No more piping pain!

In preparation for my Dear Jane quilt, I took a hand quilting class at a local quilt shop recently. Because of the traditional style of a Dear Jane, I feel I will have to hand quilt it … when I ever finish the top.

Instead of quilting a plain calico block as my class sample, I decided to make a block that I could turn into a cushion. Yes, I was the class rebel! I chose a flower from Ayumi Takahashi’s Patchwork, Please! book, and enlarged and modified the foundation paper pieced pattern so I could fussy cut the centre, which I hand appliquéd on after I had pieced the rest of the block.

Ayumi Takahashi Patchwork, Please! Swedish Bloom cushion using Tanya Whelan fabrics, made by Granny Maud's Girl

The two main prints I used are Tanya Whelan fabrics.

I used Tanya Whelan fabrics, linen and some coordinating fabrics from my stash. Very girly, I know.

For the back, I fussy cut two flowers and used them on self-cover buttons.

Cushion back using Tanya Whelan fabrics

Can you see the tiny lizard photo bombing this image?

I confess that I have only safety-pinned the buttons on so far. I will slit the buttonholes open and sew the buttons on properly after I have washed the cushion cover. I can still see the faint blue lines of the water-erasable marker I used to mark my quilting lines.

I am rather happy with how the quilting turned out. I am slow, but I think I am getting there.

Hand quilted cushion front

I am not ashamed to show a close-up of my hand quilting.

Hand quilting wrong side

And this is what the back of my hand quilting looks like. Not bad for a beginner, eh?

So, I think the quilting class was a success. I still need more practice, but I will get heaps of practice quilting my Dear Jane quilt.

I hand quilted another cushion cover a few years ago. The end result was good, but it was not a fun experience. It hurt my hands. One of the things I learned in class was that the quality of your wadding makes all the difference when hand quilting. The heavily felted cotton wadding that is most commonly available here is difficult to push a needle through by hand. For my Dear Jane quilt, I am going to be on the lookout for a natural-fibre quilt wadding, preferably wool or cotton, that is light and easy to sew through. All suggestions are welcome!

Once again, however, I found myself wanting to sew piping on through layers of quilted cushion front, piping binding and cushion back. In some places, that meant eight layers of fabric and one of wadding. I love the look of piped cushions, but I hated sewing it on to bulky, quilted projects.

Sick of wrestling through all those layers with a not-quite-right sewing machine foot, I sought help from Kim and Lisa at Blackmore and Roy, the shop where I get my Janome serviced. I explained what I was trying to do, and they very helpfully organised an adjustable zipper foot, which is so much easier to use for piping than the standard zipper foot that came with my machine.

Janome adjustable zipper foot used to sew cushion piping

My new zipper foot makes sewing piping so much less difficult.

I can move the needle right up close! No more piping pain! Hurray!

On a different topic, the quilting blog hop I am taking part in next month is in its second week. Many of the participants have posted handy sewing tips. Click the button below and check it out!

Plum and June

26 thoughts on “No more piping pain!

  1. I like a light wool batting for hand quilting, or less needled cotton. The downside is that you have to quilt more closely to hold the layers together. The felted – or needled – stuff you’re using allows you to quilt much further apart.

  2. I love yur hand quilting. Good on for taking lessons and learning from someone who knows what they are doing. You have such a range of projects on the go – hand quilting, knitting, modern quilting etc. I’ll be interested to follow yur Desr Jane progress.

  3. I’ve been wanting to try wadding from here after I saw it recommended somewhere…

    not sure if there’s anything suitable, but they have a bit of choice and it’s Aus made!

    I can just imagine everyone else in the class giving you the evil glares for being THAT person 😉 though I probably would take along a premade top too because if I’m going to put in that much effort, I’d like it to be on something pretty I could enjoy afterwards!

    • Thanks for the tip, Jo. I hadn’t heard of that wadding supplier.
      Everyone in the class didn’t mind my eccentricities. I thought like you did: if I am going to put in that much effort …

      • If you try them, let me know what they’re like! I’d really prefer to support them rather than going to Spotlight/TT all the time (I’d feel better about supporting the “little guys”). I’m too impatient though and tend to buy wadding while I’m out rather than waiting for shipping…

  4. Pingback: Flashback Friday: learning to hand quilt | Granny Maud's Girl

  5. Pingback: Cushion (pillow) assembly | Granny Mauds Girl

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