Simple Lines….Dynamic Effects

We often get phone calls here at the Studio asking us for advice on how to quilt a just-finished top. That’s a tough one to answer. There are so many possibilities! Whether you are a beginner or an experienced quilter, sometimes the phrase “quilt as desired” can lead to frustration when not a single idea pops into your head.

These days, when in search of ideas, we often head to the internet and there are some awesome examples of quilting out there both by hand and machine. It can be a little intimidating. Sometimes, I think we overlook the beauty in simplicity.


Day Lilies

My quilt “Day Lilies” has the illusion of a lot of curves but it is all straight line quilting. More elaborate quilting was unnecessary and might have detracted from the quilt’s design. The same is true of my “Rhapsody” quilt.



My new table runner design, “Turning Point,” has a dramatic diamond design. Instead of following the exact lines of the piecing, machine quilter Su Gardner did triple lines of quilting perpendicular to the pattern. It has quite a striking effect, don’t you think?

Turning Point

Turning Point

Straight-line quilting is often what we start out with as new quilters. Grids and outline stitching are wonderful for beginners, no doubt, but their “unfussiness” may be just what you are looking for.

SLQ4One of our Australian customers, David S., made this “Amish Waves” quilt as a memorial to a friend he lost to cancer a few months ago. Using 50 of my Palette fabrics, the bold colors and geometric pattern along with straight-line stitching help recreate the Amish feel in this lovely quilt.

SLQ5When my staff member, Nancy, made this quilt many years ago, she was looking for the feel of an old scrap utility quilt. The big stitch in a simple grid pattern was a perfect fit.

SLQ6For hand quilting, if I am doing straight lines in open areas, I lay down masking tape. I use regular size and also quarter inch tape which is perfect for outline quilting.  Masking tape can also be used when machine quilting but don’t accidentally sew over it! Many machine quilters use their favorite marking tool, a hera marker or just “eyeball” it along with a walking foot on their machines.

So next time you read “quilt as desired” don’t overlook the basic straight line.