The outside borders are going to be added after the stitching is done. This will allow the seam to also be a quilted line, keeping the quilting evenly distributed within the tablerunner. I am not going to do any other quilting in the outside border. Because the borders are going to be added after the quilting, the batting and backing are cut large enough to accommodate them.
A busy floral fabric is chosen for the backing and a blendable cream thread for the bobbin. This blends the stitching and any tension problems that may arise because of changing the top thread colors.
My preferred method of basting the quilt is spray baste. I LOVE spray baste. Spray baste keeps the quilt layers smooth and together. The layers are laid out together before sprayed.
The batting and quilt top are pulled back to the halfway point and the back sprayed.
The batting is placed over the sprayed back and smoothed out. The quilt top is left folded over at the halfway mark. The batting is sprayed and the top laid over the batting and smoothed out. The quilt is ready to be quilted.
Now it's time to get the sewing machine ready. I drop my feed dogs, put on my free-motion foot, and place my slider on the sewing machine table. The machine is now set up and ready to go, too.
For this quilt, quilting begins by stitching the red border in the ditch. I pull up the bobbin thread prior to stitching and then begin.
I stitch all applique pieces that use the same color thread before changing to the next thread color. This cuts down on time lost to thread changing. Always try to stitch pushing the fabric away from you and the stitching behind the foot. It is easier to have good stitching control in this manner. Although it is easiest to stitch this way, it's not always possible to keep the quilt moving in this manner, especially when stitching circles/ovals.
Controlling the weight of the quilt keeps the stitching moving the smoothest. Here I have folded the quilt in front of me to keep the weight off my lap and on the table.
Free-motion quilting the applique as I have done allows all stitching to be done within two hours, much faster than if I buttonhole stitched or quilted with a straight stitch with my feed dogs up. If you are interested in quilting your own work, I urge you to get past any trepidation you may have in trying free-motion quilting and practice, practice, practice. Remember, we all have to start at the beginning. I had to practice, practice, practice to get to where my skill is today.
This is the backside of the tablerunner with quilting complete. See how the stitching blends in with the busy fabric design? Consider a busy fabric print for all of your quilt backings, especially if you are just beginning free-motion quilting. It will hide many of what you will consider your imperfections. If you want the quilt stitching design to show then I would use a solid or tone-on-tone fabric.