You can quilt wavy lines on your home sewing machine. Jennifer Keltner gives you tips and techniques to ensure a successful result! Download the pdf here:

October 13, 2016


Hi, I'm Jennifer, here with another Machine Minute brought to you by Baby Lock and the Crescendo machine. "Quilt as desired." Sometimes the words strike fear into the heart of quilters not quite sure where to begin. And while there are plenty of things you can do if you're comfortable with free-motion quilting, sometimes we want a little more planning and a little more control over our quilt, especially as we're beginning our quilting. So today we're going to talk about curved line designs, and yes it is possible to do curved line designs and still use the walking foot on your machine. So let's talk first about machine setup. For this design that we're going to work on today with the curved lines, you want to have your walking foot on the machine. And your machine's walking foot basically pulls all the layers together at an even pace, so rather than just the feed dogs working on the bottom, this walking foot allows both layers to feed through evenly. Your quilt top batting and backing will travel through evenly, preventing those wrinkles or puckers you might get if you were using a regular foot on your machine. So put your walking foot on, treat yourself to a new needle (I like to use an 80/12) and then put a 50-weight thread for a good starting point in your machine for the quilting. And once you've got that setup, the design we're going to talk about today is one that looks like interlocking circles. And when I first saw this I thought there's no way I could freehand a great circle. This design wouldn't be possible. But the more I learned about it, these interlocking circles that are sometimes called an orange peel quilting design, are actually just a series of wavy lines. You don't stitch a circle at all. You stitch down the row, making gentle curves on either side of the seam line, pivot, and come back. Let me show you. Now whether you are you doing this on a single nine-patch block like I've got four put together on my sample or across an entire quilt top, the principle is the same. And I have a downloadable PDF that you can print out and have next to your machine if you're experimenting with this technique. But where you want to start is with your quilt top or block, and I would use a marking pen that that is air erasable or water erasable. You want to make sure you test it on your fabric ahead of time. But use that marker because you want to have a guideline, particularly for this technique. So as I said, you're going to start stitching gentle curves and scallops, and to make this scallop you can use the edge of a saucer, you could use a curve like a French curve if you have that kind of ruler. Any number of things to make it so it goes from corner to corner on your block, and that's where the arc is in the center and it comes down to a point where your intersection is on each side. So you decide how big this scallop is based on how how your block is laid out and how many inches there are between point to point. The nice thing is, as you're drawing this curve you can sort of fudge the line and make those curves gentle if your seams don't match up exactly. So when you start stitching, you want to have as few breaks in your thread as possible, and you want to pivot as much as possible so that you don't have any loose ends that you need to tie up. So in this case, you would start stitching here and follow the line at the arrow and make those gentle curves, stopping on the opposite edge of your quilt top or block. You always want to stop with your needle down, and then you're going to pivot 180 degrees and start heading back the other way. So you'll start doing the opposite side of those wavy lines. They'll intersect at the intersection of your pieces or your blocks, come up, and go all the way back over to where you started. And then to travel down to the next seam, or next row of stitching, you're going to make that sort of half scallop here, stopping with your needle down at the bottom. And that's your means of traveling so that you don't have to double stitch any lines or cross over any lines that you've previously stitched. So you'll take that half scallop there or full scallop to the intersection point and stop with your needle down. When you get there, you repeat the process. So first, we're going to do up, down, up. Stop with your needle down, pivot 180 degrees and go back, going down, up, down, and travel down to the next row. So you'll continue to do that until you get to the bottom corner of your quilt top or block and then your traveling scallop along the outer edge, and you start going vertically then. So you're going to go up, across, over, pivot, and back down following that wavy line, and you travel along the bottom edge. As I said, it can be a little bit of work to get used to how you're traveling along your quilt top. But once you get started, you really do get into the rhythm and if you print out that downloadable PDF you'll get all of these diagrams so can follow along as you're stitching at your machine. Enjoy giving the orange peel design a try.