Thursday, 2 August 2012

side stage sashing

True confession time. Despite free-motion machine quilting since 2003, I still get a bit nervous each time I begin to quilt a new project. There's that moment of near panic just before I hit the start button on the handles. "Am I going I mess up?" "Will the thread tension be OK?" "Do I remember the pattern?" Usually I just take a deep breath and jump in. But recently I've found a better way.

This is a great tip and we're featuring it in our next Line Dancing DVD Beyond the Sea. We started with the idea that if you sew an extra strip of fabric along one side of your quilt, you'll have a 'side stage' place to get the machine tension sorted, and do a bit of last minute practising. Once everything is running smoothly then you can gracefully enter the main quilt Any starting off mistakes can be kept to the 'side stage' and then sliced off with a rotary cutter once the quilt is taken off the frame. We tried it with this wall hanging project and it worked a treat! Having a safe place to go and get everything running smoothly took lots of the pressure off. It was a perfect solution my starting up jitters.

Sand Sea and Sky Art Quilt by Martha Milne

Then we took a little break to work on Uncle Jeremy's wedding stole. I needed both sides to match so I loaded the project on the Art Quilter frame so that Emily could stitch across both panels at the same time. I stitched the stole panels together with 'sashing strips' on either side and in-between. This allowed Emily to keep the quilting pattern consistent across both panels. They also provided the 'side stages'; places to work through any tensioning, thread or line design hiccups before stitching on the main project. Here, we discovered that it was really good to have the side stages on BOTH sides.

 The sashing on the left side helps me to start confidently.

The sashing on the right side gives me a smooth exit.

Sea Green Art Quilt by Martha Milne

At the end, once I've taken the project off the frame, I can slice off the side stage sashing pieces with my rotary cutter, leaving the good stitches in the middle.When you stop to think about it, the entrance and the exit stitches of a project are usually the most troublesome. I'll be including the 'side stage sashing' on both sides now!

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