Tag Archives: straight-line quilting

Deconstructing my Friendship Star Quilt – Lessons Learned Part 1 of 3

Lately I’ve been working on too many projects at the same time and made the commitment to get ONE completely done!  So here it is; my Friendship Star quilt.

Friendship Star1

The print fabrics in this quilt were purchased about three years ago during a guild fundraiser that was held at a sewing machine store I was visiting.  Members were selling off fat-quarters and other small cuts from their stash.  I really liked this multicolored print so bought the small amount they had, plus the complementary yellow print.  After moving them around several times on my shelves while looking for other things, I decided to dive in and use them for something.  The “something” is a Friendship Star quilt that finished at 37″ x 47 1/2″.

Here is a link to a good tutorial by the Crafty Gemini on how to make a Friendship Star block for those who have not yet tried one: Friendship Star

I also decided to try some new techniques so I incorporated the following:

1.  Dense, straight-line quilting (1/2 inch apart)

2.  Echoing curves around the circles

3.  Doing machine applique on the inside curves of a circle cut into a rectangle

4. Machine binding using a different technique than I normally use

Lessons Learned # 1 – Straight Line Quilting

Patience, patience, patience.  That’s what it takes to do straight line quilting :).  To plan the quilting I decided to tackle it by sections.  The top and bottom sections of the quilt are straight horizontal lines quilted 1/2″ apart.

Horizontal Example

The middle of the quilt is made up of three blocks; the center star flanked by squares on which I appliqued circles and a rectangle with the center cut out.

The center star block was quilted with diagonal lines 1/2″ apart.

Diagonal Example

The two blocks with applique consist of 1/2″ apart vertical lines, but on one side of each circle I opted to “echo” the curved edges.

Friend Star 4 curve

Echo Example 2

No Marking Straight Line Quilting – Here’s How I Did It

Step 1 – I measured the size of the area I wanted to quilt with the horizontal lines.  From the top to the bottom of the first section, it equaled 14.5″.  So it was easy to tell I could sew lines of stitching 1/2″ apart and it would fill the space just fine.

Top Horz Quilting

Step 2 – My sewing machine lets me adjust the needle position.  So my plan was to use the side of my foot as my guide, adjusting the needle position so that there would be 1/2″ from the side to the needle.  As fate had it, I didn’t need to adjust the position at all.  In the center position it measured 1/2″ from the side of my foot.

Horz Quilt Up

So I lined up the side of my foot along the bottom seam of my section and started stitching the bottom row first and worked towards the top, lining up the side of my foot with each line of stitching as I moved up the quilt.  My thought was that I could continue to smooth out the surface of the quilt as needed by working from bottom to top.  No matter how well you pin, once you start quilting the fabric will always shift somewhat.


I followed this same process on the bottom section after I finished quilting the middle blocks.

Battling Curved Line Endings

As careful as I was trying to keep my lines straight, I suddenly noticed I was curving my lines at the beginning of some of the rows!  I think what happened is that as I tried to set my needle at the right starting point for my line, I shifted the quilt a little at one point, then continued to follow that “off” line for a few more rows until I noticed my error!

So to correct that going forward, I took a small piece of painters tape and lined it up with the edge of a straight row so that I could place the edge of my foot against it and know I was starting off correctly.

Curved Lines

IMPORTANT TIP:  Look at each line after you’ve sewn it to be sure if something got “off” you can correct it for your next row.

I never felt any wobble I made was bad enough to rip out.  It keeps things real…right?

So that’s how I approached my horizontal straight-line quilting.  Part 2 will discuss the diagonal quilting and circle echo technique I used plus the adventure of doing machine applique on inside curves of a circle.

Part 3 is on the machine binding technique I used.




Simple Straight Line Quilting for Interesting Results

I have a confession to make.  I did not get my Snowballs in May quilt done in time to take to my grandson as I originally planned.  I decided instead of rushing through it I wanted to take my time and do some quilting inside the snowballs that was a little more detailed.  The quilting is not fancy or complicated, just a little time-consuming.

But I finally got it done in time for him to get it tomorrow!  My daughter and the two grand kids are passing through on their way to visit some other relatives. So I’ll get them for one day, but that’s better than none!

I also tried a new (to me) binding technique that for some reason confused me when looking at various tutorials or videos.  I don’t know why I was too intimidated to try it before, but by paying close attention and doing things step-by-step, I accomplished joining my starting and ending strips on a diagonal eliminating the bulk I would get by making a “sleeve” and tucking the ends in.  Here’s a link to a written tutorial I found very helpful and here’s a link to a video if you haven’t tried that technique yet.  Be very careful that you aren’t twisting your ends in the wrong directions before sewing!  

Here’s the front and back of the finished quilt.  As mentioned in my previous post I took the leftover triangles from cutting off the ends of my “Snowballs”, sewed them into half-square triangles, then made pinwheels for the front and a chevron strip for the back and ended up with this:


Using painters tape, I laid out some guidelines to make hexagon shapes in the center of some of the snowballs, and straight lines on the diagonal for others. I would line up the outer edge of the tape with a sewn line then sew along the inner edge:






For the diagonal lines I just ran one piece of tape from one corner to the opposite corner and after sewing a line, moved it to the next corner, etc. ending up with pie shapes:



For the middle pinwheel section, I made squares, rectangles, X’s, etc., again using painters tape as my guide lines where needed:

Middle section quilting

All the rest of the quilting was stitching in the ditch (which I did first to stabilize everything) and then sewing additional straight lines in the sashing by placing the edge of my walking foot along a sewn seam as a guide.  So again, the quilting was easy from the standpoint of using all straight lines.

Because I usually don’t have a plan for my quilting completely thought out in advance, I tend not to mark up my quilt before starting quilting. So using painters tape that I can just pick up and move as needed works fine for me.  It loses it’s stickiness after a number of moves, so you just grab another piece as needed as you go along.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to straight line quilt for some interesting results.