Saturday, 28 March 2009

What I'm quilting at the moment - pinwheel scrappy

So far I've quilted a 45-degree grid over the centre pinwheel section (alternating between contour quilting and quilting in the ditch) and quilted along stripes in the border. Last night I started quilting a very simple curved pattern within the grid. It is all machine quilting, which I don't do so often on a larger quilt (this is about 5ft across), but even stitching the longest diagonals on 45-degrees wasn't a problem under the machine arm. I am using Hobbs Heirloom - an 80/20 cotton/poly blend - so it isn't as heavy to handle as 100% cotton.

You can see the tacking stitches in the photo. I prefer to tack quilts even for machine quilting, taking care to tack close to where I'll be quilting but not actually right on the same lines. Getting the tacking out later isn't a problem. If it looks like I am going to get the tacking meshed up in the quilting stitches, I can just snip that bit of tacking while I'm quilting and the problem is removed. I don't like basting with safety pins, although I've done it quite a few times - for hand quilting, the pins are just obstacles to catch the quilting thread, and, for machine work, the pins have more tendency to catch on the machine than tacking stitches do. Even worse, once the quilt is bunched up under the machine arm I've known safety pins to "lock" together. The tacking stitches underneath are short anyway and if there's going to be a problem on the top, I just snip out that part of the tacking. I'm careful when removing the tacking too, as inevitably there will be some quilting stitches that have pierced the tacking thread - just clipping the tacking close to those stitches sorts that out.

My first quilt was a pinwheel, although not a scrappy quilt. I got the idea for this one after my friend Val started arranging a heap of sample squares into pairs - I hadn't spotted that there were so many duplicates. The pattern (and method for dealing with slightly irregular sized squares) is going to be featured in Popular Patchwork magazine's July issue, on sale at the end of June.

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