Book Review – Heirloom Machine Quilting by Harriet Hargrave

I’ve been busily trying to finish quilting my ‘seattle’ quilt with my new sewing machine. I call it my Seattle quilt because I bought the fabric in Seattle in 2002 (yes that is five years ago and I’m still trying to get it finished!). So not much to show on the craft front.

However, I recently purchased Heirloom Machine Quilting by Harriet Hargrave, so I thought I would give a quick review.

Picture of the Heirloom Machine Quilting book

There is no chance that I’m ever going to hand piece of hand quilt, so the idea of using my machine to create something that looks ‘heirloom’ was quite appealing. I have done a bit of machine quilting in the past, but have never been completely satisfied with the results. I was beginning to think that I should send my quilts out to be quilted on a long arm machine or at least someone with a frame, but to me that always seemed like cheating (no offense intended to anyone). This book, however, has convinced me that I can do it myself with a normal domestic sewing machine. The gallery quilts are stunning and to know they achieved them with a normal sewing machine is inspiring.

Here’s a list of the things that really stuck in my mind…

  • Starch the quilt fabrics before piecing to make everything a bit crisper and easier to work with.

  • Plan your quilt design before you even plan the top (not sure if I will ever get to this point because for me quilting is all about the fabric and the way it goes together)

  • Stabilise your quilt sandwich by stitching in the ditch (you can even use vanishing thread if ditch quilting is not part of your design)

  • Plan your quilting so you don’t have to manipulate├é┬áthe entire quilt constantly. For example, when quilting in the ditch, quilt all of the vertical lines and then all of the horizontal lines.

There was also quite a section on free motion quilting, but I haven’t read that properly yet because I want to master the straight line stuff first.

I really want to get my Seattle quilt finished so I can move onto something else and try some of these techniques. I have at least five quilts in mind.

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