Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Finish-A-Long Tutorial :: Organic Straight-Line Quilting

One of my very favorite kinds of quilting is organic straight-line, and it's as low-stress as it gets. Though it's even simpler than doing actual straight lines, I've had enough people ask about it, that I figured it might be helpful to finally share my technique.


First off, a well-basted quilt sandwich is a must. Personally, I spray-baste, and that's an ideal method for this style of quilting. I press the sandwich after basting, and also occasionally during the quilting process, just to keep things as smooth as possible. Registration lines are made with my ruler and hera marker, usually about 3" apart, or whatever works well with the design at hand. Sometimes I'll have a project where the quilt's design has seam-lines that will work as registration lines, and that's better yet!


If your project is small, mark all the registration lines before beginning to quilt. On a larger quilt, you may want to mark several, stitch, then go back to mark more. Whatever size project, after marking, go sew along each of your marked lines. Don't stitch exactly on each. But use each line as a general guide, sewing along with a slight wavy motion, crossing the line randomly as you sew. I use my walking foot with a stitch length of 3.0, and my preference is to begin quilting all rows from the same end of the quilt. Honestly, at this point, I nearly always question my judgement on quilting design, but be patient. It's going to look better and better the denser you go.


Once you have quilted along all the registration lines, go back and quilt roughly down the middle of each channel. (indicated by blue stitching) The wavy lines can echo the previous lines in some spots, and move opposite them in others, varying the widths between lines as you go.


Now that you've quilted down all of the channels in the same relaxed, wavy way, go back and do it again(indicated by green stitching) Eyeball the center as you go, weaving along. Nothing needs to be exact.


At this point, with your quilting about 3/4" - 1" apart, you can decide whether you want to start overlapping some of the quilting. It's all a matter of preference, but it's an option.


You can do a little or alot. And you can overlap most of your lines, none of them, or a mix. It's all up to you. I keep quilting down the channels until the distance between lines in some places is about 1/4".




Note that you can also use organic straight-line in a grid, as I did here in Pantone Meets Bias Tape. The amount of 'wiggle' in the quilting lines can be quite varied, though I try to keep the scale relatively consistent within a piece.


Let me know if you have any questions! And enjoy some low-stress quilting by going organic!

Also note that fellow FAL co-host Jennie/Clover & Violet had a similar idea as I when planning for tutorial week. Hop over to her blog on January 5 to view her video on Wavy Line Quilting.

30 comments:

  1. Oh - thank you for this tutorial. I've tried this quilting design and couldn't get it right. Your tutorial is a big help. Wishing you also a Happy New Year!

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  2. Great tutorial! I've been using a cuticle stick to mark lines but the Hera tool is on my list. Usually I just start at one end and continue all lines from the top down, but your method spacing out regular sections is better and easier! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Personally this is one of my favorite ways to quilt. Either wavy or straight (organic)! Thanks for sharing your process. I never thought to use registration lines. But I will next time!

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  4. This is a lovely tutorial, thank you! I do something similar, although on the long arm I just work top to bottom, but for regular machine, stitching the larger sections first also helps with keeping the back from bunching up.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work and quilts.
    Great photos, clear explanations.
    Happy New Year to you and your family.

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  6. Thanks so much for this! I have done wavy lines before but I love your suggestion of blocking off sections! Fun quilting technique!

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  7. Thank you sooooo much, dear Debbie!! Happy New Year!!!✨����������✨

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  8. Great tutorial and explanation. I like cutting areas in half for straight line quilting without the gentle waves or curves, too. :)

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  9. Wonderfully simple and looks great! Thanks so much.

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  10. Thank you for putting this tutorial together, it really helps to make that technique clear. What are registration lines? Are they the lines in the negative space that look like seams? Are they used to keep the wavy quilt lines relatively square?

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  11. Thank you. Something I have been wanting to try and been nervous about.

    Happy New Year!

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  12. Excellent tutorial! I usually use my walking foot and just do straight line quilting, but have wanted to try some wavy lines. Yet, I just have not been able to work up the courage. Thank you for sharing this tutorial, it has given me a big boost of confidence.

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  13. Thanks Debbie! I will be referring to this for my next quilting job! I think I will 'pin' it! (I just need to buy myself another can of 505 first! )

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  14. Really good tutorial. I'm looking forward to trying it out! Thank you

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  15. Thanks for a really clear tutorial - I'm glad it's not just me who does the first few lines and has to keep thinking 'it'll look better when there's more lines, it always does!'

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  16. Great info for this long time piecer with too many tops. Is there a pic of your machine set up? I have done small pieces this way using my teflon foot. Also, how do you avoid puckers at intersecting lines? Good wishes for the 2017.

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  17. I'm with you - organic straight line is the ultimate in low-stress quilting :o) It never occurred to me to cross some of the lines...I'm going to try that that next time I use this method. Thanks for sharing your process.

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  18. This quilting design suits your quilt design. I love the ease of the whole piece. Really nice, especially those solids. I need to spend more time working with solids in 2017. Thanks for your perfectly practical and gorgeous inspiration!

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  19. Thanks for this Debbie. Interesting that it takes some planning to get such a fly-by-the seat of your pants look! i will definitely give it a whirl!

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  20. Happy New Year Debbie! As an accidental Wavy Quilter, it's wonderful to see this as a technique :-) I was terrified of straight lines, and figured the waves were organic and wouldn't show mistakes - add to that we live near the ocean, I couldn't resist the name! Hadn't thought about bi=directional lines, so that's wonderful inspiration - thank you!

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  21. These FAL Tutorials are always wonderful. Thankyou!

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  22. This was a very good tutorial a Debbie. Thank you.

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  23. Thank you. This tutorial really covered the process without to much wording. Great work.

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  24. Love it! Looks great! I've always loved your wavy quilts!

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  25. Thanks for this helpful info! I love this look and will be trying your technique on one of my quilts this month - it is long over due to be finished as I have been stuck on how to quilt it. Your instructions are very clear to follow .

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  26. One of my favourite go-to quilting designs, especially for small things like minis and pillows.

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  27. Excellent tutorial with great tips! Perfect timing too. Thank you!

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  28. I do exactly what you do but I've never ironed it first. Great idea! This design is honestly so much faster than many others because there's very little thinking involved.

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  29. Thank you for this tutorial, it has inspired me to get back to my sewing machine and try this method! Thank you, thank you!

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  30. Thanks so much for the wonderful tutorial. With it, I think I am brave enough to try it on a quilt today. With much appreciation...

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