I love quilting. Whether it’s piecing, appliqué or using up scraps to put together a quilt top, it’s probably quilting at the top of my list of my favourite sewing activities. But, when it comes to finishing my quilt tops, I’ll admit, I have quite the WIP (work in progress) stash that needs finishing.
I’ve tried many different ways of quilting my tops. I actually really love the process. There’s something really satisfying about the weight and texture that gets added to a quilt from the thread as that quilting process comes together. For whatever reason, I always seem to linger (sounds better than procrastinate, doesn’t it) on the quilting step.
One of my go-to methods for quilting is just simply straight-line quilting. I love that I can set myself up at my Janome Skyline S9 and just quilt/stitch row after row after row, stopping only to change threads for colour or weight.
Free motion quilting is also lots of fun but I find it requires a lot more concentration (and practice on my part!!).
One method that I have always adored is pantograph quilting. A pantograph is a design that it stitched over and over throughout the entire quilt; from one edge of the quilt to the other. This style of quilting is usually done using a mid or long-arm quilting machine.
DID YOU KNOW (yes, I’m shouting this from the roof tops) that you can create a pantograph style finish on your quilts using the embroidery functions on your Janome Skyline S9! That’s right, you can finish your quilt using In-the-Hoop-quilting.
There are even a few quilting designs which come with the Janome Skyline S9.
There are lots of embroidery machine quilting in-the-hoop designs available to purchase, as well. Just make sure you purchase a JEF design and get the correct size for the embroidery hoop you are using.
I was finishing this quilt for my daughter and found a pantograph quilt in-the-hoop design online with unicorns to match the fabric, which I thought would really turn up the quilting a notch.
For this project, I used the largest hoop available for the Janome Skyline S9 which is the RE20a (6.7″ x 7.9″). I was able to download a 6″ x 6″ design and enlarge it slightly when I brought it into the Janome AcuEdit App. Once I had everything sized and positioned where I wanted it, it was so easy to send the design to the Janome Skyline S9 using the built in Wi-Fi.
Prepping the quilt top is very similar for other methods of quilting. First, I created my quilt sandwich. Ideally (i.e., the safest method), the quilt sandwich will be glue/spray-basted together. I’ll admit, I didn’t have any spray glue, so I used quilt pins and was VERY careful to watch for their placement and removed them as I went along so I didn’t catch one while sewing!!
The first step in quilting in the hoop was to create a template of the pattern. This will be used when lining up the pattern as you move systematically through the top. I used a heavy-duty stabilizer and stitched out my design on there. It’s slightly transparent, sturdy but also flexible.
I traced the outline of the hoop for sizing, then used the grid template for the embroidery hoop and marked horizontal and vertical lines to help ensure accuracy.
Now it was time to cut out my template. See how nicely it fits back in the hoop?! This will help line up when one section ends, and another begins.
I also marked the top right corner of my template. This was actually really smart because a few times I had my template upside which would throw off the start line just ever so slightly!
To set up the quilt in the embroidery hoop, if your quilt isn’t very thick, you can set it up the traditionally way and sandwich it between the top and bottom of your embroidery hoop. I think the advantage to this method is that you can then use the Janome AcuSetter App to get really precise joining each quilt section.
If your project is a little bulkier, or you want to move from section to section a little quicker, the magnetic clips that come with the embroidery hoops for the Janome Skyline S9 will become your new best friend.
These clips are fabulous! Lay your project over the embroidery hoop (with the front and back assembled together) and then use the clips to attach the quilt to the hoop and keep it secure and stable. There are four clips included, use two on each side. I like to practice attaching these first on their own to get the hang of how they essentially snap into place with the powerful magnets.
Using this method, the template that is made in the beginning comes in really handy. After completing a section, unclip the project. Place the template overtop, carefully aligning the end of the last section with the starting point with the next section. Position over the embroidery hoop to fit in your template (double check that your template hasn’t shifted from that starting point) and then clip back into place using the magnetic clips.
From there you are ready to embroidery the next section and let your machine work its magic!
There’s lot of tips that you’ll learn as you work on your first project. I recommend starting on something small like a wall quilt or a placemat. It’s a great way to get a feel for the process.
If you are working on a larger project, you want to work in an organized fashion. The project I’m working here is a lap quilt. I worked section by section, left to right horizontally and then vertically. I started in the middle of the quilt, then went down row by row to the bottom. I then started back up in the middle and went row by row up to the top edge of the quilt.
Just as you would when free motion quilting or straight-line quilting, it’s helpful to roll up the section of the quilt that will be in the arm of the machine to keep it free from accidentally getting caught up in the section you are working on. I also watched over each section as it was stitched and smoothed out areas as needed, the same as you might create a slight tension when you are machine quilting.
You’ll get better and better at the joins between designs for each section as you go along. But my biggest piece of advice is, not to worry if your joins are slightly off, especially if your design is swirly and more open. It will HARDLY be noticeable to anyone but you! And, even more so after your quilt’s first wash when it becomes all crinkly and soft.
I’m so excited to finish this quilt! Come visit me over on Instagram to see the final reveal!
Have you tried quilting in the hoop? What is your favourite method for finishing a quilt?