Machine Quilting Tips: How to Avoid Getting Trapped in a Corner – Quilting Daily

When free-motion quilting is done well, it looks effortless. But anyone who’s ever tried it knows you don’t just snap on a darning foot, drop your feed dogs, and go. It takes practice to get those quilting motifs looking even and well-spaced, enhancing the quilt rather than detracting from the design.

Recognizing (as we do at Quilting Daily) that learning how to machine quilt requires guidance, our sister publication Quiltmaker has made 2014 The Year of Machine Quilting. Through monthly articles, blog posts, practice sheets and free quilting motifs, the editors are offering advice and practice tips.

One of the trickiest parts of learning how to machine quilt is avoiding stitching yourself into a corner with no way to get out–at least artistically! Here are some tips from Quiltmaker on how not to get stuck.

A simple way to remedy being stuck in a corner is to simply stitch right into the corner. (Below, left image.) Stop in the seam allowance at the edge and secure your stitching. (Use a stitch securing function or take several stitches in place.) Then move elsewhere to start up again.

You can machine quilt yourself out of tricky spot by stitching right into the corner or stitching into the seam allowance and then starting up somewhere else.

If you’re boxed in near an edge, you can just stitch right off the quilt, secure stitching in the seam allowance and move elsewhere to start up again. (Above, right image.)

As you improve, you’ll want to avoid getting stuck at all. One of the best things you can do is to practice with a pen and paper. Draw a box that fills up most of the page. Then use the pen as if you were machine quilting. You will soon figure out how to avoid getting stuck in a corner.

free motion quilting practice
Practice machine quilting motifs with pen and paper several times to get the hang of looking ahead as you stitch.

The key is to look ahead of where you are quilting so that you are always planning where to go next. Using the pen and paper will help train your brain to plan ahead.

I wish I’d had these helpful tips when I first started free-motion stitching!

Quiltmaker is filled with practical tips and techniques for making beautiful quilts.

P.S. Learn more about machine quilting from Catherine Redford and Susan Brubaker Knapp in their videos featured in the Quilting with Your Home Sewing Machine Digital Collection.

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