Over 24,000 students have taken the online Craftsy class, Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine so I figured I may as well join them and tell you all about it. :-)
Award winning quiltmaker Ann Petersen quilts her designs completely on her home machine (yay!) which is a Bernina (double yay!) and her class includes eight lessons which cover five different methods for quilting a big quilt. Total running time is approximately 4 1/2 hours and I enjoyed watching the class one or two sections at a time over the last week or so.
I quilt a lot of big quilts on my home machine and try to share the love of machine quilting with as many people as I can. I think the number one issue domestic machine quilters deal with is how to handle the bulk of the quilt under the arm of the quilt. Ann covers this and more in her fabulous class.
I think my favorite section was when Ann demonstrated how she sandwiches her quilts using basting spray and an iron to heat set the adhesive. I’ve never tried this method of basting before, but after watching this class, I’m definitely willing to give it a try!
I thought it was very cool that during class, Ann actually demonstrates how to quilt using a real queen-sized quilt. You can see how she moves the large quilt under her little machine, and she shares a few hints on the order of her quilting. (She starts with stitching in the ditch on her borders first to keep them straight – genius!)
I learned a few new tips including why sharp (topstitch) needles are really preferred for machine quilting (rather than ball-point or universal needles). Ann confirmed my experience with polyester batting – it’s really too slippery to use when quilting on a home machine! I also appreciate that she validated another point that I love to teach – where possible, use a blending thread and match your top and bobbin colors to eliminate little “pokies” of thread showing through on either side of the quilt.
In addition to showing how she quilts a full quilt under the machine, Ann also covers several quilt as you go methods which I haven’t tried yet but have always wanted to. I was very intrigued by Ann’s “split-batting” and “split-quilt” methods to deal with the bulk.
Other valuable tutorials she covers include properly setting up your machine space for quilting, choosing the appropriate threads, and thinking about the quilting designs you’ll use before you begin.
Ann includes downloadable extra course materials as part of this class such as her step-by-step tips for spray basting, favorite tools for marking and steps for blocking a quilt.
The questions that are asked during the class (listed on the sidebar while watching) are also very informative. There was a discussion on the best ways to handle quilting with clear polyester thread and I picked up quite a few tips from reading them.
The pictures above are just a few of Ann’s beautiful quilts, which she allowed me to share with you. To see more of her fabulous work and gain confidence with your machine quilting skills, I encourage you to register for Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine today. You’ll be glad you did. :-)