Much forward progress on my scrap quilt! I finished piecing the top in six only slightly obsessive days, then put it together with the batting and the back. So determined was I to have this be a quilt that ate into my reserves that I pieced all my leftover pieces of batting together, simply laying them down edge to edge until I covered my entire quilt area, and called that a day. I had muslin in the stash for the back.
A quick aside to say: Do not be intimidated by quilting! Remember, this is a craft developed by uneducated mountain women who just wanted a warm blanket! You don't have to be perfect and you don't have to follow any rules and you can do it any way you want and call it good enough.
So, neophyte quilters, here are the basics:
1. Lay out the big muslin square that will become the back, right side down. I pieced together two lengths of muslin and pressed the seam open. Pull out all the creases and possibly weight the corners of the back so it stays flat (I pull a piece of furniture close enough to place a chair leg on the fabric which only works if you're working on the floor, obviously).
2. On top of that, gently place your batting. Purchased in one piece, or, if necessary, laid out in pieces (give them a little overlap, like an inch). Do not pull them around on the muslin, thereby making it bunch up.
3. On top of that, float your quilt top down right side up (help is handy here). Make sure it's lined up correctly, corners square, etc. Give yourself plenty--four to six inches-- of batting and muslin sticking out around the edge. If you need to adjust its position, lift it up and move it--don't drag!!
4. Now, you can pin or baste. Either way, you want to attach all three layers together every six inches or so. You can pin safety pins onto your quilt in row after row, or you can thread a needle with a really long dark thread (or white, if your top is dark), and take big stitches in rows across the top, every six inches. I thread my needle so I can get all the way across the quilt in one thread. For machine quilting, I baste so no pins get tangled up with the machine.
5. It's time to quilt! First turn the quilt over and make sure there aren't any bunched up areas basted into the back. If there are, you have to decide if they're worth picking out and straightening, or if you're going to just charge ahead.
6. To machine quilt, I highly recommend a walking foot. You put it on a regular sewing machine, you sew. Decide you're going to do straight lines. Do it for the sanity. I just quilted mine in diagonals lines, going both directions.
Binding still to come, after my shoulders have recovered from the machine quilting.