Straight Line Quilting – Quilt Sampler


Straight line quilting

Straight line quilting

This straight line quilting tutorial is the first design in my machine quilting sampler quilt.  The whole idea for the sampler has come from all my efforts to engage with Minnie, my longarm quilting machine, over the past few weeks.  I am actually demonstrating the straight line quilting on my normal domestic machine because of course the designs that I am going to use in my sampler can be sewn on any machine.  I have used plain fabric in a light colour with black thread for the quilting so that it shows up well.  The size of the quilt is about 32″ by 42″ for the very technical reason that I had a piece of wadding that size in my stash.  As I go along, I will be subdividing the quilt into sections about 8″ square.

I am not going to go into the basics of setting up for machine quilting, because I have already covered that here.

Straight line quilting ideas

Straight line quilting is the first step when you begin quilting – when you stitch in the ditch or echo quilt you are following the lines of the seams in your quilt blocks.  The next step is to begin to add a little something into the lines so that you can use them as a design in their own right.  As you can see, I have begun with triangles sewn at intervals in a line, then squares – yes, I agree they are more like rectangles than squares!  In the next line I have added hearts and in the final line I have added very simple stars.

Whichever design you want to include in your straight line quilting, the important thing as always is to practise it before you use it in a quilt.  The few designs that I have shown are very basic, so think about variations that you can use – different sizes of triangles within the same line, different spaces between them, different designs within the same line.  Try them all out and decide which variations look right for your particular quilt.

I was going to show you two squares of the sampler in each tutorial, but the video would have been far too long so I am cutting it back to just the one section for each tutorial.  The video goes into some detail and I hope you will find it helpful to see the straight line quilting as I sew it:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.



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  1. Muchas gracias. Muy interesante!

  2. Love the scrappy quilt. You are so organised – my stash is just in a large box !!! When you do your free motion quilting how do you keep your stitches the same length? I get either tiny stitches or long stitches. I suppose it is practice, practice, practice. I am scared to do it on my quilts i n case I mess it up. You make it look so easy !! Well done.

    • Hi Shirley. Not all my stash is organised – I probably have more than most people, so I have to try and organise it a bit. The length of stitch is totally dependant on the speed that you move the fabric. When you move the fabric more quickly the stitches get longer, so it’s all about learning to keep moving the fabric at the same rate all the time.

  3. Barbara Harrison says:

    Thank you Rose, so many instructions tell us to ‘quilt as desired’ but
    seldom tell us how to. Did you use a walking foot? Best wishes Barbara

    • Hi Barbara. No, I used a darning foot. In general terms, you could use a walking foot for the straight lines, but you wouldn’t really be able to do the hearts and other emblems on the lines.

  4. Jean Ransome says:

    Thanks Rose–this was very useful—-I will have a go at the straight quilting–thank you Rose for your help. Jean

    • Hi Jean. I think gathering different designs together is quite a good idea – you could probably do something similar for your ladies to look at and choose from.

  5. Thanks Rose.
    I smiled when you wrote you were using your sewing machine and I am so glad you did! Now I understand some of the ‘problems’ I have had maybe aren’t problems, but just what happens! I feel less incompetent now 🙂 Looking forward to the next installment…