improv quilting

machine quilting blog hop {week 7}

Welcome back to the Machine Quilting Blog Hop.! This week’s chapter from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting is called Exploding Star, but it is actually all about continuous spirals. I was super excited to try this design because I have admired it on many quilts. I assumed that it would be a little challenging–and all that turning is probably not fun on a large quilt, but all-in-all this was a fun design and I am so pleased with the result!

domestic machine quilting

This is a walking foot design (yay!) and since my walking foot is 3/8″–that’s how far apart my spiral lines are. I started with tracing a circle in the center of my quilt–I used the base of an Aurifil spool. I followed Christa’s instructions on how to trace a spiral out of that circle and I was on my way!

I’ll be honest–the inner spirals are a bit fiddly because you are turning the work so frequently. It’s a little hard to keep the spiral smooth. But once again, I realized that my stitching got wobbly when I started to go too fast. Slow down Kristin! I also found that lowering my stitch length to 2.0 helped on the tighter turns. Once you get to the larger spirals it’s much easier to keep the stitching smooth and straight. So you just have to endure the fiddly part at the beginning. And look–you hardly notice the wobbly bits once you focus on the whole spiral.

domestic machine quilting

After I quilted the large center spiral, I wasn’t quite ready to be done, so I went ahead and embellished with corner spirals. That was fun and I got a bit more practice with handling the touchy beginning part. The corners presented their own challenge since you have to manage the entire bulk of the quilt for part of the spiral and then barely hanging onto the edge for the rest of it. I really like how the overlapping spirals came out. I am going to keep my eyes open for the right quilt to use this motif. I’m really glad that the whole process of quilting spirals is demystified for me–it’s actually pretty easy!

domestic machine quilting

domestic machine quilting

In other news, my search for a sewing machine that will help me fall in love with free-motion quilting is still in full swing. Last week, I fell a little bit in love with the Brother 1300PRW (also known as the Bablylock Soprano), but now I’ve ruled them out because they are a little out of my price range and I only gain 1″ of horizontal quilting space. And I want space! So, I checked out the Bablylock Jazz this week. I love what Babylock has done here–given us quilters 12″ of horizontal throat space (you heard me right–12 inches!) at a reasonable price. It is also a mechanical machine–like the Juki TL-2010Q. Which means that it’s a bit noisy, but it also has no pesky computer that may possibly fail one day. It felt really good, the stitches were perfect, and has also has 20 decorative stitches (no serpentine stitch though)–so it’s not just a straight stitch machine. Downsides: no automatic needle down, no thread cutter, no speed control. But I still liked it–it felt really good doing free motion and the dealer will throw in the Deluxe walking foot and a ruler foot all for $999. I think I need to go back to a different dealer that has both the Juki TL-2010Q and the Babylock Jazz on the floor and have a showdown. I’ll keep you posted.

We have had so much fun checking the hashtag and love seeing your quilting progress! Make sure to tag your post #machinequiltingbloghop over on Instagram.

Machine Quilting Blog Hop series:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Make sure you make all the stops on the blog hop:

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny

HollyAnne at String and Story

Vicki at My Creative Corner3