Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Week 16: 4 Reasons To Try Domestic Machine Quilting by Quilty Habit

 *Disclaimer: This post is in no way meant to discredit longarm quilters. You are amazing and talented professionals! However, lots of people are intimidated to try quilting on their own, and one of my goals is to inspire more people to feel confident about domestic machine quilting.

Quilting on my queen size+ Epic Medallion quilt

Six years ago, I remember going to Google.com and typing in "definition of quilting." I knew how to sew already (from a class in high school), but I didn't know that the quilting is what holds the three layers of a quilt together. Armed with just the internet, I forged ahead to quilt my first quilts. Until I joined a guild a few months later, I had no idea that many quilters outsource their quilting to longarm quilters!

The sun highlights the quilting on my Mountain Sunset quilt - a sample for my Landscape Quilt workshop.

I kept quilting myself, mainly because I LOVED it, and as I practiced on my tiny Brother machine from Walmart, I realized that this was something I could really invest in. No, not buying a longarm or midarm myself (at least not for a long time still - that isn't in the budget), but enjoying the simultaneous peace and challenge that is domestic machine quilting.

Echo, made for Northcott Fabrics at QuiltCon 2016, using Colorworks Premium Solids

4 Reasons To Try Domestic Machine Quilting

1. It's another skill to learn and practice. There's a lot of newness that comes with learning how to make a quilt, and this is one of the final steps. It's challenging and it takes hours and hours of practice, but it's worth it because: 

2. The sense of accomplishment. You made that ENTIRE QUILT yourself. Amazing work, you!

3. It's cheaper. Yes, it can take a long time, and you might have to invest in some tools (though you really don't HAVE to - you can easily quilt on a small, basic machine!), but you're doing all the work yourself. Some will say that time is money, but even so, you're not shelling out hundreds of dollars off the bat to get a quilt quilted. For someone who would rather spend craft money on fabric (me), this is an important point.

Spring Wind - sample for my Wonky Cross quilt workshop

4. It's imperfect. I know lots of people strive to have "perfect" quilting, but I'm not one of them. I *like* having little flaws here and there. They remind me of my journey and encourage me to keep working hard. One of my current main focus areas is keeping a consistent-as-possible stitch length, which is not impossible but difficult on a domestic machine (especially with large quilts). Embracing imperfection is important when it comes to sewing - because no one is perfect. 

A new piece I haven't shared fully yet, but I will soon over on my blog. I try to share as much detail as possible about my quilting process over there.

If you'd like to see some more examples of domestic machine quilting, check out my talented friends:

  1. Renee Hoffman of Quilts of a Feather (blog) (IG)
  2. Sarah Fredette of Smiles Too Loudly (blog) (IG)
  3. Neva Asinari of Some Like It Quilted (blog) (IG)

My favorite free motion quilters are Angela Walters and Christina Cameli. They both teach in an accessible, detailed, and friendly way.

Do you free motion quilt or use a walking foot to quilt on your domestic machine? If not, what's holding you back from trying? Feel free to share in the comments!


  1. Great post. I've followed you for over a year now and honestly speaking you are one of my favourite quilters. I love your work and your honesty in showing it how it is, not trying to hide any flaws, it makes you more real somehow, makes me think I could do that, makes you inspirational. Until recently I sent most of my quilts out and only did the minimum quilt in the ditch but now I do so much more, I even did a couple of spirals and FMQ for the first time. Posting it on my new blog was scared but I got some lovely comments which spurs me on to do more. Thanks Jess x

    1. Kate, thank you so much for your sweet words! You made my morning. I'm so glad to hear about your awesome quilting! Off to check out your photos!

  2. i have to agree with you. It just takes practice and time, which some people don't have I guess which is why they send them out. With modern quilts I feel that the star of the show is the quilting. Most piecing on modern quilts is really pretty basic but does leave alot of that beautiful negative space. In my mind if you send the quilt out, the long armer is the star and it is no longer "your quilt". don't get me wrong, I do understand why people send them out and I am not putting anyone down - that is just my humble opinion.
    thanks for the post and your quilting is really good - love those swirls