Paper Pieced Quilt Along #9 – Start Machine Quilting

Hey guys, remember this quilt? To recap, you can find tutorials to make the quilt top here.

stitch_inthe_ditch_1My Deco Dresden quilt blocks – I’m still trying to name this quilt!

It got pushed aside while I was planning my blog hop for my first book and because of the other very special project I announced in my last blog post. Well good news for my patient followers – I’m ready to finish it up!

To ease back into the swing of things, this week’s tutorial will be very simple. We are going to stitch in the ditch around the block outlines. This will anchor (secure) the quilt for further quilting, and is an easy way to dive back in.

To help you out I sketched out a very rudimentary diagram that shows the stitching path. (This is why I hire illustrators to do this kind of thing for me professionally, lol!!) I’ve just diagrammed one row, but it’s the same quilting path for each row of blocks.

stitching-pathFollow the arrows to quilt in the ditch in each row.

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Stitch in the ditch rather than away from the ditch as shown in the arrows. I drew the lines away from the ditch so you could see them.
  • There will be a lot of turning of the quilt. I used my integrated dual feed (works similar to a walking foot), to quilt these lines. If you prefer, you can free-motion quilt in the ditch instead. A knee lift really comes in handy here (thanks Bernina)!
  • Start and end each row of quilting a few inches off the quilt in the batting. That way you don’t have to clip threads or bury knots.

sitd_startingAn open toe foot comes in very handy for visibility. Start quilting on the edge, “off the quilt.”

  • Since my background is black, I used black thread in the top. My backing fabric is shades of bright orange so instead of using black thread in the bobbin (which wouldn’t look good on the back), or orange thread (which would show through on the top), I used an invisible thread in the bobbin.

sitd_pivotWhen it’s time to pivot, stop with your needle in the down position and lift the foot. You don’t need to turn the whole quilt – just enough so you can line your foot up with the next section to stitch.

  • If your layout is different than mine, take a picture of your quilt and print it out in black and white. Then draw a possible stitching path, or trace it with your fingers with the fewest possible starts and stops.
  • I plan to come back later and quilt the insides of the blocks with a different quilting motif.
  • It took me a total of 4 hours to completely outline each row with stitching. Split this up over time and don’t try to cram it all into one day.

sitd_doneIt doesn’t look like much, but this will anchor the quilt for more quilting next week!

Sharing is Caring

If you are quilting along, be sure to share your work in progress over on my facebook group: Quilt With Christa.

You can also post pictures on instgram with the hashtag #paperpiecedqal or #decodresden. Be sure to tag me so I can see what you are doing: @christaquilts

Happy machine quilting!!


7 thoughts on “Paper Pieced Quilt Along #9 – Start Machine Quilting

  1. Tracy says:

    I love your advice about using invisible thread in the bobbin for quilting! I have another project – a very bright pink/orange/yellow top with a chocolate brown backing that has pink/orange/yellow pieced letters in it – and I have been putting off the quilting of it for a long time. I want to use pink/orange/yellow thread on top, but was afraid if I used chocolate brown thread in the bobbin that it would a. show on the top, and b. look horrible over the pieced letters on the backing that are the same bright colours as the top. NOW I know to use invisible thread in the bobbin – and all will be wonderful!!!!!! 🙂 Thank you!!! I am so excited to quilt that other project now!

  2. Lisa says:

    I also think “Candy Corn” when I look at this quilt. Or maybe “Stalactites and Stalagmites.” It also has an Art Deco feel, so how about “Deco?”

  3. LJ says:

    Woo hoo!! I’ve been waiting. You do such amazing work and I always look forward to your posts for tips, tricks, and wonderful advice. Thanks so much.

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