As I begin to compose this post my scrappy diamond quilt top is complete and it’s ready for quilting. In the past I’ve quilted 2 king sized quilts on a domestic home sewing machine. Now that I have a HQ Sweet Sixteen mid-arm, I think it will be much more enjoyable 😁. Please join me on my “quilting a king” journey.
The first step: pin baste the quilt in a frame (in my husband’s shed).
In previous posts I’ve shared how to use this simple frame learned from my quilting teacher, Sharon Grieve Grinyer, way back in the late 80s. It requires four 10′ long 2″ x 2″ boards, four bar clamps, and four high back chairs to set it on. I first shared this step-by-step technique for basting in 2011 and, since many of you weren’t following my blog back then, you are welcome to click here to link to it!
Once the quilt is in the frame I safety pin the layers together and it’s ready for quilting.
But what design to use? I typically like to begin by straight line quilting in some sort of grid to hold everything together, and get rid of a lot of pins. Since I greatly dislike stitching in the ditch I like to look for other options. Eureka! The pattern for these blocks did away with this problem! Because the edges of the first two strips sewn to each foundation were aligned with the diagonal of the block, the seam was 1/4″ away from it. This allowed me to straight-line quilt the long diagonals, without being in the ditch! I did this part on my regular machine (I find long straight lines turn out better with feed dogs).
This next part I’ve shared before, but I feel it’s worth repeating: quilting long lines with the feed dogs up often causes puckers on the back of the quilt. My solution is what I call my 3 pin technique. I put the needle down at the start of my quilting line and place 3 pins perpendicular to the seam I’m about to sew.
I remove the pins as I stitch up to them, then repin the next portion. It may sound a bit tedious, but once I establish a rhythm, it’s a breeze and it results in no puckers!
After the quilt was gridded along the large diamonds, I moved to my mid-arm. Since this quilt is so scrappy, fancy free-motion quilting would probably not show, so I did what I often do – I asked myself “what would be fun?” The answer – ruler work!
Straight line quilting in all directions on a large quilt is extremely difficult on a domestic machine, since the quilt needs to be rotated through the small opening under the arm of the machine. By dropping the feed dogs and using rulers that problem is eliminated. It works especially well with the channel ruler from Four Paws Quilting. I set the ruler along the line I wish to quilt and, since it’s free-motion, I simply push the quilt and ruler along at an even rate as I stitch (don’t my colorful gloves get lost in the busy patchwork?).
When I get to a pivot point, the ruler is rotated without turning the quilt, and the process continues.
I’m very pleased with the two concentric diamonds I’ve sewn inside each gridded diamond (you’ll probably have to zoom in to see them) – and I’m truly enjoying every step of the process.
As I mentioned before, the quilt is so busy the quilting doesn’t show from the front. It’s easier to see the concentric diamonds from the back:
And last night we slept under it!!!
I’m very pleased with the results and Mike likes it too!
One last thing – Lynn just sent me a photo of a string quilt she made and I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.
I’m really loving these scrappy quilts. Thanks Lynn!