Begining Quilting

Grid Designs – Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

April 2, 2022

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Recently, there was an HQ Watch and Learn Show about quilting grid designs. Wait, what? You haven’t heard about HQ Watch and Learn?

HQ Watch and Learn Logo

Every Tuesday at noon Mountain time (2pm Eastern, 1pm Central, 11am Pacific, 7pm London, 5am Wednesday Melbourne, Australia) we present a video on our Facebook page. It’s entertaining, informative and inspirational! If you haven’t already, be sure to Like and Follow Handi Quilter on Facebook. That way you’ll get notified before the show. If you can’t be there during the live presentation, the show will remain on our Facebook page for later viewing.  The videos are also available on our YouTube Channel.

What’s even better,  you can ask questions in the comments on the Facebook page. And you’ll get expert answers from the Handi Quilter educators!

Watch the show on grid designs here. after you finish reading!

Grid Designs

So back to grid designs.

Q: What are they?

A: Any design you quilt that is based on an underlying grid.

Q: Where does the grid come from?

A: You can use the piecing seam lines on your quilt. Think about a nine-patch block.

Line drawing of 9 patch star block

It has an automatic grid.

line drawing of 9 patch star block with grid highlighted

Q: OK, I see the grid. Now what do I do with it?

A:  So many things!

If you have been following along with the Free Motion Quilting for Beginners posts, you know lots about the 5 basic shapes. If you are new to this, start reading here.

Start with a curve

Let’s start with a simple curve. I’ll walk you through the stitch path to quilt a design called Continuous Curve or Orange Peel. Let’s try it on the 9-patch block.

We will use the seam lines of the 9-patch as our grid.

Start in the upper left corner and stitch a curve. Remember to look ahead at the intersection of the grid to get a nice smooth curve. You want to hit that intersection as accurately as possible.

Stitch two more curves across the top of the grid, using the grid as your guide.

When you get to the end of the grid, stitch a curve down the right side.

Now you will quilt the first horizontal grid line. Stitch a curve to the left.

You may be tempted to continue on like this:

But don’t do it!

Photo by Monstera

Instead quilt in what we call

serpentine

Like this:

There’s a really good reason for this! When you stitch back to the right, you’ll want to create nice crisp crossovers at the grid intersections (red circles).

If you don’t serpentine, it’s up to you to be super accurate in hitting the points of the grid intersection. If you miss, the design doesn’t look so good.

SO, serpentine to get better results. When you crossover your first curves on the way back, the crossovers form the perfect crisp points!

 

Continue down the right side.

Then serpentine, across and back, on the next horizontal grid line.

Continue down the right side and start across the bottom. Stop when you get to the first vertical grid line.

Serpentine up that vertical grid line. With these curves you do need to give it your best effort to hit the crossovers that you stitched when you worked the horizontal lines. Remember the secret to curves!  Look ahead at your goal. Do not look at the needle as you stitch.

 

If you are more comfortable stitching one side on the way up and the other side on the way down, do what works for you. I prefer to continue with the serpentine path. Do what gives you the best results in hitting the points.

Travel across the bottom to the next vertical grid line.

Stitch up and down the vertical grid line.

Stitch to the left and start up the left side of the block.

Continue up the left side, remembering to look ahead and hit your points accurately,

When you get back to where you started, you’re finished!  The reason this design is called continuous curve is because it puts a curve on each grid line with only one start and one stop. When quilting, we really like to be as continuous as possible. So that we don’t have to waste time securing  thread ends.

I love how this design forms a secondary design of circles that appear to overlap.

The Finish!

Here is how the design will look on our block:

And another block:

Notice we skipped some of the seam lines and just used the ones that form a 9-patch.  But what if……………

What if we did a continuous curve using every seam line?

This creates a very different look. You can really see the overlapping circles on this one!

 

Stay tuned for more grid designs in our Free Motion for Beginners series. We will use some of the other basic shapes to create interesting designs that look a lot harder than they really are.

 

You can go watch the HQ Watch and Learn video now.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

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April 2nd, 2022

Recently, there was an HQ Watch and Learn Show about quilting grid designs. Wait, what? You haven’t heard about HQ Watch and Learn? Every Tuesday at noon Mountain time (2pm Eastern, 1pm Central, 11am Pacific, 7pm London, 5am Wednesday Melbourne, Australia) we present a video on our Facebook page. It’s entertaining, informative and inspirational! If […]