TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pictorial Log: Quilt-On-The-Go by Donna Hussain

Wedding Quilt by Donna Hussain, 120”x130”

My daughter recently married and asked me to make a quilt for her as my wedding present.  How could I refuse her request?

Over a period of several months I sent the newlyweds sample pictures of quilts that I thought might appeal to them.  Their final choice was a quilt design that I found in a Keepsake Quilter newsletter (www.keepsakequilter.com). The pattern has large-scale patchwork blocks that are easy to sew. However I decided to add side extensions to the floor and a pillow tuck of my own design to the queen-size quilt. With these additions the quilt grew quite large.

To sew the quilt on my home sewing machine I chose the method of quilting-on-the-go. That is to say I would first join and machine quilt the center blocks of the pattern, then add rows of patchwork blocks to encircle the center. In this quilting method each added section, usually one or two rows of patchwork blocks, is machine quilted before adding additional sections to the quilt top.  For detailed stitching directions read How To Machine-Quilt A Large Bed Quilt On A Home Sewing Machine, an article I wrote earlier for this blog.

 Pieced quilt center ready for quilting

The major problem in sewing a large quilt is handling the bulk of the fabric and batting. I do not have a quilting studio or a long arm quilting machine.  My quilting hobby occupies half of the master bedroom that I share with my husband.  The surface for my domestic sewing machine, cutting boards, and sewing supplies is a door purchased from Home Depot that sits on table legs.  The only way I can machine quilt a large quilt is to quilt-on-the-go.

My work space

Unfortunately, I lack a large design wall, so I built the quilt design by laying out sewn patchwork blocks on the bedroom floor.  My ironing board, bed, dresser, and sewing table all helped support the quilt bulk during various phases of construction as you will see in the pictures.

Two rows added to one end of quilt center, ready for quilting.

Joined rows ready for machine quilting

Marking the machine quilting pattern

Machine quilting

Edge blocks ready for quilting
Close-up of machine quilting pattern

After completing the quilt center I added a narrow brown and blue frame to the center design. The squiggly free motion quilting pattern that I chose for the blue stripe required movement of the fabric (changes of stitching direction) while sewing, a flexibility that was possible when quilting the blocks along the edges of the quilt. 

 Fabric frame of quilt center
Machine quilting the blue stripe

Next, I added one of the sides to the bedspread.  I cleared my dresser for workspace when smoothing out the wrinkles as I bundled the back, batting, and patchwork together. Note that the bulk of the quilt center is lying on the floor.

Bundling the patchwork side blocks with batting and back.
Preparing a side for quilting
Quilting the side
Checking the look of the attached side

Once the two sides of the quilt were attached and quilted I worked on the section for the foot of the bed.  This addition has the same pattern as the sides but needed additional blocks at both ends so that the section would extend the full width of the quilt.

Preparing the end section for quilting
End section quilted

The final hurdle before completing the quilt was to add the pillow tuck. My choice of design was blue and green stripes because stripes would be easy to quilt. Believe it or not, the pillow tuck caused me more problems than any other part of the project because I failed to get the back smoothed and stretched adequately before machine quilting.  The result?  Back puckers. Correcting my carelessness caused me many hours of “reverse sewing” and stress.

Last week I presented the wedding quilt pucker free and complete with binding to my daughter and son-in-law who are celebrating their first anniversary. Their appreciation is reward for all the time and effort I spent making their wedding quilt.

California quilter, Donna Hussain, has exhibited in major quilt shows around the country, authored books, and is a regular contributor to Fiber Focus. Click on her name to see all of her past articles.

The photo shows Donna with her husband, Pascha.


1 comment:

  1. Donna, the wedding quilt is lovely. I also have tried quilting as you go - IMO the only way on a home machine. I've used Marti Michelle's book, QUILTING IN SECTIONS. My last endeavor (not nearly as large as yours) was quilted in sections up to the last 2" before the joining seams. The quilted top sections were then seamed together; the battings met each other flush and were joined edge to edge by hand with a herringbone stitch, the backings were joined with needleturn appliqué and finally the last 2" quilted along that seam. Just another of several workable methods. I really appreciate your article - very clear description and the added photos are a big plus! Thank you for sharing your experience with us - great job! Kari


“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth.”

“Whatever you say, say it with conviction.”

(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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