Free Motion Quilting

Taking off on a Diagonal Tangent

July 30, 2022


Last week we used a diagonal path for filling a grid. Let’s take off on a tangent and try a few new things with using diagonal quilting combined with grids.

I like to try to find a way to quilt a design that makes it easy to stitch AND gives me great looking results. Win-win! In the design I’m going to show you this week we use a square grid to create a diagonal style fill design. The square grid’s function is to keep our stitching nice and even and symmetrical. The path we use makes it easy to stitch and gives the possibility for additional design options.

Thought process

I want something like this on my quilt:

I want the grid to be square, not on point. But I want a diagonal feel. I’m really needy, right?

So, this sketch is what I came up with.

It’s a square grid with a strong diagonal component.


Looking at the design, I could stitch across in rows.  I would have to remember to change direction as I filled each grid box. That takes some concentration and/or some marking of reminders. And that would be OK. Then I got a few more ideas.

What if ….. I stitched one angle at a time so I don’t have to remember to switch direction? That would make it easier to stitch!

What if……I stitched the two different angles in two different color threads?


That would accentuate the diagonal component and add even more interest! But I sure wouldn’t want to change thread after filling each grid box. And I didn’t want the grid lines stitched. That would take away from the diagonal effect. So, I cannot travel along grid lines to skip every other box.

Light bulb moment! Fill the grid boxes in a diagonal fashion. That not only allows me to stitch each color continuously, it also makes it easier to stitch, because I won’t need to keep changing the direction of the angle. Less brain power, no marking. Win – win!

Two diagonal passes that cross

So here goes:

Start with color 1 in the upper left corner and fill the grid box on the diagonal.


Continue on the diagonal filling the next box.


Fill the diagonal line of boxes til you reach the end of your grid, or the end of your throat space, whichever comes first.


At this point I tie off and break my thread and start another diagonal row. Remember that you will be filling boxes with lines going in the opposite direction so choose your row accordingly. Skip a box to start the next row.

Pro-tip: If you don’t mind having the outer perimeter of the grid stitched, travel along the outside of the grid to get to the next diagonal row. If you do that, you will want to stitch the next row going UP rather than DOWN. Also, you will likely want to stitch completely around the perimeter of the grid after you finish, since some of the outline will not have gotten stitched.

Keep filling rows til you have filled all the rows going in that direction.


Once all the rows going in that direction are filled, start on the opposite direction. This is when I opted to change thread colors.


Just like before, when I came to end of my grid, I tied off and broke my thread and started a new diagonal row.

Here is an actual stitch out using this technique. I love the ruffled look of the open grid boxes after stitching just one color using this design!

It was an unexpected bonus that I will use in the future! I sure was not able to tell that just from my sketches. I needed to actually stitch with fabric and batting to see that effect. That’s why, I always stitch a new design on my practice fabric. Yes, even after all these years, I still practice. And yes, my machine always has something loaded on it. If not a real quilt then my practice fabric.If you’re new to the blog and don’t know what I’m talking about go read this post. Then continue on from there.

The moral of the story: You just never know what you’re going to get, til you try it.

This is 2 colors of thread, a royal blue and a turquoise, although the contrast doesn’t really show in the photo. It does look better in person.

I love the texture of this!

I sketched a couple more variations. One using rounded off ends instead of pointy ends.

I haven’t stitched this yet. I wonder if that will make the ruffled edges go away if I only stitch one direction? What do you think?


And I thought of leaving the intersections where the crossover happens open. This would take a lot more concentration.


But those open areas would poof more and give another twist to the texture.


I hope this post not only taught you a new design, but also gave you some insight into how new designs come into being. It’s all about the “what if ……”  And the designer always has to have one eye on ease of stitching and making the design as continuous as possible.

Quilt every day!


by Mary Beth Krapil









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July 30th, 2022

Last week we used a diagonal path for filling a grid. Let’s take off on a tangent and try a few new things with using diagonal quilting combined with grids. […]

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