Thank you all for being so patient last week when I needed to take a week off. I’m back home & going 90 mph again- it’s great to be back in my routine! I hope this Tuesday tip is helpful for you. In preparation for sending your quilt to a longarmer, you may have heard the request to “trim your threads.” Sound familiar? The first time I heard this I had no idea what it meant. Turns out it’s pretty important- more so than I initially thought. When you’re asked to “trim your threads,” you are basically being asked nicely to clean up your quilt. I pulled out a quilt I pieced back in college for an example. Here’s a portion of the top. See those dangly threads? Yeah, they need to go away. The longarmer’s hopping foot can get caught in them & things can get ugly fast. Also, if they aren’t cut before hand, they could actually end up being quilted in & then it’s a pain to get them out from under the stitching. Then let’s look at the back of the quilt. This is a great picture of a hot mess of threads in the back: Those need to be cut away as well since they could get caught & get tied up together while the longarmer is loading the quilt. Remember- you don’t want your quilt to have anything that might cause it to not lie flat! Finally, there’s this: Notice my green fabric has frayed a bit? Because I’ve used white sashing between blocks, that green thread has the possibility of showing through the white fabric when quilted- yikes! That’s something you definitely don’t want to happen! So take a look at both sides of your quilt before sending it off- it will look that much nicer after a few minutes of trimming threads!
This cute little quilt top was a mystery I did with Stitchin’ Tree Quilts in Harlan, Iowa at a retreat back in January. It’s a great scrap quilt & a fun play with color value. Since my neutral was more of a medium color, I chose dark scraps for my piecing- but what, this isn’t a post about color theory- let me get onto the Tuesday Tip!
See how the outside border is pieced with all the different squares? Here’s a close up:
Notice how those seams that piece the border together run off the quilt? This can lead the stitching on the outside edge to become loose:
See how loose those seams are? And that’s just from folding & unfolding the quilt top! To keep those seams secure, we can sew a “stay stitch” around the outside edge of the quilt to keep them in place.
This is how I do it: I simply sew around the edge of the quilt, 1/8″ from the outside edge. Here it is in more detail:
I first get my “regular sewing foot.” This is the foot I use when constructing clothes or appliqueing. Basically it’s the foot I use when I’m not piecing a quilt. Now my foot has an 1/8″ marking on it. See where my needle is? Look just to the right of that- see that red line? That’s my 1/8″ line. I line up my fabric to that guide & start sewing as normal.
Now for thread, I don’t usually care what color I use for this technique- I just use whatever because since I’m stitching at 1/8″ from the edge & I usually sew my binding on at 1/4″ or 3/8″, it will be hidden in the binding. Here’s I’ve used a dark blue thread. So I continue sewing down the edge of the quilt side, until I get to the end, here I just stitch of the quilt:
Then I turn the quilt top & start the next side from the top:
My corner ends up looking nice & crisp like this:
You may be wondering why I bother sewing to the end, cutting my thread & rotating the quilt & starting again on each side- I do this because I get a crisper corner with my sewing machine. I found if I turned the corner, the corner ended up smaller & not as nice & even something crooked with my sewing machine. So in the end do what works for you- for me, I like the method that may take a little longer & use a little more thread, but I prefer it for the nicer finish. Thank you for joining me again for the Tuesday Tip! The stay stitch makes for a much nicer top to give your longarmer when you have a pieced border or a quilt that has curved edges (like in a Double Wedding Ring.) I hope to see you next week!
Today’s tip is actually a video (please be patient! This is my first video!) on how to spin seams. I received an email from a student this weekend about the best ways to press their seams & I wanted to share with them how to “spin their seams” so I decided to take the opportunity to share it with everyone!
Enjoy & please let me know your thoughts & if you have any questions you’d like answered about prepping a quilt for a longarmer. Linking up with Small Blog Meet