Quilting: fancy stitches and curves

Using variegated thread and a tight zig-zag stitch to create an interesting applique edge

Hurrah! Another start/stop project has wound up finished! In fact rewind to July (not that long ago in the parallel universe where UFOs move in and out of sight like trains rolling through a stationand revisit my attendance at a Christine Porter workshop entitled ‘Flying Around in Circles’ (what an appropriate title for a factory where UFOs are produced!). Christine was a great tutor and by the end of the day had us all creating beautifully formed applique circles.


My completed version of ‘Flying Around in Circles’

Of course making the blocks is only one stage in the production of a finished quilt. Christine Porter utilises lots of coloured threads and the ‘fancy’ stitches her sewing machine can produce to bring variety to her quilting especially on any areas of plain fabric within the design. In the past I’ve used some of my machine’s fancy stitches when quilting crazy patchwork pieces or table runners where the stitching might be seen close up. This little quilt was definitely experimental for me – with it’s modern look and colouring and the use of new-to-me applique techniques. So why not keep the quilting with the style of it’s designer? PLUS I’ve recently taken advantage of a discounted Craftsy class, Susan Cleveland’s ‘Creative Quilting – alternatives to free motion’, actually watching it all (does this count as a ‘finish’ too?). Susan gives lots of great tips right from putting together the quilt sandwich, stabilising the layers with in-the-ditch quilting through to using thicker threads and bigger stitches in walking foot and hand quilting.

Experimenting with ‘fancy’ machine stitches and variegated threads.

It wouldn’t be fair to Christine or Susan to share all of their tips I put into practice whilst quilting, so here’s just one of that I found worked really well, bringing a considerable improvement in the accuracy of my in-the-ditch quilting:

For more accurate in-the-ditch stitches: Use an an opentoe applique foot; move the needle away from the centre, right to one side; use the edge of the foot as a guide. Simple but effective!

I bought all but one of the fabrics for the quilt top while we were on holiday in Derbyshire from a fabulous shop, Quiltessential, Cromford.




What can I say? A perfect shop for quiltaholics with a great range of fabrics including loads of novelty/children’s prints and all 303 Kona Solids!





Linking my FINISH 🙂 with Amanda Jean for Finish It Up Friday and Myra for Finished or Not Friday.


Oh! And here’s a view of the quilting from the back – I deliberately used plain blue thread in the bobbin, allowing it to show through on the front to add more to the texture and appearance of the stitching.




14 thoughts on “Quilting: fancy stitches and curves

    • I have enjoyed doing three workshops this year. They’ve all pushed me to try new things – this was my first real use of multiple solid colour fabrics and I’m pleased with the results ☺In the past I’ve tended to use variegated threads as a means to hide my quilting stitches but using them as a feature of the quilt has, I think, brought added interest to the quilt.

  1. you’ve done a beautiful job with these stitches ! really adds interest to the work. I’ve got a few unwatched Craftsy classes as well so, good for you and I would definitely count that as a finish too !


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