How do I do it………..

Come up with quilting motif/stitch ideas, that is. First, I will look at the fabric…….the piecing, the prints, the “feel” of the finish. I’ll be thinking about this as I sew/piece it, pin-baste it and/or put it on the design wall for a while to ponder and maybe even dream about it (I do some of my best idea “birthing” while I’m asleep!!! How ‘bout you???) The “Stained Glass” quilt (here) was one that I knew I would be doing some type of ‘ruler’ work on. By that I mean, using a specially made acrylic straight edge, that is laid along side the machine’s hopping/quilting foot, which helps to guide the stitching either in a straight line or a certain curve pattern. The ruler is 1/4” thick to prevent it from slipping under the foot and having the needle come down on it. It can be a bit more time consuming/tedious but the results are worth it. Some examples……….quilting rulers 001quilting rulers 002The ruler to the left (my homemade version) is the straight edge I used in this quilt.

For this quilt, I printed out multiple copies of the finished top so I could audition some ideas (doodle?). Quilt tutorial..stained glass 001 

Quilt tutorial..stained glass 014

The photo above shows the final pencil ideas on the paper copy. Now, on to the machine…………. The “cross” is the central pieced motif I wanted to emphasize with the ‘rays’ stitching. Here are the dry erase board versions…Quilt tutorial..stained glass 008

Quilt tutorial..stained glass 009  If you follow (as best you can) the arrows….the first photo indicates the first section and the second, how I traveled to the next section, leaving the colored/batik areas unquilted. I must note that I SID (stitched in the ditch)……every seam before beginning any of the quilting. A time consuming but very necessary step to stabilize the 3 layers. This would be for (especially) DSM (domestic sewing machines) and for sit-down mid-arm machines, such as I use (HQ Sweet Sixteen). I broke my stitching at the finish of each block.Quilt tutorial..stained glass 012

The next motif was the one used where the 4 smaller batik blocks come together to form a 4-patch. These were each done separately. Quilt tutorial..stained glass 010  The first stitching was a diagonal one (the green ‘x’), then I “mentally” divided the piecing line in 3. Then, began making 3 stitching rounds to form sort of a star effect.Quilt tutorial..stained glass 011

  And the finished motif on the quilt……

Quilt tutorial..stained glass 013

The final stitching was the border. I knew I didn’t want to be starting/stopping so to figure out  a motif that could be done in a continuous line was the challenge…………..Quilt tutorial..stained glass 004  And the corners…………….Quilt tutorial..stained glass 005 

And here is the dry-erase version……..Tute..stained glass 001  I know this looks extremely confusing, but if you follow the arrows carefully, you can complete all the stitching in a continuous line. I did mark the border at approximately 4” intervals (green line), using a water erase pen. This gave me the necessary demarcations to work with. The “rays” flow from one set to another, switching origination directions each time. As with all quilting motifs, after a while the FMQ (free motion quilting) becomes “second nature”!!!

I hope this helps a bit to clarify how this finish came into being. Click on any photo to enlarge and be sure to let me know of any further questions/clarifications!!!!!!!

Til next time…………………………..


About treadlemusic

A quilter who rides motorcycle, living on a small hobby farm in southeastern Minnesota. Grandmother and Great Grandmother.
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24 Responses to How do I do it………..

  1. I don’t have any fancy ones yet, just a set of very basic rulers — a couple of straight edges, a couple of circles, a couple of ovals. When looking at someone else’s post a few months ago, I realized you could use an oval on a border to create a gothic arch. Put a piece of blue tape or something about halfway down, the long way, and set that edge against the edge of the quilt. Loop your stitching up over the top of the oval toward the center of the quilt, and back to the edge. Overlap the part-ovals for a pretty cool effect.

    • treadlemusic says:

      Yup…..I found out about that after the purchase I made. Still am after a good oval/circle. Thanks for stopping in!!!!! Have a great day!!!!!!! Hugs……………..

  2. That probably wasn’t clear at all…

  3. I had no idea the process was this involved. But now I understand. Planning combined with talent and skill equal Doreen’s fabulous quilts.

  4. mtetar says:

    Thanks for being so kind to share such great lesson. Blessings, Mtetar

  5. I don’t want to sound ignorant, but the rulers you use as you are quilting? They aren’t just for marking? What holds them in place?

  6. Thanks for all your work to write this up. It’s great 🙂

  7. Fiona says:

    I love how you have done the quilting in this …. and thanks for showing us…

  8. Thread crazy says:

    Doreen – thanks for showing how you did your stitching. Wow – you really went all out on this one! So creative you are!! I too use a dry-erase board to mainly learn new motifs…I mean, how to stitch them out. From time to time I have used a piece of clear mylar, laying it over quilt top and testing out a new design…I’ll have to try the paper method next time. My rulers include the line tamer, the HQ Versa Tool and then I bought a set of Half Circle Templates, ranging in size from 1″ to 12″. Pretty cool designs can be done with the half circles…

    • treadlemusic says:

      The “Versa” should be in my mailbox soon and the circles are still on my wish list. I use a large (24″x24″) piece of clear acrylic to audition motifs on a quilt. That works great, too!!! Hugs……………

  9. witchylin says:

    Thank you so much Doreen for the above. I use graph paper to workout my designs as there is no room for a white board in my sewing area. Thank you too for the link to using the ruler. How easy she makes it look! One thing is for sure being able to go from straight to FMQ and back is perfect. No tying off or having to remove the quilt to alter to machine to FMQ and back. I just HAVE to buy that ruler. I am learning so much from you by reading your blog. Thanks again.

    • treadlemusic says:

      The straight edge on the right in the photo is one I made. See my reply (above) to “Sewing With Treadles”. The thickness of the straight edge (1/4″) is so very important in keeping it from damaging your machine but making one is not impossible!!!! Thank you for your kind words and if you have any questions, shoot me an e-mail!! Hugs…………

  10. Never knew about the rulers. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful work you make look so easy even with the process you went through to get there. Smiles……..

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