Freeform Machine Quilting
Stumped by stippling? Check out this continuous line tutorial for machine quilters.
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Free-form quilting is a no-marking approach to machine quilting consisting of stitching free-form designs on a quilt. Free-form designs may include vines, leaves, flowers, stars, boats or toys, or the fabric itself may inspire a design. For beginners, it's best to start with a simple flower motif with large petals. Here's the process:
Materials and Tools:
low-loft cotton batting
darning foot (free-motion foot)
90/14 needles: sharp, topstitch or quilting
100 percent cotton machine-quilting thread (40 or 50 weight)
- Apply six rows of liquid silicone to the spool of metallic thread to prevent thread breakage.
- Draft a continuous-line drawing without lifting the pencil from the paper. Practice the design four or five times.
- Practice machine-stitching the design on muslin fabric.
- Press the quilt backing.
- Tape the quilt backing around the perimeter (borders) with masking tape to secure it in place.
- Place cotton batting and the quilt top on the quilt backing.
- Pin-baste the quilt top, batting and backing in place with safety pins about 4 to 6 inches apart. Thread basting isn't recommended for machine quilting, because when the basting is removed the quilting seams could also unravel.
- Remove the masking tape and trim the batting ½-inch all around the quilt.
- Wearing quilting gloves, stitch in the ditch (grid quilting) with a north/south east/west motion within the blocks, and then free-form machine-stitch the decorative quilting. If the quilt is large, machine-quilt half of it and then rotate it and quilt the other half.
Use this discharge process to transfer shapes to fabric for a dramatic effect.