Thursday, April 4, 2024

Practice quilting on the Little Rebel Quilting and Sewing machine


Hope you are well today! Today I'm sharing a little of what I have been doing in my studio. Last December I received my Little Rebel Quilting and Sewing machine, which I had pre-ordered in August from Sewing Machines Plus and Grace Quilting. It was a bit of a wait, but I was very happy when it arrived! 

The Little Rebel has a built in stitch regulator, which I wanted for a sit down machine, to make my sit down quilting a bit less stressful! It also has a larger M Bobbin case (like a long arm machine), and a 13 inch throat space. It has a separate bobbin winder motor, and winds bobbins beautifully! Also different stitch speeds for sewing, and a nice assortment of stitch lengths to choose from.

I have been exploring the sit down quilting function with the machine. 

I have a Grace Qnique 14+ machine on a frame that I am used to quilting with, so I had to get reacquainted with quilting while seated.

Grace Little Rebel Sewing and Quilting machine

It felt a little awkward at first, I was just moving the fabric, stitching and getting used to the machine. Then I decided to follow a pattern in the fabric and it became very meditative and relaxing. (It also helps to practice drawing a quilting design before going to the machine, this way you have a pattern in mind when you sit down - something I didn't do at first this time!)

One of my favorite things to do when practice quilting is to quilt fabric, then make some placemats. Here are the ones I created while practicing:

Practice quilting

Practice quilting

                          Practice quilting

After quilting, I trimmed each piece to placemat size, then finished the edges using my Brother Serger. (It is a basic Serger that I've had for a while, I get it out when sewing and doing little home decor projects, such as this.) The new placemats have been brightening up our table!

It is good to practice quilt, to get warmed up for a project and to check the tension in your top and bottom threads. I have taken to using a Towa Gauge to set my bobbin stitches, and this has been very helpful. Then you only have to adjust the top tension on your machine until the stitches look nice. I like to use an 80 weight or 50 weight bobbin thread, and balance it with the top thread.

Also, pay attention to the thickness of your batting. If you have a thicker bat, it may be easier to hide a thicker thread, if you have a thinner bat, you may want to use an 80 or 100 weight thread for quilting. This is good to keep in mind, in case your quilt is not cooperating when you are setting the tension. 

Towa Bobbin Case Tension Gauge

I have noticed that when the bobbin is about half full, I sometimes need to readjust the bobbin tension. Always take a peek every once in a while to see how it looks on the bottom of your quilt, even if the top looks perfect!

I have the Towa Gauge for M size bobbins, but it is available for L size bobbins, also (the size bobbin used on many straight stitch machines). I did look at some videos on line to see how to use the gauge, it is not too difficult.

I almost always save my practice pieces from quilting or working on a project - I have used them for placemats, notebook covers, mug mats and coasters and have even made a needlebook from them. They are a fun reminder of projects I have worked on, and also very useful!

Happy Quilting!

Many Blessings to you,

Denise A. Buchwalter-Losczyk