Sweater quilt: basting, stencil preparation and design transfer

After piecing the flannel backing for my sweater quilt, I hand basted the two layers together in a simple grid using some leftover 40-weight cotton quilting thread. I kept the basting stitches fairly close together to minimize stretching, about three inches apart.


After playing with different stencils in Electric Quilt, I finally decided to quilt the top with gentle, wavy lines:

sweater quilt stenciled 

I made a paper stencil by sizing the quilt motif in Electric Quilt, printing the sections and then splicing them together with the aid of a light table. Next, I removed both the top and bobbin thread from the sewing machine and inserted a size 90/14 needle to perforate the wavy lines on the paper stencil pattern.


The plan was to pounce blue chalk through the holes in the paper stencil.

pounce pad

Next, I matched the center line on the paper stencil with the center of the quilt, which I marked with green basting pins on the right and left sides of the top.


I pounced a small section and lifted the paper to see if the lines were visible and they were not. The perforation was too small.

John went to the basement and retrieved this tool from his soldering kit,

soldering tool

and over the next few days I intermittently achieved a high state of boredom by using the pointy end to enlarge the holes I’d made with the sewing machine needle.


That seemed to do the trick, as I now had visible lines, although achieving them required more of a slamming action than a pouncing one.

first quilting stitches

I also found it helpful to use heavy books and map weights to keep the paper stencil in position while slamming the powder through the holes.

anchoring pattern

With an engineer in the house, it’s easy to locate the heavy books–they’re all the ones I’ll never understand.


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Filed under Electric Quilt, sweater quilt

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