed your question to KellyB, perhaps it is best to back out of the conversation and let her answer your question.  happy-flower

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

December 5, 2012
11:08 pm
Mighty Chicken
Forum Posts: 389
Member Since:
June 2, 2010
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Sorry didn’t see this until this morning.  Lonnnnnnnnnng day at work yesterday.  Pete and BEG all have excellent suggestions.  Practice quilt sandwiches are an excellent idea.  Here’s a site that shows what I mean:  She also has a blog.  She did a different free-motion quilt design each day.  It’s great practice in a small area.  Harriet Hargrave is the queen of machine quilting.   I’ve seen her book at the library.  Read a few things, watch the video and then practice on a few quilt sandwiches.  Stiching in the ditch is the simplest method.  You sew right down the middle of the seam.  Remember, you’re keeping the 3 layers of your quilt together.   Since you have all the wonderful stiches available to you, you could use a decorative stitch to do that. 

I’d also look at videos on YouTube.  The more you see what’s going on, the better it will translate to your brain and then to your hands and machine. 

I know there are lots of others out there who have great ideas for Debbie.  Share them here so we can all learn some great hints and tips.

December 5, 2012
11:10 pm
Debbie Burgess
Lancaster, SC
Big Chicken
Forum Posts: 35
Member Since:
May 31, 2012
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Thanks to you all for the advice. I’ve watched sooo many videos and even talked to the gal at the store where I bought my machine and read its entire instruction manual. One simple question remains that I am a bit confused about (well, I have more than ONE question, but here goes, one at a time, maybe):

1. Do I use the same weight and color of thread in the spool for the bobbin? What if I use mono-filament thread in the top; do I use it in the bobbin, too? 

2. What weight thread should I use? Embroidery (60/40) or all purpose mercerized cotton or polyester?

3. If I don’t want to free-motion quilt, should I use the walking foot with the feed dogs up?


Okay….that was more than ONE question, but it was one-at-a-time! lol

"No one ever finds life worth living - one has to make it worth living."
~ Winston Churchill

December 17, 2012
9:20 pm
inland pacific northwest
Big Chicken
Forum Posts: 85
Member Since:
June 26, 2011
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Personally I do not use monofilament in the bobbin. It won’t wind.

 I also don’t use embroidery thread.

 I do not use the walking foot, so can not answer that one. I drop the feed dogs and use the darning foot. With practice you can stitch a perfectly straight line. But it is more fun to do curls and loops, flowers, leaves, petals, feathers, etc.

 One thing which always helps me. I practice for about 5-10 minutes on some scrap quilt sandwiches. So I am physically in the groove. With good music in the background.

 Enjoy, it is a great deal of fun.

I am a TWELVE YEAR bc survivor!

December 21, 2012
6:55 pm
Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
February 24, 2011
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I have been teaching quilting on and off for over 12 years.  Several years ago, I had a good friend that wanted to learn how to machine quilt.  One of the things I told her was to buy a small cheater panel that would be appropriate for a baby quilt to use for her practice piece.  As she improved, the baby quilt could be bound and given to a local charity, hospital or police to put in the trunk of their cars.  This way, you get the practice you need and someone (infant, child) gets an expression of love.  A win-win for everyone. wave

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