Loose vs. Tight Stippling

I had a good chunk of time yesterday, so I figured I’d start quilting the Merry & Bright quilt top.  That is until I actually tried to quilt, and my machine started acting funny.  It just got back from being serviced, so I figured I was doing something wrong.  I re-threaded the needle probably 20 times, but still no luck.  Then 30 minutes later, as I was about to give up, I checked the needle…it wasn’t inserted all the way.  Operator Error!!!


Once I figured out the problem I quilted away, but since it was taking so long I had to put it away and come back to it after the kiddos were in bed.  It was taking me so much longer than I thought it would.  It took me longer to quilt this 57″ square than Ethan’s 67″ x 71″ quilt.  I didn’t think that I was quilting any slower either…in fact I feel like I’ve gotten faster as I’ve gotten more comfortable with quilting.  But then I compared the quilting of the 2 quilts and discovered that my stippling has gotten tighter and tighter over time, and therefore, there is far more quilting on the Merry & Bright quilt than on Ethan’s quilt.


Ethan’s quilt: which is more of a meander than stipple


Ethan’s quilt


Merry & Bright: definitely stippled


Merry & Bright back

2 comments to Loose vs. Tight Stippling

  • Jen

    I have a tendency to stipple tight as well. I think my last quilt (which was around 55×60 or so) went through almost 8 full bobbins! My next one I’m going to try and do it more loose. I probably won’t be able too, since I’m so use to doing it tight! Yours look very nice! What kind of machine do you have? I need a better machine. I’m using this old basic Janome sewing machine I got from Sears. I don’t even think it’s for quilting, but it does the trick for now. My stitches are definitely NOT even or consistent, but I’m working on it. Yours look so good!

  • Rachel

    Jen, I have a Viking, which my mom gave me when she upgraded her machine. I love my machine! The most important advice I can give on choosing a machine is make sure you buy it from an authorized dealer and that you can get it serviced locally. To keep you machine working in tip top shape, it’s best to bring it to get serviced/good cleaning annually…it makes your machine run better and it makes it last longer.

    Thanks for the compliment on the evenness of the stitches…but looks are deceiving! 😉 The tip for getting even stitches is to quilt at a consistent speed–not just with the foot pedal but with how fast or slow you move the quilt. It’s definitely one of those skills that gets better and easier the more you do it.

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