So you’ve pieced together the quilt top for your project and prepared the batting and backing, it's all basted together, ready to be stitched with a machine like the Grace Q’Nique midarm quilting machine.
How do you proceed with the quilt stitching - how much should you put in to make your quilt look and feel quilted?
Check out these tips about doing the stitching with your quilting machine so you know how much is too much and what’s not enough.
Adding the right amount of stitching in the right places will have your project looking beautiful and feeling as fluffy or flat as you want it to!
What’s the Quilting Distance On the Batting Package?
Before making any decisions on how much machine quilting to use on your project, it’s critical to know the recommended quilting distance for the batting you have chosen.
Quilting distance is the maximum size that the spaces on your project should be to support the batting and ensure it does not bunch or stretch inside the fabric after it’s been stitched together.
Maximum quilting distances range from a few inches for thinner and lighter-weight batting to 8 or 10 inches for thicker and sturdier batting; however, before you go strictly by the package suggestions, consider these other points.
Is the Quilt for Use or Show?
More stitching and closer quilting translate to more support for the whole project; a showpiece or wall hanging might be better with a bit less stitching.
A quilt that will get used and washed regularly should be reinforced by adding more quilting stitches and keeping the spaces between the stitching slightly smaller.
How Much Loft Do You Want?
Loft is the puffiness that the combination of stitching and batting create that makes a quilt feel as you would expect.
You get a loftier, softer feel by choosing a high loft batting and leaving larger spaces between the stitching; for a flatter quilt, choose a lower loft batting and stitch closer together.
Keep in mind other details like quilting distance and whether the quilt will be washed when deciding on how to achieve the loft effect you want.
What Is the Design In the Quilt Top?
Depending on the design in your quilt top, you may want to add more or less stitching to produce an appealing look with the stitching itself.
Geometric and patchwork patterns are fine with stitching that follows the edges of the pattern as long as the distances are not too large, while grid stitching on the top gives additional support if following the shapes on the quilt is not enough.
The less-dense the quilting and the more it follows the design in the quilt top, the more the design in the quilt top stands out.
On the other hand, you can add additional effects to any quilt with free motion stitching done with a long or midarm quilting machine or using templates to create specific stitched designs.
Using free motion stitching, once again keep in mind that a closer-stitched pattern will produce a lower loft and flatter quilt whereas leaving more space by stitching in a looser design will result in a fluffier quilt.
How Much Quilting Does Your Quilt Need?
The answer to that question is always going to depend on three things:
- How much machine stitching your batting requires
- How much loft you want.
- What you will do with the finished piece once it comes off the quilting frame.
By answering those three questions, you should have an easier time figuring out how concentrated you want the stitching to be from your quilting machine and whether you should add in the additional support of grid stitching.
With a little practice and understanding things like batting qualities, ;stitching distance, and loft, you can easily find the perfect stitching balance for your project!