Quilted Holiday Table Runner - Day 6
Today we begin by basting and then we quilt the table runner! Your quilt top and layers are pinned together, and we are now going to baste the layers together. Set up your table runner so that the needle is in the middle in your machine.
When you turn on your machine, it probably automatically goes to a straight-stitch setting with a normal stitch length. We want to increase this - a lot, so that it is a basting stitch and easy to remove once we have all the quilting done.
I increased my stitch from a regular 2.5 straight-stitch to a longer 6.0 straight-stitch. I also changed the thread and bobbin in my machine to a dark thread that would clash and be easy to see after I have all the quilting done.
I begin basting in the middle of the table runner, leaving the tail of the thread on both sides. DO NOT knot the ends!! You will want to be able to easily pull these threads out after you have your quilting done.
The most important thing you need to understand about basting is this:
1) All basting must begin in the middle of your quilt!! This way, as you baste, your feed dogs and stitching will push your layers out to the edges. This is an important step, because if you rely solely on your quilting pins and don't baste, you will end up with bunched up fabric underneath, or pleats where you don't want them. By basting, you almost certainly ensure that your quilt top and backing will not have unwanted bunches or pleats!
2) Baste in this order always beginning in the exact center of your quilt:
Center --> South Center --> North
Center --> East Center --> West
Center --> SW Center --> NE
Center --> NW Center --> SE
What this does is push the layers out to the edges and the corners of your quilt layers.
3) The bigger your quilt top, the more basting you will have to do! After you do all of the above, then go down the center line and baste center line --> edge and so on until your quilt layers also are basted like a checkerboard. Then remove all your quilting pins and plan your design.
When you are done basting, your quilt layers should look like this. See how easy it is to see the basting stitch? That's because I used a dark thread that did not match my quilt top or backing. If I had used a complimentary thread, I'd have a hard time seeing the basting stitch after I got the quilting done!
One more thing about basting - you don't have to be perfect with your lines. They're coming out anyway. As long as you have basted the entire quilt layers so that they don't slip around while quilting, you'll be in good shape.
I did put an additional basting stitch to the left and right of center for more stability of my layers. Again, I started the stitching on the center line and worked to the edge on both sides of the top. And leave those threads hanging! You want something to grab onto and pull when you are finished quilting all the layers.
Even though you have basted your quilt layers together, you still want to start "quilting" in the center of your quilt somewhere. It doesn't have to be the exact center, but somewhere thereabouts. I chose to begin inside the green center block and I decided to use a stipple quilt stitch. I begin by putting my straight stitch setting back to 2.5, but you can put yours back to your normal straight stitch setting. I changed my presser foot to a free-motion quilting presser foot, and lowered my feed dogs. I also put up my IDT (that is the piece of my Pfaff that moves the top evenly with the bottom layers.) Your machine may not have IDT, but that's okay. You don't need it free-motion machine quilting.
I began in a top corner so that when I was done you hopefully won't see the beginning of my stitching because I will have begun in a seam. I'm sneaky like that.
And there you go, I stipple-quilted the cream center of the green block and I am going to do the same now with the red block. I used an aqua colored thread. I thought that would be a nice compliment to the entire quilted table runner.
After finishing my stipple quilting in the 2 center blocks, I decided to just do "Stitch-in-the-Ditch" quilting for the center section that is pieced together. I start somewhere near the center inside a seam and begin stitching (make sure you aren't using your basting stitch!!!). Before you begin "Stitch-in-the-Ditch" though, you need to change your presser foot again, and raise your feed dogs, and lower your IDT if you have it on your machine!
Lower your needle into a corner seam and then lower your presser foot. Follow the seam and begin quilting. I go as far as I can go with the seam and the stitching and then rotate with the needle down and keep going around the seams of the quilt top until I can't go any further, then I do a knotting stitch and clip my hanging thread.
Find another seam and follow it around and around until you can't go any further. Before you know it, you're done!
And there you go! We have most of the quilt top quilted! We'll put the finishing touches on the quilting on Monday and I'll show you how to bind the quilted table runner perfectly and you'll have a beautiful table runner for the holidays!!