Sandra Reed
Creative Machine Quilting
Preparing for the Quilter
-Do not pin or baste your top to the batting and/or backing. Bring it in separate piles.
-The back needs to be square. All edges should be even, the top and bottom should
measure the same as should the two sides. If your measurements don't add up, you are
asking for puckers. If you are piecing your back, the comparable grains should be in
the same directions. And don't forget to use pins to stop shifting. If you are using a
wholecloth piece, check the grain while the fabric is still on the bolt at the store. If the
clerk cuts off your purchase instead of tearing, then you will need to purchase extra to
compensate for the loss when squaring up the back. And at the same time, remove any
selvedges from the centre of your backing. These are tightly woven and will shrink
when washed leaving puckers along the seam They are also extremely dense to quilt
through--count up the layers and you will have a clear picture. You will also want to
trim up all of the edges so that they are even--it is hard to find the centre of a side
when the edges are ragtag, and even harder to pin to a leader.
-Allow several extra inches on each side all around for the batting and the backing-a
minumum of 2 and preferably 3 inches on each side all around. The quilting takes up
some of this extra, not to mention tops or batts or backs out of square; puffy batts
also require extra.
-And finally, please reinforce your seams with backtacks. Handling the backing and
pinning, not to mention the stretching on the machine will loosen the seams and cause
them to open up.
Treat your backing and batting the way you treat your top--with care.
-Any batting that is "tuggable" is acceptable. Keep in mind that many batts that are
preferred for hand quilting are not durable for machine quilting.
-Cotton, polyester, cotton/poly blends, wool, wool blends--the choice is yours.
Expect shrinkage-if the package states a shrinkage rate of 3%, then your 100 inch
square quilt will be no larger than 97 x 97 at the very most after you wash it.