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August 15, 2008


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thanks so much for machine quilting 101. i am trying hard to learn and this answered many questions. a couple of other things i've been wondering about...do you need to do the stitch in the ditch? does it help stabilize the quilt? i'm pretty good for the first few minutes and then i seems to get lost and don't know where to go..i think it's more practice needed...i think i stare at the needle too...have to work on that. thanks again!

Anyone Can Quilt

Hi Jacquie! I always stitch in the ditch around borders to stabilize, plus, if I don't I just feel weird. The spray baste keeps everything pretty stable though. If I don't have borders, I don't stitch in the ditch anywhere. As far as getting lost, that's why I go around in a spiral. I meander around 12 inches or so all around, and then when I meet up with the previous stitching, I'm on my next round, until I end up in the very middle with my last stitches. This keeps me pretty organized. Thanks for the comment! x


Hi Sarah,
this quilting lesson is great. Thanks for showing us step by step how to machine quilting. You´ve made it wonderful and the pictures plus the explanations are fantastic. You are a really good teacher!!!
Sabine xx


WOW! Like you wrote that just for me! Love the explanation and the photos. I need to get out some scraps, make some 'sandwiches' and practice this. Your stitches look perfect (like you have a BSR!) and your meandering looks so pretty.
Questions - when your bobbin runs out, what do you do then? You say you work in sections, toward the center. Do you just keep the one line going more or less or do you end a line of meandering and start anew somewhere else?
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Anyone Can Quilt

Good questions! When you run out of bobbin thread, snip your top thread and remove your quilt so you can put in a new bobbin. Then start just like you did in the beginning by bringing up your bottom thread, only start about 1/4 of an inch over the last stitches before the bobbin ran out. Stitch in place for the first few and then just keep on keepin' on! When you keep doing this with each new bobbin your quilt will have one continuous line of quilting. Thanks for asking CJJ!


Nice tutorial! Melanie at Jellybean Angel told me about the spray adhesive and sent me a link. Haven't tried it yet.


what a fabulous tutorial! you and your pics are always amazing! thank you!


I have a quilt top ready to be done in the exact same colors!! I thank you for some of your tips.. things I didn't even think about, like the gloves! I am going to get me some of those! Enjoy your blog


Your lesson is terrific! I learned a few things. I have been wondering how others deal with the loose threads at the places they start and stop machine quilting? I pull mine through to the back and knot them and snip above the knot, but that always leaves a little tiny bit of thread sticking out.....any advice? Thanks for your great blog!


Thank you sooo much for considering us new quilters. I'm all for the adhesive way of quilting. There's only one problem. I don't have a sewing machine that does all that stuff yours does. Can I still quilt somewhat with an older machine, and I mean like 25 years old? I want to quilt so badly and have made a few little things, but I still have some problems. Anyway, thank you for the beautiful tutorial. Tracey


Great lesson Sarah, so many questions answered that us Newbies ( me ) feel a bit silly asking. Thank you
lisa x

Anyone Can Quilt

Hi Susan! In regards to the loose threads where you stop and start quilting...What I personally do is just stitch in the same spot for three or four stitches, and then gradually get up to speed to continue on. I do this when I get to the very end of quilting my quilt to finish it off also. The stitches are so tiny that they basically 'knot' the thread on their own, and then I can snip the loose threads as short as I can without worrying about any stitches coming undone, or little tails showing. Thanks for your question! x

Anyone Can Quilt

Hi Tracey! You can absolutely machine quilt with an old machine. Most old machines like yours are all metal and quite solid. Which is a plus! The basics that will help you out are buying a walking foot, and a machine quilting or darning foot. If you don't have these, there are some great 'universal' feet out there that fit all machines. Also check to see if you can lower your feed dogs, most old machines have this capability. The needle down option is also quite helpful, but if your machine doesn't have that, you can simply roll the hand wheel forward to get the needle down manually when you stop stitching. Thanks for posting your question, let me know if I can be of any more help! x


Thanks for the encouragement. I will try and get some new feet for my old machine. Thanks again. Tracey

Lil' d

I'm going to bookmark this for when I'm brave enough to do a proper quilt. I love the idea of spray basting.


One of these days, I WILL TRY to learn how to machine quilt. Having my quilts done professionally can be quite hard on my checkbook.
I will definitely comeback to this page when I'm ready. Thanks for the tutorial and for visiting my blog.

Mary Wood

Hi Sarah I am new at quilting and my daughter Beth put me on to your blog. Thank you for the great lesson you make ot look a lot easier.I am going to see if I can get a tin of your spray Here in Australia. And I will be off and Quilting Thanks to You.Thanks Again.
Hugs Mary.

Jennifer from NY

Hi Sarah! Thank you for taking the time to write this tutorial. I've made a few crib-size quilts, table runners, etc. but I've been hesitant to do anything bigger. My question is, how do you manage a big quilt in the sewing machine? Do you roll the sides, and use clips? Is it a real pain? I seem to have a hard enough time with the smaller items! I also have been scared to try free-motion quilting, but you have inspired me to get a darning foot! :)

Tara B

I am going to try this. I made up a small scrap quilt that I have spray basted together - here we go... I can do this!!! Thanks for your wonderful step by step instructions.

Becky Kinzel

Thank you - excellent tutorial. I have tried the basting spray and I loved it! But, I haven't tried taping down the layers like you did, which looks like it works much better. Also, I pinned after spraying because I was afraid things would shift.... looks like I don't need to do that anymore! Thanks again! you are my new hero!

happy zombie

Fantastic tutorial and beautiful photos! I'm a slow learner. Can I just come over and you show me? I'll bring a top, bat and backing... and maybe you can teach it me on it? I'm sure by the time you've quilted the entire thing... I'll get it.

Seriously... you show the mechanics, but there's magic in your fingertips that you can't teach us. Your skills are beautiful and amazing, Sarah!


this is very timely for me, since i have been trying really hard to work up the nerve to do some free motion quilting. I am not sure that i get it though. I don't have a stitch regulator on my viking and i can not seem to make any stitches even. Any tips for that?

Anyone Can Quilt

Hi Jennifer! It can be a pain in the keister managing bigger quilts while quilting. I just do what I can to put as much of it as I can under the arm of the machine. Sometimes I smoosh, sometimes I roll. I don't like to use the clips personally (although I'm sure there are lots of fine ladies who like them!), I think they just add awkwardness, and taking them off and on can be time consuming. Just be patient with your quilt as there is a lot of stopping to rearrange things, re-roll, etc.. Hang in there, it gets to be second nature! Thanks for the question! x


Thank you for this tutorial! So helpful. And your quilt is so pretty. I especially love the white stitching on the brown and green square.


This is a great tutorial! I need to get some new feet for my machine! Thanks for writing this up.

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