Free-motion quilting with a pattern | Inside Quilters Newsletter

There are several types of free-motion quilting, but put simply, free-motion quilting is when the quilter is moving the fabric and the feed-dogs are not. You can lower the feed dogs on most newer machines or you can cover them in older machines. You can mark the fabric so you have a pattern to follow or you can make up the pattern as you go. You can also pin a pattern in place and stitch through the pattern. I’ve done all three of those methods at different times.


The quilt top

You’ve seen this quilt before. I cut it and pieced it and posted a photo of the top in my blog on January 14th. I finished piecing the back and pin basted it and talked about quilting it last week. So here’s what I’ve found as I’ve quilted the quilt.

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The traced pattern pinned to layers of freezer paper

The stencil was easy to trace. I used a fine-tip permanent marker on freezer paper to make my first pattern. I pinned together 6 layers of freezer paper and stitched through all the layers with no thread in the needle. I used an 80/12 needle. It would be better to use a 100/16 but I didn’t have one at the apartment. The larger holes would make the freezer paper easier to tear away later.

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Stitched with no thread

I pressed the pattern on the quilt and, just to be sure it didn’t slip, I pinned it in place.

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Pinned in place and ready to quilt

I free-motion quilted through the freezer paper pattern. I try not to be too compulsive. If I miss the stitching line on the pattern just a little, no one will know when I remove the paper pattern.

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Quilting in progress

After I quilted the block, I removed the paper with no problems, though it did take some time. I’m pleased with the finished look of this block.

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Quilting detail

The next evening, I used my pounce with blue chalk to mark a block, thinking I would save time since I didn’t have to remove the freezer paper pattern. There are no photos of this. After I’d quilted for a while, the chalk markings were hard for me to see and I didn’t do a good job. I missed a number of places on the design. I wound up unsewing the entire block I’d marked with the blue chalk.

I took a break from the free-motion quilting and I’ve stitched in the ditch to quilt all the colored blocks. Here is a hint for you when you stitch in the ditch. Place your hands close to the presser foot and pull the fabric on each side of the presser foot slightly to the sides as you stitch. When you are no longer pulling on the fabric, your stitches will just about disappear in the ditch.

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Stitching in the ditch

Now I need to finish the free-motion quilting. I have the patterns in place for the next two blocks and hope to finish quilting this week. I must admit I’m ready to move on to something else. It feels like this quilt is taking forever.

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Ready to finish quilting

But now, I’m going to get back to work. I’ve got things to write, quilts to pattern and so forth. Thanks for reading. I truly enjoy writing this every week.

Happy quilting!

P.S. Don’t forget to check out Quilters Newsletter TV: The Quilters’ Community. There’s lots of great information in these free-to-view weekly videos!


Comments (2)

  • Martha P

    This is the worst web site I have ever been in, you cannot find a thing. the heading takes up so much of the screen you can’t see anything else.
    I paid almost $70.00 to join the quilting Company site and I have to say it was a big mistake.
    Martha Plageman

    May 22, 2018 at 11:56 pm
    • Tiffany Warble

      I got in touch with our customer service team and showed them your comment. They were going to be reaching out to you soon to make you are taken care of. Apologies for any frustration you’ve experienced.

      The Quilting Company

      May 25, 2018 at 3:56 am

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