I just recently quilted this beautiful Kite Flight quilt by Heather Wall (@heathersnacks). If i’m remembering correctly, Heather is a new-ish quilter, and she did a really wonderful job on this. The seams weren’t too bulky, everything laid flat and lined up well and was relatively square, which I noticed would be rather hard to achieve with all the bias seams that end up in this block. She was going back and forth between two patterns and ultimately let me decide on the best one for the quilt. I think Rainbow Clams ended up being perfect for the top. Not only does the rainbow design go with the rainbow fabrics, it also softened up the straight angles of the quilt.
I purchased a video camera a few days before loading this quilt and thought it would be fun to share my process with you. The video is mostly me basting the top in preparation for quilting. For those of you with longarms I think it’s helpful to see another’s process, and for those of you that send your quilts off to longarmers I think it will be fun to see what your quilt potentially goes through. The video is at the end if you want to skip all my rambling about the process or you can go here and watch it.
On this quilt in particular (even though it’s sped up) you will notice I spend a lot of time on some of the side sections. Because the quilt did have bias seams it was rather stretchy and prone to fullness so I took extra time to make sure everything was not only square, but flat. Normally I I just manipulate the fabric as i’m basting the sides, easing in where I need to, but for this top I used my pearl head pins to help it lay right where I needed it, and then I stitched it down.
Towards beginning, when i’m working on the top edge, you’ll notice I start to baste and then go back and start again (around 0:45). The top wasn’t as square as I would like it, so I went back and basted the first row in place so I new it was square. (Normally that’s the first thing I do, so i’m not sure why I didn’t start with that this time.) There was a bit of extra fabric in the seam allowance area, but I didn’t want to make the decision to square up the top edge, i’d rather the client asses that once they have it back. Sometimes it’s minimal and if it’s not for a show I say just put the binding on, even if it’s not a “square” edge, other times the quilt allows for you to trim off the extra and square it up. So, because I have a Statler (meaning a computer running my Gammill) I went ahead and used the P2P (point-t0-point) function to help me baste at just shy of 1/4″ (so the basting is under the binding later, without having to be ripped out…I “baste” at 12 SPI to prevent fraying of the edges). So after I marked the points i’m just working with (or “surfing”) the fabric to be sure it lays down and eases in correctly (remember, bias seams) as the quilting head moves along.
At the end of the video I just show the process of me setting up the machine to quilt out the pattern. I let you see one pass and an advance of the quilt, but after that it’s all repetitive so I cut that out from the video. In total, this took me most of the day to do. I cut out a LOT of unnecessary bits to shorten it down, and then sped it up so you weren’t watching 2.5 hours of edited video. I find that I can’t stand at my machine for long, either because of my son coming in requesting food, or I don’t like what’s playing on my Spotify list, or I need to respond to one of my chat groups…there are lots of things that pull me away from the machine.
Quilting bloggers seem to be turning more and more to videos, and I have to admit I like that and have been thinking about it for a few years. My husband is always pushing me to go to videos, so I think you will see more from me in the future. I can’t say how often, because it does take quite a bit of time to edit the video and get it posted, and I find it difficult to just blog with everything life throws at me. But i’d really like to continue to share my longarming process and even get some of my sewing tutorials in to video format. I have a few longarm friends that I talk to and occasionally I’ll get asked about how to do something and we say “that should be a video”. There aren’t enough longarm process videos out there and i’d really like to share. So many more quilters are getting longarms of their own, but so many longarmers like to keep their process to themselves for fear of…(fill in the blank). So when you do run across a problem, it’s a scramble to find any information out there, and normally it’s on message boards, when really a video would be so much more helpful. So that is a bit of a goal for myself this year, to video those common problems I run across when quilting and sharing my process and solutions. And also figuring out what I need to do for better quality video without filling up my hard drive.
Okay, enough rambling…watch the video and subscribe to my channel if you feel so inclined.