Happy Tuesday and Happy December! Hard to believe, isn't it, that Thanksgiving is now officially behind us and Christmas is fast approaching? My goal was to have all my Christmas decorations up by December 1st this year, which meant starting the weekend before Thanksgiving. I never seem to be ready for the holidays, November always comes up on me so rapidly and I am usually overwhelmed with all the decorating preparations and other day to day things I need to do.
Generally this is also when I do that dreaded floor to ceiling deep cleaning throughout the house. I don't know why I put myself through all of the work and stress, I can't say that I really enjoy it while I am doing it. And the older I get, the more I seem to resent the amount of time that it requires when I would much rather be sewing. But it has become an annual ritual and a sort of cleansing process and I do take pride in it after the fact when it is all said and done (although I am still the only one that notices!). But this last week I've been coping with layers of pet fur hiding in places you wouldn't think pet fur would find in the first place! It never ceases to amaze me that it tends to lay on every horizontal (and vertical!) surface in the house no matter how low or how high!
However, on this Irish chain quilt, I experimented with one of the built in quilting designs that came with the embroidery program to my Bernina. You can see the design I chose in the white area of the quilt. I thought it was a great opportunity to play with my machine and actually use one of the embroidery features for a change, which is one of the reasons I bought it in the first place!
I quilted the cables with the walking foot as well. (I always mark all of my lines with a fine blue water soluble pen before I ever baste or layer my quilt together.) Then I start at one corner and follow each line from top to bottom, one line at a time. The gentle curve is not an issue if you sew slowly. I also find that wearing Machingers quilting gloves gives me the traction I need to gently guide the quilt under the needle.
My favorite thread for machine quilting for the top side of the quilt is made by Wonderfil, called Invisafil. It is very, very fine, a 100 weight thread, and 100% polyester, so it is also strong. It comes in a wide array of colors but I find that the whites and off-whites blend extremely well with many fabrics and virtually disappear even when sewing over other colors. It is also wonderful for stitching in the ditch and I have had excellent results with it on all of my quilts. In the bobbin I usually use DMC machine embroidery thread in the 50 weight or Mettler embroidery thread in the 60 weight. Both are 100% cotton and also come in a wide array of colors. I always match the bobbin thread to my backing fabric.
If you have never tried machine quilting with a walking foot, I suggest you give it a try! It's relatively easy to do, a lot less stressful than free-motion quilting, great for beginners, and with a little bit of prep work, it's a great way to actually get some of those quilt tops quilted that have been piling up.
I hope you enjoyed my Christmas show and tell! Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions. I try to respond to all of the comments. And now. . .it's back to cleaning! Ugh. . . .