Machine Quilting Tips (part 3)

By Mary Covey

3 Must Know Tips to Machine Quilting

Whither you are machine quilting your quilt yourself or sending it to a machine quilter to quilt for you, there are a few tips that will help your quilt have a better finished look.

1.  Check your borders to make sure that they are flat, the seams are straight, and the corners are square. The quilt below (made by Elsie Ridgley quilted by me) is a great example of this.

IMG_3231elephant side

2.  It is important for the back of your quilt to lay flat also. First be sure to have a straight and even seam. Trimming the selvage and pressing the seam open before quilting will help keep the back from puckering.

IMG_3976selvage      This is an example of an uneven seam that has untrimmed selvages and has not been pressed.


       This is an example of a good even seam that has trimmed selvages and pressed seams.

3.  Finally, use good quality thread and batting. I prefer 100% cotton thread like Aurifil or Signature. The same is true for batting choose a good quality natural fiber batting like Warm & Natural. If you prefer a light weight batting Hobbs Heirloom is 80% cotton/20%polyester. Both battings will withstand the test of time.


Blessings from Beauty

By Mary Covey

I am taking a break from my series of posts on Machine Quilting Tips to write a brief post about beauty and blessings.  We can always find beauty  in the things that surround us – faces, smiles, children at play, trees, the ocean, mountains, flowers – well you get the picture. I will be making a conscious effort everyday to be thankful for the blessing of joy that comes from beauty. I challenge you to do the same.





Machine Quilting Tips (part 2)

By Mary Covey


Have you ever been driving and think you hear a noise that just doesn’t sound right? Or maybe the brakes make a squeaking sound when you use them. To prevent worrying about those things, I always take my car in for regularly scheduled maintenance. The mechanic has a check list that he goes over with me that lets me know if anything needs to be done to the car. He will also let me know when the next maintenance appointment should be scheduled.  Just like any other mechanical thing your machine (long arm or home use) should be taken in for regular scheduled maintenance.

Here are 5 Machine Quilting Tips to maintain your long arm or home use sewing machine:

  1. Check your owners manual to see how often your machine should have a check up.
  2. Find a maintenance shop that has guaranteed service with certified service repair men. The place where you bought your machine is a good place to start.
  3. Set up a schedule and stick to it even if you think there are no problems with the machine.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you do have your machine serviced.
  5. Always ask for a copy of the parts that were checked or replaced.

Finally, keep good records of service in case you do have a problem. Manufacturer’s warranty may depend on how well you have maintained your machine.



Machine Quilting Tips (part 1)

By Mary Covey

From fabric to thread to batting, as quilters we are always in contact with fibers. Whether it is piecing a quilt or machine quilting a quilt, the fibers we work with create particles of dust. Over time those small particles become larger bundles of dust. These bundles can cause all kinds of problems for both you and your machine. From skipped stitches to machine malfunctions, it is not a pretty picture. The dust in the picture below is from quilting just one row.


Dust Bunnies 1


Here are a few suggestions to prevent these problems:
 1. Start with a clean surface. Wipe the outside of your machine and working area off with a lint free cloth.
2. Check your bobbin hook, bobbin case, and bobbin to make certain they are free of dust and lint. Just as the dust collects around the needle, it can also collect in the bobbin area as pictured below.
Dust Bunnies 2
3. Oil your machine according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
4. Start each new project with a new needle. A dull needle can cause dragging and puling in the fabric.
5. After each project is finished ( or in the middle of a big project), blow the dust that has collected in the machine out using compressed air, the same kind you would use on your computer.

Happy Sewing!