It’s been about 2½ weeks since I shared how I developed the quilting plan for Sesen. It was a busy few weeks with Thanksgiving, my final virtual guild lecture for 2021, and the start of the Planview Quilt Along, but I’ve made good progress along the way and today I want to share a few things I’ve tried differently as I have been quilting this time around; there’s always something new to try and learn!
I like to use my Hera Marker to mark reference lines before I baste my quilts. Starting with Pulsar, I’ve been marking my quilts while they are up on my design wall. This keeps me from being hunched over on my hands and knees on the floor and is one of my favorite changes I’ve adopted in 2021. I marked reference lines in all the curved piecing and the 1″ grid that I will quilt in all the background prior to getting the quilt basted (you can faintly see the grid in the background of the photo below). Which isn’t to say this method doesn’t come without downsides: holding my arms up like that is tiring! I broke up the marking activity across 2 days for Sesen.
Another thing I began doing this year was pin basting the batting to the backing just outside the quilt top. I have had much less shifting of my quilt backings as a result. Since my quilting plan for Sesen will required a lot of turning of the quilt as I work on the curved areas (which I planned to quilt before quilting the background), I used up ALL the pins I had to pin baste the quilt top. Without pins for the batting to backing, I opted to thread baste around the sides of the quilt. After I had quilted the light and medium orange areas of the quilt, I had removed enough pins to take the time to remove the thread basting and replace it with the pins that had been freed up. This is another change I’m really glad I made this year.
The guide for my walking foot is super handy and I use it all the time. Earlier this year I shared a tip for adding layers of washi tape to use as a reference to adjust the guide with. This time, I tried something new that I think works even better.
First, I want to touch on why I’m constantly checking and re-checking the spacing of my walking foot guide. One reason is that every time I need to change the bobbin on my Juki, I need to remove the guide so I can get to the bobbin case. I know not all machines work this way, but it’s something I have to work around with the side loading bobbin. Another reason I check frequently has to do with how much I need to manipulate Sesen as I am quilting the curves. I end up moving the quilt back and forth through my throat space a lot, and even with as much care as I try to take, a pin can get caught on the bar for the walking foot guide and move it quite easily. One small bump and, oopsie, I’m now quilting with a spacing that I didn’t intend.
For Sesen, prior to beginning to quilt, I made 2 marks on the metal guide bar that slips into my walking foot. The first mark shows me where the clear walking foot guide should be positioned. I used a fine point Sharpie marker after carefully measuring and positioning my guide (more on this in a moment).
I also made a second mark on the other side to show where the metal guide bar should be positioned. Now, with a quick glance, I can tell if either mark has shifted, adjust, and keep on quilting. I love that this approach is visual – it’s easy to check, adjust, and move on.
As I mentioned above, I made the marks using a fine point Sharpie. Concerned that the marks could get rubbed off onto the fabric accidentally, I shifted the bar from my walking foot and applied a thin layer of clear fingernail polish over the marks and then repositioned the bar after it had set. If I no longer want these marks, they will be easy to scratch and rub off later, but for now, this has proven to be a very robust system for me.
I’ve made great progress with the quilting, but I still have a ways to go. Just keep quilting, right?!?