Start your engines – or, in our case, “Thread your machines”
Now that our quilt top is assembled and our quilt sandwich is layered, it’s finally time to start quilting and embellishing the Christmas tree quilt.
The first thing we need to do is thread our machines with the Spotlite metallic thread on top and the Deco-Bob thread in the bobbin. Using the Deco-Bob will create high definition for the quilting stitches on the quilt top and it will blend nicely with the backing fabric. Check out the WonderFil website if you need more information about either of the threads.
Check out my blog post from Tuesday when I shared Lucy Garvin’s tips for success using metallic threads.
Start with the applique
Set your machine to a blanket stitch (or a satin stitch, whichever you prefer) and stitch around the outside edges of all of the applique shapes. I used my favorite blanket stitch on my project. Make sure that one side of your stitches goes onto the applique shape and the other side goes into the background fabric just beside the applique shape. I used green to outline the tree and silver to outline both the trunk and the star.
Now practice your free motion quilting
Thread your machine with whichever color of Spotlite thread you want to use to quilt the background around the tree. I used the silver one on the white fabric. I did a meander all around the tree and randomly quilted a snowflake here and there.
I love the effect of the silver on white and I’m happy to announce that I haven’t had a broken thread yet! I think for my previous attempts at quilting with metallic threads I was obviously using the wrong brand of thread!
Quilting the borders
I decided to use the red Spotlite thread to do the inner red border and the silver to do the outer border. I did a loop-de-loop design along the inner border and a meander on the outer border because my stitches were hardly noticeable on the busy fabric.
Break out your decorative stitches
Now set your machine to one of the decorative stitches that you practiced on Tuesday. Keep that Deco-Bob thread in your bobbin and use one of your colors of Spotlite metallic thread to do a decorative stitch along one of the seam lines on your tree.
I used the red thread to stitch all the seams going one direction, green for one direction and silver for the last. Since my fabrics didn’t have any yellows or golds, I decided to keep the gold Spotlite for another project. I tried to use a different decorative stitch for each seam but, since my machine doesn’t have many to choose from, I had to copy them a couple times. You can do the same or try a different stitch for every seam – you decide.
Time for the binding
Once all your quilting and embellishing is done, take your quilt to your cutting table and trim the excess batting and backing from the quilt using your rotary cutter and ruler.
You may have already set aside the fabric you want to use for your binding. But, if you’re like me and haven’t decided yet, take the ones that are in the running and place them behind the edge of the quilt so you can see what they look like. I’m going with red!
Cut four strips 2½” x the width of your binding fabric and sew them end to end with a mitered join. I’ve explained this in previous QUILTsocial posts if you’re unsure of how to do this.
In my previous blog posts, I’ve shown how to machine stitch down the binding. But, for this quilt I just used the Deco-Bob and hand stitched it down while watching a movie.
If you’re planning to hang your quilt on the wall, make a hanging sleeve. There are lots of great tutorials on YouTube that explain different ways to do that. Here’s one that I found:
Quilting Basics – Hanging A Quilt – YouTube
Time to admire your finished project
Our masterpieces are complete and you now have a Christmas present ready to give or an addition to your Christmas decor. Mine is going to hang in my front hall and, now that it’s up, I feel like breaking out all my other Christmas quilts and decorations.
I learned a lot this week and have finally conquered my fear of metallic thread! As a machine quilter, one thing that makes me very happy is quilting an entire quilt without having the threads break. So, quilting and embellishing this quilt with metallic thread and only having the threads break twice was awesome! I’m positive that it has everything to do with the quality of the thread.
I highly recommend trying out the Spotlite and Deco-bob threads in your next project!
I hope you had fun assembling, quilting and embellishing the Christmas tree quilt! Next month we’ll experiment with Splendor rayon thread from WonderFil. Stay tuned!