Quilting The Big Quilt-Personalizing

Machine Quilting, Basket Quilt

Good Morning, Quilters!

Join me in a Happy Dance-My sister’s Basket Quilt is finished!

Can you guess how many hours of quilting it required (a king size quilt)?  Keep reading…

The Basket Quilt was a group quilt stitched for my sister Pat’s 29th? birthday by a large group of family and friends and I was tasked with the machine quilting.

The quilt was pin basted and ready to go…


I started by stabilizing the large blocks and the borders.

Basket Quilt, Lori Kennedy

I used the time while I was stabilizing (15 hours) to plan the rest of the quilting.

Once the blocks were all stabilized (by stitching in the ditch of all the blocks and borders), I was able to quilt any area of the quilt, in any order.


I filled the large open squares with Faye’s Flowers.

Machine Quilting, Basket Quilt

Machine Quilting, Basket Quilt

For the appliqué border, I closely echo-stitched around each shape and added embellishments like swirls, leaves, pebbles and more flowers.

Machine Quilting, Basket Quilt

I wanted to add a subtle texture to the brown border.  I chose brown thread to match the fabric and stitched The Grid Pop motif.

Machine Quilting, Basket Quilt

For the square border–I wanted the colored squares to pop.  To do this, I stitched in the ditch along each side of the blocks and went back and filled the white area with scallops.

Machine Quilting, Basket Quilt


To create contrast with the adjacent blocks, I added simple, straight lines around the outer edge of the baskets. (Read more about Design Contrast HERE)

To fill the baskets, I used two different flower motifs under the handles:  three small flowers and Faye’s Flowers used throughout the quilt.

Machine Quilting, Basket Quilt


My sister, Patricia, is a lovely lady who has many talents and fills many roles…

Each basket represents one of these roles or talents… from wife and mother to dog walker and bunco player.

Machine Quilting, Basket Quilt

Machine Quilting, Basket Quilt

Because we are quilting our own quilts, we can add personal touches!

(See Henry’s Quilt HERE)

So much nicer for our family and friends!

Machine Quilting, Basket Quilt

Patricia in green, my sister, Teri in blue.

What about YOU?

What personal touches do YOU add to your quilts?

We’d LOVE to hear!


PS…It took 40 happy hours of thinking about my sister…to complete this King Size quilt on my domestic sewing machine.

PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks.


74 thoughts on “Quilting The Big Quilt-Personalizing

  1. I am in awe of your talent, as usual! I could never imagine quilting a king size quilt on my domestic machine! That must have been a chore of love! Beautiful.

  2. Oh, my! It is beautiful and thank you for the tips on how you did it. I am so happy I found your website.

  3. That is a beautiful quilt and you did a great job on the quilting. While I was reading it, I guessed 40 hours. I agree with you. The stitch in the ditch is the best way to stabilize a large quilt like that. thanks for including that in your post. It is so encouraging to see such large quilts which were quilted on a domestic machine. I really like how you did the baskets. Thanks for sharing that special quilt.

  4. Looks great, and I loved seeing how you used some of the motifs I’ve seen before in your tutorials on a traditional quilt.

  5. Lori–the quilt is beautiful and what a treasure for your sister!
    When you were stabilizing it, did you stitch each block of the basket in the ditch? It looks like you did. Also, how do you baste the quilt sandwich?

  6. Wow! The love is everywhere on this quilt. So impressive. And thank you for detailing your thought process and technique. Invaluable!

  7. Lovely, lovely quilt and quilting! Did you experience problems with the quilt not moving when you were working in the middle? How did you avoid/conquer these issues?

    • It is more challenging in the center to be sure. The most important thing is to keep the weight of the quilt supported. And I use my elbows and forearms to keep things moving!

  8. I just started longarming, but I have finished my final stitches on each one wirh a small shape. I have hidden a themed element somewhere in the stitiching, like a rulip, a spiderweb and a horseshoe, dependinf on the recipient. I also enjoy adding a random word, like mooo, in a farm themed quilt. Even if I am the only one who knows, they feel special.

  9. A queen size quilt sandwich is waiting for me to finish it. I have stabilized the blocks and borders wth stitch in the ditch. Have been collecting ideas for the free motion work to doodle and audition. I was stumped on ideas for contrast in the quilt for the borders and the smaller square blocks. This was a great lesson for me. Thank you. Hope to finish my garden trellis this May!

  10. 40 hours is good (fast) for a large bed size quilt such as this. The personalization is wonderful and I’m sure your sis appreciates it. Lovely quilt!

  11. Just love your quilting. The details are truly lovely and unique. In quilting wedding quilts, I like to quilt the bride and groom’s names and the wedding date for a really personal touch. Usually do this in matching thread to blend into the other background quilting, although your personalization really stands out and is very nice.

    • I like the more subtle version as well. It is a hidden message that is really fun to find!

  12. Would you believe! I have blocks for a basket quilt ready to assemble. How providential that you have just shown me what to do to complete my quilt!

  13. Your quilting is so perfect and so precise … guess that shows the aeons of practice, practice, practice.
    I made a quilt a couple of years ago for my grandnephew. It was Pirate themed. I quilting it on my mid-arm frame, and sewed in all manner of Pirate phrases … Pirate Gold … Ahoy Matey … Pieces of Eight … Aaarrrrrrr … Walk the Plank … YoHoHo And A Bottle of Rum, etc. It was a hit, and it took him weeks to find all the different phrases.

      • Be my guest. The idea works for all kinds of things. The “Pirate’s” father is a chef, so when I made his quilt I worked in all manner of cooking terms. A friend is crazy about dogs and cats … you guessed it: grrrr, ruff ruff ruff, catch the stick, where’s your ball. The possibilities are endless ?

  14. I am the lucky sister that received this wonderful gift and as a quilter, I appreciate the time, effort and energy that it required. (My husband isn’t crazy about my newly conceived plan that the bedroom now needs to be painted so that the quilt has an appropriate showcase……….but he’ll get over it! )
    Thank you Lori for the gift of your time and talent quilting and appliquing- many more hours than 40! Thank you to Teri for organizing, planning and piecing and Mom, Nancy, Ronnie, Renee, Lisa, Carla for the beautiful baskets – my favorite quilt square!
    With gratitude,

  15. The more I play around with my quilting, the better it is getting. my recent quilt, I used two of your motifs and then used variations of them to fill out the borders. I am super pleased with it and am now ready for the next. I have lots of tops of various sizes that have been waiting for my machine quilting skills to catch up with my imagination. It’s getting there and it’s rather exciting to see what I can now do.

  16. How do you keep the lines so straight, like around the triangles in the baskets? I can imagine using a walking foot, but know you can’t because there can be no turning. Do you use any rulers?

  17. Wow. Thank you for sharing. It’s so encouraging to see you quilting these large pieces on your home machine.I am in the process of quilting a large quilt, which I am now referring to as “The Monster”! It is for my husband’s birthday in a couple of weeks, so now I have a deadline to meet, which is a good thing. Thanks for the idea of personalization.

  18. I just got done doing a baby quilt. I first thread drew/painted a lion, as that is his BR theme. Then, knowing his parents’ likes, I personalized each block w/ a drawing, ie animal, activity, ect.. I call it my sampler. I also hope it is used to teach Connor his animals & shapes. I do a lot of T-shirt quilts as well. As my machine does not like going over thick seems, I personalize each shirt(as best I can) to the theme of the shirt. As, t-shrits tell me a lot about the person for whom I am doing them, I feel that I usually hit the nail on the head when the project is completed. I am usually extremely happy when I am done w/ these type of projects. Quilting has improved my creativity, beyond my wildest hopes for being creative. I have gotten lots of inspiration from you, Lori. But I always try to “change it up” a bit to personalize it.
    Thank you ever so much for putting yourself out there for all of us. God Bless you & your family. DianeT

  19. Thanks for sharing this quilt, Lori, and how you went about quilting it. You are always inspiring and educational in your blog posts. Can only imagine the hours of love you put into this quilt. It’s absolutely lovely.

  20. Thank you so much!! Sharing the quilting of this big quilt has really helped me. You give me a lot of inspiration!!

  21. Gorgeous results from many talented people! I’m so impressed! I appreciate the sentiments of personalization – my sisters & I have been collaborating on several quilt projects for family members. Our respective talents compliment each others so well. It is positively rewarding. There is nothing else quite like the bond between sisters!

    • It would be nice if my sister quilted…I would love to collaborate. One of my friends have a sister and a few cousins that quilt and they are doing family round robins…I think that is wonderful.

  22. What a beautiful quilt! I love the pattern, the colors and the quilting. Your sister is truly blessed to have sisters that love her so much!

  23. This size really intimidated me. I took your crafty class and did smaller items with some success but didn’t think I could handle the big one I have now. this was such a good example, I think I might try.

  24. What a treasure! When my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary I made them an album quilt. My siblings, nieces, and nephews were scattered all over but each one wrote a special something in the block I sent them. Everyone was so involved and a lot of the kids probably had no clue what a quilt even was! My parents treasured it, and my Mom still has it. I hand quilted it and my quilt friends helped me get it finished on time.
    What a wonderful memory you just sparked in me!

  25. Thanks for sharing all those steps. I’m teaching a class on designing quilting next month and I am recommending your newsletter and your Craftsy classes to the students. You are very generous with what you share with us for free. I learned years ago how important doodling is for muscle memory and for making decisions about what works and what doesn’t.

  26. Thank you……..it is just beautiful.
    Really warms the heart when you do this for a love one.
    You have taught me so much…..WOW!!

  27. Ditto to all the messages above – – I just had to see the three sisters up close and found that the “hand” symbol does not work to enlarge — I used the Ctrl + buttons and it worked — perhaps you can get someone to program the “hand” to work as it does in other applications for up close and friendly views.

    Your basket treatment inspires me to include it in a 50th b’day quilt for a daughter.

    Thanks so much.

  28. What a special gift for a lucky sister! I love the quilting motif choices and how everything flows. I also like the special touches below the baskets. Fabulous job…and in only 40 hours too! Zoom-zoom!!!

  29. Your quilting is so inspiring! Thank you for letting us see your treasures! I have a sepreme slider and if you rinse the sticky side with water, and let it dry, it will stick again! I bought the large size to fit completely over the hole where my sewing machine is set into the cabinet, and it works great! I also have a long arm machine, which I use for pantographs, but the more custom quilts require a more hands-on approach, much like this quilt you did for your sister. I do the same thing- stabilize first with in the ditch, and then fill it in as desired. I made my son in law a US Marine quilt and then stitched their themes like Semper Fi in the center of the stars- it came out great, much like your sister, grandmother, etc. I am fussy about the lettering, so I print off what I want on a thin paper off my computer and then stitch through it and pull off the paper. I use Lucinda handwriting and am able to produce a bold line using a triple stitch- takes FOREVER, as I have to start and stop and I knot the threads to the backside every time, but the result is perfect!

  30. Wow… no superlatives cover my emotions at seeing this quilt….I wish I was a sister in your bunch. LOL… My sis is great at sewing drapes, covering furniture, sewing fancy pillows and painting the walls with trompe l’oiel..sp??? scenes. She is very supportive of my quilting as I have been of her talents. Question about the stabilizing in the ditch…are those stitches left in or removed after rest of quilting is finished? There is still so much to learn.. Lori, thank you from my heart for sharing this incredible quilt with us. What a great inspiration and encouragement! I remind myself on long trip or project… one more step, one more mile..and I will get there or finish….”just keep swimming” LOL… An incredible quilt can be completed..just keep stitching…you have shown us that truth.

  31. A beautiful quilt that I am certain your sister will treasure. When quilting, my little quirk is to always make a “purposeful” mistake” and sign the label with a shamrock. The mistake is because “no one is perfect” and the shamrock denotes a little sign of my Irish heritage.

  32. Beautiful quilt! I’m so glad I read this post. Not just for the eye candy but also because I’ve never heard of stabilizing before. I don’t know why … I’m excited to try this on the Christmas quilt I’ve been putting off. Thanks!

  33. I’m totally speechless! WOW! There are not enough positive adjectives to describe that quilt and the quilting. Lori, I own both your classes and I save all your emails with those wonderful instructions on motifs but I’m afraid to get started for fear I will fail. What can you say to me that will get me to at least try besides “try”? Did I say speechless? Sorry.

    • Jump in! The water’s warm!!! It’s okay to fail–start by failing on fat quarters! Embrace that you are a beginner and enjoy the process!

      • Been promising myself to try but haven’t yet, maybe one of these times I’ll keep my promise to myself. It’s too easy to break promises to oneself.

  34. The quilt and the quilting is lovely. I am about to embark on quilting my first quilt after taking your Crafty class. I am nervous but have to take that first step.

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