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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Little Machine Quilting Tip…

Like many of you, I am learning.  Learning all the in and out when it comes to free motion quilting, and boy there is just so much to learn.  I am a hand quilter by nature.  It was how I was taught to quilt oh so many years ago.  Now I find myself a slave to the details.  I want my starts and my finishes to be as flawless as they are when I am hand quilting.

The person who taught me to FMQ, taught me to just back stitch in place a couple of times and trim off my tread tails.  The problem is sometimes it looks a bit messy and obvious.  I am also afraid that over time the stitches will unravel.  Not good. 


So, I prefer to hand tie my knots and bury my tread tails.  Similar to the way you would when hand quilting.  I am finding as I do more of these projects this is a nifty little trick when your thread breaks or bobbins runs out in the middle of your design.  Of course, in a perfect world we would be able to machine quilt our designs in one continuous line, but of course, that is never the case.  I hate to admit it, but when straight line quilt, I have been known to rip out a whole stitch line if the thread breaks mid way through, and then start over.  I know, a little OCD, but oh well, we all have our vices don’t we… 


When I can’t start or end my stitches “off the quilt” as in straight line quilting, and have to start or end my stitches in the middle of the quilt, I like to leave myself very long tails.  When I start a stitch I will usually pull the bobbin thread up from the bottom to the top of the quilt.  That way there I will have more control of the thread.  When I end a design I pull the threads long before cutting them leaving a thread on the top and a thread on the bottom. 

Ok, so know that you know what my tread tails look like.  Now I will show you how I bury them into the quilt.  If you’re a hand quilter you probably already know how to do this, but if your not, or you are new to quilting this might helpful to you.  I will thread a needle and pull the threads through the quilt to the back, in the same hole where the stitches started.  That way there all your thread tails will be on the back side of your quilt.


Don’t worry, if for what ever reason your thread tail is short.  It can still be pulled through to the quilt.  Just insert the needle through the quilt first, then thread the needle.

I use a  needle with a large eye, but a needle threader, or a pair of tweezers could come in handy if you have trouble treading needles.


Once your thread tails are pulled through to the backside of your quilt, you can take the threads and tie them into a double knot.  Then tread your needle once more with your thread tails and insert the needle in-between the layers of your quilt in the same hole as your knot, and pull through. 


Now that you have pulled your thread tails through remove the needle and give the threads a gentle tug to pull the knot into the batting.  Then just trim the excess thread.

I hope you found this helpful. I will be linking this tutorial to some of these great linky parties. Be sure to stop by and check them out. If you would like me to add your linky party to my page just ask.

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  1. Nice job on the quilting! Being a great quilter is in the details and you seem to be detail oriented.

  2. It does work and look much better. I, like you, am the hand quilter trying to get comfy in the FM world....it is getting better; slowly...lol

  3. I also learned to quilt from my grandmother who was a hand quilter. Still practicing machine quilting. Like that this trick can also work for MQ. :)

  4. and when you get old, and can't see as well, try out the easy threading "cheater" needles. I hear the best ones are made by Clover, but I think I have some inferior brand, because some of them rip the thread, but the ones that work are great.

  5. Very nice job! I have made two quilts....quite a lot of work. Please come share at my Farm Girl Blog Fest: http://fresh-eggs-daily.blogspot.com/2012/10/farm-girl-blog-fest-6.html

    Fresh Eggs Daily


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