Make a Quilt - Quilting
OK, so all our blocks are stitched together, and now it's time to start quilting!
Before you do that, you can add a border (or borders) to make your quilt bigger, or just to make it neater. Some people say you should add a border to keep your quilt square. I'm not going to with this quilt, but if you want to, cut two strips of fabric the length of your quilt by the width you want plus seam allowance. Stitch in place and press. The cut two strips the width of your quilt top by the same as before. Stitch in place and press.
Now, you need to cut your wadding so that it is slightly larger than the top of your quilt and the backing fabric slightly larger again. If you missed it last week, there's a bit about wadding and backing fabrics in last week's blog, Join the Blocks. Then press everything nice and flat. Now, you need to hold all three layers together whilst you quilt them.
Most people use safety pins. You can buy safety pins which are curved, making it easier to push them through the three flat layers.
But ordinary safety pins work, too - but probably not the tiny ones!
You can also buy ordinary straight pins which are longer than usual - and are called quilting pins! These are probably OK on a smaller project, but you know what pins are like for coming out when you least expect them to, so I wouldn't use them for a larger project which will be manhandled quite a bit.
Now for the fun part - quilting! You can quilt by hand or machine, but for anything other than a small project, I would probably quilt by machine. Quilting holds all the layers of your quilt together, and also provides visual interest and texture to your quilt. I've used a thin wadding, so my quilting doesn't show as much as it might. If you use a thicker (loftier) wadding, then your quilting will show up more. You can quilt in straignt lines, horizontally, vertically or diagonally, perhaps creating squares on your quilt. Or you can follow the line of the seams. You can draw a design on the quilt, using a pen with disappearing ink or you can use free-motion quilting - putting squiggles all over your quilt. This is usually used in large areas of plain fabric, so you could use this in the white areas. (You can learn more about free motion quilting on Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures.) The more you quilt, the more 'dense' your quilt will feel. It's also likely to last longer. If your project is even moderately large, you might have fun trying to manoeuvre it round your sewing machine. Rolling it in from one or both edges makes it easier to manage.
You are less likely to get wrinkles and folds in your backing fabric if you start stitching in the centre of the quilt and work towards the edge, rather than starting at one side and sewing straight across.
I decided to 'stitch in the ditch' across the quilt - that means sewing along an existing seamline.
I stitched across the two lines where the rows were joined. When you do this accurately, you can't really see the stitching, but it helps to hold the layers together nicely. You can see in the photo below that the stitching doesn't show to the left (under the stripes), but I veered off-course slightly under the lily, on the right, so the stitching just shows.
I then stitched either side of each block of colour, where it was sewn to the white. The advantage of doing this - apart from the fact that I like the look of it! - is that you have a line to follow. Otherwise, you will probably need to draw lines on your quilt top before you start to sew. I did consider sewing round each block, on either side of the seam line, but I decided that was too much! Just sewing round the top of the coloured blocks looks like this:
It is slightly more raised than when I stitched both sides of the line, but I prefer the latter:
This is what it looks like on the back:
Next week, we'll finish off our quilt with a binding, so make sure you have a strip of fabric long enough to go all round your quilt plus a bit of overlap, and twice as wide as you want your binding to be, plus seam allowances.