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.

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  • KellyS

    September 19, 2011 at 7:16 am | Reply

    That is amazing quilting! I love it! Great job and thanks for showing this in more detail!

  • Mary Ann

    September 19, 2011 at 7:56 am | Reply

    It’s wonderful. I have got to work on my patience first! But I love the graphic feel the dense quilt adds to the simple piecing. Thank you for walking us throughout the process.

  • Amy Hodge

    September 19, 2011 at 8:01 am | Reply

    This step-by-step is very helpful. I try to plan my quilting, but, I agree, sometimes it’s very hard not to just jump in!!

  • nicke

    September 19, 2011 at 8:07 am | Reply

    i can’t wait to try it out!

  • Rachel at Stitched in Color

    September 19, 2011 at 9:29 am | Reply

    Thank-you! This step-by-step with your thought process really nicely illustrates the whole technique. I love the final look!

  • Audrie

    September 19, 2011 at 11:32 am | Reply

    I loved the quilting on this quilt, and I did stare at the pictures for a little bit to try to figure it out hehe And I got my Horizon when it came out and ever since then, I’ve done a lot more straight-line quilting because it does it so beautifully!

  • Sam

    September 19, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Reply

    I love your quilt! I too have a Janome Horizon but my 1 attempt at straight line quilting went badly wrong. I can take classes where I bought it – which I will but I’m literally 9 months pregnant – so can I ask….what settings do you use? & which foot? My machine is great but I got it a few weeks ago & haven’t had a chance to get to know how to use it properly yet.
    Thank you 🙂

    • Alissa

      September 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Reply

      Hi Sam – I set my stitch length to 3.50 (I like a long stitch for my quilting), use the walking foot, pull down the accufeed foot and turn my presser foot pressure all the way down to one. That seems to get me great results!

  • Pippa

    September 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Reply

    This is awesome! Thanks so much for the guidance.

  • Courtney

    September 19, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Reply

    Awesome tutorial and graphics! Thanks for sharing!

  • Maureen from Ventura

    September 19, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Reply

    The quilt is wonderful and the quilting amazing!! Thanks for sharing the process. I tend to plan out the majority of my quilting ahead of time. The parts I leave for the end perplex me for days.

  • Debbie-Esch House Quilts

    September 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Reply

    Thanks for the step by step explanation! I love the quilting on this quilt and am happy to know how you thought it through.

  • karen

    September 21, 2011 at 5:50 am | Reply

    THAT…. is genius!!!! Looks amazing, and it’s great to see your process. Thanks for the inspiration and info!

  • Eileen {bluebirdluxe}

    October 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Reply

    Oh my goodness! I always love your stitching and I’ve wondered how and where do you begin! Thank you for sharing this with us! It’s amazing and fun to see! 🙂

  • Suzanne

    April 7, 2012 at 4:49 am | Reply

    These illustrations really make a huge impact in explaining your process. Thank you!

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