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How to Practice Machine Quilting

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Make a Machine Quilting Practice Sandwich
Make a Machine Quilting Practice Sandwich

Make notes directly onto your sampler. It is usually easier to find a quilt with writing than hunt down a piece of paper with notes on it.

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Use your machine quilting sampler to try out threads of different types and different thicknesses. Try different needles with the threads to find out which type of sewing machine needle makes it easier to use a specific thread, such as the metallic threads that sometimes shred easily.

Use a permanent marker to make notes directly on the top layer of the sampler -- notes will help you remember what worked and what didn't. You may think you'll recall the best combinations, but six months from now, you probably will not.

Useful Notes to Make on Your Practice Quilt Sandwich

  • Were the feed dogs up or down?
  • What type of thread was used?
  • How did you mark the design on the practice sandwich?
  • Did you quilt around a shape?
  • Did you draw the design on tissue paper and then quilt through it?
  • Did you draw the design freehand?
  • What size needle did you use?
  • What was the stitch length setting?
  • What was the type of stitch was used?

The sampler quilt sandwich in the photo has all of the ugly mistakes we usually don't want other quilters to see. Don't worry about that -- the sampler is simply a reference piece that documents what you've learned during machine quilting practice sessions.

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