The Free Motion Quilting Project: Question Thursday #34

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Question Thursday #34

It's Question Thursday time and it seems Pointy Paisley is a favorite among the quilt alongers, though not for the process of stitching it, but the resulting beautiful texture!

Yes, some of the trickiest designs are the most beautiful.  Personally I also found Pointy Paisley difficult the first few times I stitched it, but after a lot more stitching I suddenly found straight lines and travel stitching not very difficult anymore.  This is truly a skill building design so find a quilt you can stick it in and spend a few days filling the blocks, sashing or borders with this beautiful texture.

Now on to your questions about free motion quilting!  It seems we're having two question days - both Monday's UFO followup and Question Thursdays.  From here on out, all questions will be answered on Thursday because it will be easier to put them all in one post and easier for you to find when searching for answers.

The first question is from Malini at My Quilting Journey:

What's a good quilt hanging method?

Full Question: Now, I'm thinking of using this as wall hanging in our living room. Wondering if I should have a hanging sleeve or not. Also any ideas about how I could hang this puppy ?

There are definitely a lot of options with hanging sleeves.  Personally I stick with the instructions and requirements provided by American Quilter's Society for their shows right here.

But with a handy google search, I found my friend Susan Brubaker Knapp also has a handy tutorial for installing a sleeve when you have a funky wave to the top of your quilt (or any other odd edge).  This is the method I'd use if I was attaching a sleeve to an irregular, curved, or scalloped edge quilt. Check out Susan's tutorial right here.

Now as for ways to hang the quilt on the wall, my favorite is a good ole' curtain rod.  I strongly recommend you buy the nicest, most expensive curtain rod system (hooks and rod) you can afford because it really makes a big difference.

The two times I've cheaped out on $10 curtain rods, the quilt has begun to sink in the middle within a few months, and one bent so badly I had to replace it.  Quilts are heavy - far heavier than the curtains rods are designed to hold up, so make sure to get something strong and sturdy that will last the long haul.

If you don't like the idea of screwing hangers all over your house, you can also try these new magnetic hangers I saw these this weekend at the Asheville Quilt Show and like the idea.  I have no idea if they work or not, but it sure would be nice to hang quilts without having to pull out the drill and level!

Now speaking of cool tools for quilting, Pat at Color Me Quilty has a good question about sewing tables:

Do you still love the Gidget 2 table?

Full Question: Do you still recommend the Gidget II sewing tables? I haven't seen them on your shop website for a while now, which I realize could be a purely business decision on your part.

The Gidget 1 and Gidget 2 tables are from Arrow Sewing Cabinets and they are some of the most affordable, small yet sturdy little sewing tables available these days.  You can usually find the Gidget 2 which has a large opening big enough even for the largest machines and a custom cut insert to fit around your machine for under $300.

UPDATE: You can once again find these tables in my Quilt Shop because I truly believe the #1 way to improve your quilting ability is to have your machine on a flush surface with your table.

Also if you're wanting it for Christmas, you might want to order it now.  The inserts do take around 4 weeks to cut and ship and that is not something you'll want to wait on around the holidays!

Finally one last question from Danielle Hudson from Fresh off the Spool.  She's wondering the best way to piece this quilt:

Photo from Fresh off the Spool
 Now if you're wanting all the pieces to be exactly as shown and PIECED, I'd say breaking it up into squares and half-square triangles is your best bet.

However, even this design could be created in many ways.  Applique was the first thing to pop into my head.  Why?  Because cutting and piecing all those little pieces is time consuming and tedious.  Yes, that's kind of the point of certain quilt patterns, but if speed and simplicity is the name of the game, applique might be an option to look into.

How would I personally make it?  I'd layer 2 pieces of fabric, one light under one dark, stitch the outline of the funky line pattern, then carefully cut off the top layer of fabric.  I've been playing with this kind of Mock Mola or Stitch and Slash construction a lot this month and it's a super speedy, anti-perfectionist, GET ER' DONE kind of technique.

Would I use these techniques for all my quilts?  No.

I believe techniques are like tools in my toolbox.  Just like a home improvement project, different quilts require different techniques.  Some quilts need to go from fabric to finished in a few days, while other quilts can take longer and involve more precision and methodical construction.

The best thing to do is look at the quilt you're needing to make and decide how much time you want to spend on it, and how you want it to look finished.

If you're after a very clean, crisp look, understand that that might require piecing and more construction time.

If you're needing more speed with the project, try opening your mind to the idea of raw edges and frayed threads.

There is no wrong way to quilt a quilt, but also no wrong way to construct it (piece or applique) it either.  

Also always remember that perfection can be a goal, but is never the ultimate point of quilting. 

On that note, let's go make some mistakes and enjoy the process of quilting!  I'm finishing up another tote bag to create photos for the pattern, then finally getting around to basting the Space Quilt.  That'll be one more UFO off my shoulders!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. I have used the magnetic quilt hanger and it works well. I just used it on a small quilt, haven't tried it on a larger one. I did have to adjust the quilt after a few weeks because it stretched a bit, but I think any quilt that is hung will do that. Our walls are heavily textured and I found I needed to add extra adhesive strips to keep the hanger on the wall. The strips are just Command strips which are readily available. I got mine at Target.

  2. Regarding Daniella's piecing project: If she did want to learn a neat new technique, Seminole Piecing looks like a perfect candidate for this type of space. (With sashing inbetween the angles.)

    Just Google Seminole Patchwork, or Piecing: there are some good (if older) books on the subject.
    Tina in San Diego

  3. That idea of seminole piecing is the one I thought of. Was popular so many years ago when we all were making quilted jackets.....primarily, the pieced strips were run down the length of the sleeves as an accent. Very nice and easy!

  4. As always thank you for answering the questions. The invisible hanger does intrigue me.


Help us create more quilting tutorials! Check out our quilt shop at