How and Where to Begin Quilting

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Duration: 3:55

When it comes to quilting, figuring out where to start can be both confusing and intimidating. See how to take the worry out of the quilting process with expert tips from Heather Thomas.

Plan Ahead

Whether you are making your first quilt or you’ve been piecing quilts for years, planning ahead can help eliminate a lot a quilting fears. When you first start a quilt, begin thinking about possible quilting designs or motifs you think would look good on your quilt top. Doing this from the very beginning can make it seem like less of a process when the final quilt top is pieced.

Begin Quilting

When you first learn how to start a quilt, there are generally instructions that tell you how to piece a certain block or part of the quilt. There aren’t, however, instructions that tell you where to begin quilting. Heather explains that she likes to start in the center most part of her quilt and then work outwards. For the example quilt she is showing, this means starting on a center most row made up of blocks and sashing strips. Heather then breaks it down further, explaining what areas of the blocks and sashing strips she starts quilting and why.

Heather explains that how you decide to quilt your quilt can depend on the quilt designs, but that once she has found the centermost part of her quilt she begins by quilting the smallest area. Quilting small areas first and then moving on to larger areas allows you to more easily deal with areas of fullness in the quilt. Once you have learned how to start a quilt in terms of quilting, Heather then explains how she decides what type of quilting to do in different areas of the quilt to enhance the overall quilt design.

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10 Responses to “How and Where to Begin Quilting”

  1. Sondra Peters

    I have watched many of Ms. Thomas’ videos. And understand when she says that in this quilt she doesn’t want to “showcase” the quilting. Do she use clear thread here so that the quilting doesn’t stand out? She may have mentioned it and I missed it. Thank you1

    • Customer Service

      Hi Sondra. Generally she quilts with a light grey or other neutral colored thread to allow it to meld into the quilt design. However, if you are quilting on black fabric, you would want to match the thread color to the fabric and use black (same goes for other both fabric colors).
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  2. Margaret

    Are you quilting by hand, or with machine? If by hand, do you not need a big “quilting frame”? (As you can tell I am a complete newbie. I have seen quilts being made, but it was more than 30 years ago. Trying to learn to see if I will be able to tackle one (a baby quilt) on my own. Thanks.

    • Customer Service

      Hello Margaret,

      For this video specifically, our instructor is quilting using her standard home sewing machine. If you want to quilt by hand you can absolutely do that as well, and whether or not you use a frame is up to you. Some find that a frame makes it easier to hold your quilt for quilting, however it is not required.


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  3. Loraine Chapman

    Your tutorials are so easy to understand and interesting. I love the sashing on this quilt and have been slowly going nuts trying to figure out how it is made!! Is there a tute on this?

    • Customer Service

      Hi, Loraine. Thank you for your great feedback! It’s actually an upcoming section that Heather shot three months ago. Should be out soon.

  4. Joyce Robinsn

    I love your shows. I would like to know when you are talking about where to begin quilting, if you have already done the stitching in the ditch. Seems unlikely to me that you have done any at all with this quilt. Thank you for your help.

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