Favorites and Not-So Favorites

What are your favorite and not so favorite parts of quilting?  Don’t say cleaning up after yourselves!  🙂

There’s designing the quilt or choosing the pattern.  I love that part.

There’s choosing the fabrics — pulling fabrics from the shelves, either your own shelves or those at the fabric shop.  I love that part too.  There was a time when I much preferred for the quilt shop ladies to choose my fabrics but I enjoy doing it myself now.

There’s cutting all the pieces.  I don’t mind that part either.  I sometimes cut all my pieces at once or sometimes I’ll cut what I need for a while and then go back and cut more.

There’s the sewing and the pressing.

There’s  making blocks.

There’s sewing the blocks together into rows and then sewing the rows together to make the top.

There are the borders.  You know I love borders but often by the time I get to the borders, I’m so ready to start on the next project that I want to skimp on the borders.  That’s why if I’m making a pieced border, I do those, along with the other borders first so that they’re all cut and pieced and ready to be attached to the top.  That way, I’m less likely to go on to the next top without finishing the borders.

Want to know my least favorite part of the whole quilting process?

Loading the quilt onto the longarm!  That’s the part I do not like at all!  If I have a top waiting to be quilted, I will put it off forever just because I dislike loading it.  The backing has to be loaded.  Then the top.  Then the batting inserted.  It’s really not a big deal so o. . why do I put it off?

When I was doing a lot of quilting for others, as soon as I finished one quilt, I’d go ahead and load the next one.  It’s so much easier to get started quilting when the top is already loaded.

My Sunny Side Up top is loaded and ready to be quilted.  Yesterday afternoon I could’ve gotten started on it but the call of the knitting project was too great and I spent the whole evening knitting.

At least it’s loaded and ready when I’m ready to start.  I don’t mind the quilting or the binding . . just the loading.  Weird, huh?


  1. 2

    Kathy R in FL says

    My least favorite parts of quilting are deciding on the quilting design and trimming the batting and the batting after all the quilting is done. I love doing everything else, although pressing can be tedious sometimes.

  2. 3


    Since I send my larger quilts out to be quilted, that is actually one of my favorite parts – because I know that in a couple of months, my quilt will be returned to me, and all I have to do is make the binding and get it sewn on. That would probably be the worst part for me – my sewing area is small, and if it’s a king size quilt, trying to maneuver that much quilt around to get the binding on is pretty tough. I love handsewing the back on – that’s not a problem either – so I guess machine sewing the binding to the front would have to be my “not so favorite” (yes, the lady that does my quilting would do that part for me, but if I do that myself, I can afford to have more of my quilts professionally quilted!)

  3. 4


    Not weird, loading onto my frame is not a favorite part of mine either but I can’t say I hate it. My least favorite part is squaring up the quilt.

  4. 5


    My least favorite part is binding. I have a number of quilts waiting for binding. It’s getting the binding sewn on straight and even. I have a small sewing area like Deb S. Then connecting the two pieces together. I did purchase ‘The Binding Tool’ and that has helped speed up that step. Then there is the time it takes to hand sew on the binding and making sure the corners are mitered correctly. Oh and the pain to my fingers from poking them with needles! I do wear a thimble to protect both my middle and pointer fingers. Knowing I will have to eventually bind the quilts does not keep me from making new ones!

  5. 6

    Sarah B says

    Because I am color challenged my least favorite part is coming up with coordinating fabrics and working out the bugs of a pattern. I don’t HATE it but it gives me anxieties (i.e. will the colors I chose work or will it look horrible! Patterns, solids, lights, darks, values, warms, colds, eek, just thinking about it makes my blood pressure soar!!) However, buying kits is one way around it but because they are so much more expensive I don’t usually do it.
    My other least favorite part is cutting. I think it’s tedious and boring. On the other hand, I love to hand stitch so anything that allows me to sit and stitch is my favorite part… I really enjoy hand sewing on the binding! I also do a lot of embroidery just to satisfy that part of me.

  6. 7


    Basting the quilt is my least favorite part. I always thread basted, when I only hand quilted. I switched to pins when I learned to machine quilt but after watching Sharon Schamber’s method of thread basting using boards I might try that method, not that it will make me like basting any better. 🙂

  7. 8

    Pat Hedrick says

    I fear and hate the layering of the quilt sandwich. After all my hard and “I tried to be careful” work I now see my quilt is rippled and to square it I will have to ruin a block on the front. And I fear the dreaded wrinkles on the back and mushrooming puckers on the front. Just recently I ripped out a WHOLE quilt because I was so unhappy with it.

    When it is just a top all finished and ironed I can still dream I have created something outstanding ….. but layering busts my dream.

  8. 9


    I love the handwork part; the applique, and especially the hand part of the binding. I love snuggling up underneath it and running my hand across the quilted quilt during this process. My least favorite part is the label–some of my quilts do not get one.

  9. 10


    My least favorite thing to do is domestic machine quilting – I do not want a longarm, but there are some quilts that I do not feel I should waste the money on to send out – lap quilts, runners, table toppers, and wall quilts. I hate to quilt these little quilts, but I like all the process of making and binding them. Sometimes I will stall on the borders, so my second least favorite. Judy C and http://www.shadetreequilting.com

  10. 11

    pdudgeon says

    gotta say that ironing the whole quilt or the whole backing is my least favorite part, mostly because of my iron. So this week i took the bull by the horns and ordered a new iron (just like Judy’s).
    As many quilts as i’ll be making this year, i figured that i needed to treat myself to something that would make the whole ironing process easier.

    can’t wait until i have an iron that gets hot and steams again!

  11. 12


    i guess my least favorite part are the borders. i usually do just plain borders because by the time i get there….i just want to be done and start another. i really like pieced borders but rarely do them. i can’t do them first because i rarely know how large my quilt will wind up. i’m sort of a ‘by the seat of my pants’ quilter. LOL

  12. 13

    Diann Smith says

    Binding..the favorite
    Basting..the least favorite but I pin baste no matter if machine or handquilting.
    And no longarm either..lack the space and the money

  13. 14


    My least favorite is sewing those long rows of blocks together. Borders are a close second, but at least there are fewer seams to match up there! But it’s all part of the process if I want a finished quilt, so I just grin and bear it!

    As for loading quilts on the longarm, I recently learned of a product called Red Snappers. I ordered them for myself, but they haven’t arrived yet, so I can’t tell you if they’re as awesome as the video (http://quiltsonthecorner.com/red_snappers) shows, but thought I’d pass along the info! (Disclaimer: Noone paid me to tell you about Red Snappers.)

  14. 15

    Lynne says

    Binding is my least favorite, I have tried many thimbles and gadgets but small hands seem to be an issue.

    I either end up with needle point in the knuckle of my left hand thumb or even worse the three end pushing into the pad of my right hand finger.

    Ouch !!

  15. 16

    pdudgeon says

    p.s. forgot to say that my favorite part of quilting is my sewing table!

    I finally got wise and ordered a 6 ft banquet table with adjustable legs thru the web. When it was delivered right to my door, i put the table against the wall in my sewing room that has 2 large windows for extra light.

    i have to say that it’s my “Command Center”.
    now i can have the right height table for me, with room for storage underneath, lots of light, and ample room on both sides of my machine to lay out blocks.
    Or i can move the machine to one end of the table, and have lots of room to fully support a large quilt. the table is collapsable, and easy to carry. It’s only 30 inches wide, so it has a small footprint, and doesn’t take up any more room than a free-standing cabinet would.

    I paid less for the banquet table than most regular sewing machine cabinets cost these days, and I wouldn’t trade it for any amount of money.

  16. 17


    My least favorite part is putting the quilt top together. Don’t much like piecing backs either, so try not to do that! I don’t mind loading the quilt onto the frame and I love doing the binding o:)

  17. 18


    I too like to mount the next quilt right after I finish quilting one. Just seems easier to start quilting the next one when it’s already loaded and ready to go.
    My favorite part is making the blocks. I don’t especially enjoy putting them together…so that’s why I have so many blocks sitting around waiting to be made into quilts. But I always figure–they’ll be good sellers at my “auction”. (haven’t you been to those auctions and bought these perfectly wonderful blocks and wonder why the maker didn’t finish them?)

  18. 19


    I load my quilt on to my frame in basically the same way expect it is a hand quilting 3 roller frame! I’m usually excited to get a new quilt on the frame but it goes down hill from there. I know it will take me months to hand quilt the quilt and I have so many other projects I am working on that it is almost depressing to think of how long it will take to quilt a large quilt. I don’t know why – I have been hand quilting for years and love the look of hand quilting so I am not ready to give up that part of it yet.

  19. 20


    My least favorite part changes from time to time, but right now it’s sewing the rows together and putting on borders. Darn it, I already know what it looks like at this point! I’m ready to move on!

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    Jennifer says

    My favorite part is putting all the blocks up on the design wall and shuffling then around until I like where they are. My least favorite is the same as yours…loading the quilt onto the frame.

  21. 22


    I think I am with the majority……I hate making “the sandwich”. I pin baste and mostly hand quilt. I do have the luxury of using a ping pong table to do the work, so I don’t know why I complain……but I do!!

  22. 23


    Oh Judy, that is the biggest reason I couldn’t keep quilting for others. The time I would procrastinate and then have to square everything up would make the project take too long from the get go. Now, I just procrastinate for myself. I like to get it loaded then take a break or start fresh the next day.

  23. 24


    I have always said, I love choosing fabric, and it’s downhill after that.
    1. Choosing the fabric – my favorite! Pattern comes next – usually something simple.
    2. Choosing the pattern – not bad, because it’s usually just squares.
    3. Piecing – I don’t mind piecing, especially if it’s a tricky quick-piecing algorithm – I love a challenge! But once I have a top done, I feel a sense of completion. Too bad, it leaves me with lots of finished tops.
    4. Sandwiching – not great but I get it over with. Because I have so many UFOs, I took some good advice and even if I am not going to quilt the top, I get a piece of batting and a backing and put it away all rolled up together.
    5. Quilting – takes me forever. I do not like to do it.
    6. Binding – Not my favorite. I make my own bias binding. Again the tricky challenge of getting it right makes it a little more interesting. However a quilted top without binding on it drives me crazy. Once I quilt a top, the binding is put on the same day or the next day.
    7. Sewing the binding – Not my favorite, but the drive to complete the quilt makes it go fast. Also I can take it with me when I go somewhere that I have to wait.
    8. Putting on the label – I used to do this right away, but lately I put it off. Not a good idea. It has been many years since I started quilting, and if it were not for the labels on some of them, I would never remember when I made them.
    9. Taking a picture of the quilt – now I love this part because I have a digital camera and a blog! Finally.

  24. 25

    Connie says

    In the past I would have said hand sewing down the binding, mainly because I didn’t like the way mine looked, then someone *looks at you* showed me how to do it right so I don’t mind it so much. So, I guess I would say either cutting it out or more likely hand basting it.

  25. 26


    I dislike the loading, too, but it’s because my back gets soooo sore during the loading and I need a nap to let my muscles relax. It’s a bummer getting old! lol

  26. 27


    My least favorite part is piecing the backings. I would prefer to buy some of those 108″ wide backings, but I already have some substantial yardage to make backings, so I feel guilty spending money for extra wide backings —at least until I use up what I already have.

  27. 28


    I hate basting a quilt. I don’t have any large spaces of floor to baste, so there are some really nice quilt tops in my closet waiting for me to find someone’s floor to borrow so I can baste a quilt. You are LUCKY to have a longarm (and the space to have one). I would probably dislike loading the longarm too, but think how much easier it is than crawling around on the floor pinbasting and then stitching on your regular machine!

  28. 29

    Mary Johnson says

    Funny I just posted yesterday about my least favorite part….assembling the top. I usually drag that part out much longer than I need to.

  29. 30

    Mary Johnson says

    Funny I just posted yesterday about my least favorite part….assembling the top. I usually drag that part out much longer than I need to.

  30. 31


    OMGosh!! I just posted about this very thing on Tue. I do NOT like getting the quilt prepared for quilting!! At all!! It doesn’t matter if I’m going to load on the frame or pin baste to sit at my machine to quilt. I don’t like that part.
    So it’s nice to know I’m in good company. LOL

  31. 32

    Greg says

    I hate sewing lengths of fabric to make long borders. I just recently started to cut my borders from lengthwise fabric with no seams. It’s so much easier!

  32. 33

    Suzanne Smith says

    After many years of sewing quilts I have finally decided that the only part I truely enjoy is designing my own quilts! I do not follow patterns well- I always change things sometimes mid stream. Once I have a paper design done it rarely finishes exactly the same….I really enjoy just sewing and seeing what turns up or just drawing an idea and going with it. I think its because I get bored quickly ….that would also explain all the UFO’s in my house!!

  33. 34

    Suzanne Smith says

    An after thought to all the quilters out there….years ago quilting a quilt was a group activity and when you can do any project together with your friends the work becomes easier and it all becomes enjoyable. Thats why our blogland community has become so wonderful and so important to many of us …I know it has for me.

  34. 35


    The assembling and borders are my least favorite as I see but the amount of UFO’s on my list that are at the Blocks and Border stage. Next to that is the deciding what pattern to quilt on each one. Panto or free-motion?? So many choices! I see you are using a paper Panto for this one. It looks like clouds to go with your “sunshine”. Do you use straight pins or safety pins? I think Zippered leaders would speed up the loading process a bit. I saw a new dowel and tube system online this week that looks easier too. So you must not be alone in dis-liking the process.

  35. 36


    I love all the parts of the quilt but I like you get bogged down with the borders so I am going to use your suggestion to make the border units first. Great idea Judy!

  36. 37


    My least favorite part is doing the binding. Ugh – I hate it!

    I used to dread pinning the quilt on the long arm too – but then in October I started teaching my two neighbors to quilt. When we finished their first quilts, it was time to load them on the machine – so they learned how to do that too. Much quicker when there are two or three people pinning!! One Saturday, April helped me pin three different quilts on!

    Today they came over and we pinned on some muslin and they practiced quilting for about an hour an a half. So fun!

  37. 38


    funny! i have an unfavorite part, too! and that’s layering the quilt, and pinning it, too. once that part is done, i’m fine. but i have about 5 tops right now, that if i was really motivated ( or rich!) i could finish fairly quickly. btw- i’m really enjoying the 2011 ufo challenge. i work well under pressure, and can hardly wait until tuesday until you pick the new number!

  38. 40


    Well I don’t have a longarm, but the least favorite thing for me to do is hand BINDING!!! I would rather machine stitch it if at all possible.

  39. 41

    Karen C says

    Favorite part is a tie between planning/designing/selecting fabric and piecing the blocks together. Least favorite is the binding…. the part where you stitch/attach it by machine. I love the final handwork part of the binding. LOL

    I, too, am going to order Renae’s Red Snappers for loading quilts on my longarm. I float my tops, so even using pins, the process doesn’t take all that long.

  40. 42

    Gale says

    I have two least favorite parts – cutting and binding. Both because of the arthritis in my hands and my bad shoulder. I start to ache before I finish the cutting or the hand sewing so I have to do little bits at a time while I am planning the next quilt in my head.

  41. 43


    I hate picking fabrics. I pull out fabric after fabric making piles and piles and then I put them all back. It takes me days and then I just look at them for a few more days before I begin. It drives me crazy!

  42. 44


    I hate the quilting. Maybe if I had a bigger machine with more throat space I would feel different. Or if I were more comfortable with my free motion. This is followed closely by basting.

  43. 45


    My least favorite part is layering, because my sewing room is tight on space (I have too much junk sitting around). In December, I cleared off my cutting table, took down the ironing board and layered 7 tops (all small). Now I’m working my way thru them. My favorite is playing with the fabrics. The more the merrier, I always say. If you only use 4 greens, they need to match; but if you use 40 no one will notice if they’re different tones or shades.

  44. 47

    Margie says

    I’m with Angie. The backing is a major pain to me. Even when I buy the 108″ stuff it is a pain. It costs money and once I decided it should be washed and then it didn’t fit my quilt. Plus you can’t see it. I have done a little teaching and when someone asks how I choose backing I say, “Something that remotely goes with the quilt and is cheap”! Even the small quilt backings are a pain to me.

  45. 48

    Debbie says

    I would have to say the part I am currently working on any quilt is my favorite….I am so blessed to be able to quilt that I love it all !!

  46. 50

    Denise says

    Sewing backing together and getting the sandwich pin basted are my two least favorite parts – hence the enormous number of tops waiting to be quilted. Once I get started on the pin basting, it’s fine, but it’s the getting started part I procrastinate on. Tho since I’ve got the banquet table cleared off maybe I should just go grab on and get at it. 🙂

  47. 51

    Perry says

    The part I dislike the most is sewing the backing of a quilt if it has to be pieced. By the time I get to the borders I am usually really sick of a quilt, but I can persevere if they are plain borders, if not I do tend to procrastinate, but I do not like to mess with the backings.

  48. 52


    Least favorite — quilting! I would LOVE a longarm machine. (Though it is nice to know even those with a longarm have their struggles! lol) I have a walking foot for my machine, but still often end up with puckering here and there. I love to piece tops, and I go to great pains to make everything nice and square, seams matched, etc., then it feels like I ruin all that in the quilting. Bah! Because of that, I tend to do the most basic quilting; crosshatching, stitch-in-the-ditch, etc. I think the freedom to be creative with a longarm would be SO fun. I might even learn to LIKE quilting! lol Someday…

  49. 53

    Susan Torrens says

    Since I quilt my own quilts, I least look forward to pin-basting the quilts. I’ve made it easier by training DH to be my assistant. We make a great team, clamping the backing fabric to the tables, smoothing out the batting and top, then he follows my lead in pinning. My back aches less, and we finish much faster as a team. While I am pinning, I’m planning the quilting designs I want to try. I’ve tried spray basting, but still prefer the pins. I don’t like the smell of the spray baste, and I don’t usually wash my finish quilts before I give them away, and since many go to newborns, cancer patients, or residents in nursing homes, I don’t like to leave the chemicals in the quilt. In my dreams, I own a longarm, but I’d need 2 new homes, and 2 longarms – only if I win the lottery!
    I really like all aspects of quilting – I never seem to get tired of the processes, and there is always something new to learn.

  50. 54

    Kathy C says

    I don’t like sewing the blocks and rows together.
    I always think I am ‘almost done” once I get all my blocks finsihed but it seems like it takes forever to sew everything together.

  51. 55

    Diane says

    I don’t like to quilt. I love the planning the best then I enjoy making it all the way to a top. After it is a top I am satisfied to give it away or fold it up and put it away. Crazy I know, so that is why I say I’m a “topper” instead of a quilter.

  52. 56

    Cindy Kuipers says

    What I dislike the most is hand basting a quilt for hand quilting. My second least favorite thing is, like you, loading onto the frame for machine quilting.

  53. 57


    I hate piecing the backs. If I lived in fairyland I would have a full stock of 108″ wide fabric that I could roll off and presto! backing is done. Right now I have a quilt waiting to go to the quilter, that I could have taken a week ago, because I don’t want to piece that backing!

    By the time I get to the border(s) sometimes I get too anxious and want to move onto the next quilt. Other than that, I love everything else. Even cutting!

  54. 58

    Bon says

    I like everything up until I have the top completed. Then I’d like to be done. And binding is my least favorite thing to do.

  55. 59

    Julianne says

    Judy You need a set of red snappers…a new way to load a quilt on the longarm. Renee Haden ( spelling? ) Has them on her site but they were on back order. I do not have them but I have seen them demo and they looked great. You have a different machine but I bet they will work on yours to.

  56. 60


    I hate cutting. Tedious! I LOVE to pick out the fabric and if you could see my shelves you would understand that! All the rest, I don’t mind. I put off binding my first quilt because I had myself convinced I would hate it…turns out it’s not as bad as I thought! I often think to myself…”too bad I can’t take this to church to work on during the service!”

  57. 61

    ruth anne shorter says

    Judy. I was so happy to see your fave ruler is the tri recs as that is how I found you a long time ago when googled. this ruler. Good to see you in the sas magazine.

  58. 62

    Darlene S says

    Judy, It’s hard to decide what is my favorite part of making quilts. I like almost all of it. I’m not wild about pin basting, but now I am quilting more on the long arm. I have had a love affair with fabric of all kinds since I was very young. Wish I didn’t need to sleep so I could finish all my UFO’s more quickly. Dar

  59. 63


    My favorite is designing the quilt.
    My least is layering and pinning. Ugh! I have to do that before I can quilt it on my regular sewing machine.

  60. 64


    I attend 3 quilting retreats a year with my quilting buddies; my best friends. (This is my favorite part of the quilting process!) These are all ‘mystery’ retreats and while the patterns are usually great, the fabrics one chooses for a mystery, don’t always work out. It should come as no surprise that my UFO pile is filled with these mystery tops–16 to be exact! (I have other UFOs too). I don’t have a big enough table to pin the ‘sandwich’ together nor do we have a quilt shop nearby which would accommodate this sort of task. So, I have to get on the floor of my living room to do this and my body just can’t take the abuse. I hurt for days after I pin a quilt so this is my least part of the quilting process. But once I do pin it, I’m a quilting maniac! (machine quilting up to a queen size on my Janome 6600) and LOVE it! I also enjoy hand stitching the binding.
    Happy quilting everyone!

  61. 66


    I hate loading a quilt too. I have zippers which makes it easier, but I still don’t like it. I’m not all that fond of cutting either. I love to sew and love to quilt. Now, if I could just get the quilting faeries to come and do cutting and loading, I’d be happy.

  62. 67

    Evelyn B in MA says

    My least favorite part is putting the quilt top together because I always fear that my piecing will be inaccurate in some major way that will throw the whole top off or some other glaring inaccuracy will show. I fear the Quilt Police will throw me out of the profession even if the only Quilt Police are those that live in my head!

  63. 68


    Basting is definitely my least favorite part. Thankfully, a combination of a helpful husband and basting spray make it manageable, and easier on my poor back!

  64. 69


    I don’t like binding. I know I should do it by hand, but with carpal tunnel syndrome, it makes it hard to hold the needle for very long. I usually end up doing it by machine.

  65. 70


    My favorite part is picking the fabrics/colors.

    My least favorite part is ironing the backing. My ironing board is just not big enough (although its a full sized ironing board). It seems that it takes forever to iron one half, then turn it the other way and iron the other half, then the first half is laying on the floor and gets all wrinkled up, then you have to iron the middle of the middle and then just fold it up again to take it to my long armer. Whew! Makes me tired just to remember the last one I did (about 2 weeks ago).

    Judy, maybe loading your long arm machine is the least favorite part because it has no creativity to it. Just a mechanical function. Everything else is creative and tactile.

    Good luck with the storm coming!

  66. 71


    Oh, I wish I could load a quilt on a long arm! LOL. I am only working with a hoe domestic machine. The part that I don’t like is basting the layers (and I spraybaste everyting, with great satisfaction). Number 2 on the not liking list (and it ends there) is finishing the binding by hand. I am always looking for ways to do it all by machine. I found some tecnics that work for me. But still binding is not on my favorites list 🙂