Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nancy's Process 

I am often asked how I get such regular quilting that is so close together, so my next 2 posts will be on the steps I use.  I am still  working on the Hemlock piece shown in an earlier post.  First of all, the batting is wool and polyester blend.  It is very easy to work with.  On the advice of Ruth McDowell, I use a backing fabric of heavy weight decorator cotton.  I pin baste closely with long Japanese pins. 

Then I hand baste with silk thread that blends and a fine needle in a 2 inch grid.  Silk slides through the layers easily and reduces stress on fingers.  I learned the importance of fine basting from Cherilyn Martin who does fantastic quilting to create textural patterns on her quilts.

Next I select a variety of threads.  I love variegated threads that have very little change in values.  They are hard to find, but worth looking for.  The first selection may very well be added to as I work.  Thread becomes my paint for all the details.  I love the King Tut Tone on Tone, YLI Machine quilting, Mettler silk-finish multi, and some Sulky Blendables.  I used a deep green variegated YLI silk thread for the hemlock needles on this piece and loved it.  

My first machine quilting stitches closely follow the outline of the design.  I go for the long lines first.  This is all straight stitching with the built- in walking foot on my old 1473 Pfaff.  I use an open- toed embroidery foot to see where my needle is going. 

Next time I will show how I do the close stitching.  

-- Nancy Cook


  1. Nancy - Thanks for sharing this information - particularly about the different threads you use. I'm looking forward to your next entry.

  2. Hi Nancy:
    I will definitely check your progress. I would like some tips on quilting! You work is so beautiful:)
    Best Regards,

  3. Can you explain WHY you use heavier weight fabric for the backing? I'm a beginning art quilter, and learning something ab out the methods you use to get your great results is a treat. I love your work!


  4. Roberta, I used the silk YLI thread on the needles and really loved it. I will search out more of their threads.

  5. Valerie, Hope the comments on quilting have been interesting. Will be posting again shortly. And I love your work. It has been a real pleasure to see your work in person at a number of venues.

  6. Jill,

    Ruth McDowell taught the trick on uses heavy decorator cottons on the back to reduce the problems of tucks being created on the underside when doing a lot of quilting.

    I also love that the decorator cloth comes about 54" wide. Nancy