Monday, November 21, 2016

Practice Quilt

I took some advice from Jamie Wallen and had a practice quilt top basted by a local long arm quilter. He told us to get a queen sized or larger piece made with plain old white top and backing and suggested that we use nicer material (not muslin) so that it more closely resemble the feel of a real quilt top.  He told us to get a long arm quilter to quilt it with really bad tension (so that you could pull out the basting stitches) and to use long stitch length and minimal quilting.  So a local long arm quilter did this for me.  Here is a picture of part of it:

Then he told us to cut it up and use it for practicing quilt designs right before we want to do it on a quilt.  He also advised us to use this as a  test piece to get our stitch tension perfect.  A lot of long arm quilters run the machine off the edges of the quilt top and practice in the batting and backing.  If you have a long arm machine, he suggests that you cut it up into long strips that you can mount on the side of the quilt, then use this strip to do your test stitches.

Since I have a domestic machine and now also use a sit down long arm, he suggested to me that I cut it into large pieces instead of strips.  I've already been using a separate test piece for years to get the tension adjusted every time I change threads on my domestic.  But it does take a little longer to get the tension just right on the long arm.  So I'm glad to have this new piece to cut up and use.  (I just threw away a piece that was so sewn over I couldn't tell where the stitches were. ) Here's how the test piece looks with practice stitches to get the tension right.  (For those of you who look closely, you'll notice that in this picture the test piece is actually not basted by machine, but by spray basting.  You get the idea though).

I hope you can find a long arm quilter to baste your quilts if you are a sit down quilter.  It's pretty inexpensive and will really help you quilt a flatter quilt.  

1 comment:

  1. Tension is tricky. What a great way to work on a practice sandwich!