Quilting Advice from Afar

Close-up of my quilt called the Werthy Sampler

A friend of my son’s recently started quilting.

Watch out, I told her. It’s addicting.

Sure enough, I got an email from her the other day with the subject line: You were right!

I just got a sewing machine for my birthday, she said, and I’m making a T-shirt quilt, and I have to resize the blocks, and when I went to bed (late) I couldn’t sleep because measurements and patterns were whirling around in my head.

Every quilter I know is nodding her head right now. Looking through a new book or a catalog or magazine can get me so revved, I lay awake at night, planning out my quilting future as far I can imagine.

A little later in the day, she wrote that she needed a copy of my book, Teach Yourself Visually Quilting, because the pattern she had did not explain how to back, baste, quilt or bind her creation.

During our discussion, I sent her this picture, a close-up of the quilting I did on the Werthy Sampler. It’s meandering quilting, a gently curving set of lines that travel from one side of a quilt to another. I picked this idea up from a book called A Passion for Patchwork by Lise Bergene. She’s Scandinavian, and that shows in her elegant, simple designs. I love Scandinavian design for just that reason.

Anyhow, Bergene used a single line of meandering stitching on some of her pieces, and I picked it up as an easy way to quilt everything larger than a wall hanging. A couple of quilts ago, I doubled the line of stitching, shadowing the first line with a second that’s separated only by the space between the left side of my presser foot and the needle. I find I love it—no muss, no fuss

I used the same technique on my challenge quilt, called the Werthy Sampler because it was inspired by the packaging of Werther’s candies, one of my Mom’s favorites. The design on the bag includes a swoosh of red. So I used red and then yellow thread in doubles, triples, and then foursomes of meandering quilting.

I think it’s a great in-between style, sweet and decorative machine quilting which is much faster to do than tying or hand-quilting, for sure, and yet easier (especially in terms of manipulating the quilt) than the more intense and artistic art quilting.

So I sent this off to Marie, and I hope it’s encouragement for a beginner that there are an infinite number of ways to finish a quilt.

By the way, I spoke at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts yesterday. There was a bus trip in attendance, 40 wonderful quilters from Connecticut. I had a great time, and I think they did too!

Author of the Carding, Vermont novels, quilt books, and book publishing guides.