Two weekends ago, I pieced the quilt backing for my 2018 Aurifil Designer of the Month quilt top using a little over 4 1/4 yards of the light purple Timeless Treasures solid I recently acquired. Then I put off basting the quilt sandwich. Even the thought of basting the 72″ square quilt made my back hurt!
Last Tuesday I finally caved and basted the quilt. Because my plan is to spiral quilt this one, I used up all the pins I had on hand as I knew it was going to get manipulated a LOT as I worked on it. In all, it took about an hour and a half to layout and baste, and then I needed a few days to recover before I was even ready to consider starting the quilting.
I really hurt my lower back as a teenager wakeboarding on a lake. I fell wrong and messed myself up pretty badly; my spine was shifted by almost a half inch between my lowest vertebrae and my sacrum. Ouch. I had physical therapy to get me back up on my feet at the time, and since then, I have relied on keeping my abdominal muscles as strong a possible and chiropractors to keep myself going. Needless to say, it’s been a while since my last chiropractic appointment and I am really starting to be able to tell. Thankfully I know a lot of tricks to help get my back to release, but I do look forward to getting an adjustment again. Sometime.
Over the weekend I was finally ready to tackle the beginning of the spiral quilting. The worst of the bulk of the quilt will be manipulated now, at the beginning of the spiral. Some things I have learned to help myself over the years are:
- I like to turn the quilt in a counter-clockwise rotation so that the center of the spiral slowly moves to the left as I add to the spiral. This means that with each revolution, less of the quilt needs to pass through the throat of my machine.
- As a result, I set up my walking foot guide on the left of the needle. This keeps the bulk of the quilt from getting tangled in the guide. Having the guide on the right hand side often means the quilt bulk bumps and moves the guide width, resulting in frustration on my part, so that’s another plus for having it to the left.
I am quilting with approximately a 1″ spacing. To start the spiral quilting, I mark out the first two full revolutions with my Hera marker. I start by measuring out 1/4″ from the center along one seam. I measure 1/2″ on the second seam, 3/4″ on the third, and 1″ on the fourth and final seam. Starting back at the first seam, I measure 1 1/4″, then 1 1/2″, then 1 3/4″, and finally 2″. Then I do my best with my Hera marker to gracefully arc and curve between the marked points to create the center spiral. From there, I set my sewing machine speed to the lowest setting and even then I only quilt a few stitches at a time as the center requires a lot of moving and manipulating of the quilt.
It’s my goal to have this quilt finished this week… we’ll see if I can get it done. What are you working on this week?