Tips And Tools Tuesday – Machine Quilting: Go For It!

Well, I just had to tell you, I am really loving machine quilting!

I wanted to share that with you just in case, like me, you’ve been on the fence about trying it.

Without a doubt, I say GO FOR IT!

Don’t expect perfection right away.  Know from the beginning that some of the quilting will look pretty good.  Some will look really good, and some you will look at and say to yourself, “Oh no! How did that happen?”

Don’t worry about it. It’s all part of the learning process. Think about it this way, EVERY master was once an apprentice. An apprentice. A flunkie. A newbie. However you want to describe them, they new NOTHING of their craft.  Every person whose work that you admire today didn’t always produce things that turned out so well. In fact, they all started out producing things that probably looked downright awful. But…

they kept trying.



Here is my first attempt at free-motion machine quilting. Just random stuff. I’d been watching several machine-quilting videos and just tried out different patterns to see how they “feel”. To see which ones I like to do.






I just jumped right in. I used a piece of solid fabric and black thread so that I could see what I was doing, both right and wrong. I’m glad I did. It helped me see the things I did right and to see where I needed to make corrections.

I am glad that I used black thread. I am NOT glad that I used OLD black thread. It gave off so much lint in the bobbin compartment and bobbin case, that it caused the bobbin thread to drag and either distort the stitches or break them!

I threw that old thread away!

Here are some more motifs That I tried.
















Some turned out pretty well.         Others, not so much.        But, I kept practicing.

I even tried some feathers.       They’re laughable.        Oh, well, the important thing is…



I tried them!


And, I will try them again. Some day soon.



By the time I got to the end of the practice piece, I was getting the hang of several motifs. It gave me the confidence to try others.



These are my first two attempts at “Flickering Flowers”.


Pitiful, I know. But, the next two turned out much better.





My first two attempts on the left. The second two attempts on the right. Big difference, huh?

See, just keep practicing! Don’t give up! You CAN do it!


After I threw the old black thread away, I used grey to finish up the quilting.



By the end of the fabric piece, I felt that I was really getting the hang of these flowers. Yay!


All of the practice quilting was not wasted. I turned it into a small quilt that I use on our bed. Only my husband and I see it. So what if it’s not “perfect”. It gave me lot’s of opportunity for practice, and it keeps me warm. 🙂




If you don’t want to start with something that large, make some everyday placemats for your dining room table.

Start small.    But, start.      I believe you will surprise yourself!

I’m working on a Southern Belle quilt and doing some free-motion quilting, and quilting straight lines using a walking-foot.

I used the free-motion foot to outline the Southern Belles. With a walking foot, I stitched-in-the-ditch along the sashing and posts. Now, still using the walking foot, I’m adding cross-hatching around each Belle. I think it allows the curves of her body and dress, etc. to really show. I was afraid that if I did some meandering or stippling around the Belles, that it would detract from the curves and scallops. So, I chose to do something geometric around them. I have curvy curls and flowers planned for the sashing and posts.




I hope that you can see the purple quilting  lines that I drew to follow. I used a disappearing ink pen to mark them. I marked the top left three lines this afternoon and quilted along them. As you can see, the marks for the quilting that I did two days ago has disappeared.


I save the thread clipping for the evenings when I’m watching TV.




I hope this has encouraged you to give machine quilting a try.

If you do decide to “Go For It”, I’d love to hear about it.

You can leave a comment below or email me some photos at

Have fun and just GO FOR IT!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.