This part of the quilt along is always my favorite!! I’m excited to share how I free-motion quilted my Block Chain Quilt with a fast, fun and forgiving modern design I call “Geometric Chains.”
The basic idea is to quilt an allover design, one line at a time across the entire quilt. Below is the basic motif diagram shown in the Block Chain quilt pattern.
To get a feel for how this design is stitched, draw a series of geometric lines, similar to those shown below on a blank piece of paper. Start with a straight-ish line, then sketch a series of geometric shape such as circles, triangles, squares, spirals, hearts, etc. The sky’s the limit when it comes to ideas!!
To get around each shape and make the next one, you can backtrack (stitch over a previous part of the design), or you can echo part of the design. There’s no wrong way to do it! To avoid marking, make the shapes roughly the size of a pieced block unit. Notice how the middle spiral chain above is roughly the width of the center of the block.
Once you’ve sketched out a few shapes you like, stitch them out on some practice scraps before quilting them on your actual quilt. Be sure to test out thread colors so you are happy with the results.
In the closeup image below, you can see I used a colorful thread from my Aurifil Variegated thread collection. Because the quilt has such a high contrast, I didn’t want to have to change threads as I quilted – so I made the colorful quilting a part of the final design!
When it comes to quilting the quilt, I use my “divide and conquer” method. I start on the right side of my quilt and begin stitching at the top of the quilt, in the batting sticking out around the edges. Then I quilt one “anchor” line of quilting through each block. This will hold each pieced row together so it won’t shift after basting. Then I go back and fill in all of the quilting in each row of blocks.
Click the play button below to watch a short, 2 1/2 minute video of me quilting a couple of the “chains” in this quilt. I’m only showing the closeups, but I’m just quilting one section at a time, and taking my time. I’m able to quilt an entire chain from top to bottom without having to tie off threads at either end.
Click here, or above to view my Block Chain quilting on YouTube. (Be sure to subscribe!)
The image below is a cross section details of the quilt. Notice how all that quilting adds a somewhat whimsical texture to the quilt. Click the image below to enlarge for detail.
- Click here to get the Block Chain quilt pattern – paper version
- Click here to get the Block Chain quilt pattern – PDF version
Alternate Quilting Ideas
You can definitely apply the Geometric Chains quilting motif to any quilt, and there are several ways you can change it up, too! How about using ONE geometric design across the entire quilt? Or mix up each “chain” of quilting so it looks like a geometric sampler.
Instead of quilting straight lines with each shape, try wiggly lines, or do an allover meander with the shapes instead. No matter how you quilt it, I’d love to see your variations! Be sure to share them in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group. Or tag me on instagram @christaquilts and use #blockchainquilt so I can see your progress.
Next week it’s time to bind this quilt and then it will be complete! Be sure to check out my Quilt Along landing page for past quilt alongs and new ones coming in the future!