Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Those of you who know me, know that I am a hand quilter. Nothing wrong with machine quilting, just not my thing. I actually started hand quilting vintage quilts before I did much piecing or anything else. One of the things I love about a hand quilted quilt is how soft it is. That being said, it just is not always a reality. With publication deadlines I can't always get it hand quilted. This is especially true with the layer cake patterns. They have a pretty fast turnaround. So I am doing more machine quilting than ever before. Along the way I have learned some things that work for me.

For one, grippy gloves are a great tool. However, they are not all equal. I had a pair for a long time. They were not all that grippy. They started out white and quickly turned dirty and nasty. Seems they absorbed dye from everything they touched. I found these at Market in the fall. They are fantastic. Super grippy and they do not turn ugly. They really make it less work to move your quilt around.

Also I like to quilt with YLI Silk thread. It is finer, doesn't show quite as boldly and leaves the quilt a little softer. If you are not a great quilter it hides your mistakes a little better.(just saying) Along with the silk thread, I keep my quilting further apart and finish with hand stitching accents.

This is a sneak peek at Alyce, the next layer cake pattern. I stitched the background on my machine with the silk and used the big stitch method on all the applique. I love the way this quilt turned out. It is super soft and snuggly. It is made from Buttercup by Fig Tree Quilts. The colors are clear and springy. I can see it draped on the back of a couch or wrapped around a baby. So, I have adapted. One thing I want to make clear - I am not a professional in the area of machine quilting. These are just some of the things that work for me. Do you have any tips to share?

Happy Quilting,Dawn


  1. I like to applique with silk thread, but never thought of machine quilting with it. I'll have to try that. And combining machine and hand,...very nice. I hadn't thought of that either! Man, I get stuck in a rut! My main tip for home machine quilting (not long-arm) is to have your sewing machine flush with your table surface. What a difference it will make!


  2. Okay, I know just what you mean about preferring hand quilting as I do too.
    I do also machine quilt and I am wondering where you get those gloves because I know all about the white ones that eventually slip and turn yucky.

    Your Alyce is looking good! :)

  3. I recently bought a pair of Grabaroos from I Have A Notion. I've not tried them yet, but they have had some wonderful reviews. When you use the silk thread for machine quilting, do you use silk for the bobbin as well? I've never tried the silk, but would like to give it a try.

  4. I love the idea of the silk thread for machine quilting. Never even considered that. I too am primarily a hand quilter, but have done some machine quilting lately. I wanted to ask you what kind of batting do you use when you machine quilt?
    Billie in Maryland =-)

  5. I am a hand quilter as well, never tryed silk thread, but will give a go next time. My all time favorite material is from FIG TREE QUILTS. I have not tryed machine quilting at all, I may sometime soon so I can see what it is like to get a quilt done real daughter will tease me cause she has watched me quilt since she was a baby and she knows I only do it by hand.....she would call machine quilting CHEATING.......LOL. HUGS MARY

  6. I machine quilt, am I a pro? NO! lol... one thing I do is I don't force myself to try to do quilting free motion designs that aren't comfortable for me. Some over all quilting designs are simply easier than others, for everyone I think. Just depends on your brain and hand coordination I think LOL... So I stick with the ones I can do fairly well. Its not that I don't believe in trying to learn new things, but if you see there is a certain design that just doesn't flow between your brain and hands why use it when there are plenty that will flow really smoothly between your brain and hands and turn out much better for you! :O)

    I too am big on good rubbery sticky gloves! I get mine at the garden center. I went thru about three pairs and landed on the ones I have been using for a while now. Inexpensive and they have some really good grippy! :O)

  7. Ooo, I like the sneak peek. Love the polka dot fabric.

  8. I have some of those gloves and LOVE them...the best I have ever used!

  9. You use my trick of combining both hand and machine quilting. I would prefer all hand ,but like you say there is only so much time. glad to know there'e someone else who's figured out a compromise! Love your blog!