Step #3 of Quilt-Along

For Step #3 we'll begin with our 38" square of backing fabric.  Iron it nicely, fold in half and iron the crease at the outer edge.  Do this for both sides.  We'll use these small creases to mark the halves of our quilts.   Now I laid the back on my carpet with wrong side up.  Next I placed my 38" square of batting on top of it.  Now I went around the edges with safety pins and pulled the back tight through the batting by sticking the pins into my carpet pad.  If you use a table to sandwich, you can use double sided masking tape about an 1" from the edges of the backing to make it somewhat tight. This is an important step to reduce pleating of your back when you are quilting.

Our quilt has 5 vertical rows of blocks.  Take the middle vertical row (C in my case) and measure it.  Mine is 30 1/2".  Make a note of yours. I centered the row on my sandwich 3 3/4" from the top and bottom and    15 1/4" from side to side.  If you are using 3 rows, use row #2.  If an even number of rows, email me. See photo below. 
You can see the pins on the edges. We left room for the border all around. Now pin your row at the corners,  along the seams and in the center of the block. Once that is done, I take out the pins and pin them all around the edges of the quilt to stabilize the sandwich.  Turn the sandwich over and run your hand on the pinned back to see it if is smooth.

Take your sandwich to your sewing machine.  When I quilt, I use the same thread in top and bobbin, a Microtex 75/11 needle, feed dogs down, a single needle plate, and a open darning foot. I am going to do a large meander over the row staying about 1/2" away from all the edges.  Don't worry - as you add more rows and quilt, you can fill in spaces that may look empty.  This is to anchor your sandwich and get the hardest part of the quilt quilted.

You could also use a foot with a plastic foot. Note:  If you've never quilted on your machine, stop and make a 12" square sandwich to practice.  Pin your sandwich around the edges and one safety pin in the center.  Set up your machine.  Bring your bobbin thread to the top of your sandwich and take a couple of tiny stitches to anchor the threads.  Now with your hands on both sides of the foot - start to sew and use your hands to guide the sandwich going at a steady speed.  When you start to do a curve, slow down a bit so you won't get big stitches.  There are a lot of good how to machine quilt books out there.  I started by quilting small charity quilts and haven't looked back. Hey I've still got a lot to learn, but with the practice, they are starting to look better and better.  That's all it takes - practice.  Here's a site to see a machine quilter in action:

Or you might like to do straight line quilting.  I do all the above but use my walking foot and guide.  See below:
This will give me straight row quilting.  By lining up the guide 1/4:  from the edge I get a straight lines through  all the blocks evenly spaced. Reverse the guide for the other side of the blocks. If you use the edge of the blocks you'll have a nice pattern of spaced lines. Whatever you want to do.  With this method all you need to do is two lines and you're done with the row.

Roll up your quilt on the right side of your row of blocks and place it under the needle.  Bring your bobbin thread up to the top, and take a few tiny stitches to anchor your threads.  Meander at a steady speed over your block leaving a 1/2" free of quilting on all the edges and guiding the row with your hands.  Here is my completed first row - took about 10 minutes.  Ps:  I put the tape from the top and bottom blocks of the row and stuck them to the batting to remind me which end was up.

That's it for this step.  If you have questions, please email me.  See you friday - Thursday is going to be way buzy for me. 


  1. Hi! Thanks for your explanations, I've fell in love with machine quilting! I don´t have the darning foot but I'll buy it ASAP, meanwhile I'll try if I can make it without any foot, as if I was machine embroidering. I've chosen my fabrics, I will post about them tomorrow.
    Thanks a lot!

  2. Hello! If you visit my blog, I'll see the fabrics I've chosen for this project :-)
    Have a nice weekend!


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