Christa’s Quilt Along 4.7 – Machine Quilting Sea of Squares

How are everyone’s quilts coming along? I sure am enjoying seeing pictures of your quilt-in-progress on my Christa’s Quilt Along flickr group.

For today’s post I will be showing how to quilt this quilt with a walking foot and straight lines. This is enough quilting to hold the quilt together and give it some definition. It took me a total of 5.5 hours to quilt this part of the quilt

I will be adding more quilting to my quilts because one of my quilting mottos is, “Quilt the heck out of it!” I will show that optional extra quilting next week.

Thread Choice

Thread ChoiceFor this quilt, I would like my quilt to have some definition but I don’t want the stitches to stand out too much. I selected a little bit heavier weight thread – a 40 weight polyester with larger quilting needle (size 90) to go with it.

I wound my bobbins with the same color but in a lightweight 60 weight polyester. I chose a cream thread because there is so much white in the quilt. The cream will blend into the white but It’s not quite as “stark” as white so it won’t be too bright against the blue fabrics.

Warm UpStep 1 – Warm Up Session (15 minutes)

It’s a good idea to practice on a scrap quilt sandwich first, even when quilting straight lines.

This way you can check tension, stitch length, and thread color before you begin.

Step 2 – Anchor Quilting (1 Hour, 15 Minutes)

Before you get into any fancy-shmancy quilting, it’s a good idea to “anchor” your quilt first by quilting a few of the major seam lines. This will help stabilize your quilt. While doing this anchor quilting, you want to stabilize your quilt in all four directions. Think of this as a large grid across the top of your quilt. I can quickly and easily pull out the pinmoors as I quilt.

Begin Quilting

With the quilt laid out horizontally, I started quilting on one edge of the quilt. Using my walking foot as a guide, I stitched about 1/4 inch away from the ditch. I used a slightly longer stitch length and quilted continuously in one long row from the top of the quilt to the bottom. Because the lines go all the way across the quilt and the edges will be covered by the binding, I did not need to lock my stitches or tie them off.

Anchor Quilting

When I got the the end of this first line of quilting, I “scooted”  over a whole block width to the right (leaving less bulk under the machine). I quilted 2 more rows in the same manner.
Don’t quilt the very edges of the quilt yet; you can do that at the end.

Next, it was time to rotate the quilt 180 degrees and quilt some anchor lines on the other half of the quilt. Again, I quilted them about 1 block width apart. Now the quilt has been quilted in 2 directions. By the way, I love the Machingers quilting gloves because they provide a good grip on the quilt while moving and squishing it under the machine.

Anchor Stitching

It’s time to rotate the quilt 90 degrees and quilt all of the vertical anchor lines now. Again, start in the middle and quilt about 3 rows, one block width apart. Then rotate the quilt completely and finish off the other side.

The quilting is now ready to be finished.

Step 2 – Stitching all the Vertical Lines (1 Hour, 45 Minutes)

I like the “stitch near the ditch” pattern so much that I am outlining every seam about 1/4″ away from the center. I’m not too worried about whether my lines are perfectly straight so I didn’t worry about marking. My other quilt motto is, “Finished is better than perfect!”

Quilting Vertical Lines

Now I can start in the middle of the quilt and quilt all of the vertical lines halfway across the quilt edge of the quilt. When there is too much bulk under the machine, I rotate and finish the other side of the quilt.

Step 3 – Quilting all the Horizontal Lines (2 Hours, 15 Minutes)

This section took a little longer because there were more rows to stitch. Again, I quilted half of the lines going one way, then rotated the quilt to stitch the other half.

Quilting Horizontal Lines

On the very last row which was near the edge of my quilt, I actually quilted 1/2″ away from the seam line rather than 1/4″. This is to take into account the seam allowance which will be covered by the binding.

Edge Quilting

This is now enough quilting for this quilt, but as I said at the beginning, I will add more. Join me next week to see how I finish the rest of the quilting.

If you’d like to try something a little jazzier than just straight lines, why not play around with the decorative stitches on your machine?

Wavy Quilting

The picture above shows me quilting my Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt which was my first DIY Quilt Along. I used a wavy serpentine stitch which would also work well for Sea of Squares!


Quilt-Along ScheduleLinks are Active at the Completion of Each Step:

Quilt Kits are available from my shop for a limited time in these two colorways:

Apple Jacks

Apple Jacks

Sea of Squares

Sea of Squares

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7 Responses to Christa’s Quilt Along 4.7 – Machine Quilting Sea of Squares

  1. Ida says:

    I have a question for you – why do you use polyester thread? I always thought that you were supposed to use cotton thread so it would shrink on the same scale as your fabrics and batting. Obviously I’m a bit of a novice so would you mind explaining the advantages and disadvantages of polyester over cotton? Thanks

  2. 8machines says:

    Mine is all quilted. I did a wavy line built into my Pfaff machine. It turned out very nice. I put the binding on, had some trouble with the end tails like I always do, and will hand sew the back of the binding tomorrow. It will go home with it’s new owner on Sunday. I will post some pictures. Thank you for this wonderful quilt along Christa.

  3. Hi I am moving along with this quilt, but a bit behind as I am doing the Skill Builder BOM AND ‘Something New Sampler’ and some of my other projects. Never enough time in the day or night. ha ha lol

    • Christa says:

      I agree with you Glenda – there’s never enough time. I’m doing the skillbuilder, too and loving it! I had to limit my personal quilt-alongs because there are so many to do!

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