We are sooo close to being done with this jelly roll strip quilt! Are you excited?! I sure am!
And with our quilt sandwich all made, today we're going to start quilting. Straight line quilting is a great place to start when quilting for the first time. Though the technique is simple (and by technique I really mean just stitching along in a straight line), the results can be quite eye-catching and very modern!
To start, let's go back to our quilt sandwich and gently roll or fold it toward center from both edges (image above). We're doing this so we can easily move it to the sewing machine without messing up our quilt sandwich efforts. Also, I find it helpful to have the quilt rolled up like this while quilting the first few lines on to the quilt. (After the first few lines, I find it easier to work with a looser quilt.)
Now a few things to keep in mind while quilting:
Load the quilt on to your sewing machine. We're going to start quilting in the center of the quilt. (That's why we folded the edges toward the center when we rolled up our quilt sandwich -- leaving a nice open space in the middle of the quilt for us to begin.)
You'll need to use your hands to gently support the quilt throughout this entire process. Don't pull the quilt top with your hands, though; your sewing machine will feed the fabric through. Your hands should rest comfortably to the left and right of your the foot/needle on the bed of your sewing machine.
When you take your first few stitches, make sure you backstitch to lock your stitch. You'll do this at the beginning and end of every new quilted line. Some sewing machines allow you to program an automatic backstitch, but if you don't have that, fear not... there's a special button for that (image above). You just need to take about 2-3 backstitches to lock it in. Easy.
Now, feed the quilt through in straight lines, using both of your hands to help guide the quilt. Make sure you don't let the quilt hang off the table edges.
You can space your lines any way you want. Mine are random, with lines 1/4" - 2" apart. You can use the right or left edge of your foot lined up against a jelly roll strip to help keep your lines straight (image 1). Alternatively, if you have a seam guide, you can move it to the left or right and line it up on a previous line or a jelly roll strip edge (image 2).
Quilt to your heart's content. Be sure to take breaks -- or do the quilting over the course of a couple of days. This is not typically something that can be done in a single setting. Quilting takes time!
I'll be back on Friday with our final installment of the Jelly Roll Strip Quilt quilt-along. We'll be making and attaching the binding!