First Machine-Quilting Venture

Hi everyone!

I’m pleased to report that my first experiment with machine quilting has been a success! I made a pair of placemats for Chris and me in a very simple pattern, really more as an excuse to try out machine quilting on something without a whole lot of meaning (or piecing effort) attached to it. Here’s what one of them looks like:

one placemat

Obviously, I made the pattern as simple as possible – just 3-inch squares in four different blues and four different white (two are “true” whites and two are off-whites). I really like blue-and-white quilts, but I’m always attracted to designs with more color in them, so this was an opportunity to see how blue-and-white goes in a low-commitment environment. Plus, as you’ll see below, blue and white go well with the dining room decor:

placemats in their native habitat

Also, when I was up in Holland last summer, I was smitten by an adorable Delft-esque Dutch print that Field’s had, so I bought two fat quarters to serve as the backing. Rebecca and Marty, you’re probably sick to death of the motif, but I thought it was quite interesting:

detail of backing

The quilting itself went off without a hitch — no puckering or other problems — which might have been because I took a tip from Nancy and used white flannel as a batting, since it’s very thin, and it might hold together better than standard batting. It’s not the most accurate quilting in the world — it wobbles around a bit and strays from the ditch periodically — but it’s not bad, and the best part is…

…each placemat took me about 30 minutes to quilt. Awesome! I’m totally converted to the cult of machine quilting (though how you wrestle a full-size quilt is beyond me) if for no other reason than I will actually finish projects this way. I’ll still do stuff by hand when it’s important (Nancy, your wall hanging comes to mind), but other stuff will be machine all the way. Wahoo!

2 Responses to “First Machine-Quilting Venture”

  1. Rebecca says:

    I’ve become a fan of machine-quilting, too. If you use invisible thread on the front, it’s much harder to tell where the stitching line is slightly “creative”. Just make sure you use cotton thread on the back or you can run into lots of annoying problems (I learned that the hard way on my first attempt at machine quilting – maybe it’s a good thing that it got lost in the mail to a friend).

    This morning I put the binding on the front of my first machine-quilted Project Linus quilt. It’s been sitting in the state of all-done-except-binding since, well, sometime before I moved. I figured hand-sewing the binding onto the back would make a good superbowl-watching project if I don’t feel like knitting.

  2. Ann says:

    Very nice, Cathy. There is no need to apologize for the simple piecing. I like the simplicity, and since the placemats are a “low-commitment” project, no one will go ballistic if coffee gets spilled on them.
    I agree with you and Rebecca about the joys – and the speed – of machine quilting, but I find that I really like the sort of Zen-ness of hand quilting. I just finished a small project-that-will-not-be-further-described, and, although I originally planned to machine-quilt it, I ended up doing it by hand just because I enjoyed it so much.

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