quilting with decorative stitches

What to do with all those decorative stitches?

I love to quilt my smaller quiltlets on my Janome.  I do have a longarm but I love the reconnection with quilting that you get when you work with your domestic sewing machine.

For this project I decided to play with my ‘let them eat cake’ quiltlet pattern, updating the colours and experimenting with a print for the cake plate for Valentine’s Day, just to see how it would work out.  In my opinion playing is the best way to learn… don’t be to precious with your quilt art, experimenting is where you really find your own unique quilty style.

Once I had created the quilt top, next step… quilting.

In so many instructions you find the words, “quilt as desired”.  To me that really is of no help at all.  So many quilt tops languish as quilters don’t know exactly what it what it is that they desire… at least for the quilting 😉

Many of our machines come with a huge variety of decorative stitches… which we love to look at but seldom use… so for my cake quiltlet I thought I would play and see what they can do.

My suggestion is to start with a taster.  Don’t overload your quilting with all decorative stitch at first.  Combine straight lines with an occasional decorative one.  Practice first on scrap fabric and batting and make a note on the sample of which stitch number you used… it saves time scrolling through to find them later!

There are so many options… for this first practice I chose three decorative and then one script… given it is a cake, I picked “sweet”. 

I used Aurifil cotton in a soft grey for most of the quilting.  I wanted to see how this technique worked up before committing to it in colour, I have saved that step for my next project in March…

And a hint about using the quilting and decorative stitches, let the machine take the fabric at its own pace, do not push or pull the quilt and make sure it is able to move through the throat space freely, this will give you the best result.

And happily you do not have to stick to strictly “quilting” stitches, I used decorative stitches as well and with the Janome walking foot, there was no problem at all.

I spent a little more time switching from straight stitches to decorative when they crossed the layers of cake.  It may have taken a little more time and attention, but I liked the effect and will be exploring this more in the future.

Next time you are faced with the words “quilt as desired”, try out your decorative stitches, you may be pleased with the result 🙂

In March I will be revising my gnome quiltlet to give him a St. Patrick’s Day makeover…