domestic machine quilting Archives - Handi Quilter

More Filled Grid Variations – Swirl

Last week we filled grids with straight lines, curves and S-shapes. That leaves two more of the 5 basic shapes to create even more filled grid variations, swirl and loop.

Swirl

The swirl is a fun one to quilt because it flows so easily. If you are not proficient at quilting swirls, remember to practice this shape every day. Your skill will improve and before you know it you’ll be loving to quilt swirls too!

Let’s start with a little larger grid this time. A 5 across by 4 down will work well for this example.

Pro-tip: You can fill any size grid with these shapes! you might be filling a border that’s 4″ x 60″.  Just use the same paths. It will work.

 

Start (as usual) in the upper left corner. Stitch a swirl. I chose to do a simple spiral into the center and use the diagonal line trick to get to the upper right corner of my grid box. Just like we did last week with the square spiral design.

 

I also chose to make that line from the center to the upper right a curve. If I had chosen a straight line, I’d get a different look. But, I don’t need to pull out my straight line ruler to quilt the curve. It will be faster and easier this way.

Next travel along the grid line to skip the next box and get to the third box.

Since I practiced this design before I quilted it on a real quilt, I realized some thing that would help me finish this grid work faster. Remember the S-shape design from last week? It looked much better when the grid was also stitched. Because the swirls do not fill the entire grid box, this one will look much better with the grid lines quilted as well. As I practiced, I discovered if I quilted across the top of the 2nd and the 3rd grid boxes. Then started my swirl from the upper right corner of the 3rd box (rather than the upper left). I would complete stitching the horizontal grid lines as I worked the swirls. This saves a lot of time!

Pro- tip: As you practice your design, try to think of ways to make it easier or faster to stitch. Try variations to see what works and what doesn’t.

 

Don’t worry!  I will stitch the top of that 1st grid box a little later.

By stitching the top of 2 boxes I need to start my spiral from the upper right. No biggie!

Then stitch that diagonal line to the upper right corner of the box.

Rinse and repeat

Continue across the top row of the grid in the same manner till you reach the right side of your grid.

 

The next row will get worked right to left. Stitch down the right side of the grid to the top of row 2. Remember you are filling alternate grid boxes. So stitch across to the top right of the box you want to fill next.

 

Stitch the swirl and end in the upper right corner of the box.

Use the trick of putting marks in the boxes you want to fill so you don’t make a mistake. It’s easy to do!

Pro-tip: Use all the tricks you have up your sleeve to help make the quilting easy!

If you have followed along with this Free Motion Quilting for Beginners series you have quite a few tricks you can apply to whatever the job. If you’re new here, start with this post. It has links to many of the first posts in the series. Then you can continue on from there.

Travel across the top of the box you just filled and the next box that will remain empty.

 

Fill the next one. Then travel across and down and back across to the right. This will set you up to fill the next box.

Rinse and repeat til you have filled all the alternating boxes.

 

 

All that is left to do is to finish stitching the grid. Most of the horizontal lines are already stitched! Just finish the last part of the line you are working.

 

Then choose a path to complete the vertical grid lines. I chose to stitch up the left side to get started. You can finger trace your path to figure out which way will work the best in your situation, before you start stitching.

 

Now I can finish that open top!

 

As you come to a vertical line, stitch it. So I stitched down that first vertical line I came to.

 

Rinse and repeat.

 

I ended up at the bottom right corner working my vertical lines. So all I needed to do was to go across the bottom and up the one grid box that was still open. And my design is finished!

 

Next week: Loops and more ideas.

BTW, the basic examples I am showing you are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to filling up a grid and creating texture on your quilts. I hope you’re imagining other ways to use the shapes! That’s the fun of free motion quilting. The sky’s the limit when it comes to more filled grid variations!

 

Quilt every day!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

Filled Grid Variations

Now that you’ve got the basics of filled grids from our last post, it’s time to kick it up a notch and explore some filled grid variations.

If you’ve been following along with this Free Motion Quilting for Beginners series, I bet you can guess what I’m going to say next. IYKYK.  If you’re new here, then go to this post. It is a list (with links) of the first posts in the series. Then you can continue on from there.

IYKYK = If you know, you know.

The Five Basic Shapes.

We used straight lines to fill every other grid box last week. That created fabulous texture!

 

This is another example:

There were squares pieced in this quilt, and I could have used those piecing lines as my grid, but I chose to divide those pieced squares even further, to make a smaller grid. I used a removable marking tool, the Handi Iron-Off Pencil, to do that. They work great on dark fabrics, iron off, and leave no residue. Just what you want in a quilt marking tool.

 

 

Straight Line Variations

We can change up the way we use straight lines in the grid boxes:

 

I started by going around the perimeter of the grid box and then spiraled in towards the center. When I got to the middle, I just angled back out to the perimeter.

That makes me think of another variation! Use angled straight lines to fill alternating grid boxes. Can you picture that?

How about the other shapes?

Curves

We can fill the alternating grid boxes with a simple small stipple.

Using the method of doing 2 rows at a time, like we did in the last post, works great for stipple as well. You do need to think ahead and end in the corner that connects to the next box you want to fill.

S-shape

Using the S-shape to fill the grid lends movement to the quilt.

Once again, I want to make the design as continuous as possible. Using the alternating rows trick doesn’t work for the S-shape variation. But working on a diagonal and alternating the direction of the S-shape works really well!

 

Start in the upper left. Fill the grid box with S-shapes ending in the lower right corner of the box.

 

Fill the next grid box on the diagonal but this time rotate the S-shapes by 90 degrees. End in the bottom right corner of the box.

Fill the next box on the diagonal, rotating your S-shapes by 90 degrees again. Continue along the diagonal as far as you can within the quiltable space of your machine, or the end of your grid, whichever comes first.

 

Work the other diagonal rows that you can reach in your frame space. This example is a small 9-box grid so I just need to fill in the corners.

Pro-Tip: remember to keep the alternating direction of the S-shapes when moving on to new diagonal rows.

 

Sometimes, when shapes do not fill the whole grid box, the design can lose the crispness of the grid. If I erase the grid lines for this S-shape variation, I’m not too happy with the look of the design. This often happens with curved variations.

 

 

This is totally personal preference. Always remember, it’s your quilt, so make it look the way YOU want.

When I lose the crisp lines of the grid, I opt to stitch the grid as well as the design. If the design does the job of defining the grid, I don’t need to stitch the grid. In the case of the S-shape design, I think the grid needs to be stitched.

To me, this looks much better. What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Next week we’ll dive into some more variations.

Till then……quilt every day!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

Skill Sets

If you have been following along with our Free Motion Quilting for Beginners series, you already know the importance of practice for gaining FMQ skills. I like to think of practice time as play time. It’s stress-free quilting time. Time to bond with your machine. No worries about making mistakes. No worries about getting out the seam ripper. And that practice time just got even better with something new from Handi Quilter. The very first Skill Sets is available exclusively at your local HQ retailer.

The skinny on Skill Sets

It’s a box full of items that will give you some direction for your practice time. And give you some ideas for new designs to use in specific areas on your quilts.

What’s in it?

 

Practice with Purpose Notebook

First you’ll see a small notebook that contains design ideas and space for drawing practice as well as outlines for the Skill Sets panel. You can plan which designs you will quilt in which spaces on the Skill Sets panel.

Pro tip: Having a plan is one of the skills you should make into a habit!

On the front and back inside cover of the notebook are some great reference guides that are valuable tools to always have in your studio.

HQ Curvy Template

 

I really like the Curvy with its 2 different curves and angle markings, plus straight edges. You can learn some cool designs using the Curvy by watching the video at this link. This template has a retail value of  $34.95! After you see all the things that are included in the skill sets, you’ll see, it is a really good deal.

Fabric Panels

Two fabric Panels are included.

The smaller one is meant for you to practice the designs. It has areas marked off for practice and it also has two mini quilts for even more practice.

Pro-tip: Use water soluble thread in your bobbin and you can use the panel over and over. A quick dip in some warm water will remove your stitching. After it’s dry, you can try again!

Vanish Lite by Superior Threads is the water soluble thread that I like.

 

Super Pro-Tip:  Keep this thread in a zip-top bag and LABEL it. You don’t want to accidentally get it wet and you sure don’t want to use it to repair your bathing suit. :O

You will also get a larger panel. It is approximately 2 yards. The idea is for you to practice your designs on the smaller piece. Then, when you feel confident, quilt the larger one to use as a throw or a wall hanging. This is just a little sneak peek:

Official Handi Quilter pencil

And of course you’ll want to do your drawing practice with the official Handi Quilter Pencil! Because it has the FMQ mojo.

Unboxing Video

If you’d like to see an unboxing video, you can watch here.

Where can you get one?

They are ONLY sold by Handi Quilter retailers. You cannot find Skill Sets on our website. Find a retailer near you here.

Pro-tip: If you don’t have a retailer that’s a reasonable distance from you, give the closest one a call. Many retailers would be happy to mail your Skill Set.

More to come!

While you’re waiting for your Skill Sets box to arrive read this post, Practice with a Purpose.

This is just the first in a series of Skill Sets. Stay tuned for more great practice opportunities brought to you by the great folks at Handi Quilter.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

Practice with Purpose

If you’ve been following along our free motion quilting for beginners series, you know how important practice is.  And you probably have a pile of quilted fabric that you’re not quite sure what to do with. Some of them you’ll want to toss. Maybe you breathed new life into a piece by adding a second or third top layer and re-used the batting and backing. That’s a great $$ saver! Maybe your tension was so bad, the back looks like a nest. Go ahead and toss those!  They served their purpose!  You learned, you gained skills, you grew as a quilter.

Some might make a good liner for the cargo area of your car. They keep everything clean and are easily washable! Note: I did not add a binding, I just tuck the raw edges under. No one will ever know!

NEVER toss your first practice piece. It’s purpose is to remind you how far you’ve come. Put a binding on it! Hang it up! (maybe somewhere only you will see it :). Or just keep it in a drawer and pull it out if (when) you get frustrated in trying to learn a new design.  It’s good to see just how much you can accomplish with practice.

Now that you have had lots of practice, the next time you want to learn a design, you might want to think about how you could use the practice piece. Then choose your fabric accordingly.

Do you remember the echo quilting design from Helen Godden called Roadmaps?

When I stitched out a sample of that design, I thought about how I might use it.  I was wanting to do some couching with the HQ Couching feet. It’s just so addicting!

I wanted to try quilting the fabric first, then couching a design over the background quilting. My background quilting needed to be simple but interesting. Roadmaps checked all the boxes!

I thought I would make a bag out of the finished piece, so I quilted two roadmaps. One for the front and one for the back of the bag. I chose my fabric with all of those criteria in mind. The batting was also a consideration for the project.  I like using foam for my bags. It gives them good structure and crispness, while still being soft. And quilting foam really shows the quilting texture! There are many brands out there. Just Google foam batting for sewing to see what is available.

I loaded the foam just like I would normally load a backing. Then basted my top fabric in place. Using blue water soluble marker, I marked my swirls and then quilted the echos.  Go back and read the post on Roadmaps to see how to do it.

 

There was not enough of the fabric I chose, so I used a coordinating fabric and quilted the other piece in the same way, for the back of the bag.

Then life and other commitments happened. The quilted pieces rested and waited til I had some time to do the couching.

I marked a rough outline of what I wanted to couch and gathered my yarns. You can visit our YouTube channel and search for couching to learn how it’s done and get even more inspiration for projects.

 

I used several different yarns to create interesting texture.

 

Once I was happy with my couching, I trimmed the pieces and cut some lining as well.

 

You can use your quilted pieces to make just about any bag pattern of your choice. I didn’t use a pattern. I’ve made so many bags over the years, I just winged it!

 

It was a fun project that started out with a “practice with purpose”. And now I have a new summer tote!

What is your favorite way to use or re-purpose quilting practice pieces?

We’d LOVE to hear! Let us know in the comments.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

Swirly Grid Design

We have used all the shapes to make continuous grid designs except for the swirl (or hook). So today we will dive deep into the swirly grid design.

The Swirl

Remember the swirl or hook for the 5 basic shapes?

Like the S shape from last week, we need to make some modifications to the shape. To make our path continuous, the shape must start on the left and end on the right. I accomplished this by extending the line leading into the swirl and the line leading out. Then I spread them apart like this:

Notice that I also closed the swirl, or over-stitched the swirly part.  I did this is because this design is a lot of quilting in each grid space. If your grid is large, feel free to leave the open swirl with the double lines, like the original shape. Make it your own!

My quilting starts at the green dot on the left and arcs down slightly.

When I get about half-way across the grid space, I start my swirl.

Backtrack along the swirl.

Then arc up towards the grid intersection.

One thing to keep in mind while you are quilting this shape is that you cannot go too deep into the grid space. You have to allow room for a swirl on each of the four sides of the space. You can add a chalked dot or circle to the center of the space as a reminder, like we did when we used the loop shape.

The Path

To keep things consistent, let’s use the same grid.

 

Start in the upper left corner and stitch the shape across the top. Just like all the other shapes before.

 

The Mantra

Like the S-shape, it is SUPER important that the shape is stitched the same each time. In this case, the swirl has to go in the same direction. I chose to stitch the swirl swirling back towards where I started.

 

To help me keep the swirls going in the correct direction, I use the mantra “SWIRL BACK”.  And just like the S-shape, this mantra will be helpful when you you have to change the orientation of the shape to fill the grid.

 

Next stitch down the side. SWIRL BACK.

 

Keep the path going

As we did before we will work across the horizontal grid line. But for this design, like the Terry Twist, the serpentine path will not work. You will simply stitch across the top of the line. Keep the mantra going!

You can see how the swirl is opposite of the ones going across the top of the grid. It’s easy to get confused and turned around without the mantra, but the mantra will keep your shapes going the way they should. SWIRL BACK.

Next, stitch across the bottom of the horizontal grid line back towards the right. Keep the mantra going!

Without the mantra, you’ll be sure to get confused on this step. With the mantra you’ll just go along easy-peasy.

Continue on down the right side, and across and back on the next horizontal grid line. Keep the mantra going!

Stitching down the right side brings you to the bottom of the grid. Begin to stitch across.

 

Just as before, work the vertical grid line up.

 

Can you see now how using a chalked dot in the center of the grid space will help?

Next, work your way back down the vertical line. Keeping the mantra? Of course you are! If you don’t, you’ll be getting out the seam ripper.

 

Move across the bottom to the next vertical line and stitch up and down. Then across the bottom to the left side. Then all that’s left to do is stitch up the left side, back to where you started!

 

This swirly grid is great for larger grids. There is a lot of quilting in each grid space!

Did you notice that this intricate design used the skills we acquired when we learned the simpler shapes grid designs? We used the path that gets us from start to finish with just one start and one stop. We used a guideline (dot), we modified the shape slightly, we used a mantra to keep the pattern going correctly.  When you come up with your own new designs be sure to remember your skills and put them to work for you!

 

The Name

I have not named this one. Will you help me give it a cool name? Add your name suggestion in the comments. I can’t wait to see what you creatives come up with!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

More Grid Designs

Last time, we took our grid work to a new level by using more of the basic shapes. We followed the same path using the grid. It’s time for more grid designs! Using the S shape and the (mostly) same path.

I saved this shape  and the hook for last because they are a bit trickier to stitch and keep the grid going. But as always, I have hints and pro tips to make it fun and easy. More grid designs = more fun!

S shape

Remember the S shape?

Such a useful shape! If you’ve been following along with the Free Motion Quilting for Beginners Series you should be very familiar with it. If you’d like to start the series from the beginning, start here.

For this grid design we are going to modify the S shape a little. We need to exaggerate one side of the S and flatten out the other side. Like this:

I named the two parts of this S shape. You’ll see why in a bit. The exaggerated side is the “BUMP” and the flattened out side is the “SLIDE”.

The Path

Use the same 9-patch grid.

 

Start in the upper left corner and stitch the shape across the top. Just like before.

The Mantra

It is SUPER important that the shape is stitched the same each time. The BUMP first and then the SLIDE. So I use those words as my mantra.

Bump and Slide – Bump and Slide – Bump and Slide……

This mantra will be ever so helpful when you start changing directions.

Next, stitch down the side. Bump and Slide.

 

As we did before we will work across the horizontal grid line. But for this design, the serpentine path will not work. You will simply stitch across the top of the line. Keep the mantra going!

Can you see now why we need a mantra? The S shapes going across to the left are opposite of the ones we stitched across the top of the grid. It would be easy to get confused and turned around without the mantra.

Next stitch across the bottom of the horizontal grid line back to the right. Keep the mantra going! Bump and Slide.

Without the mantra, you’ll be sure to get confused on this step. With the mantra you’ll just go along easy-peasy.

 

Continue on down the right side, and across and back on the next horizontal grid line. Keep the mantra going!

 

Stitching down the right side brings you to the bottom of the grid. Begin to stitch across.

 

Just as before, work the vertical grid line up.

Are you noticing how the S-shapes are nesting together? Cool!

 

Next, work your way back down the vertical line. Keeping the mantra? Of course you are! If you don’t, you’ll be getting out the seam ripper.

 

Move across the bottom to the next vertical line and stitch up and down. Then across the bottom to the left side. Then all that’s left to do is stitch up the left side, back to where you started!

I love the movement this design brings!

The name

This design is know as “Terry Twist”. It was named for the great quilter, author, and teacher, Sally Terry, who originated the design. You’ll want to check out her books and if you ever get a chance to take a class from her, DO NOT pass up the opportunity! You will learn a ton and have the most fun ever.

Here’s some real-life grid-work quilting. You can see a nice example of Continuous Curve (top right) and Terry Twist (bottom left). Notice the actual grid is not showing. I marked the grid on the fabric with blue water soluble marker. After quilting I rinsed the marks away. When we have seam lines on the quilt marking is not necessary. But where you have no seams, mark that grid. Sometimes you will want to stitch the grid and other times not.

The center circle is also grid work. A simple cross hatch is grid-work!

Next up, we will explore using swirls or hooks for more grid designs.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

 

Grid Designs – Level Up

Now that you know how to complete a continuous curve design, it’s time to level up our grid work. And it will be simple to do! We started with a curve, one of the five basic shapes. We can use the other four shapes using the same stitch path as we did for continuous curve.

 

Pro tip: This is exactly how to expand your free-motion cache of designs. Take something you know and make a small change. Voila! New design!

Straight lines

We know the path to stitch. We will simply change the shape that we stitch. Let’s start with an easy one. Straight lines.

Start with the same grid.

 

 

Start in the upper left corner like we did with the curve. Quilt a V shape. Don’t drop down too far in to the space. You need to leave room for the other V’s that will be coming.

 

Continue on with the stitch path we used for continuous curves. Across the top and down the right side.

 

Serpentine across the first horizontal grid line.

 

And serpentine back to the right.

 

Pro Tip: Mark 4 dots with chalk or washable marker in each grid space to give yourself a goal. It will also help to keep your V’s a bit more uniform.

 

Continue on along the stitch path in the same manner as the continuous curve design from last week.  Work all your horizontal grid lines as you work your way down the right side.

Stitch the vertical grid lines using the serpentine method.

 

Keep going till you finish where you started.

To level up this design, make it as uniform as you can. Some tips that will make the design more uniform: use a ruler for quilting your straight lines and use a measuring tool to mark you guide dots so they are evenly spaced. Note, you don’t have to use these tips. The design still looks great stitched completely free motion and without the guide dots. Do what makes you happy!

More shapes

What about the other three of the five basic shapes?

Loops

Change the shape to a loop. Loops are easy and fun to quilt.

 

Use the trick of guide dots to keep your loops from going too far into the center of the grid space.

 

Let’s level up and start with a little different loop, and let them over lap in the center. Fun! It’s  an entirely different look.

For this design I put a guide dot in the very center of the grid spaces. Then I tried to just touch the dot with my loops.

 

This is where that 15 minutes of practice, I mean PLAY, every day, really becomes fun. Creating new designs for your stash.

Have some fun trying different ways to use the loops and straight lines and see what you come up with! Please share in the comments.

We will explore the other two shapes soon!

Happy gridding!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

One More Echo – Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

One more super easy and super fun echo quilting design and I promise to stop. (Maybe) But can you see how echoing is a essential skill for a free motion quilter? It is a must-have in your tool box.

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

 

This design was originated by my good friend and Handi Quilter Ambassador, Helen Godden. Helen quilts free-motion on the HQ Capri. If you don’t already follow her on social media, you should! She is a wealth of fabulous ideas and techniques. You can find her here:

Facebook:  Helen Godden Quilts
YouTube: Helen Godden Quilts
Website: www.helengodden.com

She calls this design “Roadmaps”. That’s an appropriate name since you create a roadmap for yourself and then echo quilt. It’s really that simple!

I love the look you get with swirls.

Here’s How:

Choose your favorite removable marking tool. Chalk, Handi Iron-Off Pencils, water soluble marker, air soluble marker….  There are lots to choose from. Just be sure to test, to make sure the marks will come out once you’re finished quilting.

Handi Iron Off Pencils

 

Create your roadmap

Draw a swirl.

 

Add another swirl. And one more.

Keep going until you fill up your space.

 

Now you have your roadmap.

Quilting

Start at the beginning with your first swirl. Echo quilt next to one side of the swirl. Which side you choose does not matter. Use the side of your machine’s foot to glide along your drawn line. This will give you even spacing.

 

When you come to the end of your first swirl, swing around the tip.

 

 

And start quilting the other side of your marked line. When you encounter another swirl, keep going next to that swirl.

Keep going and keep going and eventually you will wind up finishing back where you started. Once finished, you can remove your roadmap.

You are left with a beautiful echo quilting design!

 

So fun and so easy and so very beautiful! I like to use this design for all-over quilting, for background filling, or to fill busy blocks.

Here is one I quilted out.

 

Here’s a close-up, but it’s a little hard to see my blue water soluble marks. I was able to see them fine for quilting.

 

I quilted this piece of fabric to use for a bag project. Why buy pre-quilted fabric, when you can quilt your own?

I like using the foam headliner material in place of batting for bags.  Bosal In-R-Form and By Annie’s Soft and Stable are a couple of brand names for the product.  I load it just like I would load a backing fabric. Then baste the top fabric on, and quilt away. It creates beautiful texture and gives your bag nice form.

I’m planning to have some fun with my couching foot on this. So the echo design is perfect for some quilting and a backdrop for my couching.

I’ll share the rest of my process in another post.  For now, Have fun echoing one more!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

 

More Easy Echo Designs – Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

As promised, we’ll learn some more easy echo designs. How did you do with the peacock feathers? I’d love to see some pics in the comments!

We can modify the teardrop shape of the peacock feather to create a similar but very different looking design.

Leaves

Start with a leaf shape. You should be proficient at stitching leaves by now. If not, go back to this post for a review and more practice.

     OR   

 

Then just like the teardrop, echo it.

And echo again.

Start a new leaf and do it again to travel around your quilt.

Remember to travel in an undulating path to prevent the design from looking like “rows”.  You want to have your quilting be an all over texture and not rows.

This design is available on Quiltable.com, if you like to quilt with pantographs or robotic quilting systems. Pro-Stitcher is the robotic system that pairs with Handi Quilter, Janome, King Quilter, and Babylock longarm machines. The design’s name on Quiltable is “Flames”

Pro Tip: I called the initial shape for this design a leaf. It can just as easily be called a flame. Depending on the theme of the top you are quilting you can quilt echoed leaves or echoed flames. Only you will know it’s the exact same design.

 

Rainbows

Along the same lines, with a little twist, are rainbows.

 

Start by quilting an arc.

Don’t start your echo from the point where you finish your first arc.

 

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Instead, travel a bit away from where you ended.

Then quilt your echo.

Travel, and then quilt your second echo.

Start another arc.

Travel along the previous rainbow and echo the arc.

Travel away from your ending point and stitch your 2nd echo.

Notice that the echos go until you hit the rainbow already stitched.

Once you get going you will nestle your arcs between the rainbows you have already quilted.

Continue on in this matter to fill up your quilting space.

You can tell this one takes a bit more concentration and you will get more practice in over-stitching as you do your traveling.

The same tips apply to the leaves design and the rainbow design as we mentioned with the peacock feathers:

If you need to fill space, add another echo.

If you don’t have enough space for 2 echos, just do one. Or none! No one will ever know!

Also, where your first shape ends, will be the side you end on after 2 echos.

 

An even more challenging way to quilt the Rainbow design is the traditional Baptist Fan design. Where the rainbows are in rows and are uniform size.

The best way to accomplish Baptist Fan, if you are quilting free motion, is to use rulers. It’s a bit labor intensive but it is really beautiful when finished.

Remember, post pictures of your stitching in the comments!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

Quilt From the Back – Free Motion for Beginners

When we talk about “quilt from the back”, most quilters think of pantographs or groovy boards. Handi Quilter sells the Quilt From the Back Kit for folks interested in quilting with pantographs. Pantographs are printed quilting designs that usually come on rolls. They are placed on the table at the back of the machine and you quilt by following along the pattern line with a laser light attached to the machine. You use the controls on the handlebars at the back. Can you see the little dot of laser light on the pattern in the photo?

HQ Amara with quilt from the back kit

But this post is about quilting from the back – free motion style! This technique draws on all the practice and skills we’ve gained so far in this free motion quilting for beginners series. One of the things we learned was to draw quilting inspiration from the fabrics in the quilt. But what about the backing fabric? What if it has a really cool quilting design? You could make a stencil using Golden Threads paper like in this post. Then mark the designs on the quilt top. But why mark, when you don’t have to?

An Example

I had this cute baby quilt top that needed quilting. This one will go to Quilts for Kids to bless a child in a local hospital.

 

With super cute backing fabric.

I was stumped about what design to quilt. Looking at the backing I thought those flowers would make a good design for this quilt.

So I decided to quilt from the back and use the flowers on the backing fabric as my guide. No mark quilting!

Here’s how I did it:

To quilt the back, the backing fabric needs to be on top. Since the quilt top is smaller than the backing that could be problematic. My solution was to load the quilt as I normally would. With the quilt backing on the bottom, and the quilt top on top, and the batting in between.

Then I basted the top and side (within the throat space). I also basted across the body of the quilt about every 4-5 inches. Using a long 1 inch basting stitch made it easy to remove the basting later. Als0, I chose a contrasting thread to do the basting.

 

I worked my way down, basting the sides and across the quilt. Then across the bottom edge.

Once the quilt was all basted, I cut away the excess batting using my Handi batting scissors. Love these scissors!

 

Then I unpinned from the leaders, flipped it over (so that the backing was facing up) and pinned it back on.

 

Now comes the fun part! I quilted around each flower connecting one to another with a short line of stitching. The basting around the outside edge of the quilt showed me where to quilt. I removed the interior basting little-by-little as I went.

quilting path

Start tracing around the petals:

quilt from the back quilting path

 

Complete all the petals and go into the flower to go around the center with a loop:

 

Travel out between two petals and stitch to the next flower:

 

Repeat!  This stitched really fast.

 

Some of the skills you will utilize with this technique are:

Quilting curves and loops – two of our basic shapes!

Tracing a design – remember those practice fabrics?

Looking ahead – Not only to get nice smooth curves, but also to know where to exit the flower and which flower you will stitch to next and where you will enter that next one.

It’s easy quilting, but you do have to have your brain engaged for all this looking ahead. Remember the secret!

And it’s so fun to unpin from the leaders and turn it over to see what it looks like on top.

 

I think the quilting looks so fun on the same fabric squares on the front. Like echoing.

Give it a try and let us know how it went for you in the comments. BTW this is easier to do on a stationary machine or a domestic machine. All you have to do is flip it over!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

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