Welcome back to the Diamonds 2 Quilt-Along! I’m BERNINA Expert Amanda Murphy and this month I’ll show you how I quilted the first row of the Diamonds Sampler. If you missed last month’s post that has piecing directions, you can find it here.
Because Diamonds 2 was created to celebrate the introduction of the BERNINA Q 16 PLUS on the Studio Frame, the videos will show the piece being quilted on that model, but I thought I’d take a moment in this first quilting post to tell you about the process of quilting on both a frame and a sit-down machine.
Quilting on a Frame
Ready to quilt on the BERNINA Q 16 PLUS on the Studio Frame!
On a frame, you always start at the top of the quilt and quilt down. To do this, mount your backing and batting to the bars. (You can see a video of how to do this here. Run a line of basting stitches at the top of the batting and backing either by moving the machine across the frame against the take-up bar or by using channel locks. Mount the quilt top along this basted line to ensure it is square to the frame. Then pin to quilt top leader on the front of the machine, if desired. (If you leave the bottom of the quilt top unpinned it is called “floating your top”. Lots of quilters do this, but it requires more practice to ensure that the quilt remains square than if you pin the bottom of the quilt top to a leader.) Baste down the side edges of the quilt top, as far as you can go. Then put on the clamps. Complete the quilting in that section.
As you work down the quilt, when you come to a section, you’ll baste the quilt topsides and THEN put on the clamps. Do all of your stitch-in-the-ditch work and large rulerwork and then do your smaller fills. Then roll the quilt and proceed to the next section.
TIP: If you are planning on quilting a piece really heavily like I did for the Jubilee quilt celebrating BERNINA’s 125th anniversary, it is possible to quilt in multiple passes to help keep it square, but you have to get enough quilting in the initial pass so the fabric doesn’t fold on the bars. When I do multiple passes I like to repin my backing fabric to the “quilt top leader” after the first pass; this stabilizes the distance between the machine bed and the quilt as I work back and forth.
The bottom half of Diamonds 2 is a mirror image of the top half, so we will use this month’s design on both the top and bottom borders of the quilt. But on a frame, you can’t get to the bottom border until you have quilted all the rows above it. You have a few choices:
- Hold off on quilting the bottom rows of the sampler until you quilt the top rows. This is what I’d probably choose to do. BERNINA keeps all these posts up in perpetuity so you can come back to any post at any time.
- If you just can’t wait you can baste all the way down the quilt and quilt the bottom row. BUT you’ll have to put in a really significant amount of basting so the fabric won’t fold on the bars. Maybe even a line every couple of inches. I’d use BSR3 with a setting of 1 or 2 stitches per inch for this. (You can also do your stitch in the ditch during this process, but it won’t be enough stitching to skip the basting.)
Quilting on a Sit-Down Machine
On a sit-down machine, you’ll have to pin-baste or spray-baste your quilt sandwich together. You do have to deal with the bulk of the quilt, but the good news is you can quilt anywhere on your piece at any time. I recommend quilting all of the stitch-in-the-ditch-type of work first and then add in detail to each row every month as the instructions are posted.
For more details of basting and quilting on a sit-down, reference my Diamonds Quilt Along from last year.
The Diamonds 2 Area A Design
I chose to quilt a double-heart design in the border. This design has an intricate feel and fills up the border fast. The fabric is pretty busy so I refilled much of this section on my plum Cotton Shot blender fabric so you can see what I was doing better. You’ll need my Good Measure Every Heart Set 2 Quilting Templates to execute this design.
The border from the front of the quilt.
The border from the back of the quilt.
The same design, quilted on a plum cotton shot for easy viewing!
To learn how I quilted the first row of Diamonds 2, download the PDF instructions here and watch this video:
Happy quilting and I hope you have a lovely holiday season!