Quilting Your Quilt Top
There are many ways to finish a quilt, but only a few
of them that I consider frugal.
Hand quilting takes a lot of time. For that
reason I do not consider it frugal. I am a very frugal person,
and it takes time to run my household and life in a frugal manner.
However, if you do have the time, hand quilting is inexpensive.
Another option you have is to send your quilt out to
be quilted on a long arm machine. Again, that is expensive so
I do not consider it frugal.
You can buy frames to use your sewing machine at home.
They are large, cost money, and many people get very aggravated
using them. If you do a lot of quilting, and have the room,
you may want to invest in one someday.
The most frugal ways to finish your quilt
to machine stitch it, which you can usually do in a day or two, or
to tie it.
If you machine stitch your quilt, you can either do
straight stitching with an even feed walking foot, so the fabric
doesn't pucker, or you can do free motion quilting. You can
quilt straight lines in the seams of your patchwork (called
"quilting in the ditch") or you can quilt diagonally in the center
The quilt in the picture on top, which was made with
large squares, was
simply quilted in the ditch. It was fast and easy.
Free motion quilting takes a lot of practice.
However, if you master it, you can make a lot of curved
stitches that look good on square blocks.
You can use whatever color of thread you like, but
make sure it is a good quality thread. Some quilters like to
use multi-colored thread for machine stitching the top.
Be sure and leave about 4 inches of extra batting on
the sides of the back to make sure the top will fit.
The absolute easiest way to quilt your fabric is by
tying it with yarn, pearl cotton, or embroidery thread. Tying
a quilt is nothing more than threading a needle with your yarn, and
pulling it down through the fabric and up again, cutting it and
making a square knot. When you are done making your knows, you
will want to trim the edges to about 1/2 an inch. You can do
it on the right or the wrong side of the fabric.
Some yarn goes through fabric better than other yarn.
I had one quilt that I tied that I had to use pliers to pull the
yard through. Obviously, the thinner the yarn, the easier it
No matter which method you use, be sure and pin the
layers of your quilt securely together. I like to use wide
packing tape to secure the backing of my quilt to my hobby tables.
If I am doing a large quilt, I use binder clips on the sides of the
table. Then I lay my batting on top, and over that my quilt
top. At that point I get out my quilter safety pins and start
Occasionally I will use spray glue, with or without
the pins, to help hold the layers in place. If you do not get
the backing taunt, and firmly secure the layers, you will have
puckers and wrinkles in your quilt that will ruin the appearance.
One last thought- if you are "burned out" when you
finish your quilt top, just set it aside. Don't rush the
quilting process. Set it aside, and come back when you are
refreshed and ready to do it right. Never rush
the quilting process. If you do, you will take too many
shortcuts, and make too many mistakes to enjoy your handiwork.