At the Finish Line

Last night I finished quilting a new piece for entry into an exhibit I love. Since the jurying process is blind, I can’t share it with you (yet). What I can share are some of the things that make the finishing process (my least favorite part of quilting) a little bit easier.

Thread burying is a controversial subject. I feel compelled to do it, but it can be a bit trying. It’s much easier to do if you use a self-threading needle. Sometimes there’s a bad needle in a package, so I make sure to keep track of the ones that work the best. It’s such a relief not to have to put the thread through a needle’s eye over and over again! There’s more than one type of self-threading needle, so choose what works best for you.

self threading
Self-Threading Needles, a lifesaver!

Needle pullers, where were you all of my life? I didn’t discover these until last year when Cheryl Sleboda mentioned them on social media. My fingers thank her! They are a big help when sewing down a binding, facing, or hanging sleeve.

needle puller
Dritz needle pullers in action

I’ve traditionally blocked all of my quilts flat on the floor. This was somewhat awkward, and honestly didn’t make my back feel very good. Now that I have a large, fluffy, inquisitive companion things are even more complicated.

dash pe
My fluffy helper (who’s not allowed to help with quilting)

What’s come to my rescue? A clothes steamer. I have a super nifty one that was my main Christmas present a few years ago, but no doubt there are many other good ones. I pin or hang my finished quilt on my design wall, then steam away, smoothing it down as I go, and allow it to dry.  I’m not sure how easy this would be with a quilt that has lots of straight lines that need to stay that way, but it works great for my art quilts. A bonus is that if your quilts travel, they often are returned with quite a few wrinkles. I find that my clothes steamer makes removing them a snap.


Many of my quilts are longer than my rulers. A few years ago I broke down and bought an adjustable metal drywall square at a home improvement store. It’s great for helping to mark a quilt prior to trimming it. My biggest challenge? Finding it when my husband has borrowed it.


I hope some of these tips might make it a little easier for you to “cross the finish line” too. And, if you have some finishing tips be sure to share them in the comments!


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