Still Quilting

A Quilting We Will Go


Look at what is on your hoop. This is the center of your quilt. Depending on the pattern you chose you will have the central design, probably some Pukas, and possibly some open space around the center. It is unlikely, except for pukas, that any part of the pattern will be complete within the hoop. Start by "quilting in the ditch" around and/or inside the design elements.

Your stitches will be in the background fabric, ie on the inside of a puka and on the outside of a leaf or flower. Carry each row of quilting out to the edge of the hoop. Then remove your needle and let the thread dangle. Look untidy -- yes, but if you used your beeswax the threads will not tangle and you will pick them up again later as you move out from the center.

When the entire hoop has been quilted in the ditch, you are ready to begin quilting along the lines you have marked in both pattern and background. Here you probably will be able to complete some sections and end your threads. On any that are not complete -- let the threads dangle.

The idea is to quilt everything inside that hoop before you move it. If people tell you otherwise -- ignore them. There are other methods but this is the easiest and most efficient. This hoopful is the hardest and once you leave it you are never going back. It will be finished.


Everything inside your first hoop has now been quilted and you have removed the hoops. Now lay the quilt flat again, select an adjoining area to quilt next, and mark your quilting lines. Then, just as you did the first time slide the smaller hoop underneath, place the outside hoop, check the back to be sure it is smooth, and clamp down on a new section of your quilt. These steps will be the same every time you move the hoops, throughout the rest of your quilt.

What you now have on your hoop will be the already quilted edge of your center section plus a new, marked but unquilted area, probably with some threads dangling into it. Again start by "quilting in the ditch," either picking up and continuing with the dangling threads or starting new ones as needed. Then fill in around and inside your design. When everything inside this hoop is quilted it's time to move again.

Your next move will be to an area which adjoins both this last section and the center section. What you are actually doing is moving in a circle around the center section, quilting as you go. Eventually you will complete this circle and move out to a larger one. And yes, you will continue to have dangling threads as you leave each completed section.


You have now completed one circle of quilting around your center section -- but your quilt is a square. The next step is to go in turn to each corner of your quilt, mark your quilting lines just overlapping the outside edge of the circle, and fill in the corners with quilting. You will then have a quilted area which matches the rectangular shape of your quilt. In doing this the basted lines which hold the quilt parts together are useful guides for determining the area which needs to be filled in.

Now as you move out to your next round of quilting you will be following the outlines of a square, rather than a circle. In this way you will automatically maintain an equal distance from all edges of your quilt.


Depending on the size hoop you are using, after making 3-5 circuits of your quilt, you will finally find yourself approaching the edges. At this point you may wish to remove some bastings from the central area and admire the finished result. See, by entirely quilting each hoopful as you moved outward, the central section is now complete. An accomplishment to admire and no need to return to any part of it.

When you get close to the edge of your quilt perhaps 3-6 inches in, you will find that there is no longer enough material to fill the hoop for another circuit. If you try to place your hoop the edge will be dangling out into empty space somewhere in the center of the hoop.

There are 2 easy solutions to this problem. The first is to buy a 1/2 hoop as was mentioned earlier (Page 6) This is exactly what it sounds like -- a 1/2 hoop with a solid rod to which a strip of heavy fabric is attached running aross the diameter. It is used by pinning the quilt edge to the strip of fabric to hold it firmly in place as you quilt your final circuit. All quilting supply stores stock these.

The other solution costs nothing and works equally well. Take a Terry Cloth face towel from your bathroom supply and pin it along the raw edge of your quilt. Then place your regular hoop in position using the towel as an extension of the quilt to fill in the open space. At the corners you may have to use 2 towels, one on each edge. Terry cloth towels work particularly well because their thickness and texture prevent fabric slippage. Whichever method you choose, mark and quilt the edge just as you have done the rest of the quilt.

If your quilt has a border along the edge, your final quilting lines will follow its inner design around the quilt, parallel to the outside edge. If it is to be finished with a binding only and no border, your final quilting will run out to within an inch or so of the edge in the already established pattern and all threads will end there. In either case you will be adding a binding to cover the raw edges.


After all these months you have now essentially finished your quilt. Pull out the remaining bastings, put away your hoops, spread your quilt on a bed, and invite the neighbors in to admire. The rest is easy and fast.



Page 9
Quiltmaking -- Finishing your Quilt
Page 1
Page 3
Quiltmaking -- Getting started.
Page 4
Quiltmaking -- Moving ahead.
Page 5
Quiltmaking -- Applique
Page 6
Quiltmaking -- Putting it all together.
Page 7
Quiltmaking -- Quilting at last
Page 10
Pictures Page
Page 11
Patterns Page
Page 12
Links Page
Page 13
A Quilter's Comments