So, You Want to Start Quilting – Quilting for Beginners

I often get this question, “I want to start quilting but I don’t know where to start.  What do I need?” I will try to give you some of the information and experiences I have had over the years to help you decide what to get to start your new project.

I have been quilting for over 30 years, yes, I was in my early twenties.  My grandmother was a hand quilter and I absolutely loved quilts, why I don’t know because none of my friends knew what a quilt was let alone want to make one.  So, I bought a magazine at the local store – we didn’t have internet of course and I proceeded to make my first log cabin quilt.  Of course, I had to make a queen size.  I did finish that quilt even quilted it on my mothers’ green Singer sewing machine.  It was ugly.  I have since made so many beautiful quilts I honestly don’t know how many.   I will now try to make it easier for new quilters by sharing all the information I picked up along the way.

Please share your finished quilts on my web site Apple Hill Quilting and Designs.   If you have any questions feel free to comment on any of the posts.

What Supplies do I need?  – Quilting Supplies:

The following are just suggestions of products that I like and use.

  • Notions: Rulers, Cutters.  I love all Creative Grids Rulers.  I especially love the 31/2” square, the 31/2” x 12 ½” and the 12 ½” square.  All of their rulers are amazing.  Once you decide to purchase a ruler you should try to continue buying the same make of ruler in order to add consistency to your measurements.   Creative Grid Rulers  Most Quilt shops in Eastern Ontario carry these rulers.  Olfa carries the best rotary cutters and even have the ergonomic handles.  Olfa rotary cutter
  • Fabric – 100% cotton fabric is ideal for quilting. Quilting fabric is not cheap unless you can find a sale.  I highly recommend you buy quality fabric.  If it feels stiff and the weave is quite loose you will have issues with the blocks.  A poor-quality fabric will also run when washed.  There are many quilt shops in Eastern Ontario where you can buy great fabric.
  • Batting is what you will find between the backing and the top. Just like fabric you get what you pay for.  The cheaper batting will also beard, meaning it will come through at the back when quilted.  Quilters Dream, Hobbs, Tuscany are at the top of my list when it comes to quilting the quilt.
  • Mat – To start with a 24” x 36” is all you need to start. There are so many different mats out there but my favourites are the Olfa self healing mats
  • Sharp scissors are important especially when you want to do applique. It is also very important to keep your paper scissors separate from your fabric scissors.  Hide them if you have to.
  • Quarter-inch presser foot is a wonderful attachment for your sewing machine that will help guide you to make the perfect quarter-inch seam.
  • Seam ripper, I’d like to say you won’t need one but I’d be lying. I have a few laying around in the house as I always seem to be ripping out seams.  Again, make sure it is sharp.
  • Needles and thread are in a previous post.

Retreat – Inspired Getaways

It’s finally time for Retreat.  I am so looking forward to this weekend.  A great bunch of ladies and I are meeting at  Check it out.  It is a great place for all crafters especially quilters.  I have all my projects ready to go.  Suitcase is packed just hoping the weather cooperates for travelling.  Hopefully I will be able to post my completed projects upon my return.

Quilts for Fort Mac

Last year I decided to send out a challenge to our local quilters.  I wanted to send out as many quilts as I could to help those affected by the wild fires in Fort Mac.  Within just a few months I collected over 80 quilts.  With the generosity of Darlene’s Hair Design in Avonmore, Ontario who covered the cost of shipping we were able to send them directly to Fort Mac.  Here is a picture of my helpers stacking the quilts up ready for shipping.20160929_101920

These wonderful ladies from the Highland Quilters Guild graciously donated their time to make these wonderful quilts.


Thank you

Quilting Threads: Are these different from Piecing?


Piecing thread should be a nice fine thread like Aurifil (see previous post), it should be a 50 wt for precise piecing where quilting can be just about anything, cotton, good quality polyester like Glide.  My favourite Quilting thread at the moment is Glide.  It is very strong and has a beautiful sheen to it.  I never have any problems using this thread with my Gammill quilting machine.  I love the 40wt for regular all over designs.  There are so many beautiful colours they all blend so well with the fabrics.  I also love teh Glide 60wt for the bobbin.  It just melts into the fabric on the backing and you get perfect tension every time.  Where to buy Glide thread?  Kawartha Quilting Systems would be happy to help you out.


  • Glide has a brilliant sheen and has the look of Rayon
  • Glide runs through your machine clean and is virtually lint-free
  • Excellent wash-fastness and strong resistance to bleaches and most chemicals
  • Lubricant is uniformly applied throughout each spool for maximum tension consistency
  • Matching magnetic-core bobbins available (L & M) in 61 popular glide color

Quilting Threads…..which one do I use for piecing?


The following is from the Craftsy website.  I love Aurifil threads for piecing.  I love to match the colour of the thread to the fabric as well.  This eliminates thread poking at the seams.  Aurifil is available at most quilt shops or contact Mari Lyn at


When piecing with 100% cotton fabric, it is important to use a 100% cotton thread. Choose a neutral color (many quilters use white, cream or gray for all of their quilting projects) or choose a thread to match the fabrics you’ll be sewing.

Good quality cotton threads produce less lint than lower quality cotton threads and are visibly “smoother” than the lower grades of cotton thread. High quality threads, which produce less lint, are also good for your sewing machine.

An excellent thread choice for piecing is Aurifil Mako 50 weight cotton thread. This thread is silky smooth and fine, while at the same time, it’s strong and durable.

Top 13 ways to prepare your quilt top before bringing it for machine quilting.

  1. Make sure the quilt top lays flat. If the top is flared or has extra fullness, the quilt cannot be pulled out.  I can possibly take out some of the fullness with quilting patterns or styles that disguises this problem. This does not assure however that there may not be some puckering or tucks around the edges.
  2. Press your quilt top. Turn your quilt top over and make sure the seams lie flat and are pressed in opposite directions so as to minimize thick seam junctures.
  3. Is the quilt top square? Measure the center vertically. Then measure the outside edges vertically. If there is more than a ½ inch difference, it is possible that your quilt will have tucks when quilted. Do the same measurements horizontally.
  4. Check quilt top for loose threads. Make sure there are no dark threads showing through lighter fabrics. If these threads are not trimmed, they will end up being quilted and they will permanently show through on the front. If your seams on the edge of the quilt unravel easily, run a basting stitch down the seam thus preventing further unraveling.
  5. Do not baste or layer your quilt.
  1. If your quilt has a definite direction to it or you want one edge to definitely be the top, pin a note to that edge.
    -Press the top and watch the directions the seams are pressed, especially if ditch-type quilting is to be done.
  2. Do not add embellishments such as buttons, beads, ribbons to the quilt top prior to the quilting process as they may get in the way of the needle. I can work around most appliques and special folds.
  3. The flatter the top is from the start, the better the quilting job will be.
  4. 100% cotton fabric is best, or a fabric to match those used in the top.
    -Decide if you want to pre-wash the fabric.
    -If seams are necessary to get the back large enough, trim the selvage edge from the seams and press them open. It is easier to do this if the seams are sewn at 1/2 inch.
  5. Also, watch the grainline of the fabrics. The grainlines of any pieces sewn together should match or there could be distortion in the quilting process.
  6. Size for backing: the backing must be 4 to 6 inches larger than the quilt top. This allows space for the pinning process and for the layering that takes place.
    -Since I need a true straight edge to pin to the canvas, the backing must be square and straight. Make sure the back is trim and straight.
  7. I can pre-wash, add seams, press, or square up the backing for a small fee.
  8. Batting also needs to be 4 to 6 inches larger than the quilt top. This allows space for the pinning process and for the layering that takes place. The thicker battings need extra inches for the rolling process.
    -Remember to purchase batting recommended for longarm quilting, some are too thin or not bonded.
    -Batting is one of those items that you “get what you pay for”. Beware, the cheaper the batting the poorer the quality. The quality of a batting will have an effect on the finished quilt.
    -Also, consider the purpose of the quilt when choosing the batting. Will it be on a bed, hung on a wall, or be used as a blanket. Some battings stretch more than others, some shrink more, and some are more durable.
    -If you have questions on batting, give me a call and we can talk about it.

Monique Wilson


Welcome to Apple Hill Quilting & Designs

This is my  first post to Apple Hill Quilting & Designs AHQD.  I love promoting this great Art that is Quilting.  I love to share everything quilting – so I hope to share with you as much as I can about what I do and to answer as many questions as I can.  I often get telephone calls or email questions on anything quilting.  This is the perfect place to post all these questions so anyone can refer to them and tell your friends.  I will post many tidbits i have learned these past 30 years.  You will find videos on how to’s as well as just me doing free motion quilting.  Feel free to post questions.