Machine Quilting, Hand Quilting and WIP’s

I learned how to hand quilt before I learned how to machine quilt. Actually I enjoy both. But today I am going to focus on hand quilting.  One reason is that I can share this WIP with you today, which I am so excited about. It is a single size bed quilt, that I am hand quilting. That bottom row is almost finished. Then the edges. Sew up the binding, and it will be finished!!

This pattern is Attic Windows, and the pattern was published in 101 Fabulous Rotary-Cut Quilts, by Judy Hopkins and Nancy J. Martin. Bothell, WA., Martingale Company, 1998, pp. 37-38.

It is almost finished.  I hand quilt the edges using this half circle hoop. It is great for hand quilting the edges and the corners. 

I always have one hand quilting project in my WIP projects. Even if it’s a king size quilt. (Not kidding I’ve done one before, and after this I am going to do another king). 

Doing hand work, is very relaxing and very Zen for me. It’s great to pick up when I’m waiting for a repair person to show up, or I don’t have enough time between two activities to start sewing on the sewing machine. I love to have some hand work to do at night when my husband and I are watching TV.

AND, in my bee, we only do hand work, which does not mean just quilting and hand applique. Some members bring crochet and knitting. We meet in a church basement every other week, and it would not be easy to bring a sewing machine down the narrow stairs, and all the stuff we need to work on, when piecing or machine quilting.

The really interesting part of this story is; halfway through this quilt I was introduced to the Prescencia Thread line. Pepper Cory,,swears by this thread, and encouraged me to try it on this quilt.

I was already halfway finished with another brand’s neutral color. The color shades are slightly different, but I decided to try it, and ended up changing to the Prescencia hand quilting #40 thread anyway.

Here’s why;

1. The thread moves so smoothly through the quilt. It glides like skates on really smooth ice, through the three layers. I can do 4-5 stitches at a time.

2. The thread is really durable.

3. I looked at some of my other quilts that are hand quilted.  They have been used, washed and dried in home machines, but the color of the thread has faded over time. I know Presencia doesn’t fade. 

I learned about this when I interviewed Jim and Tom Collingham from Colonial Needle, and they showed me a minor’s jacket with the Ralph Lauren logo on it, which are made using Prescencia threads. The jacket was washed over 50 times and bleached. It is still the same bright color.

BTW – I am not being paid to write about this. I’m just passing this on because it’s a relatively new discovery for me, and I love this product. While looking at this quilt that’s in the home stretch, I am awestruck by the color of this thread next to the other thread. I am so happy with it, and am excited to share a great new quilting product.

Can you tell the difference between them?


Feel free to guess which is the Presencia.  When I post next Thursday, I will tell you which one it is. I am not revealing the manufacturer of the other thread, because this is a positive blog. They make a good product. And, I am not interested in negativity.

On another note, I did finish all 80 blocks for my Pick & Mix quilt over the weekend – goal accomplished!!

These are just a few….

Linking up with Freshly Pieced!

Once again, I want to wish everyone a very happy Memorial Day.
I am sending out special prayers, and many “thank you’s” to all those who have served, and are serving our country, and their families. You all do so much for us in so many ways.

Machine Quilting

I have been re-learning how to machine quilt on my new Bernina 750. It is very different than machine quilting on my Bernina 130. 

Notice this meandering foot, and the black wire coming out from the back of the foot?  This is a BSR foot, and the black wire plugs into the back of the machine. 

Two features make free-motion quilting on this machine a dream. First,you don’t have to control your speed with a foot pedal. NO FOOT PEDAL. Yay!!  Just press to stop – go button above.

I have been re-training myself using the pattern in this book;


It has some great exercises with patterns that go from easy to more complicated. I am loving this book, and I’m going to review next week.

Machine Quilting – Tip

I am about to begin machine quilting on the lighthouse quilt, I haven’t machine quilted in about a month. The memory muscles in my hands are a bit out of shape. It’s just like taking a brake that’s too long from your workout; painful or painstaking.

Before beginning the quilting I like to practice what I am planning to do on it. I also like to try out a few options to see how it might look. Just diving in, might result in more time spent with my seam ripper. Not my favorite relationship, but glad to have it when I need it.

My general rule of thumb when machine quilting is; if the piecing is straight and angular, I use curved, wavy or circular patterns. If the piecing uses curves, I will choose a pattern with more straight lines. Two exceptions; I have done a cross hatch over a pattern with triangles and squares, which looked great. If I’m filling in large negative spaces, I might quilt a pattern with a maze-like square shape.

So I practice on small sandwiches made of muslin or scrap fabric with pieces of leftover batting in them, until I feel good and ready.

More on this topic to come!!

Happy Quilting and have a great weekend!!

2 Works in Progress

Happy Fall. This is my favorite time of year. I love the crisp morning air. Taking a walk by the Hudson with the breeze which is so invigorating. 

I attended Ithaca College, and we used to call this sweater weather. The teddy bear quilt is completely quilted; in the ditch, and then around the 24 bears, I did a meandering stitch, and added some loops. It was a little tricky getting around the heads of the bears, but I love the way it came out. 

Now all that’s left to do is trim it, add the binding by machine, and finish it by hand; one of my favorite parts of the quilting process. 

Transforming the quilting studio is moving along really well. Almost all my fabric and stash is up on the shelves. Thanks to my wonderful husband.
Still two more large boxes to organize!!