Friday, 21 August 2015

Staying on the rails: straight line quilting Big Momma

Straight-line quilting is a bit of a novelty for me; usually I free motion quilt with swirling, loopy designs. But the though of doing such dense, time-consuming work on a king-sized quilt like a Big Momma filled me with dread. Plus I was concerned that the end product would be too stiff. This is meant to be a bed quilt after all, it shouldn't lay stiff and flat on the bed! Big Momma is suppose to drape gracefully not sit pert like the cherry on top of a cake! So out came the walking foot.

I decided to quilt the diagonal lines rather than the horizontal ones in order to give the quilt so movement and dynamism. Also, it ended up creating little pinwheel blocks where the lines intersect, which is extra cool!

 The downside of quilting on a diagonal is that the length of each quilting line is often longer than the length of the quilt itself. If I'd remembered my basic trigonometry I would have remembered that the hypothenuse is always the longest sized of the triangle. I can't believe I just used the work "hypothenuse" in relation to a quilt. Or anything for that matter.

I'm using the end of the diagonals as a guide, running the edge of my walking foot along it. Happily the walking foot is 5/8" on both sides so I can be fairly flexible about which direction I sew. Which is particularly helpful when I'm trying to squeeze the entire quilt through the throat of my machine!

I've also unexpectedly had to mark the diagonal lines in the border where these isn't a seam to follow. At 6" its just too long a seam to guess. I thought I'd be able to wing it but think that the end result of my "guesstimating" a straight line would be less than impressive. Happily it's fairly easy to grab a ruler and a Frixon pen and zip those lines out.

I'm also going out of my comfort zone by using Aurifil cotton thread to quilt with. Usually I use Isacord but, as these are straight lines and I'm not building up thread anywhere by going over lines, I think the Aurifil can take it. Fingers crossed but no tension issues yet.

I'm hoping that by the end of the weekend I might be ready for binding. Squee!


  1. Nice straight lines, those are hard! And I love the variegated thread. The tension is the issue with those, cuz I think they only come in the 40 weight. But if you keep the same in your bobbin as in the top, you should be ok.

  2. Lovely quilt and thread. I haven't used auriful yet but would love to try. You've got great results.

    1. I'd definitely recommend Aurifil for piecing and straight line quilting. Works a treat and such a beautiful range of colours.