In case you’re just joining my story in progress, my latest project is machine-quilting a satin Log Cabin quilt top hand-stitched and hand-embroidered by a woman in the 1920s while she was dying of cancer.
“Pissing off the purists” is my response to those who insist I must hand-quilt the top as well. It took me four years to hand-quilt my first quilt (from the summer of 1976 to Christmas 1980 (or was it really ’81??)). I have no desire to repeat the experience.
In order to leave as small a footprint as possible, I am stitching-in-the-ditch ALL embroidered seams (though I have found one short unembroidered seam that must have slipped by).
Some of the Log Cabin blocks are larger than their neighbors, resulting in uneven sashing between the blocks and zig-zag borders. I decided to stitch the sashing rows first, locking the blocks in place. Then, on a block-by-block basis, I will quilt each Log Cabin block from the outer “logs” inward, so the excess fabric falls to the center of the block.
(I have an idea of what to do with the excess fabric, but you probably won’t like it, so I’m not gonna tell you.)
Since it does no good to show you the quilt as I progress (you can’t see the stitching in any event), I’ve drawn a representation of the quilt, using bold lines to indicate what’s been quilted. Here’s where I am currently:
Today, I want to show you the steps I take to stitch these seams.
First, I pin along the seam I intend to stitch with safety pins parallel to both sides of the seam, and straight pins perpendicular to the seam:
Next, I roll the quilt to the right of the seam. This roll fits in the throat of the sewing machine. I hold the roll in place with bicycle clamps (which are normally used to keep pants legs clear of the bicycle chain):
I am sewing on a 30-year-old White sewing machine that sits within a cabinet for a sewing machine I threw away years ago. Behind and to the left of the cabinet are two plastic folding tables, set at right angles:
The bulk of the quilt rests on the table to the left, and the entire quilt slides along the table to the back as it is sewn:
I insert the quilt roll into the throat of the sewing machine, and line-up the seam I’m stitching. I lower my presser foot, and pull the bobbin thread to the top. I use my right hand to guide the quilt roll and I run my left hand along the seam in front of the presser foot (to prevent embroidery stitches catching on the presser foot toes). I take several short stitches to lock them in place, then lengthen the stitches (my left hand is missing from the photo below because it is holding the camera, right??).
So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m headed back to the studio. There are plenty more seams to stitch. I’ll be back to show how I handle the Log Cabin blocks once they’re locked into place.
Thank you for reading; please leave a comment below.