Sunday, August 13, 2023

Spray basting and free-motion quilting small charity quilts

One of the fun and fulfilling aspects of quilting is creating small charity quilts as a way to show kindness and bring smiles to others. This weekend, my guild held its annual Cuddle Quilt workshop and I brought three pieced quilt tops to the workshop to take part in the “group spray-basting session” to prepare the tops for free-motion quilting.

Load the bobbins. Get out the quilting gloves. Get ready for free-motion quilting charity quilts.

Making small charity quilts

The cuddle quilts the guild makes are for children. They are small, lap size, or the size for a child to nap on. For these quilt tops, we aim for a quilt size that is no more than 42” - 43” wide. This size accommodates a backing fabric can be cut from a bolt of 44"/45" fabric without having to piece it.

These smaller quilts also expedite the basting, quilting and binding processes and we're able to make many and finish them quickly. Even beginner quilters can join in and achieve success.

Easy patchwork quilt top and big flower free-motion quilting motif.

Quilting design ideas for small charity quilts

I free-motion quilt on a domestic sewing machine so the smaller size quilts are easy to maneuver in the throat space of a home sewing machine. I like to experiment with different free-motion quilting designs on these charity quilts. Simple shapes—loops, swirls, flowers, leaves, hearts—are good motifs for for charity quilts and are beginner-friendly as well.

Swirls and circles are free-motion quilted on this charity quilt.

I use one motif or a combination of 2 or 3 motifs to create a meandering, all-over design. Beginner quilters can practice drawing the motifs in a sketchbook before putting needle and thread to the quilt sandwich. The more adventurous quilters can just drop the feed dogs and free-motion intuitively. 

A continuous line, meandering motif will interlock organically across the quilt top and add a wonderful texture to the quilt. 

Two quilted charity quilts ready or trimming.

I quilted two of my cuddle quilts yesterday. Scrappy bindings will be added after trimming and squaring. They'll be finished in no time.

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