Quilting Stitching

How do you quilt your quilts? Stitch in the ditch? Random topstitching? or do you have a long arm machine?

Good question. The quilting stitching is a challenge for me, cerainly the most frustrating part of making a quilt.

When I started making quilts I was making a lot of patchwork quilts and I did a lot of diagonal stitching, like this. This creates a nice clean look. I also started stitching about 1/4" to each side of the ditch like this quilt, it gives a little more flexibility and looks both tidy and interesting.

As I started coming up with different patterns I had to come up with different stitching ideas, which led to a lot of hit or miss stitching, but some neat results. Most of my quilts are baby quilts and I really like simple clean lines on those, though I think the options are endless.

I made a quilt for A., who used to believe he was a pirate, and did the quilting stitching to resemble a treasure map on the backside, complete with mountains, water, and a "X".

This link will take you to all the quilts I have on flickr ... maybe they'll be helpful, or maybe you'll realize just why this isn't my favorite step in quilt-making.

I just recently started doing more free-motion stitching, both on quilts and smaller projects likes bibs and t-shirts. I'm not confident about my abilities yet but I love doing it. I find the rhythm and motion to be almost soothing ... if I could just get my stitches to all be the same length I'd be overjoyed, but I haven't mastered that yet. It's like most things though, practice makes perfect. For practice I trace lines, either in a project or on scraps. I've found I do much better at free motion quilting when I have a pattern to follow, just random stitching doesn't work for me. For now, I'm sticking to regular stitching for the majority of my quilts.

I wish I had a long arm machine. That'd be decadent! But I don't, and I suppose I won't anytime in the near future.

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4 Comment

  1. Great post! Quilting is also not my fav step in the process. I hand quilted every thing until this spring. I'm still exploring and practicing straight line quilting. I've tried free motion on very small scraps. Like you said, I need to practice.

  2. Thanks for answering. You do beautiful work. Sorry, more questions...what do you use for batting? how do you bind the edges? (you have such neat corners!!!) is that partly by hand? do you use bias tape, make your own bias, or just cut a strip?

  3. I LOVE this post. It's nice to know I'm not the only one that dreads the quilting step of making a quilt. I've only tried free motin once and the "freedom" was too much for me. I'll try again soon...after I try that cool "1/4" on each side of the ditch "stitch you mentioned. That looks like it'll be my favorite one to hate to do, but love the look :)

    I look forward to reading more of your tips on quilting, too!

  4. Wow! I have never been able to love making quilts because I don't love the quilting part. My questions: Do you think you will want to be homeschooling this one (number 6?) in eighteen years? Or will this one end up in public school? Do you use the same curriculum for all of your children? Does homeschooling get easier as the kids get older? I am currently homeschooling my six year old, and trying to keep my three year old at the table long enough to color a page in her coloring book, and it takes me forever to get anything done. Keep up the wonderful quilting!