Module 1 Chapter 5

Quilting Quests 1

At last, time to get into some hand quilting my favourite part!

I have a good collection of fabrics and waddings etc in my sewing room to carry out the tasks in this chapter.


It was suggested that I make up some more ‘quilts’ using less conventional fabrics.

I used bubble wrap, plastic and brown paper, before drawing lines on and hand quilting through using fine crochet thread. This was an interesting experiment and something I hadn’t tried before. Not so easy to sew through and keep stitches small but I think I managed to keep them all quite regular in size.

Task 1

Making up Quilt Sandwich

I have used a plain dark blue top, medium weight polyester wadding and white cotton backing for this test sample.


Task 2

Multi Choice Sandwich Selection

I chose 4 different coloured plain cotton fabrics for the quilt sandwich tops, thin white cotton for the backs and different fabrics for the wadding. 100% cotton wadding, polyester wadding, cotton fleece fabric and a piece of checked old Welsh woollen blanket.

I cut each of the top and wadding fabrics into A4 size and the backing pieces 1” bigger all around.

I then pinned the layers together with curved quilters safety pins before tacking. I would normally just use the pins but with needing to mark the quilting lines onto the fabric later, the tacking made it easier to draw the lines flat onto the fabric without the pins getting in the way.

When I took quilting courses years ago, I was taught to hand quilt the same way as suggested here in the course instruction book. To knot the thread, entering the sandwich about an inch away from my starting point and enter by the top. Gently tug the knot through the top layer and wadding and up to the first stitch. The finishing instructions are also the same as I have been taught in the past, make a back stitch, bringing the needle up through the wadding and top layer, making a knot to pull through.

I used the navy sample to stitch using different distances between the rows of stitching. I drew lines on the top using a ruler and white chalk pen, marking two lines 1” apart and two 11/2” apart


Task 3

For this task I was asked to use one of my previously made 4-patch blocks and make it into a quilting sandwich, hand quilting the areas with Outline Quilting, stitching ¼” away from the seams and hoping to avoid stitching through the seam allowance. I did draw the line onto the fabric using a ruler and HB pencil, although usually I wouldn’t bother doing this and just use my eye.


Task 4

For this task I used another of my 4-square blocks, making it into a sandwich and using Selective Quilting, I hand quilting across the centre of blocks in diagonal lines


Task 5

For this task I was asked to produce an A4 sheet of experimental geometric quilting designs

I used mostly squares, laying them differently to produce diamonds and I used parallelograms.



Tasks 6 & 7

Marking fabrics then hand quilting, using dark and light fabrics

I continued with two of my sample quilts, marking quilting lines on each using one of my previously made templates.  On the light calico top I marked the lines with a sharp HB pencil and on the darker blue fabric I used a white chalk pen to mark



I found marking with the HB pencil so much easier than the chalk pen which had a rolling wheel through which the chalk flowed. This wheel was a little tricky to keep against the template although it was easy to brush off after I had finished the quilting.



I then hand quilted both these quilts samples, for the calico I stitched with grey quilting thread and for the blue fabric I stitched with very fine ecru crochet thread.

backThe bottom photo shows stitching on the reverse of the quilt

I always find hand quilting relaxing and satisfying and quilting such a small project made keeping the stitches small and regular so much easier than a big project.

The light calico topped quilt has 100% natural wadding in it and the blue topped quilt has the Welsh woollen blanket wadding in it. Both were easy to hand stitch through, the natural wadding being a little thinner and so the stitches were easier to keep small. Using the fine crochet thread is a little like Sashiko quilting and I was tempted to use a Sashiko needle which is longer than a regular quilting needle, but decided against it.

Note:  Sashiko (刺し子?, literally “little stabs”) is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear or to repair worn places or tears with patches, this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth gives sashiko its distinctive appearance, though decorative items sometimes use red thread.




Author: Lindsey Toms

Maker and designer of handmade quilts

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