Friday, November 30, 2012

Heavy machine quilting

If I said I used over 25 bobbins of thread while machine quilting a quilt, would you be able to picture how heavy the machine quilting was on the quilt surface?

This obsession with heavy machine quilting started back in 1989 when I was a member of a local quilting guild.  I was a member of a friendship group within the guild. Each member of the friendship group picked a quilt pattern and then everyone would make each other their blocks .

I did not make many friends in this friendship group because: 1) I selected an applique design, 2) the members didn't want to applique  and the final nail in the coffin - 3) I was going to machine quilt my blocks.  Machine quilting was considered taboo in the '80's!    When I received my blocks to make my quilt, they were not all uniform because the members had varying skill with the needle.

To make sure the blocks would survive my household and not come apart, I decided to meander the entire top (including the applique) in a clear nylon thread*.  Viola, 23 years later, my Oak Leaf Cluster quilt is still in use.

Some of the fabrics have faded more aggressively than others.  I don't believe 1980's fabrics will be remembered for their consistency in quality!

Some feathers quilted in the open areas.
Over the years, I get in the mood to quilt something as if there is going to be a thread shortage.

This is a wallhanging I sold on Etsy.  Lots of quilting on this little gem.

A quilt I sold on Etsy in which the background is quilted in a colorful variegated thread in a circular design.  

 So if you're wondering why I'm talking about heavy machine quilting, it is because I recently purchased a vintage quilt top on Etsy from Spring Street Emporium.  I saw it, I loved it, I clicked my payment method and I'm quilting it.  Simple.

It is vintage.  It has some stains.  There are some puckers - okay, there are a few puckers, but oh, it is sweet and the fabrics are fun!  As soon as I got it, I had it down on the floor pinning it to the backing and batting.  I even went out and had to purchase 300 more pins!

I think these stains are minor and will wash out!

Aren't the fabrics sweet!

Last night I put it to the machine and the quilting pattern picked itself.  I think when I was pinning and admiring the circle and polka dot  prints my mind said to quilt circles! 

My circles aren't perfect, but when I wash the quilt and the batting puffs, no one will notice!

I have quilted 5 of the 25 blocks as of this minute and have used 4 bobbins of thread.  I'm thinking by the time I'm finished I might have around 25 bobbins tallied. 

A peek at the back.  I used  Moda American Jane and a strip of Kaffe Fassett shot cotton.  :) 

*About the nylon thread - I have never had a problem quilting with nylon thread.  I have never had it cause damage to my sewing machine (Bernina 930 and 1230).  Over the years with all the use and washing, the thread has never broken, split or caused damage to any of the cotton fabrics.  While I quilt all my quilts now with 100 percent cotton thread, I found it was a staple for my early quilting projects in the 1980's and early 90's. 


  1. Wow Patricia your quilting is beautiful!

  2. We need to talk. Not about your thread addiction, but about a quilt top I've had hanging around here forever. (But if you want to talk about your thread addiction, you know I am here for you.)

  3. I promised my husband I would bake cookies all when you're free next week, let me know. We can get together and I can give you some cookies for your freezer. You can show me the top you've had hanging around and we can brain storm. Sounds like a very fun time to me!