Week 7 – Quilting, free, straight, hand, longarm

Week 7 – Quilting, free, straight, hand, longarm

Quilting, free, straight, hand, longarm…. It can mean any and all and also refer to the act of making a quilt in general. Confusing right? Let’s get down to what each kind of quilting is and then you can hop over to watch my demonstrations on YouTube.

woollypetals Floored10 Florida Quilt

Floored10 Custom Longarm Quilting by Kristin – Could also do this on a domestic machine.

What is Quilting

What we are discussing is the topical application of stitches to make a beautiful design on your quilt. These stitches hold the layers of your quilt together and can accent your pattern if desired. The quilting can also be done so it disappears and leaves the design of the quilt itself to shine. Either way you definitely need the act of quilting your top so it stays together.

Woollypetals Teacher quilt gift made with Kate Basti Tall Tales quilt block.

Tall Tales Quilt by Kate Basti block increased to 50% in size. Loopy free motion quilting. Can longarm or domestic free motion quilt loops like this.

Straight Line Quilting

Straight line quilting is the straight in “Quilting, free, straight, hand, longarm. But you knew that already right? Straight line quilt is just what you think straight stitched lines on the quilt. Those stitches though can go horizontal, vertical, both to create a grid, they can be on a diagonal, or a myriad of combos.

Straight line quilting is a great place to start if you haven’t quilted before. It’s easier to feed your quilt through a domestic machine with less maneuvering. My biggest tip is to start with lines a great distance apart. Say 3″ instead of 1″. You can always go back and add more lines in between once you have completed the first found.

Matchstick quilting is another version of straight line quilting where the lines are crazy close together. Think less than 1/8″. I think this is more typically done on art quilts or mini quilts. Since matchstick quilting like most dense quilting can make your quilt stiffer.

A great tool to have for straight line quilting is a seam guide. These sometimes come standard with your machine. If not you can buy one. This helps you keep an accurate distance between stitch lines. Another way to achieve this is by marking the lines prior to quilting with a Hera marker and a ruler, or a fabric marker. Then quilting right on top of those lines.

Another great tool to have is a walking foot. A walking foot can be bought after market or sometimes from your sewing machine brand. It is a foot to use when you are quilting or sewing thicker items as it lefts and walks forward. If you are having dragging and puckering on your stitch lines while quilting this may help.

I also recommend the book Walk by Jacquie Gering. Check out Jacquie Gering’s work on her site too.

Free Motion Quilting

Free Motion Quilting is when you move the quilt top to make a design on top. This can be done on a Domestic machine which we will talk about now, and a longarm machine which we will talk about later. There are so many different free motion quilting options.

For free motion quilting on a domestic machine you will move the quilt top in the pattern that you want to quilt. Stippling is a popular free motion pattern. I love a loopy pattern in rows across the quilt. Clamshells are fun, pebbles, really anything you can imagine and successfully execute will work.

To free motion quilt you will need a special foot for you machine. There is no way to do it without, at least that I know. They are to expensive, but like any other item you buy after your machine make sure it’s compatible with said machine. The free motion quilting foot is springy and has a larger area of the needle to go down through. The springiness helps there not be any pressure on the quilt sandwich so you can easily move it around.

You will also need to lower the feed dogs. Just incase you don’t know the feed dogs are the little grooved things under the presser foot in the sewing machine plate. When you are running the machines they rotate back, then down and forward, then back up. As they come up they grip the fabric and then when they go back they move the fabric back which is an essential part of the sewing machine working. So when you lower them and sew the fabric goes no where. Lol. Which is good because you can then move the fabric whichever way you please to achieve your design.

I love perusing Pinterest for free motion quilting designs. How I have practiced new ones before is by using a marker on paper and holding the marker in my hands how I would hold the fabric to move it. You can do the practice by holding it regular too. The motion practicing on paper gets your the rhythm and flow of the pattern. You can also use a fabric marker to mark a design and then quilt on top of the marker.

Free Motion Longarm Quilting on woollypetals New Star Quilt

Longarm Quilting

Longarm quilting is a business that you can send your quilt top, batting, and backing to for them to quilt it for you. The longarm machines are automated to quilt a “panto” or a specific design. Most Longarmers will have a big library of quilting patterns to choose from and often will be willing to use a special one even they don’t already own it.

Longarm machines need to have the three layers of your quilt sandwich separate so they can load them all on the machine separately. So no need to baste your quilt sandwich. But all longarmers will have requirements for the size of the backing and batting sent. They need bigger sizes for the longarm to hold onto everything.

Longarm quilters charge by the square inch typically. Which sounds funny. But it’s like .1-.10 a square inch so a throw size ends up being in the $125-$200 range depending on the size and the quilting picked. Plus shipping can add up if you don’t use a local longarmer.

Longarm Quilters often sell batting you can use. This is nice to not have to worry about buying some. Some will even trim, and apply binding for you for an additional fee.

So to recap, getting your quilt long armed will save you time and effort. It will achieve a very clean and beautiful all over quilt pattern. But it costs more than doing it yourself. So you have to weigh the options. I purchased my Longarm without the Panto option so I can only do free motion quilting on it with me driving the machine. I did this mainly because as a pattern designer I make a lot of quilts and I just can’t afford to pay a longarm quilter for every single one. I do sometimes have longarmers quilt for me to get a special look, show them support, or for a special quilt or gift it’s a special treat. So you can do a little bit of everything if you like.

woollypetals Stargeese quilt on the longarm. NSBQC

My Longarm with a Stargeese being unloaded. The Stargeese quilt has free motion loopy quilting. I have a Grace Company Qnique 15r with a q-zone queen quilting frame. They no longer make this size machine but I would go deeper if I was to start over and may be upgrading soon.

Week 7 – Homework

Your Homework for Week 7 – Quilting, free, straight, hand, longarm is to quilt your quilt sandwich. Watch the Videos on Youtube. And if you think you need to try a few different methods before diving into your quilt you make a few small quilt sandwiches and practice on those then use them for pouches or bags.

NSBQC Week 7 – Quilting Free Motion and Hand Stitching

NSBQC Week 7 -Quilting Straight Line Quilting and Longarming

New Star Quilt Pattern

New Star Beginner Quilt Course Landing Page


I hope you have enjoyed Week 7 – Quilting, free, straight, hand, longarm for the New Star Beginner Quilt Course. Check out @woollypetals posts on Instagram for the New Star Beginner Quilt Course, leave your IG name and when you started the course and make friends with anyone else who has commented. This is a great way to find friends who are just starting out in the quilting world. 

Have questions? Need answers right away? I do respond to questions on these posts but if you need an answer asap please reach out via email or Instagram. I am Instagram the most and would be happy to answer any questions you message me there. Typically I hop into email and respond to questions within a day or two. 

Thanks so much for starting your quilting journey with woollypetals and the New Star Quilt Course.

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