Do you love the feeling of snuggling under a quilt when it’s cold and chilly? Imagine yourself in the winter months, almost freezing and the warmth you feel under the quilt. Of course, you can buy a comforter from any shop for warmth, but a quilt is a quilt because you feel so cozy under a well-made quilt.
Take A Sneak Peek!
Quilting is a very popular activity among many people around the world who are interested in crafts. This craft has been around since 3400 BC, and the word quilt came from the French word ‘Culite.’ Commercially too quilting is over the 3-billion-dollar industry. Quilting is so much fun, with different fabrics, patterns, and designs. People quilt for various reasons; obviously, the love of the craft is one of them. There are so many different types of quilts. Earlier people used to make quilts with hands; nowadays there are machines available which have made the task much easier than before. There are different kinds of machines to choose from these days and so many new designs, and innovation has happened to the sewing machines.
Following are some interesting things about quilting-
- Quilting was first observed in the clothing of the Pharaohs in Egypt around 3400 BC in a carved ivory statue. This goes on to show that quilting has been a part of civilization since ancient times and is a time-tested craft passed on from generation to generation.
- Quilting has also been used in ancient China, where warriors wore quilted garments underneath the armor to protect them from cold.
- The word quilt comes from the Latin wordCulcita which means cushion or padding.
- The oldest quilt in the world is the Tristan quilt which is still in existence and is displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum and was believed to have been made somewhere in the 14th century.
- Crusaders brought quilting to the Western world from the Middle East in the 11th century. Till then it was not known in Europe. Later on, it developed into a useful craft.
- But it was in America that the craft of quilting really blossomed and became a multi-billion industry, in America the more colorful forms like the patchwork and appliqué became quite popular. In patchwork small pieces are sewn together to form larger patterns. In appliqué, the motifs are stitched to another fabric which remains in the background.
- Quilts are not only used on beds, but they are also used as coverings over doors, windows. As well as rugs for children to play on.
- In the earlier days, quilts were a way to utilize the leftover pieces of clothes and worn out
- In many instances, quilts were used to chronicle many life events like births, marriages, So the seemingly ubiquitous quilts recorded many historical events as well.
- Traditionally, many quilt designs are mathematical or geometrical, like squares, triangles,
- Quilt jackets have been in vogue in China for hundreds of years and have been worn by the Chinese to insulate them from the biting cold.
- Back stitch quilting is the oldest form of quilting; it is much faster and easier to use.
- In the earlier times, quilts were often used as currency to pay the bills.
- Studies show that there are 21 million quilters in the U.S today with the average age being 62 years and which is predominantly female.
- The U.S postal stamps have featured Amish and folk art quilts on its stamps.
- Quilting was brought to America by the Pilgrims and was seen as a great way for women to come together, socialize and make quilts to use in the winters.
- The most popular quilts are the Amish quilts; they use solid colors of varying shades.
As is seen from the above facts quilting has been around since ages cutting across civilizations. Quilting has come a long way from earlier times and is an industry. There are so many types of quilts these days. Although you can buy a comforter from any shop the feeling of snuggling under a homemade quilt in the chilly winter is something else.
Features Quilting Machines Should Have!
If you are a quilter, you must have the sewing machine best suited for your purpose. The machine that you own will have an impact on your quilting experience and the quality of your quilting. So it is pertinent that you choose the right machine with features most suited to your craft. There are so many different sewing machines in the market that it becomes a job in itself to be able to choose the right one. You must decide what kinds of features you need your machine to have, some machines have so many features, and they do have their uses, but the thing is they cost money! And the more features a machine has, the more money it costs. And quilting needs some basic stitches. The same stitches over and over again, so basically you don’t need a very fancy machine to do your stuff. Even a sturdy old machine will do the job for you pretty well.
So if you are thinking about buying a machine for your quilting, you must be very clear in your mind as to what end you are going to use your machine. There are many general quilting sewing machines that can be used, but if you are looking for versatility, then you must look for the machines which have advanced quilting features. These machines allow you to opt for more ambitious projects and do your work faster and easier.
The kinds of sewing machines available in the market are so many that it is sometimes really confusing to choose the right kind that suits your purpose. Therefore, it is very important to choose the one best suited for you since the wrong kind of machine might affect your quilting skills.
- Analyze Your Budget: First things first, you must figure out your budget before you do some research work for your machine shopping. The money you are willing to spend must depend on the frequency of using the machine. You can buy an inexpensive one if you are not planning to quilt regularly, especially if you are a beginner. On the other hand, if you are a seasoned quilter and plan on using the machine often then a more expensive machine which can handle heavy weight fabrics is recommended.
Some machines come with covers or casings which shield it from any form of damage. Depending on your budget, you can choose the right one. You can then decide whether your machine will have additional features. If you are willing to up the ante on your budget then it is advisable to go for the expensive ones. The more expensive machines are usually equipped with fast motors which can handle 1000 stitches per minute.
- Features You Should Look For: So given below are some helpful tips on buying the right kind of machine which will suit your skill level and pocket.
- Extra Working Space: A wide table is essential if you are going for big quilting stuff. Beginners are not aware and often commits a mistake by buying small tables which make the job more cumbersome as you have to keep folding and refolding the fabric. A smaller table does your job more time to consume as you can do a small amount of stitching at a time. If it is space that concerns you, you might go for machines that have extra wide working space. This makes your job easier. Specialized quilting machines do come with an extra-large table; it is not so with the traditional sewing machines though.
- Needle Positioning: This is yet another important aspect that one must opt for while buying a sewing machine for quilting. Though overlooked, this feature is quite handy as it provides the much-needed scope for sewing and helps in stitching exactly wherever you want it. This is quite helpful for those zigzag stitches. The needle position can be adjusted and can help the quilters to draw flawless stitch. So with an adjustable needle positioning feature quilters can come up with flawless stitches.
- Free Motion Quilting: This feature is present in all the quilting machines. This feature helps in getting the stitches even and uniform. It is easier to move your fabric across your worktable by the speed of your machine. This helps in adjusting your upper and lower fabric perfectly. So while looking for quilting machines, look for this feature as it comes in quite handy in creating designs like curls, twirls,
- Automatic End of Stitch Features: What it does is, at the end of your seam it raises the needle and the presser feet and cuts and also ties of the thread. And for your subsequent stitch, it spontaneously lowers the whole thing ready for the next stitch. It helps in speeding up your work and in the process save time.
- Lighting: It’s not a feature that is usually looked for, but it is a very useful feature. As we grow older, our eyes become weaker, so some top of the line models have this feature. Lighting, across the sewing bed, brightens up the stitches.
- Stable Hoops: It is very important to have sturdy and stable hoops to hold your fabric securely, and the side of the fabrics sometimes tends to slip. To take care of this aspect, some high-end machines have this feature to hold the fabric together securely.
- Accessories Box: Once you have bought your machine you don’t want to run around, looking for quilting accessories and stuff if you suddenly run out of them. So machines which come with a well-endowed accessories box is what you must look for.
- Free Motion Quality: This is a recent feature which helps in precision. You drop the feed dogs, start the machine to stitch and move your fabric around and make a different design with the thread.
- Embroidery Placement: This feature actually helps in placing the embroidery design on the fabric accurately. With this feature, you can do many intricate designs on your quilt and will give it a flawless look.
There are quite a lot of other additional features which can come in handy for your project. Some machines come with special quilting pressure foot, which makes your job easier and faster. It can also help in bindings and can be used for some other things like crafting quilts using rags etc.
The more expensive quilting machines come with some advanced stitches for quilters which are built in. These enable you to adorn your quilts with a myriad of designs.
Some machines are very quiet and don’t make a racket while sewing, you might even listen to some soft music while sewing and makes your job more enjoyable. Although this feature comes with the pricey models!
Some more additional features you can look for are the one step button holes, automatically threading the needle system and tension adjustment features.
So if you are thinking about quilting and looking for the perfect machine to buy, these are the features you must look for which will make your quilting experience an enjoyable one. Keep in mind these things, and you are good to go.
Quilting - Options For Beginner!
Quilting is a craft which requires patience and perseverance. But quilting can be fun as well. The fabrics, the colors and of course the satisfaction you get when you create something as useful as a quilt, with your own hands, is a totally different experience.
There are many types of quilts, the simpler ones, which are easier to make, and the ones which require intricate craftsmanship.
Some Tips For Beginners
So if you are a beginner quilter and want to know all about your options on how to get started, the following pointers will give you some ideas according to your requirements. For those who are just learning the ropes, the choices can be overwhelming to some extent. Because some quilts are easier to make especially for beginners. Those who are just trying out their hands on this craft for the first time will do well to start with simpler quilts.
- Choose Small: When you are just a beginner at your craft, always start with small projects. Same with quilting as well, instead of starting with quilts for the cot, start with doll quilts or some cushion cover patchwork. This will boost your confidence and then gradually you will be able to move on to bigger quilts.
- Patterns With Large Pieces: You would do well to go for quilt patterns with large pieces. When you choose large pieces what happens is that it becomes easier to stitch the larger pieces as there are fewer seams to sew and makes it easier to place an accurately pieced block. As the smaller pieces will require more skill than that of a beginner, the larger pieces will leave lesser room for errors. Feeling daunted? Don’t fret; there are many books with free patterns where they have easier patterns to suit the beginners. Patterns where there are larger squares and simpler borders to help you practice piecing and pressing.
- Go with Simple Designs: Squares and are the easiest patterns to sew with. For beginners choosing the simple patterns like this make their task simpler because these patterns are easier to assemble and then practice piecing and quilting of squares and rectangles. So go with straight lines and simple patterns. As you practice more on these designs, your skill will get better, and you can go for more complex designs.
The Bare Essentials
What is quilting? Well, quilting is stitching together three or more layers of material, to form a thicker material for warmth. A quilt is made up of three layers basically, the top, the wadding, and the backing. Just as a sandwich is divided into three layers, so is a quilt.
Various Ways of Quilting
Quilting can be done both ways- hand and machine.
- Hand Quilting: Hand Quilting is a method of stitching with a needle and thread and sewing a running stitch over the quilt layer to stick them up together. Usually, a stab stitch is used where the stitch is pushed through the top and pulled it through the end layer to secure the stitch. Sometimes a rocking stitch is also used, one hand is placed on the top to push the needle down and the other hand placed underneath the fabric to put the needle up.
- Machine Quilting: On the other hand machine quilting is a much quicker process, where a sewing machine is used to do the stitching. The quilt top, wadding and the bottom are placed together on top of each other and then stitched together in the process attaching the layers together. This can be done straight up aligned to the seams or using various patterns to suit the top.
Components of Quilting
Quilts has three basic components-
- The Quilt Top: The design on top of the quilt made up of blocks and patterns in rows enclosed by a border.
- The Batting: The stuffing or padding in the middle which serves as the insulator. The local sewing shop sells different types of battings. The batting with natural fibers like wool or silk will likely be more expensive. The polyester or poly-cotton blends are more affordable.
- The Backing: The bottom part of the quilt, the backing is the end part of the quilt.
Stages Of Quilting
- Preparation: Select the quilt design of your choice, you can Google for the design or make your own design, whatever you like, but keep in mind to select a simple and easy design. First, draw a plan and try choosing simple squares and rectangles. Once you have settled on the design, the next step is to select the fabric. You will get the fabric from any fabric store which will have pre-packaged co-ordinate quilting fabrics.
- Making the Top Design: Cutting and sewing together the blocks. This is the most cumbersome part of quilting. This is a very tedious process especially the cutting of the pieces. Cutting precisely is very necessary as all the corner has to match up. To make the cutting accurate, you will need a rotary cutter and a self-healing mattress. So you cut the pieces into different designs and then sew them together in rows. Once you are done with the rows, you add the borders, and this is how the quilt top is done.
- Quilting: Sandwiching the top, batting and the backing of the quilt and stitching them together. First, you must place the backing fabric with the wrong side up. Remember to press the fabric and then place the batting material on top of it. The placing of the batting must be very smooth. Then the next step is to put the quilt top over it, now attach them with pins to hold the layers together and start to stitch.
- Binding: Binding the edges and giving a fine touch. Once the binding is over, your quilt making process is complete.
Tools For Quilting
- Needles: The needles come in different sizes you must choose according to your convenience. Usually, the needles from size 7 to 12 are generally used.
- Shears And Scissors: Scissors are an absolute must. Scissors are used for trimming small areas and cutting threads, while shears are used for large cutting areas such as patchwork pieces.
- Pins: Pins are usually used to hold the fabric layers together before it is sewn. There are various types available in the market, but the long, thin and straight pins are best for quilting, as they are easier to put in and out of the fabric.
- Thimbles: They are used for hand-sewing. Thimbles save the fingers from injury. There are many versions available that will fit any finger. And they are available in gold, silver, metal, plastic, leather, glass and wool. It takes a while to getting used to a thimble.
- Bias Bars: They are also called as Celtic Bars. This is used for making appliqué work. They come in various widths.
- Rotary- Cutting Supplies: This is a tool for cutting fabric strips. It may be used for cutting other shapes and patterns as well. They save time for cutting. If you find shears difficult to work with, a rotary cutter will come to your aid. Be very careful when using a rotary cutter because they are very sharp and it can cause serious injury. They should be used on the specially designed cutting mat with a self-healing surface.
- Marking Tools: They are required for several things during quilt making. For cutting templates a very sharp fine-point pencil is required for marking out the area. Pens are not recommended as they absorb the ink during sewing. There are wash-out markers nowadays. The color of these markers disappears after a while.