My friend Debbie from the Faith circle of do. Good Stitches, recently sent me this question...
Q: I really like how you did the loose grid quilting on Oodalolly.
Can you tell me how you went about this? Did you do all of the vertical lines and
then go back and do the horizontal lines? Also, do you start in the
middle and work your way to each outer edge? Do you always quilt from
the top to the bottom or from the right to the left...or do you
alternate? Finally, do you make a large grid and then go back and fill
in the lines between?
The only time I have done straight line quilting I thought I had the
quilt well pinned but it still ended up getting pulled out of shape. I'm
thinking it's because I started on the edge and worked from right to
left going from top to bottom several times. Then I had the disastrous
thought to turn it around and go from bottom to top...what a mistake!
A: It's easy when quilting straight lines to gradually drag your quilt to
the side, even if you've basted well. To prevent quilting drag, I
alternate the traveling direction of my quilting lines and quilt in a
loose grid which I later fill in. The loose grid stabilizes
the entire quilt to prepare for denser quilting. The denser your
quilting, the easier it is to gradually pull the fabrics one way.
If you start on a project making straight lines and always traveling in
one direction, say right to left, you may notice the fabric shifting or
creating drag puckers around line 3 or 4. At this point, if you turn
around and start traveling in the other direction, you will probably
create even more noticeable quilting drag as the fabric shifts in the
other direction. It's really frustrating, I know! The key is to alternate the direction of travel when quilting those
lines every time from the very beginning.
When quilting Oodalolly, first I spray basted with 505 basting spray. I
have better results with spray vs. pin basting. I just can't bring
myself to put pins every 4 inches. Ugh! I buy 505 at Sew for Less, which has a great price on the large can. The 17 oz can retails for just $13.50! I buy a few at a time to save on shipping costs and they last me for quite awhile. For more of my thoughts about basting spray, check out this post.
Once basted, I quilted
down the center of the quilt in a straight-ish line without marking.
So, rather than marking a grid, by concept was to quilt "organic"
straight lines that wouldn't be exactly straight. After my first line, I
quilted another straight line parallel to the first, but spaced about
15" away and traveling in the opposite direction. Next I quilted
another line on the other side of the original line, again spaced about
15" away and traveling in the opposite direction as the original line.
After quilting about 3 parallel lines, I began quilting perpendicular
lines in the same manner - starting at the center and alternating the
direction of travel when quilting. After doing those 3 lines, I rotated
the quilt and added more lines to the first set of lines, emanating out
to complete the loose grid. To prevent quilting drag, I kept switching
up my direction of travel and only quilted 3-4 lines in one orientation
before rotating the quilt to make some perpendicular lines.
Once the loose grid was complete (to about 6-8" apart throughout) I
added lines without all that alternating and rotating, just until satisfied
with the quilting density.
Hope that helps!
I thought this might be helpful to some of you as well. Let me know if you have any questions!