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

Option #1: Straight-Line Quilting Design

Diagonal lines quilted the same distance apart in a V shape create chevron designs across a quilt block or top.

Mark Quilt Top

Using a water-soluble marker or chalk and an acrylic ruler, mark lines across quilt block. (Marked lines give you confidence as you begin to stitch.) Use a 4×8" ruler when marking lines; lining up just a few seam intersections at a time gives you "fudge room" if the blocks aren't perfectly square. Four Log Cabin blocks are shown, with the dark purple corners pointing toward the center. You can use the same stitching paths for an entire quilt top assembled from Log Cabin blocks, no matter how the blocks are oriented. To mark, join the lines from one edge of the quilt top to the other.

Assemble Quilt Layers

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

Set up Machine

Remove presser foot and install a 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

1. Begin by stitching the longest diagonal line on the quilt top, usually at the quilt center. For the featured quilt, the line starts in the top left-hand light purple rectangle and continues in a diagonal line to the opposite corner (Diagram 1). Follow the red arrows and lines in each step. Trim threads.

2. Starting at the upper right-hand corner, stitch a diagonal line to the lower left-hand corner to make a big X (Diagram 1).
Trim threads.

3. Referring to Diagram 2, stitch parallel lines to make a wide V shape in the upper two Log Cabin blocks.

4. Continue moving around the Log Cabin blocks in a clockwise motion, stitching parallel lines (Diagram 3).

5. Repeat established stitching pattern to complete straight-line quilting design (Diagram 4). Baste all remaining unstitched edges.

Next page: Option #2 Quilting Design

Option #2: Curved-Line Quilting Design

Stitching continuous wavy lines in a free-form manner gives a sense of movement across the quilt and sharply contrasts the linear design of the Log Cabin blocks.

Plan Quilting

For this design you do not need to mark the quilt top. Although only a few Log Cabin blocks are shown, you can use the same stitching paths for an entire quilt top assembled from Log Cabin blocks. Horizontal stitching lines are shown. This design also could be done vertically.

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. Note: 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 more even and 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

Machine-quilter Trina Kirkvold suggests stitching faster than you normally would to achieve smoother curves. Stitching slower will result in more jagged lines. Practicing on a sample piece will help you get the rhythm. Because this design is free-form, you control the depth and length of the curves. For best results, Trina suggests starting on the left-side of the center of the quilt top and working outward, alternating stitching with each just-quilted side.

1. Begin stitching on one edge in the middle of the quilt top. Move quilt sandwich as you stitch (with feed dogs down, fabric layers won't move unless you move them), working horizontally from one edge of the quilt to the other. Follow the red arrow shown in Diagram 1.

2. Pivot and repeat Step 1 to stitch another curved line next to the one just quilted (Diagram 2). For some lines of stitching, Trina tried to mimic the line just quilted; in other instances, she made a curved line that was not similar.

3. Referring to Diagram 3, continue stitching curved lines, alternating the quilting on each side of the center portion.

4. Continue stitching to complete free-motion quilting design (Diagram 4). Baste remaining unstitched edges.

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