August 27, 2014

10 Quilty Little Secrets

13 Spools

I just ran across this tonight and have had such fun reading through all the posts!  Amy at 13 Spools posted about her quilting secrets and others have joined in.  I am a little late to this party but wanted to share my secrets, too.  If it's true that confession is good for the soul, then this should make me feel better.  On some of these I am not alone.

1.  I only change my needle when it breaks.

2. I am not interested in traditional patterns with lots of points that have to be all matched up exactly perfectly.  Ugh. This is supposed to be fun. LOL.  And while we're on this topic I don't want to make the exact same block over and over, but I can totally appreciate the work and craftmanship that goes into these quilts. It's just not my thing.  Now if I could make each block using different fabrics I might get somewhere!

3.  I love most of the modern quilting esthetic, but also love some stuff that is SO NOT modern. Like Baltimore Album Quilts, Mary Lou Weidman's happy whimsical stuff and some stuff that is really girly and cute and sweet. I seem to love quilts from the 1930s and fabrics in that vein. Not as serious as some of the modern quilts out there.  So I guess I like some things modern and some things traditional. I suspect most other people fall somewhere in between, too.

4. I love the look of hand applique but have no desire to do it.  If I applique it is on the machine, with raw edges.  When I am in the mood I find it really fun to use a bold blanket stitch to machine applique.

5. I use Coats thread for piecing. If it's good enough for making purses or clothes it is good enough for quilts.  I usually quilt with Mettler because my LQS/Bernina dealer carries it and it is a bit thicker than regular thread so it shows up more in the quilting and I like that.  Maybe I'd like some of those pricey threads if I tried them.

6.  I have done "real" binding that I hand stitch to the back of the quilt and that's OK if I am in the mood for some hand stitching. ( I prefer the ladder stitch for this.)  But I like machine binding, too. and I am not averse to doing other types of finishing - like folding the backing fabric over to the front the enclose the edge. Or doing a turned edge.

7. I can FMQ well enough to suit me - meandering. But I'm not interested in all those fancy schmancy FMQ designs.  I really don't like much quilting "messing up the beauty of my patchwork." That extra money I paid for my walking foot was money well spent!

8. I prewash.  Sometimes the dyes and things in fabric can make me sneeze or make my eyes burn.  Seems like I am in the minority on this one.

9. I iron, not press. And I LOVE to iron. I love to iron my freshly washed and dried fabrics. It gives me the chance to admire the pretty patterns! I have never used any starch.  I love to iron the seams in the blocks and then turn it over and iron the front.  I press seams to the side in most cases.

10. I have no desire to wrestle a full size quilt through my little machine, so I make smaller quilts. Although I have recently seen a tutorial for a QAYG method that sounds feasible.

11. I never follow patterns - I make it up as I go along!

What are your secrets?  Leave them in the comments and follow the link at the top of the post to read all the other entries.


  1. I not-so-secretly don't really care for the old-fashioned hand applique. I don't see the beauty that others do in english paper piecing (tedious!), and I don't pre-wash (except for reds). I love modern designs, but I sometimes think the quilting can get pretentious. I want to try something new every time I start a project, whether that's a new block or a new FMQ technique or a new type of thread (metallic!). Whew! I feel better now! Thanks!

  2. I am very sensitive to fabric chemicals and always wash. You are not alone in that! I have had to learn to quilt as you go, break big quilts into sections to rejoin after quilting. Works great. I change the needle according to the thread I use. LeeAnna at not afraid of color

  3. I'll join you in that minority who pre-washes her fabrics. I too have trouble with chemicals bothering me but it's more than that. I know they say that quilt shop quality fabrics don't shrink but that simply isn't true. I've put fabric in the wash that were cut the exact same length and when they come out of the dryer one has shrunk quite a bit more than the other. I'd rather have the shrinking happen to the fabric before I make something with it rather after I've spent hours and hours sewing/quilting something. And I'll also confess to not changing my needle as often as they say you should.

  4. Great list - and I am with you on nearly all of them. I don't pre-wash, though had been reconsidering after I read what LeeAnna had to say, and don't FMQ (though I can) because I like to handquilt, even though it takes a lifetime. :-)

  5. This was an inspiring post to me. I used to quilt, even have a almost-finished full sized one in a closet. It was machine pieced and hand-quilted and all it needs is the binding and some finishing quilting stitches.

    I have antique quilt tops, too, that were given to me from family members …

    And I'm blessed to have a quilter/quilt shop near to me (in fact, we rent our studio space in the same locale! She gets the most unique fabrics, she's a ray of sunshine and … and she has a longarm quilting machine!


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