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Quilty Finish Line - Tips & Ideas

Hi Friends!

So you are ready to finish your My Cup Runneth Over quilt and here are the final tips and ideas for putting your rows together, basting your quilt sandwich, ideas for quilting, binding, and labeling. If you are an experienced quilter, there may be nothing new here. And if this is your first quilt, it may be all new. However when someone asks me if it's going well and if I think I've got it - I have always replied "great" and "yes" because... you don't know what you don't know.

Putting the rows together:

I lay all of the tumbler rows and strip sets out on my bed and adjust until I like the way it all looks. Then I use a safety pin and a row marker (which I made from cutting numbers from an old calendar) to label each row. Then place a strip row right sides together with a tumbler row, and pin the edge you are going to sew just like you did for the strip sets. This becomes important because you don't want to end up with the strips sewn on the wrong edge.

Basting the quilt sandwich:

There are several ways to baste a quilt once it is all sewn together and all seams are pressed. You can pin, spray, or stitch - I combine all 3. I lay out my batting on top of the wrong side of my backing, smooth it all out, and pin just a little around the edges. Then flip it over so the batting is on bottom. Then I unpin and lift/roll one half of backing out of the way and lightly spray basting adhesive all over that part of the batting. Then starting at the center I smooth and iron the batting back onto the batting. Repeat for other half of backing and re-pin lightly around the edges. Then I flip it back over and lay my quilt top right side up onto the batting, smooth it out, and repeat the basting spray and ironing process. This time pin every 6 inches or so with a safety pin (I like the big curved ones). Take your pins off the backing side and pin on the top side about an inch from the edges - so you don't run them over with your machine.

Since I am quilting on my domestic sewing machine, I then use a basting stitch (or the longest stitch setting) on my machine and stitch around the entire quilt top about 1/8" from the edge. Then trim off all of the excess batting and backing to approximately 2 inches from the quilt edges.

Now it's time to quilt!

My tips are:

1) Have a chair that puts you at a height where you are looking slightly down at your quilt, not even with it, this equals less back pain - You're welcome! (I even sit on a pillow)

2) Use extra tray tables, chairs, or an ironing board if needed to help support the weight of your quilt in front of your table and beside you as you quilt. This helps with the weight/drag which can cause tension and stitch length issues.

3) Stitch in the ditch to stabilize your rows. You can do this at the junctions of only tumbler meets strip rows or all of the strips. That could be all the quilting you do because it is 6" apart - check your batting minimum and maximum distance for quilting.

4) If you want to add more quilting, you can do walking foot- straight line stitching to outline your tumblers or matchstick lines or skewed lines. Or if you love to free-motion quilt, then do some fun patterns in each row - ribbon candy, wishbones, loops, spirals or whatever is your favorite design. Or do it sampler style with a different stitch in each row - the tumblers are a good place to practice. You can also do an all over stipple or cross-hatch. You can do as little or as much as you like! I like to use the embroidery "fun" stitches so this time I put words of gratitude in my center strips.

At last, Finishing Touches:

In the future I plan to revisit these topics in greater detail, so these are just quick tips.

After squaring up my quilt, I machine bind my quilts - so my best tip is to PRESS! Make your binding strips, press in half, and stitch onto the front of your quilt. Then fold it over to go around the edge and press it flat from the front. Fold your corners over and clip your binding in the folded over position and press AGAIN from the back. This causes very few missed parts as you stitch in the ditch from the front to catch the backside of the binding.

Then I make a label. I use a printer variety and iron it onto fabric following instructions on the package. Include your name and date, and then pattern and/or fabrics used if desired, giftee name and message if appropriate, and any other details you would like someone to know about your quilt's story. Stitch it on by folding the edges over and using a running or whip stitch (by hand).

**Laundering tips - wash on gentle/cool with a color catcher and dry on low for about 30 minutes. I always launder before giving to check my stitches and loose ends, and because I like the crinkly look!

And that's it my friends! You made a beautiful tumbler quilt - it wasn't as hard as you thought right?

Until next time, Be Blessed and I hope your cup runneth over! - Tara

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