Monday, January 28, 2013

February On the Docket Part 4: Machine Quilting & Finishing

With center panel piecing completed, use rotary tools to "straighten" edges  by trimming ONLY scant irregularities along all sides.

After this, add narrow borders (sides then top & bottom) and outer borders (same order). Take special care to make straight seams to avoid "wobbles". Press seams outward after each is stitched.
Mark quilting guidelines as desired. All Docket mini quilts have a 1/4" "echo" line traced beyond narrow border outer seam (tracing onto outer border). Use temporary marking tool, either tailor's style chalk pencil or wash-out fine-tip as is shown here.

This image shows the 1/4" echo line being added around the Scrappy Heart Block. For February, all other quilting follows seams or applique edges, so the two echo outlines are the only ones to be traced.

Cut a backing panel of your own choosing, and a thin batt panel, each about 1/2" larger than quilt top on each edge. Center the layers in the order shown: backing face down, batting, quilt top face up. Smooth and pin with straight pins or safety pins, or quickly add hand baste stitches to secure the layers from shifting.

 Machine stitch will be just slightly larger than a regular piecing stitch for the quilting. Engage machine's walking foot if you have one.

Since tying off the quilting runs is tedious, I suggest beginning near the lower right edge of the quilt at the outer border seam to eliminate one tie off. Stitch from the top's raw edge in the seam - referred to as "in-the-ditch" or "ditch" quilting. Take care that the needle is piercing NEXT to the fold of the seam and not ON the fold. Take care for this throughout.

 Quilt in the ditch along this narrow border OUTER seam all around, pivoting carefully exactly at the corners. When you return to the previous quilting stitches, pause for the next stage without stopping and tying off.

At the corner that ends the first circuit of the mini quilt, carefully pivot to stitch following the seams (and thereby "hide" the transit stitches) to get to the marked echo line. 

Quilt on the echo line all around until quilting connects to the beginning of the run. Then stitch following the seams to work back toward the inner seam of the narrow border.

Quilt in the ditch all around along this seam. When the circuit is completed, you will need to "tie off" to secure the stitching.

A. Begin the tie-off process about 1" before you reach the end of the quilting for that section. 
B. Adjust stitching length to about half of what you have been using. Quilt for 1/2 to 3/4". 
C. Adjust stitching to very short length, but not to stitch in place. Complete quilting to end of run. 
D. Adjust stitch length to 0. Make 2-3 stitches in place.
E. Clip top thread next to fabric surface. Tug bobbin thread on backside of quilt to pull top tail end toward backside, then clip bottom thread next to fabric surface.
Complete the quilting along the panels, "tying on" in reverse order as listed in previous paragraph. That is, begin with 2-3 stitches in place (machine set at 0 length), then adjust to very short stitch and stitch 1/4" (5-6 short stitches). Adjust to half of final length and stitch 1/2" to 3/4" further, and finally adjust to preferred quilting stitch length and continue quilting.

Here I am "ditch" quilting the Scrappy Heart block. Stitch on top of previous stitches for short, selected lengths, or follow connecting seams to reduce tying off whenever possible.

After completing quilting, trim excess batt and backing even with quilt top. Square up quilt top by trimming away "wobbles" or irregularities at the same time.

Baste layers together with long hand stitches, if desired (this can be done prior to beginning quilting).

Before binding, cut the ribbon ties (or fabric tabs for tubes, as referenced in next image) and position in place at top raw edges of quilt layers; refer to pattern for placement notes.

Here you can see - near center left edge of photo - that a ribbon end is positioned BOTH on the backside and exactly corresponding on the front side.

Pin in place, machine baste. Also complete cross-stitched tag with twill tape and position ends at upper raw edge as directed and shown below, then apply binding. Refer to the binding tutorial on this blog for further details.

This image shows the alternate fabric tab tube for hanging detail from the quilt's front, along with the embroidered month tag twill tape secured in the binding seam.

Tab end not caught in binding seam on front is folded to the backside, positioned, then included in the hand stitching of the binding on the backside.

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