The process of quilting is to simply stitch together multiple layers of fabric. You can add batting in between, but you don’t have to. How you stitch these pieces together is a whole other question. There are many ways to quilt a quilt and infinite designs you can stitch. Besides hand quilting, tying, or using your domestic sit down machine with a walking foot, there are three different ways you can quilt with a long arm machine. In the quilts below, our longarm machine renters show off quilts they quilted with design boards, paper pantographs, or free motion quilting.
Quilting with Design Boards
The easiest way to quilt a quilt on a longarm machine is with a design board. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this technique, we have hard boards with the design engraved on them. You place a stylus through the machine and then into this grove. You are still the one moving the machine, but the design board guides your movements. We like to call it quilting with training wheels, because it’s so easy to get a perfectly stitched design on your quilt. It is possible to bounce out of the grove if you go to fast as the machine does cause a vibration. It also means you have to quilt a little slower than the other options. Even with these drawbacks, the design board is a great way to quilt!
This is Lisa and her rental certification quilt. She choose to use the Sweet Hearts board which is a design that has lots of whimsical little hearts and flowers. It is a sweet touch to such a cute top. I like this quilt design. The large clamshells were appliqued on to a solid foundation backing right on top of each other. I could see this in a child’s bed with fish or dragon accents on the bed side table or walls. How fun would that be?
Dennis created this simple little beauty. He said he cut out all those itty bitty pieces and sorted them into two piles, light and dark. And then he just reached in to each pile and pulled out a piece and sewed them together. It is completely random. I think it looks great and very well balanced. He decided that he wanted to add a traditional touch to it and chose the design board called Bountiful Feather. As you can tell by the name, if you can’t see on his quilt, it is a whole bunch of curvy feathers. It adds a lot of great texture and a traditional feather design to a quilt.
Quilting with Pantographs
The next type of quilting is with paper pantographs. These are long pieces of paper with a design printed on it. The paper pantos are set up on the table part of the frame so that you can trace the design with a laser. As you trace the design, of course the machine is stitching and putting that design onto your quilt. Therefore, you can move faster and have a little more freedom with pantographs than with the boards. As you can imagine the long piece of printed paper is also less expensive than boards, but now it is more on your skill to make the design look right. We have several pantographs for sale as well as packs.
Jennifer created these cute little matching baby quilts and quilted them with a pantograph. She picked one with some whimsical flowers called Periwinkle. Isn’t it fun? I don’t believe she had anyone in mind for these adorable quilts. But isn’t it a great idea to just make some baby quilts and have them in a closet, and then when you are invited to a baby shower, you are all set, no stress and no rush.
The final way to quilt is freemotion. There are actually a lot of different things that fall under free motion. I think the common denominator is that you are moving the machine independent of a set pattern, typically following the piecing of the top. Some people find this the most difficult. Yet others find this method the easiest. It can be the fastest way to quilt or it can take the most time to quilt. You can use rulers to help guide your stitches, or no guide at all.
This is another rental certification class quilt. Chris decided she wanted to quilt this free motion. You can see she did some very classic continuous curves in the small squares and large spirals in the large blocks. It looks like ribbon candy and wishbones in the white border. Simple, but effective, free motion doesn’t have to be complicated to look great!
This of course is not an exhaustive list. When it comes to art, there are many, many ways and styles that can be used to make something beautiful. The trick is to know your options so that you can make the best decision for you and your quilt. How do you like to quilt? Send us some pictures, we’d love to see what you’ve been working on. Connect to our Quilted Joy Clubhouse to see everything we’ve all been working on!