Choosing and stitching a walking foot quilting design

At last Saturday’s Beginners Course we reached the quilting stage of constructing our quilts. I demonstrated a few ideas for quilting using a walking foot eg. in-the-ditch, echoing, wavy lines… I’d had a think about how to quilt my version of the Dashing Stars quilt. In-the-ditch would work but I favoured stitching a quilting design over the patchwork to add ‘movement’, helping to take the eye roaming around the patchwork design. I considered a diagonal hatch across the quilt and considered curves, maybe echoing arcs or a swirl. Eventually I came up with stitching a large zig-zag down the centre of the quilt and then echoing the shape to either side.

Dashing Stars quilting diagram by Allison Reid
Quilting diagram. The thick black line represents the first zig-zag, the thinner green lines the lines of echo stitching and the pink dotted lines the chalk lines used to mark where the next quilting line should pivot.

I used masking tape to mark out the first zig-zag. I kept the angles open, thinking that if they were acute the bulk of the quilt would have to be turned a long way each time the stitching changed direction and the echoing lines might start to merge or distract from the patchwork.

More decisions: Which thread? I heard the advice of Angela Walters repeated in my head and put aside the light grey and off-white threads in favour of a light yellow.

Dashing Stars quilting thread choice by Allison Reid

Angela Walters maintains that yellow thread carries well across a multi-coloured quilt. My thread is a 40wt Aurifil, number 2110, a light, creamy shade of yellow. It’s proving a good choice as it blends well with the off-white background fabric and almost seems to take on the colours of the feature fabrics.

Dashing Stars stitching on feature fabrics by Allison Reid

Although it’s not as accurate as using a ruler to mark quilting lines on the quilt top I decided to use my machines quilting bar as the guide for creating echoing lines of stitching. Some of the lines of stitching are a little bowed but not enough to bother me 🙂

Dashing Stars using the guide bar by Allison Reid

It took me a while to figure out how to judge the pivot points as I stitched the zig-zag lines. The echo lines are 2 inches apart so it was hard to judge by eye when to stop stitching and turn the quilt. After a few ‘hit and miss’ incidents I realised I needed to draw a lines through the previous turning points and use them to determine the pivot point – when the needle reaches the line it’s time to change direction. I’m using a ruler and a Chaco marker with white chalk to mark these lines as I need them.

Dashing Stars quilting pivot point by Allison Reid

One half of the quilting is now completed, so I’ve turned the quilt around and will begin echo stitching the zig-zag across to the opposite edge of the quilt.

Loving the craft of patchwork and quilting – every project presents the opportunity to try out new techniques and ideas 🙂

Linking with Christine at ‘Stitch ALL The Things’ for To-Do Tuesday. My to-do is finish quilting Dashing Stars. And linking for the first time with Dione for Colour & Inspiration Tuesday



8 thoughts on “Choosing and stitching a walking foot quilting design

  1. Hi Allison! What a great post about how you came up with and implemented your quilting design. I do the same thing when using my walking foot. I often start out with masking tape of the first row of a crosshatch design, and then use the walking foot’s bar to keep myself spaced out correctly. This pivot point on the 2″ spacing would be really hard to eyeball – I would definitely needs to mark it out. Nice job! Happy Tuesday to you. ~smile~ Roseanne

  2. I really love your quilting plan! And that is such a fantastic tip to draw the line with the chalk. I’ve been surprised to find that light yellow works so well. And I tend to be drawn to it more than my light grey. Thank you so much for linking up with To-Do Tuesday!

  3. That’s a fantastic, really interesting way to quilt that top and I love that you took the time to come up with an original quilting plan that even a beginner could quilt successfully. The yellow thread tip is new to me, so thanks for passing that along as well.


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