Quick Quilt Tips Tour – 5 Tips for Faster Quilting on Your Home Machine

Hi old friends, and welcome new ones! I’m happy to be participating in Amy Smart’s Quick Quilting Tips Tour – Round 2. Amy has gathered together several bloggers to offer some of their favorite tips for faster and better quilting. (Click here to read all of the tips shared in Round 1.)

20150529_tips_amy_smartMachine quilting is one of my great passions so I thought I would share some of my favorite tips for faster quilting on your home machine.

Tip #1 – Use Basting Spray

I am a recent convert to using basting spray and I don’t know if I will ever go back to using safety pins. While it takes me the same amount of time to spray baste as it does to pin, I save a ton of time not having to stop and remove pins while quilting.

spray_basting_0Click here for my spray basting tutorial.

Tip #2 – Embrace No-Mark Quilting

When I jumped on the modern bandwagon (after considering myself a traditionalist for so many years), the best thing I embraced was letting go of perfectionism and symmetry. This meant I didn’t have to mark all of my quilting lines anymore, or use stencils to quilt perfectly aligned motifs. What freedom!

herrinbone_quiltingThere’s nothing quite like a good random stipple to add texture to your quilts. Herringbone, shown above is one of my fastest finishes to date!

My quilting has improved because I can just doodle with my needle and thread while enjoying the improvisational nature of quilting random free-motion shapes and textures.

More TextureNone of the quilting was marked in String of Pearls – I just eyeballed the FMQ and used the edge of my foot as a guide for the straight lines.

Tip #3 – Try Quilting Designs from Edge to Edge

I love quilting lines which can start on one edge of the quilt and end on the other side. This is a huge time saver because there’s no need to bury threads when you start and stop. I quilted the uneven lines of Modern X starting on one side of the quilt, pivoting to follow the design, and then back off the other side.

straight quiltingWhen I felt like my bobbin was getting low, I switched it out so I didn’t have to worry about running out of thread halfway through a line of quilting.

(Bonus tip – since I use Aurifil 50 wt cotton for both piecing and quilting, I use up any partial bobbins on my next piecing project!)

Tip #4 – Use the Same Color Thread in Top and Bobbin

This is a huge time saver because I don’t have to hassle with my machine’s tension to keep tiny pindots of thread from poking through the top or bottom of the quilt. When I want a super-fast finish, I prefer to quilt with one blending thread color over the entire surface of the quilt so that I don’t have to stop and change threads.

test_blockThis recent test block from Modern Logs shows how a thin neutral thread blends in to many different fabrics. It’s such a time-saver when you don’t have to switch thread colors. (I also quilted this quilt using an edge to edge design and it went so fast!)

Tip #5 – Wind Plenty of Bobbins Ahead of Time

It’s much quicker to wind a bunch of bobbins at the start of a project rather than having to stop mid-quilt for more winding. I recently upgraded to a new Bernina 710 sewing machine. One of my favorite features is the huge bobbin capacity, compared to the older machines. So if you get a ever chance to use a machine with a bigger bobbin, I highly recommend it. :-)

Bernina BobbinsI keep plenty of bobbins on hand and use the biggest capacity bobbin I can.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tips for faster machine quilting! Be sure to check out the other stops on the Quick Quilt Tips Tour. You just may learn something new. :-)

Be sure to check out Amy’s new book, Fabulously Fast Quilts. In case you missed it, I recently reviewed it here on my blog.

20140520_fabulously_fast_quilts

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16 Responses to Quick Quilt Tips Tour – 5 Tips for Faster Quilting on Your Home Machine

  1. Jane Bradford says:

    I use a very fine bobbin thread, it means that the bobbin lasts for ages without running out. Bottom Line is an excellent thread, fine and strong, lots of colours, but often a pale grey or cream seems to blend in well with most colours. I use a rayon thread in the top, often a variegated one, which has a bit of shine and seems to give a very pleasing result.
    Love free motion quilting!

  2. Rowena Alsobrook says:

    Thanks for mentioning the bigger bobbin. I’m about to purchase a new machine, and this may change my mind. Thanks again.

  3. Janny says:

    I love your quilting! My resolution-learn to quilt better using my domestic machine. Love your tips!

  4. Lisa says:

    Thank you. These tips are wonderful. I’ll put 505 Basting spray on my shopping list.

  5. Terri Ann says:

    Wonderful tips! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  6. Thanks for the great tips! I am really hoping to try spray basting in the near future. Pinning quilts is my least favorite part of quilting for sure. — Christy

  7. Lori Smanski says:

    thanks, these are really great tips

  8. Molly says:

    Great suggestions Christa

  9. Winding lots of bobbins ahead of time is a huge time saver for me! The trick is guessing how many I’ll need!

  10. Lis Ostiguy says:

    This is a great overview of how to approach quilting with a home machine. As usual very well explained

  11. craftysorcha says:

    Great advice, thank you!

  12. Yanic A. says:

    Just a great post! Thank you… definitely pinning this.

  13. Michele says:

    What do you do with the thread ends when you quilt side to side? Do you knot them?

    • Christa says:

      That’s not necessary. Since the thread starts and stops on the batting (off of the quilt), I just leave them until I’m ready to trim the quilting for binding. Then the ends are covered and secure in the binding.

  14. Lisa says:

    tip #3 is my favorite way to quilt! Easy and one can vary the density of the lines for stiffness or softness! Thanks for sharing this Christa and thank you Amy for the series!

  15. Catherine says:

    Brilliant tips, thank you!

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