May 2018 Recap

Big Stitch Quilting

Do you love the look and texture of hand quilting but lack the time, precision, or desire to create itty bitty, uniform stitches? Then this blog post is for you! At our May meeting, Sara Bradshaw, Ava Moore, Catherine Price and Patricia Steadman presented several big stitch techniques to easily incorporate into modern quilts.

Utility Stitching

Try utility stitching for a fast finish on quilts that are intended to be used. The individual stitches are larger than those seen in traditional hand quilting, and you can use a variety of threads to create different looks and textures.

 Sara Bradshaw's big stitch sampler shows the look and texture created by different threads.

Sara Bradshaw's big stitch sampler shows the look and texture created by different threads.

Sara is a big fan of utility stitching, and she recommends these tips for success:

  • Pay attention to the weight/size of your thread. Typically, the smaller the number, the thicker the thread.
  • Although it's tempting to use a long piece of thread, shorter is better. Cut it the length of your forearm or shorter to prevent shredding.
  • The thinner the thread, the smaller your stitch should be. 
 Sara Bradshaw (right) gives ChattMQG members tips for successful utility stitching.

Sara Bradshaw (right) gives ChattMQG members tips for successful utility stitching.

Another interesting tip involves "tenderizing" your fabric. It's a technique Sara learned from Pepper Cory, and it's extremely helpful if you plan to bury your threads. Use the sharp end of your needle to poke the fabric repeatedly in the area where you plan to bury the knot; this makes it easier to pop the knot through the quilt top.

Members can access Sara's complete presentation, which includes recommended needles and quilt-marking tools, by visiting the Member Resources page.

Boro and Sashiko Stitching

Boro is the Japanese art of mending, and a quick look at Instagram shows people around the world use it to extend the life of torn clothes and other textiles. Check out the boro stitching Sara did on her husband's fishing hat. By incorporating the frayed fabric into her stitches, she created a flowing design that resembles power lines or a fence.

 Creative boro stitching extended the life of this fishing hat. Photo by Sara Bradshaw.

Creative boro stitching extended the life of this fishing hat. Photo by Sara Bradshaw.

Sashiko is another Japanese technique traditionally done with indigo fabric and white thread. Sashiko patterns feature large, uniform stitches. They can add sophisticated flare to your quilts, clothes, and other items around the house. Patricia brought several samples to the meeting, including some fish stitched by Karen Sperry.

Big Stitch on Your Machine

If you're still not convinced to pick up a needle and thread, Ava showed us how to use a sewing machine to achieve a hand-stitched look even faster.

 Ava Moore shows ChattMQG members how to use a sewing machine to mimic the look of hand quilting.

Ava Moore shows ChattMQG members how to use a sewing machine to mimic the look of hand quilting.

Ava used Aurifil 12 weight thread for her demonstration. (Remember: the smaller the number, the thicker the thread.) If you want to try big stitch on your machine, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use a larger needle such as a 90/14 topstitch needle to accommodate the thicker thread.
  • Skip the last thread guide when you thread your machine—the one just before you thread the needle—as it can cause thread breaks.
  • Increase the stitch length.
  • Load the bobbin with a thinner thread (40 or 50 weight).
 To mimic the look of hand quilting with your sewing machine, try a thicker thread such as Aurifil's 12wt cotton.

To mimic the look of hand quilting with your sewing machine, try a thicker thread such as Aurifil's 12wt cotton.

To learn more about combining machine and hand stitching, check out this episode of Fresh Quilting from the MQG. 

Special Meetings Coming Up!

Next month, the results of our Cut It Up! (Again) Challenge will be unveiled. If you haven't started working on your modern remix of the orphan blocks or UFO you inherited from a fellow member in January, now's the time! Join us Saturday, June 9 at 10 a.m. for a potluck party and show-and-tell. Plus, we'll kick off our next adventure: the Brown Bag Fabric Challenge.

And don't miss our July 14 meeting featuring special guest Durinda Cheek! Durinda is a local painter who teaches at fine art studios across the U.S. She'll talk to us about elements and principles of design.

Enter Your Quilt(s) into the MQG Showcase

Modern quilts will be featured in a special exhibit at International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston, Nov. 8-11, 2018. MQG members can submit two quilts for consideration. There's no cost to enter, and the deadline to do so is June 22

Click HERE to learn more and to submit your quilt(s). 

The guild submitted the IMPROVISE group quilt made last year by Karen Downer, Toni Faidley, Mary Keasler, Theresa Kitchell, Jean Larson, Denise Ohlman, Stephanie Quesinberry, Kelly Spell, Karen Sperry, Martha Steele and Sandi Suggs. It was created with the intent to sell it and raise money for the guild, so cross your fingers for its acceptance and eventual sale!

 Eleven ChattMQG members made this quilt in 2017.

Eleven ChattMQG members made this quilt in 2017.

Show and Tell