A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.
This is how I piece a quilt with my quilting machine. It is not an award winning contest quilt technique…. just a simple way of creating quick charity quilts. The piecing is done log cabin style. I had very limited time to do one for pictures to put in this blog so I used really large pieces of fabric. This is also a good stash busting technique!
I start by loading the backing and then basting the batting to it along the top, bottom, and sides. This will allow me to roll back and forth as I add the pieces.
I marked the center of the batting with a marker. This is for centering the start piece.
I used a cheater panel for the center. If you don’t have a cheater panel then a large piece of fabric will work. Of course, you can always use a pieced center too.
I then used some 6 inch wide strips. I pinned the first piece and used the quilting machine to sew a seam. The needle is 1/4 inch away from the edge of the hopping foot so I used the foot as a guide. If I’m having a hard time staying straight I will create drag on the machine with either my hand or lowering the take up bar to where it rubs the machine bed.
When the seam was done, I flipped the strip out and pressed it by hand. If you find your fabric won’t stay in place you can baste along the edge with the machine to hold it or use a basting spray or use pins.
Next, I went to the other side, pinned another piece, and sewed it with the machine in the same way.
Next, I went to the bottom of the center fabric to pin and sew another strip. This is why it’s helpful to baste the batting to the backing. It’s easier to roll back and forth when I’m not dealing with a loose batting.
Here is the bottom piece ready for pinning and sewing.
Here is the strip after sewing and flipped out to hand pressed into place.
Next I rolled back to the top of the center fabric to add a strip along the top. If your fabric strip is not long enough then sew two strips together with your household machine before pinning and sewing with the quilting machine. Sometimes I will sew many strips together ready to use…. letting the colors fall where they may.
Now back to the original side where the first strip was sewn. Pin and sew a second strip.
I continued to add strips along all the sides (log cabin style) until the whole batting and backing were covered. Then I quilted it.
And here is the finished charity quilt. All ready for binding. I used the Circle Lord square dance template to do quick quilting.
I normally would have sewn the binding onto the front with the quilting machine. I didn’t have any binding ready to use and was running out of time so I will do the binding later. I also got the center marked in the wrong place on the batting and didn’t notice. That’s why it has more strips on one end. This quilt is using 6 inch wide strips already cut, ready to use, and stored away.
If I had had more time to choose fabrics and make the strips smaller it would have been prettier. This will be given to a homeless man or teenager (possibly living under an expressway overpass) so the colors won’t matter. What really matters is that it’s warm.