Sunday, October 10, 2010

Straight Line Quilting....

Okay, I know the first image has nothing to do with quilting, but it does help with the motivation....
I have a weakness for candy corn...and it is October....right?
So back to straight line quilting...I am quilting a baby quilt put together by a student of mine...and I have another class getting ready to quilt - so I thought I would post some tips on straight line machine quilting.... 
I suggest using the same thread in the bobbin as the top thread if you have any issues with tension.  If you use the same bottom and top thread, neither the bobbin or the top thread will show through....problem solved.
I like to use quilting needles - although quilting needles are not the only needles I use in quilting and some people prefer top stitching needles...but at least always use a new needle....
Loosen the presser foot to about 1,  I like to lengthen the stitch to about 3.5  and I would recommend using a walking foot...

I attach the arm on the right side of the walking foot and adjust to the distance I would like between the rows of straight line stitching....
I begin the first row by placing masking tape along the line I want to quilt...
Before you begin stitching decide if you are going to lock your stitches by taking a couple of back stitches or if you will leave a tail of top and bobbin thread...thread a needle with the tail...knot and bury the knot....this takes a little more time and you have to remember to leave a tail at the beginning and ending of each line of stitching.... 
Roll the side of the quilt before feeding it through the throat opening on the machine...if you are quilting a larger quilt, these clips help to keep the rolled section of quilt out of your way...they don't really help that much with a baby quilt...
Use the arm to follow the previous line of stitching.... 
I try to always let the machine do the "work" no pulling or shoving the quilt through as you are quilting...go slow when straight line quilting and you should have lovely results with beautifully even stitches... 
I hope this back to that candy corn and stitching :)


  1. Thank you!

    (If you've been to my blog you'd know I have some straight line issues!)

    This is such a helpful post - not least because it shows me how the walking foot could look -

    I've got a 1960s Novum so it's really difficult to work out if all the feet that came in the bag belong to him!

    Loving the thread too - I use a grey multi called London Drizzle :)

    AND now I know what candy corn looks like!

  2. Oh my gosh! I am most thankful that now you know what candy corn looks time you see it in the market pick up a won't be disappointed! Glad the post is helpful...I am never sure if I am just "singing to the choir". My walking foot is more appropriately called a dual feed foot - it is built in to my machine. Most often I will see a walking foot that looks like a foot with a boxlike thing attached to the back of the foot. It still has the little feet in the middle that walk the top layer of fabric. Glad this helps :)

  3. You had me at candy corn! I LOVE the stuff.

  4. A very timely post for me! I'll be quilting my 2nd quilt soon. What type of thread have you used? I can see that it's cotton but is it a heavier weight or just the multi-purpose stuff? PS very jealous of your candy corns I can't get them here in Australia!

  5. Just the right post for me too. I've been really frustrated with my straight line attempts lately and was thinking of increasing my stitch length so just what I needed to hear!

  6. Really good advice, thank you Mary, I have never seen those clips before either, will try to get hold of them :)

  7. Thank you all....Thread: I always use 100% cotton for quilting. I do not always use a "special" thread like the one in the picture for my bobbin, though. My student began the quilting using this thread in the bobbin so I just continued with the same thread. This is Gutermann variegated 100% cotton. I also like YLI for machine quilting. YLI is a little heavier weight and I think it looks lovely on the quilt top. But if I am using YLI, I would probably choose another lighter weight cotton that matches for my bobbin thread. Hope that makes sense...only a couple of sips of coffee this morning :) I do like to increase the stitch length - it makes for a pretty stitch and I think the loft of the quilt sort of sucks in the stitches. So if you use a small stitch they almost seem to disappear.