Soapbox – Quilt Your Own Quilts

I’m starting off on my soap box this week with a plea – try machine quilting your own quilts.

Now, before I have any long-armers getting upset with me, I do understand that there is a time and a place for beautiful long-arm quilting and quilting for hire. However, when I used to teach beginning quiltmaking classes years ago, I always encouraged my students to make at least one quilt from start to finish, so that they would know what the process entailed.

And you know what? Just about all of them went on to make many more beautiful quilts with the confidence that they could indeed, quilt their own quilts.

Quilt Your Own QuiltDo you need to have a fancy machine to be able to quilt your own quilts? No! You can even do decorative machine quilting with a walking foot. My friend Tamara came over so I could teach her how to machine quilt her lovely green rail fence that she pieced. We basted it together several months ago – you can read about that here.

This is Tamara’s first quilt so I started her off with an easy wavy stitch using the machine’s walking foot. It’s called a serpentine stitch and rather than quilting in the ditch, the stitch wiggles back and forth creating a really cool texture without the need for perfection. You can see her practice piece below and then how it looks on her actual quilt.

Serpentine Stitch PracticeQuilting CloseupShe’s going to fill in all the seam lines with this wavy serpentine quilting and it’s going to create a wonderful texture on the front and the back.

Click the pictures for larger images.

So I implore you – try to machine quilt at least one complete quilt before you give up and begin to “quilt by check”. Take as many machine quilting classes as you can to learn this fun technique.  Read as many books, watch as many demo videos, and scan as many blogs about free-motion quilting as you can.  I promise, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked!

2 thoughts on “Soapbox – Quilt Your Own Quilts

  1. susan clayton says:

    Amen! I love to quilt my own quilts. Because I was in a hurry to prepare for guests, I paid to have a quilt quilted on a long arm. Because I didn’t know any better I let her do a computer design on it. I hated it. It was so sterile. I could have just bought it at Walmart. There’s just something about the hum of my machine that puts me in the zone.

  2. Elisabeth Kinsey says:

    I can’t agree with you more! I have never paid to have a quilt quilted. I’m certainly not a great free motion quilter, but even stitch in the ditch or grid quilting one’s own quilt is preferable to having someone else quilt it!! I am currently working on upgrading my sewing machine to make FMQ easier! Thanks for all your inspiration!

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