Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Quilting in an Organic Grid

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.

Oodalolly quilt finished!

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.

Quilted in a loose grid

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.

in Kona Charcoal & Essex natural linen


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!

35 comments:

  1. I absolutely love this. I am planning on making one myself.(now that you have taught me how with the curves class!!!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great tips! I just ordered my first can of 505 - I actually like basting with pins but hate them when I'm quilting! I'm hoping spray basting will encourage me to do more fmq :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it could definitely encourage the FMQ. Nice to work without those pins in the way =)

      Delete
  3. Thanks for the impromptu lesson on quilting! I will try this soon!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Also release your presser foot pressure a little -- IMHO. I am a novice quilter who can't even FMQ at all, but I have never had problems with SLQ. Love the 505 too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That quilt there is amazing!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, that quilt is fabulous. Wish I had taken your curves class!! I also use 505 basting spray and would never go back to pinning. No more aching back and knees! Thanks for the tips on quilting.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This quilt is just amazing. I love everything about it, color, pattern, and quilting. You did such a good job. I'm also a big fan of 505. There is just no way that I'd want to deal with gazillion pins. I tried it before and it was a fiasco - I basted every 10 inches, I know, what else was I expecting, right?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi! Your great advices came just in time! I have a small quilt waiting to be quilted and I'm going to try with my machine even I know it's not good for quilting. Thank you for your help! x Teje

    ReplyDelete
  9. Two things: I still love the name of this quilt (and the quilt, itself!) and I still haven't tried spray basting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Must. try. spray. basting. I know you do a lot of mini's though, which aren't too bad to pin. But for a large quilt - it's amazingly helpful!

      Delete
  10. love your quilts..very refreshing.
    this is how I usually quilt straight lines...have had the same pulled out of shape effect if I don't...lots of unpicking stitching (very annoying!), so now I do it like this...much easier.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This quilt is freaking gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I will have to try again - I found in the paste that if I tried to go back and "fill in" quilting that I got a lot of ugly creases. Especially when switching directions (vertical to horizontal) ... it's been awhile since I straight line quilted, though, on a large quilt ....

    ReplyDelete
  13. Also remember to switch to a walking foot. It makes a gigantic difference. (I know you always sew with a walking foot, Rachel).

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love that quilt! I just started straight-line quilting Elliott's quilt top (FINALLY!) and am having some puckering already...oops! Looks like I'll have to do some damage control tonight. Thanks for the tips, Rachel!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome! Like another commenter already said, a walking foot is also a must!

      Delete
  15. This is so helpful, thank you! And thank you for the awesome price on 505! I found it for $18 yesterday and almost bought it, thinking that was a score. I have to try spray basting someday. Maybe with these twin sized quilts I am working on... Minky though, yikes. OH! I have a question, with all the colors in your quilt and back, what color thread do you normally use? I am sorry if you say, I tend to skim blogs, I don't get time to read them (baby sis fussing already as I write this). I am going to guess a light grey... just wondering. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I used a natural creamy color =)

      Delete
  16. lovely tips!! i used some basting spray on a pillow once and the smell was so strong. it also left a residue on the floor around the pillow. i'll have to try the 505 as pinning is such a pain. i'm glad to hear it doesn't smell. does it leave a residue? or do you put something under it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't smell, but it does leave a residue. I let it get on my hardwoods when I spray and don't notice it much afterwards. It definitely mops off. For me, it's worth it. I do it on my table too and simply clean it up easily with a sponge afterwards. For a carpet you'd have to pin down a drop cloth, I guess and then do it?

      Delete
  17. Thanks for the great tips and the info about 505 basting spray. I've used a basting spray by June Tailor on my last few quilts and I've been wanting to try the 505 to see if it's any different. I am definitely a spray basting convert though, no pins for me!

    ReplyDelete
  18. That's very helpful! Thanks for the hints. I do love that quilt!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am such a newbie at quilting and these instructions help alot! Thanks so much for sharing - I'll be quilting two baby quilts soon so will definitely use them.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Rachel, in addition to being incredibly creative and expressive of that creativity you are a great communicator and writer. That's a gift and a powerful combination. What a lovely organic modern woman you must be! Thanks for this post and for all you share. While I so enjoy and appreciate your blog. Looking forward to your book one day.
    Glynis

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glynis, Your comment has really blessed me today. Thank-you so very much!

      Delete
  21. I want to say thanks for taking the time to write up advice and even provide follow-up on comments. This kind of post is really helpful. I imagine many of your readers are like me, wishing we knew how to complete the steps to create many of quilts they see on blogland. Much is found out by trial and error and I'd rather not err (I HATE my seam ripper) if I can help it. I'd love more process posts- photo taking, how to plan/organize a sew-a-long, getting sponsers.
    Have a great day.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great post Rachel! I like how you quilted over all in large sections first and then came back and filled in. I always forget to do things like that.

    ReplyDelete
  23. thanks so much for this post. i have my quilt basted ( i also love spray basting) but was a bit nervous about as this is only the 2nd large quilt i have quilted. thanks for giving some tips so i can quilt with confidence! i love your blog and your work is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Super helpful! I just did a quilt like this and my problem what fighting with the quilt in my sewing machine harp. Every time I would stop I would get a terrible hiccup in my straight stitch. It was originally planned for straight lines, but ended up being very very organic haha. Any suggestions on how to avoid this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The best way I know of to fit the quilt in, is to roll it up tight. I know what you mean about having trouble stopping and starting smoothly when space is an issue. I wish there was a great fix...

      Delete

Related Posts with Thumbnails