Welcome back! It’s Week #3 of our Wonky Piecing & Easy Appliqué QuiltAlong ! This week we’ll be machine quilting the background fabric.
There are so many different ways you can machine quilt the background fabric and anything goes so don’t be afraid to use this little quilt along project to experiment:
• you could practice your free motion quilting and simply stipple the background;
• you could practice ‘matchstick quilting’ – this is simply stitching straight lines about 1/4″ apart up and down over the background fabric; or,
• you could mark diagonal lines about 3″ apart, set your machine to a decorative stitch and stitch a crosshatch pattern.
Really – anything goes, so have fun ….
But I’d like to share with you three of my favorite machine quilting patterns that look “artsy”, are pretty easy to do and imho, make a great quilted background for smaller quilts like these. I’ll do my best to explain how to do these patterns here in the blog but if you are more of a visual learner than I would encourage you to check out my companion video to this week’s quilt along which will be posted on our Colourwerx website and Colourwerx UTube channel in a few days.
These are the three patterns I use most often:
• The Wonky Slanted Line pattern – you see this most often in my Mini ModDog pillows and quilts, and if you have the Mini ModDog pattern, you’ll find instructions on how to do this pattern on page 2;
• The Curvaceous Quilting Pattern – easy to do and very relaxing!
• The Wonky Chevron Pattern – this is fun and is wonderfully forgiving.
Create the Quilting Sandwich —
First you’ll need to gather your Background Fabric (a fat quarter or a piece about 18″ x 21″) , and a scrap piece of batting or fusible batting of the same size. If you’ve already decided to make your animal into a wallhanging, then you should also gather a fat quarter size of fabric to use as your backing fabric too. (If you are making a pillow, you don’t need to add a backing fabric unless of course you think you might wash the pillow in the future).
Place the batting on the WRONG side of the Background Fabric and secure. You can do this by safety pinning the two layers together or using a fusible adhesive spray like 505 Temporary Spray Adhesive. If you are making a wallhanging, go ahead and fuse (or safety pin) your backing fabric to the other side of the batting as well. You now have your quilting sandwich ready for machine quilting.
Let’s get started with the first quilting pattern –
#1 – The Wonky Slanted Line Pattern —
When I quilt this pattern, I like to use a chunky thread – like the Aurifil 12 weight – and a variety of different thread colors – usually I choose 5-6 different colors. But this method also looks very nice with any variegated thread or even just a lovely solid thread.
Also just a tip – if you are using a a chunkier thread, make sure you change your sewing machine needle to a larger size. I prefer to use the Schmetz 90/14 Quilting Needle. This size accommodates a variety of different weight threads with no problems.
The first step is to draw a few wonky lines on your background fabric. With a iron off marker (or water soluble pen), just drop your ruler at a slant and draw a line. Slant the ruler in opposite direction and draw another line. You can also use a Hera marker to make these lines as well. Hera Markers are sold at all quilt shops and actually just crease your fabric with the rounded edge – so no fear of a marker staining the fabric or never coming off.
Start with about 3-4 lines and with your first thread color. Set your machine to a straight stitch, leave the feed dogs up and put your walking foot on (or engage your even feed system). Also set your stitch length to about 3.0 so the stitches are a bit longer. Stitch directly across those drawn lines.
Mark another 3-4 lines. Switch threads if you’d like, and stitch on those lines.
Continue adding wonky slanted lines and stitching until you have filled the background fabric.
Voila! Done And it looks super especially behind your dog, cat or fish!
#2 – The Curvaceous Quilting Pattern —
I really love doing curvy quilting – it looks very artsy and I love the movement it provides to the background fabric. I use this pattern alot when making the ModFish as it gives the feeling that the fish are swimming with the movement the curved lines create.
To start, again set your machine to a straight stitch, leave the feed dogs up and put your walking foot on (or engage your even feed system). Also set your stitch length to about 3.0 so the stitches are a bit longer. Start in the middle of the fat quarter and just stitch straight stitches from the top to the bottom, gently ‘ungulating’ from right to left creating a curved stitched line. Think of driving down a country road – no sharp turns.
Move over about 2-3″ and stitch another curvy line. Again move over another 2-3″ and stitch another curvy line. Keep filling the background with curved stitched lines about 2-3″ apart.
To fill in the background, next begin to stitch in between the stitched lines with more curvy quilting. How dense you make the curvy quilting is entirely up to you. I find that it really depends upon my mood – some curvaceous quilting is quilted quite dense and some not so much…again, anything goes and stop when it looks good to you!
That’s it – doesn’t that look great!?!?
#3 – The Wonky Chevron Pattern —
This is a fun pattern, looks great with a variegated thread and one that I use alot on my little ModCat wallhangings . Once again, set your machine to a straight stitch leave the feed dogs up and put your walking foot on (or engage your even feed system).
The first step is to draw a few chevron-like lines across the center portion of your background fabric. With a iron off marker (or water soluable pen), just drop your ruler slanting it right and left and draw wonky angles or chevrons. Don’t worry about making the chevrons too even or regimented – in fact the more uneven they are the better!
Stitch directly on the drawn line (it’s ok if you are not directly on the drawn line – it’s more of a guide for you to start from…) Now move down about an inch and “echo” the same chevron pattern but don’t try to be too perfect – in fact, adding little changes or additional little chevrons to “mix it up” as you stitch along makes it look more artsy.
Keep echoing and stitching out from the middle drawn first chevron until you reach the edge. Turn the background fabric around and start to do the same chevron echo stitching from the middle drawn line out to the other edge filling up the background fabric with wonky chevron lines. Check that out!
What fun! 🙂 I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with! be sure to chedk out the companion video to this week’s blog coming out in a few days on the Colourwerx website and Colourwerx UTube channel .
That’s it for Week #3!! Next week – our final week – Week #4: we’ll be machine applique stitching our animal shapes onto the background fabric and I’ll be sharing some tips and tricks with you!
Until then, please be sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Or feel free to post progress pictures on our Colourwerx QAL Facebook Group.
Until your next colour fix and next week’s QAL post ~ happy and bright quilting always! L&C xxoo
2 thoughts on “Wonky Piecing & Easy Applique QAL – Week 3 – Machine Quilt the Background”
really enjoying these videos, gives me some inspiration which I seem to be lacking during these difficult times. thanks
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Hi Jennifer: Thanks for your nice comment. These times are tough for sure! I’m happy to hear that our video and posts provide some cheer to your day!!