How To: Straight Line Quilt

I wanted to have a How To on straight line quilting since you may have recently read my How To on pin basting, if not you can find it here.  Today I worked on that same quilt for my youngest son and completed the quilting.  The batting is VERY thick and not something I would have picked.  I let him make that choice and regretted it a bit today.  It was difficult, but I prevailed!

Here is the quilt as I started, still rolled up from the pin basting.Straight Line Quilting - starting sandwichI decided to sew this at the kitchen table and have plenty of space.  I even used the chairs to make sure nothing hit the ground and have holders of the quilt sandwich.  Here is from my machine looking out.  You can see the chair backs (complete with the stickers my daughter uses to claim her chair), they are placed just far enough back from the table to hold the quilt from touching the floor.Straight Line Quilting - starting pointHere is the view from my machine looking down, I did scoot back a step.  Since it moves back and forth I needed a chair on my side to catch it on this side too, just there on the left.Straight Line Quilting - managing the sandwich my sideI seperated the quilt sandwich into 4 quadrants, see photo below.  I started on section 1 at the dot and worked my way down the length of the quilt.  Once finished with that row, I then moved back up to quilt the line right next to the first.  I continued working my way toward the outside edge of the quilt by finishing each row from the mid point of the quilt to the end.Straight Line Quilting - quadrant map

Here is a photo of quilting the second row, still in quadrant 1.Straight Line Quilting - keeping the roll in the throatI kept the part I was not working on rolled up in the throat, or opening, of my machine.  The first few rows to quilt are the hardest since there is more rolled up and in the way.

Make sure there is plenty of space and area for the quilt sandwich to move towards the needle.  With a project this size it is easy to have the weight working against the needle and not allowing the feed dogs to do their work of moving the quilting along.  I pulled plenty of excess quilt in front of me to allow it to feed through on it’s own.Straight Line Quilting - giving plenty of spaceFinally, quadrant 1 is complete!  This one seemed to take the longest.  Each row seemed to be faster than the last.  I chose a “stitch 4, skip 1” method.  I decided if I did not like it it would be easy to fix once complete.Straight Line Quilting - quadrant 1 completeI then turned it around and began working on quadrant 2.  Starting in the middle of the quilt and working away from the center, just like the drawing above.  It helped to guide the quilt and have plenty of room when I placed my hands in these places.  I could still make sure the stitching stayed “in the ditch,” check out that post here.Straight Line Quilting - hand placementOnce I completed quadrant 2 I moved onto #3.  I did the first row from the center on the far edge, not the center.  I then reversed the direction and started sewing from the outside edge into the center.  I felt with the first row to hold it in place I would not hand a pucker or bulges.  Here is what it looked like.Straight Line Quilting - working backwards on third quadrantWhen not doing a straight line stitch you should start in the center and work your way out like quadrant 1 and 2, but for straight line you would have to reverse stitch the entire row or have a HUGE amount of roll in the throat.  This seemed to work just great.

This is a photo of how much space the quilt took to quilt.  The chair that has the quilt draped over it is where I sit.  I was FINALLY on quadrant 4 here!Straight Line Quilting - takes whole table and chairsOnce every last stitch was complete I like to check the back side to make sure everything looks great.  I do like the variety of skipping every 5th row, just a little visual contrast.Straight Line Quilting - back checkThis one row on the side will need to be unstitched and corrected.  Not bad for how large the quilt is.Straight Line Quilting - back problemsI chose to not remove the basting pins as I quilted.  They were not in the way and I felt it would take to much time.  You DO NOT want to sew over them.  If this was a more complex design or if they were in the way I would have removed them.

Also, there is so many options on density and variety in straight line quilting.  Craftsy did a great blog post on this, read about it here.  I did have a different plan going in on this project but ended up with the oldie but goodie of stitch in the ditch and am happy with it.

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