What is it I do, anyways?

This post is written for my friends and family who aren’t sure what it is that I do. Machine quilting is a such a hard thing to explain to a non-quilter. It’s confusing because “quilt” is both a noun and a verb. Once I start explaining the differences, eyes usually glaze over and I know that I have lost them. So I have decided to write out a step-by-step post and then keep it handy if I need to explain it to someone! Hopefully this will help in the future!

Before I begin, I want to apologize to my readers who already know what is going on! Thanks for putting up with this post.

This is my baby!

My quilting machine is 12ft long and several feet wide. She is what makes my business possible! Even though I am a quilter and know how to make quilts, making them isn’t part of my business. Customers send me the quilt top (the part of the quilt that they sewed together to make a design) and a quilt back (the part of the quilt that will be the other side of the quilt) and I quilt them together to make the finished quilt.

I start by pinning the quilt back to rails of my machine. I roll up the back so that the bulk of it is on the bottom rail and the very top is showing.

Then I spread batting (the middle part which will add warm and a little puff to the quilt.) over the backing that is pinned to my machine.

Then I lay the quilt top on top of the batting and make sure that it is straight and smooth.

By the way, this gorgous quilt belongs to Jess and I will have plenty of yummy pictures at the end of this post!!

So at this point, I have all three layers on my machine…..

Now it is time to quilt them together. The quilting machine is like a large industrial sewing machine, except instead of moving the fabric, I move the machine around while it is sewing. The sewing is called quilting, and the quilting is what joins the three layers together to make the quilt.

Starting at the top of the quilt, I quilt several different decorative designs to add my own touch to the quilt.

As I finish parts of the quilt, I roll it onto the top roller and continue quilting until the whole quilt is finished.

At that point the 3 layers have been quilted together and I am finished with the quilting.

I usually send it back to the customer just like this. Once they have it, they trim off the extra backing and batting and add binding around the edges to finish the quilt. Here are some up close pictures of the quilting:

Block up close

Back of Quilt

Front of Quilt

So that pretty much sums up what I do on a daily basis, hope that makes sense! Tomorrow’s post will feature all your questions, so let me know if there is something that you have been wondering about. Happy Quilting!

About the quilt:

Jess made this quilt after seeing Heather’s Anni quilt. Heather’s quilt was a winner of Project Modern, featured on the Modern Quilt Guild’s 100 days of modern quilts, and mentioned by Ty Pennington on his blog…..that’s a pretty impressive resume for any quilt!



  1. This is a great post and thank you for featuring my quilt! It looks amazing!

  2. Beautiful quilt and quilting!! Loved learning more about the process.

  3. Beautiful quilt, beautiful quilting, as per usual. What sort of machine do you use?

  4. wonderful quilting! Do you have channel locks? If not, how do you keep your lines so wonderfully straight?

    Second, I am going to just direct folks to this post when I get the blank look when trying to explain what I spend my days doing. Wonderfully explained.

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