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WHAT SEWING MACHINE DO I USE?
I currently do all my piecing and quilting on a Bernina 820. It is computerized and heavy machine, but stitches really beautifully. All the quilts that I have quilted myself have been quilted on this machine. The one draw-back of my current sewing machine is that it is too heavy to cart to classes.
WHERE DO I BUY MY FABRICS?
I buy some of my fabrics from my local fabric store, however, as choice is sometimes limited, and it is also cheaper to buy fabric in the US, I do order fabric on line.
I also like to piece with linen/cotton blend fabrics.
In Australia they are known also as handkerchief linen 55%cotton 45%linen. I have purchased linen blend fabric from GJ Discount Fabrics in Brunswick East, Victoria, Australia. They carry it in several colorways, including Birch, Hessian, Chocolate, and White.
Robert Kaufman Fabrics also make a linen/cotton blend fabric known as Kaufman Essex Linen, and I have purchased some of this fabric online. It is very similar to the handkerchief linen that is available in Australia.
Do I have a standard fabric cut that I purchase?
I usually buy 1/2 yard of fabric that appeals to me. I will buy 3/4 yards or even 1 yard if I really like a fabric and think that it would be suitable for binding a quilt. I tend not to buy the entire range of a fabric collection, but just pick out those fabrics that I think I can use, and those that will work well with the fabrics already in my stash. However, if it is an exceptionally fabulous line of fabric I can be tempted into purchasing a stack of fat quarters!
I pre-wash some fabrics, but not all. I pre-wash all linen blend fabrics that I purchase to ensure that they can withstand the warm wash treatment and also so that there is no nasty shrinkage once the quilt is made.
I pre-wash some cotton fabrics particularly if I am going to use a lot of one type of fabric in a quilt, such as white solid fabrics. I tend to also wash bright red and purple colored fabrics to ensure no color runs. I rarely notice any color run-off in the rinse water.
For larger quilts I will also soak the batting overnight in the tub with warm water. (It takes at least 3 hours for the water to soak right in). I use SOAK, a gently and lightly scented cleaning product, in the water, spin it in the washing machine, then allow it to air dry. I will sometimes also put it in the dryer. Refer also to this post for more details.
Refer to this post.
I use my own domestic sewing machine to quilt my quilts. I love linear quilting lines that usually run from edge to edge. My preferred stitch length is 3.8mm to 4mm.
I rarely mark quilting lines before quilting. I use the inner or outer edge of my sewing machine foot as a guide, and position the needle such that it is about 1/4 inch from the seam line that I am following with the edge of the foot.
A walking foot for your sewing machine is a must. My sewing machine comes with a built-in walking foot, but they are available separately for most sewing machines. A walking foot ensures that the three layers of the quilt is fed evenly through the machine. This greatly helps to avoid tucks and puckers!
If I do mark a quilt line before quilting, I like using a Clover Chaco marker preferably in white. It does not leave any marks on the quilt.
I like using Matilda's Own Batting, either in 100% cotton, or a wool/cotton blend (60% wool/40% cotton).
I use only 100% cotton thread. I often piece with Gutermann 100% cotton thread, or Aurifil Mako 40/2 thread. I quilt with either of these threads. These two brands are my personal preference also for quilting. Although I have been known to quilt with King Tut thread, and Signature thread, when thread color is a better match.