Tip: You can close the safety pins by hand but as I soon found out, this is really hard on the fingers. To help out with the task, try using a knitting needle. Place needle under pin and use your index finger to close, while holding the needle stationary. See photos below.
After the basting was all done, it was time to machine quilt. I own a no-fuss, standard sewing machine that has no computer or special gadgets for machine quilting, such as a long arm, extension table, etc. It is a Kenmore and was purchased in the 1990's. It may not be state-of-the-art, but I was able to machine quilt with it and it performed very well--something I was not expecting at all.
Before I placed the quilt under the presser foot, I changed a few things on the machine. First, I made a makeshift extension table. I took two shallow, plastic boxes I had in the sewing room that were just about the height of the sewing machine bed, and I flanked them with the front and left side of the machine. I attached them by using a long rubber band that went around the machine and boxes, nothing fancy. These boxes extended the bed of the machine by 8 inches so I had a lot of room to allow the quilt to move right along. I noticed a big improvement the first time I tried it out.
The other thing I did to the machine was attach a walking foot. You can learn more about this special presser foot by reading my previous post, "Fireproof" Quilting
Lastly, I used a cream thread for the top thread (to match the pinks, whites, beige, purple, red, etc. of the quilt top) and a moss green thread for the bobbin (to contrast with the burgundy backing that my sister chose).
I stitched-in-the-ditch for the entire quilt and then came back and made outline stitching that was 1 3/4" away from the first. I needed to do some outline stitching because the batting requires quilting stitches to be no more than 10" apart. After the quilting was all done I removed the pins. I was very excited to discovered that my basting method worked so well! I didn't have ANY trouble with pleats or puckers, and I have always been plagued by those two. The walking foot was a big help, too.
And that is where I am now. I will post again when I am finished with the next and final step: binding. I've decided, though, that I will not cut out some bias binding as I originally planned. I noticed that there is quite a bit of backing fabric extending from the edges of the quilt top, I thought the backing would shrink more but it hasn't. I think I will simply trim the batting and backing, fold the backing over a 1/4", press, fold over again, and stitch down using the walking foot. I've read about this method but never did it before. If it doesn't seem to be working out I'll make some bias binding. It is always good to have a Plan B when it comes to sewing.
Will add an update soon!
So here is the quilt top that has just been quilted. . .
And here is a closeup of the outline stitching I did. . .
The quilt blocks were made with many fabrics that held many memories for my sister and me. The center pictured here is from a bed sheet of my sister's. Some other blocks came from old skirts, dress scraps, doll dress scraps, fabric given to us by friends, and more.And we cannot forget the reverse, the Fall/Winter side. . .