See how to quilt a stipple design and a curved line design with Hourglass blocks. Our step-by-steps make it easy to recreate this quilting with your home machine.

Option #1: Free-Motion Quilting Design

An allover meandering or puzzle quilting design is commonly called stippling. It involves a series of random curves closely spaced where lines do not cross.

Mark Quilt Top

Using a water-soluble marker or chalk and referring to Stipple Diagram, mark quilting lines on quilt top. Divide areas into workable sections, starting at one edge and working to the opposite edge. (Marked lines give you confidence as you begin to stitch.) Although four hourglass blocks are shown, use the same stitching technique across the entire quilt top.

Assemble Quilt Layers

Prepare the quilt sandwich (marked quilt top, batting, and backing).

Set Up Machine

Remove presser foot and install a free-motion or darning foot. Lower the presser foot. (Even though the darning foot does not touch the quilt top when the presser foot is lowered, lowering it will prevent the quilt from jumping up and down as the needle goes in and out. It also engages the tension discs, which will make your stitches even and more taut.) Add a new machine needle, and thread the machine and bobbin with 50-weight, 100% cotton thread. Use a quilt-sandwich swatch to test thread/needle/tension combination and stitch length.

Begin Quilting

1. Begin stitching at the upper left-hand corner of the quilt top. Move quilt sandwich as you stitch (with feed dogs down, fabric layers won't move unless you move them), working to right-hand side, following the red quilting lines as shown in the Stipple Diagram.

2. Pivot 180º and continue quilting as before, following the green quilting lines as shown on the Stipple Diagram.

3. Pivot 180º and continue quilting as before, following the blue quilting lines as shown on the Stipple Diagram, to complete stipple design. Baste remaining unstitched edges.

Next page: Option #2 Quilting Design

Option #2: Curved-Line Quilting Design

What appears to be several curved lines is one continuous line of stitching.

Mark Quilt Top

Using a water-soluble marker or chalk, mark quilting lines across quilt top. Although only one hourglass block is shown in diagrams 1–4, below, you can use the same stitching paths for an entire quilt assembled from hourglass blocks. When marking curved lines, use a jar lid, cup, or saucer that gives the desired depth of the curve or scallop between seam intersections.

Assemble Quilt Layers

Prepare the quilt sandwich (marked quilt top, batting, and backing).

Set up Machine

Remove presser foot and install walking foot. Add a new machine needle, and thread the machine and bobbin with 50-weight, 100% cotton thread. Use a quilt-sandwich swatch to test thread/needle/tension combination and stitch length.

Begin Quilting

Machine-quilter Trina Kirkvold stitches as much as possible without cutting threads. For this design she quilted the entire hourglass block in a continuous line. Leaving the needle down when pivoting to start stitching each section is the secret to success.

1. Begin stitching at the upper left-hand edge. Follow the red arrows and line in each step.

2. Stitch marked line, curving as shown, to the lower right-hand edge of the block (Diagram 1). Pivot 180º. Stitch as before, returning to the upper left-hand edge.

3. Pivot 90º and stitch a curved line along upper edge of dark pink triangle (Diagram 2). Pivot 90º and stitch a curved line from upper right-hand edge to lower left-hand edge and back to upper right-hand edge.

4. Pivot 90º. Stitch curved lines on remaining outer edges, pivoting 90º at each corner (Diagram 3).

5. Repeat steps 1–4 across the quilt top to complete continuous curved-line quilting design (Diagram 4). Baste remaining unstitched edges.

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