Thank you so much for all of your nice comments about the quilting on the Queen Baby Quilt. I though I would share more about how I did it, so I put together some step by step illustrations that should make it very clear.
I recently took a workshop from the amazing Angela Walters and one of her biggest tips about quilting is that you need to plan how you’re going to work through the quilt in advance. This of course makes sense, but sometimes I get too impatient and just jump in. Not anymore!
I should add that my straight line quilting has improved dramatically since I started sewing on the Janome Horizon. (Full disclosure – they did sponsor me with the machine but I would recommend it regardless.) The combination of their feed system and being able to turn the pressure of my presser foot waaaay down have made it so that I don’t deal with fabric shifting like I used to. Amanda Jean did a post on this recently and the follow up post has lots of helpful ideas.
Additionally, the size of the Horizon makes it so that I can easily turn the quilt in my machine as needed. And there’s a lot of turning happening with this quilting because I turn a lot of corners. I keep my lines equidistant by just using the edge of my walking foot as the guide for each seam.
The quilting started with this basic idea.
We’ve all seen it before – the idea of making blocks into beads on a string… Pretty simple, right? But with all of that negative space, I knew that I wanted to fill it in with dense straight line quilting, so I had the idea to echo quilt this first concept.
So I started quilting!
First I sewed a line that was the beginning of the idea.
Then I worked my way out to the edge of the quilt, filling in all of the negative space. My quilt was in my machine turned 180 degrees (meaning sewing from the bottom to the top) while quilting these lines and I slowly worked my way out, so that more and more of the quilt was to the left of my machine. You can see that when a smaller section of the negative space got filled in (like between the blocks or below the bottom block) I just stopped making those turns.
Next up, it was time to fill in two of the blocks with freemotion quilting. I did this before finishing the straight lines so that I could keep the fabric smooth through the whole process. If I quilted dense lines all around the blocks, and then quilted the blocks, any extra fabric (in an ideal world there wouldn’t be any but I’ve learned this lesson the hard way) wouldn’t have anywhere to go and would bubble and ripple.
I then continued with filling in the straight lines. Because there’s so little negative space between the blocks, I knew I had to fill in the framing line around the second set of blocks now or there wouldn’t be room for it later. Lots of planning ahead!
Then I filled in all of the space between them. There was only room for a couple of complete lines (that run from the top to the bottom of the quilt) between the blocks, so I then filled in the top and bottom spaces, again echoing the pattern that the quilting lines created.
And then it was time to freemotion quilt the last two blocks!
Finally, the last framing line happened…
I echo quilted around it to the edge of the quilt…
And finished up by filling in the corners, again echoing the existing quilting pattern.
And there you have it! It is time consuming, all of these straight lines, but I think that the result is so worth it. I love that it is quilting that takes the piecing in to consideration, yet it is graphic and works to create a very modern feeling quilt.