Quilting a Foundation Pieced Quilt

This beautiful quilt top was brought to me for quilting and presented a number of quilting challenges.  The top maker was a local quilter and she wanted it to go to the Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project.  She did a wonderful job with the piecing in pretty pinks and greens.  Since I have run out of longarm volunteers, I told her to give it to me and I would finish it.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The first challenge was the backing.  It was pieced in several sections with seams running both horizontally and vertically.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

When the seams run perpendicular to the leader bars, you get sagging on the edges, like this.  I solve this by stuffing extra batting under the top leader as needed to bring the backing level.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Second challenge was the foundation fabric.  It was a non-woven interfacing which was a bit thicker than I’ve done before.  It gave me fits with thread breaks.  This was totally from my inexperience with quilting on this kind of foundation piecing, and some set up details needed to be adjusted.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

You can see it better here.  This was the first quilt I have quilted on the longarm with this type of piecing.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Loading it on the longarm, I noticed one more challenge.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The edges were not stay stitched.  This is so much easier to do on a domestic machine at a slower speed than it is to do on a longarm.  The corners are almost impossible to hold down straight while the high speed machine goes over them.  This results in many points being turned back on themselves.  You can see also how the end stitches have come undone simply from handling, leaving the points unattached to the next strip.  Quilt tops without borders should be stay-stitched to prevent this.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I just did the best I could.  Hopefully the turned back points will be hidden in the binding.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I quilted it with a pantograph that is called Wrought Iron, and has an interlocking Fleur-de-lis pattern.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I started in, but kept getting thread breaks.  After a number of them, I tried the bobbin tension a bit looser than I usually use, setting the tension on the Towa Gauge at 170 instead of 180.  I changed the needle to a larger size 20 needle.  I also had to change the silicone bobbin disk I use in place of a check spring as it was totally chewed up after a few breaks.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Quilting went along a bit better for a while, and I found that going slower than normal helped decrease the thread breaks as well. I also loosened the quilt sandwich just a bit from what I usually do, and rethreaded the machine skipping one of the thread guides at the top to reduce the drag on the top thread.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Then, the machine jammed totally, with the needle down.  This was not a quilt problem, it was an issue with the bobbin case not related to the quilt.  But just another headache.  I keep a pair of hemostats on the machine, and used them to remove the needle, working it carefully out of the quilt, so I could move the machine and solve the issue.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Back to quilting, I worked at a slow and steady pace to make progress.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Finally, I got to the bottom end, more stay stitching and another three panto rows to go.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

All done, finally.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Bless this quilter, she made binding for the quilt too. Aurifil thread in pink was perfect for this part, and I attached the binding by machine.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

When it was completely finished, and a label added, I put it on my guest bed to enjoy while it waits for the next shipment.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Someone will have a lovely quilt soon.

Pink String Quilt at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

A shipment went to Wilmington in late April, and you can see that post HERE.  What are you quilting?

Sharing at Hands2Help.

Fat Quarter Shop has 20% Off the Basic of the Month, and the Notion of the Month, books and patterns too, plus check out the Daily Flash Sale – something new at clearance pricing every day!

31 thoughts on “Quilting a Foundation Pieced Quilt

  1. Donna Weeks

    Beautiful piecing and quilting. Plenty of soft colors that will bring happiness and hope to someone in need.
    I enjoyed reading your longer quilting process too. Great tips.

  2. That is such a lovely, calming quilt. I’m sure someone will be blessed by it. Just so I understand you correctly, when a quilt has no borders, I should stay stitch around it before I take it to my long armer? Or should it be stay stitched to the batting before quilting begins?

    1. Stay stitch around the edge of the top to hold the pieces together. Do not stitch it to the batting if you are taking it to a longarm quilter. The longarmer will stitch it to the batting and backing as part of stabilizing the quilt as it is quilted.

  3. I love doing foundation piecing; but I use “old phone books” and then tear the paper off after the blocks are built. Stay stitching is something I learned the first time I used “piano keys” for a border, again, foundation pieced. That will be an extra “warm” quilt with the added layer of stabilizer in there. Lots of great tips for overcoming the challenges. Our guild uses that type of foundation product when they are making QOV blocks in a group session. I never thought about the challenge it must present to the quilter. KIND OF YOU to do it!

  4. Karen Marlow-Goad

    I started to stay stitch around a quilt top years ago when I noticed some of my seams were coming apart on on my 3 roller hand quilting frame and I had to keep taking the time to fix them – now it is on my list to do when I finish a top – it works out so much easier in the end!! I have never used that type of foundation but then I rarely ever use paper either – not my thing — in the end the quilt turned out well and that is what counts

  5. Cindy Roth

    Great quilt, great quilting. I prefer to pin the bottom of this type of quilt top to the “top roller”. This will keep a more even tension on the quilt top when quilting and keep the quilt straight and even. Stay stitching is essential on this type of quilt and makes your quilting much easier.

  6. Brenda

    That is such a pretty, soft colored quilt! You must have the patience of a saint to deal with all those problems. My patience is in short supply these days, so I have to stick to simple things to avoid pulling my hair out. It is so generous of you to give all your time!

  7. Joy B

    The quilt turned out beautifully but I’m sorry it presented so many challenges for you! You overcame them well.

  8. Debby Shrader Gorman

    The quilt is beautiful, and you did a fantastic job of overcoming all the issues. I quilted a quilt on my domestic sewing machine which was made on a non woven interfacing and had the same problem with thread breaks. It was such a frustration, ARGH! Never again.

  9. Brenda @ Songbird Designs

    Great job on all the trouble shooting!! This is a beautiful quilt. I love the pink and green. I have never done a foundation pieced quilt. I am glad to have these ideas if one ever comes along! Thanks!

  10. beautiful quilt ! Your quilting was awesome even with the issues! I love foundation piecing – I use paper or muslin — I’ve seen demos using interfacing but wasn’t sure if it offered much support. I always stay stitch on the batting – but I quilt everything myself. I am working on a bed quilt that I will use a long-arming service so thank you for the tip!

  11. Such a pretty quilt. I’ve not seen foundation piecing with that as a backing. I certainly woudn’t it to have expected it to mess with needle and thread as much as it did. Good thing to know!

  12. Melanie

    A beautiful quilt, good job, Carole. Gosh, and it’s a pink and green quilt, too! LOL Lovely in those colors…..I have lots of similar strips and thanks for a great idea. There is no challenge too great for you, Carole! Well, I’m going to be sewing a new foundation for our porch swing–ugh! Not my favorite thing to do, but I have the old piece as a pattern and some heavy duty fabric and needles, so hope it’s going to work out okay. Just finished my son’s QOV, contacted the national for instructions on documenting this one with them since it’s not going to be a presentation through his TX coordinators. Hugs, m

  13. Robin

    You are a quilting warrior! It turned out to be such a pretty quilt. I’m so glad you stuck with it.

  14. Beautiful quilt and beautiful job, Carole! I have not heard of stay stitching a quilt top without borders, but that is a great idea. When I first got my longarm, I was taught to baste down each side edge of the quilt after each roll before quilting the pass; this helps hold those loose edges down.

  15. Such a nice quilt. It is nice to hear of your troubles with the quilting. (That wasn’t nice, sorry) It make the people that are as talented as you are struggle sometimes. I love your work

  16. connie wolfe

    Your perseverance paid off! The quilt, from fabrics to the quilting stitches, is beautiful and sure to comfort.

  17. Wow, that was a challenge, but so very beautiful! Great job with all that trouble shooting…did you take notes for the next time you encouter something like that?

  18. Patricia Evans

    Bless you for working through the problems and coming out with a delightful finish. This quilt will bring pleasure and comfort to someone and that’s what counts.

  19. dezertsuz

    That is a lovely quilt, problems not withstanding. Some of those issues are why I don’t quilt on a foundation. My strings go together just fine. I can see why the borders need staystitching, too. I will be binding my last Jack’s Basket quilt tomorrow, and Tuesday starts another quilt for the CH project. Two friends sent several of the blocks you had put up originally, and I’m going to try to parlay that into at least a twin size with some creative piecing and/or borders. We’ll see how that goes!

  20. Sarah Craig

    Thanks for sharing your process- it’s interesting! I pin the sides of my quilt on the frame to avoid problems with points turning back – it works for me but may not for you. Thanks for being part of H2H this year!

  21. thedarlingdogwood

    So pretty! Love the greens and pinks together. Some projects you just have to persevere through–sounds like this was one of them!

  22. Rebecca Burch

    Oh, what a soft, sweet quilt! You did a wonderful job (as did the lady who began this beauty)! Someone is mighty lucky to get this gem! Thank you for sharing it with us. I love it!

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