Part 2 on this topic is to discuss the center section of this quilt and my thought process for the quilting.
Quilting Diagonal Lines
Let’s start with the center star block first. I decided I wanted to straight line quilt on the diagonal to add some interest. I think you can tell how that turned out in the photo below.
I laid out my starting line with a piece of painters tape in the center of my block. But I didn’t assume if I put the tape there it would line up well with the diagonal slant of the star points.
So I took a long ruler and lined it up with the diagonal lines of the star points to see if the tape edge lined up correctly as well. I didn’t want the stitch line to be at a weird angle compared to the angle of the star points. I would notice it even if others did not, LOL.
In this case the tape line actually was a tad off so I slide the ruler down so that the edge was close to the center but a line was still lined up with a star point angle, and adjusted the tape along the edge of the ruler. That made me happy.
Lesson Learned: I could have just done that first rather than checking to see if the tape lined up after I placed it, (palm bump to forehead).
Once I had my tape adjusted I lined up the edge of the foot and started sewing. This meant that I did not have a stitch line that ran smack down the center of the block, since my stitch line wouldn’t have lined up exactly from corner to corner anyway. I thought it looked fine IMO.
Once that base line was sewn I lined up the edge of my foot with it and sewed the next line of stitching, and continued on lining up my foot with each subsequent stitch line. I sewed one half of the block first, then sewed the other half, moving away from the center, again so that I could make sure I was smoothing the fabric equally in both directions as needed.
Echo Quilting Around Circles
After the center block was done it was time to do the two flanking blocks. I decided to sew vertical lines in those blocks but to “echo” the outside edges of the circles.
To accomplish that I again went to my long ruler and laid it over the circles. I followed the half-inch marks from the approximate center of one circle to the approximate center of the other circle to be sure the distance between the lines worked out okay. I then marked where I was going to start and end my vertical stitching lines with that trusty painters tape again.
I then chose what I considered the starter line then added longer pieces of the tape to the little one to run the tape from top to bottom of the block. I left the other piece of tape in place as well so that I knew where I wanted to stop.
I sewed all of the center vertical lines first, running them through one half of each circle. Then for the second half of the circles I stopped my foot with the needle 1/2″ from the edge of the circle.
I’m fortunate enough that my foot has two marks on it; one that is 1/4″ away from the needle and another that is 1/2″ away from the needle. So I can tell where I need to stop. If you don’t have a mark on your foot you can mark it yourself with a Sharpie (if you want it to be permanent) or a piece of tape.
Also note – since this is a curved edge both marked lines on your foot will not touch the edge at the same time! The first line to touch the edge is when you stop. In the photo above that would be the line on the left edge of the foot.
After I stopped at the edge, with my needle down I pivoted to place the edge of my foot on the edge of the circle, then slowly sewed following along the edge. When I come to the previously sewn vertical line I stopped 1/2″ away so I can again pivot and line up my foot edge to follow the sewn vertical line to the bottom of the block.
Just keep following your curved lines this same way until you have to stop to avoid crossing over into another block. When you approach the border, or edge of your block you can simply stop your sewing line, cut your threads, then start back up at the bottom half of the curve or stitch in the ditch along the straight seam then pick up the curves again at the bottom.
If your last stitched vertical line is a little more or a little less than 1/2″ from the side or border of your block, I don’t feel it really matters. Just stop stitching when you think it looks good! In some cases I think mine ended up being just a tad thinner than 1/2″ but I preferred that more than a larger gap between the last line and the side seam/border. Personal preference rules here.
I hope sharing this process helps you to decide if you want to tackle echoing a curve within a quilt.
My next posting will talk about how I did the machine appliqué on the inside curves of a cut-out circle, and machine binding.