January Roundup: Beginners Guide to Free Motion Quilting - Roundup

February Lesson: Thread

February Lesson: Thread Roundup

March Lesson: Choosing Batting & Fabric for Free Motion Quilting

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I have never loved to practice at anything much (although I like to practice eating chocolate a lot!) When I discovered FMQ I found I could spend hours practicing various designs. This post came about because I wanted to make a group of samplers - based on 5 classic shapes which are used over and over again in free motion quilting.

This is not a how too post - I hope that this post encourages you to explore how many designs you can come up with with using 'just straight lines'. "Just straight lines' is a phrase I heard over and over again in the January Lesson. This sampler shows that using 'just straight lines' can make a lot of different quilting patterns. Some are simple - others are more complex and time consuming - but you should never say 'just straight lines' again.

I started thinking I would aim for 40+ different designs but it soon seemed obvious it would be very easy to hit 100. Warning - this is a long post. Many of these patterns are self explanatory. Where another quilter has given a tutorial or published the design I have provided a link.

The sampler was an amazing exercise for me and I feel like I have discovered many more possible designs to use in future quilts. I quilted many of these designs on the sampler for the first time. I would love to hear if you discover any ideas you don't see here. I would also encourage anyone who wanted to expand their FMQ horizons to do a similar sampler for themselves.

**Always consider:**

- Direction/angle of your quilting lines
- Width between lines
- Scale/size of design- changing the size of your design/width of lines can have a dramatic effect on the look of your quilt.
- Color of thread - use multiple colors to enhance the effect?
- Horizontal, vertical or diagonal/on point
- Mixing different sizes/scales of lines in the same quilt
- Fill in some areas - squares, triangles, diamonds – either with a consistent or random pattern
- Where does the line originate from and where does it stop
- Nest or echo your lines
- Finally - will you use your walking foot/ruler or go free motion?

**NOTE: Marking**- I mark with a dissolvable ink pen (just in dots.) The less you mark the less you need to spray/soak when you have finished quilting BUT marking will increase your ability to be accurate. Sometimes I even mark when I am doing free motion – it helps me keep my scale and placement of motif consistent through out the quilted area.**‘Plain’ Lines**

Never underestimate how great just plain straight lines can be. Remember it is not ‘just’ straight lines or ‘plain’ lines. Your quilting is adding movement and depth to your quilt.

1. 1” straight lines

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

2. ½” straight lines

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

3. ¼” straight lines

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

4. 1/8” lines (Matchstick Quilting)

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

5. Graded lines

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

6. Double Lined

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

7. Triple Lined

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

8. Horizontal & Vertical Lines Meeting

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

9. Different Widths all together

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

10. Different angles

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

11. Coming from one point

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

12. Coming from center

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

13. Coming from two directions

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

14. Mix it up - Diagonal chevron splitting horizontal & vertical lines

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

15. Stacked Corners

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

16. Square Baptist Fan

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

17. Corners (Center out)

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

18. Wooden Floor Boards

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

19. Meandering Straight Line (all over)

Domestic: Lower feed dogs & use suitable foot for FMQ

Longarm: FMQ

20. Meandering Straight Line (side to side)

Domestic: Lower feed dogs & use suitable foot for FMQ

Longarm: FMQ

21. Merging Lines (Free Motion Quilting w. Angela Walters)

Domestic: Use walking foot or drop your feed dogs and FMQ

Longarm: Use a straight ruler or FMQ or a mix

22. Lines all directions

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

23. Spiraling line from center

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

**Squares (Crosshatching)**

Taking your lines from side to side AND top to bottom you can take your quilting to the next level of complexity. There are A LOT of things you can do with squares. Whether you mark your lines to be exact or just go for it without worrying about exact measurements. The end result is guaranteed to please you and look more complicated than it is

I can’t emphasize enough the difference that the scale of your quilting can make. 4” squares vs. 1” squares vs. ½” squares. Experiment and find what you prefer.

Adding two lines instead of one to your squares or crosshatching can make negative space look beautiful. I think it can be used in both contemporary or traditional designs – it is an all over winner.

24. Squares

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

25. On Point Squares

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

26. ½”squares

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

27. 1/2" squares on point

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

28. On Point some filled (various fillers)

Domestic: Use walking foot but drop feed dogs & use suitable FMQ foot for filling

Longarm: Use a straight ruler but FMQ for filler

29. Squares with crosses

30. Squares with some crosses

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

31. Squares with fill (various filler ideas)

Domestic: Use walking foot but drop feed dogs & use suitable FMQ foot for filling

Longarm: Use a straight ruler but FMQ for filler

32. Double hatched

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

33. Triple hatched

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

34. ½” double hatched

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

35. On point double hatched & on point triple hatched

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

36. Criss crossing different widths/angles

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

37. Different Sized boxes

Domestic: Drop your feed-dogs and use suitable FMQ foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler or FMQ

38. Meandering Squares

Domestic: Drop feed dogs and use suitable FMQ foot

Longarm: FMQ

39. Stacked Frames (Free Motion Quilting w/ Angela Walters)

Domestic: You could use a walking foot but dropping your feed dogs & using suitable FMQ foot would be faster.

Longarm: Use a straight ruler or FMQ.

**Diamonds**

By changing the angle of your lines from crosshatched squares you can easily make diamonds. I think diamonds are called diamonds for a reason – they look expensive and classy. I personally associate them more with traditional style quilts but I’m sure someone will make diamonds modern soon!

40. Big

41. Small

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

42. Double hatched

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

43. Triple hatched

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

44. Stacked one line (right below)

45. Stacked both lines (left below)

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

**Triangles**

There are many different shapes of triangle. Equilateral (all sides measure the same), isosceles (two sides measure the same) or scalene (all sides are different lengths – essentially random or improvised triangles)

46. Triangles

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

47. Triangles some filled

Domestic: Use walking foot but drop feed dogs & use suitable FMQ foot for filling

Longarm: Use a straight ruler but FMQ for filler

48. Triangle meander

Domestic: Drop feed dogs and use suitable FMQ foot

Longarm: FMQ

49. Stacked triangles from center

Domestic: You could use a walking foot but dropping your feed dogs & using suitable FMQ foot would be faster.

Longarm: Use a straight ruler or FMQ

50. Random triangles stacked from center

Domestic: This would depend on the scale of this design. Small scale: drop your feed dogs & using suitable FMQ foot would be faster. Large Scale: use a walking foot.

Longarm: Use a straight ruler or FMQ

51. Stacked triangles from side

Domestic: This would depend on the scale of this design. Small scale: drop your feed dogs & using suitable FMQ foot would be faster. Large Scale: use a walking foot.

Longarm: Use a straight ruler or FMQ

52. Modern Weave by Leah Day

Domestic: This would depend on the scale of this design. Small scale: drop your feed dogs & using suitable FMQ foot would be faster. Large Scale: use a walking foot.Longarm: Use a straight ruler or FMQ

53. Triangle Greek key

Domestic: Drop feed dogs and use suitable FMQ foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler or FMQ

**Chevrons**

54. Chevron (right below)

55. Double hatched (left below –bottom chevron)

56. Triple hatched (left below – top chevron)

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

57. Chevrons meeting

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

58. Long deep chevrons (right below)

59. Irregular depth chevrons equally spaced (left above)

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

60. Chevron with center line 1” deep (below)

61. Chevron center line 1/5” deep (above)

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

62. Center line 1” deep w/ 2 “ spacing

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

63. Center line double line

64. Center line triple line

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

65. 2” spaced lines crossing over (below right)

66. 2 & 1” spaces lines crossing over (below left)

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

67. Free motion chevrons

Domestic: Drop feed dogs and use suitable FMQ foot

Longarm: FMQ

68. Wide chevrons (right)

69. Wide Chevrons meeting (left)

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

70. Traveling chevron

71. Repeating traveling chevrons

Domestic: Use walking foot

Longarm: Use a straight ruler

72. Matrix Maze by Leah Day

Domestic: Use walking foot or FMQ

Longarm: Use a straight ruler or FMQ

**Maze lines**

These lines – still straight move around much more. They go in and out of each other. They are certainly more labor intensive but you could use them as an overall pattern (big or small) or as background fillers. Take a little time to practice these with pen & paper before doing them on a quilt.

73. Greek Key - same size

Domestic: You could use a walking foot but dropping your feed dogs & using suitable FMQ foot would be faster

Longarm: Use a straight ruler or FMQ

74. Greek key different size

Domestic: You could use a walking foot but dropping your feed dogs & using suitable FMQ foot would be fasterLongarm: Use a straight ruler or FMQ

75. Chain Squares by Angela Walters (Pg. 35 of Free-Motion Quilting w/ Angela Waters)

Domestic: Drop feed dogs and use suitable FMQ foot

Longarm: FMQ

76. Echoing Straight Lines

Domestic: Use walking foot or FMQ

Longarm: Use a straight ruler or FMQ

**Free Motion Straight Lines**

These lines are probably not going to be perfectly straight. These lines are not intentionally curved – you are still trying to make straight lines. For either your domestic or longarm you would probably tackle these designs freehand without rulers or a walking foot.

77. E’s & W’s

78. Triangle Leaf

79. Slate Tiles (Leah Day)

80. Echo w/ wonky straight lines

81. Basic Chevron (Leah Day)

82. Pine Needles (Leah Day)

83. FMQ Traveling Small Greek Key - same size

84. FMQ Traveling Greek Sky Different Size

85. Square flowers by Angela Walters (Pg. 38 of Free-Motion Quilting w/ Angela Waters)

86. Atomic Squares by Angela Walters (Pg. 42 of Free-Motion Quilting w/ Angela Waters)

87. City Scape by Leah Day

88. line design snowflake

89. line designs squares

90. line design square w/ center line

91. line design square criss cross

92. line design diamond

93. line design diamond w/ snowflake

94. Missing Piece by Leah Day

95. Straight Line Spider Web

**GIVEAWAY: One Line at a Time by Charlotte Warr Andersen**

This is a wonderful book aimed at helping people create beautiful straight-lined machine quilted designs on their domestic machine. To win this book please leave a comment about which straight line design you see in this post that you would like to attempt and don't forget to leave some way for me to contact you before April 27th. (Full Disclosure - this is a 2nd hand book in excellent condition from Amazon.)

96. Boxes

97. Diamonds

98. Rolling X

99. Diamond Plaid

100. Double X

101. Intertwined Stars small (right below)

102. Intertwined stars big (left below)

103. Wonky Bow Ties

104. Twin Squares

105. Cartwheels

The book also includes

__many__more clever straight line designs that I did not include in my sampler.

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Since finishing my sampler I have also noted the following straight line designs from these sources: Leah Day: Trippy Triangles, In Stitches, Cubing

Jumbled lines by Angela Walters in Shape by Shape

Tufts of Grass, Landscape, Earthquake, Shakes (Shingles), Bricks & Basket Weave in Darlene Epp's Freehand Guides

502 New Quilting Motifs by Quiltmaker Magazine – Gemstone, Bows & Borders, Sparkle, Roll of the Dice, Priscillas Star, Double Star

Creative Classics & Mindful Meandering by Laura Lee Fritz – various designs

I really like the double lined and squares with crosses designs. Thanks for showing all of these! :)

ReplyDeleteI loved the diamond plaid. Thank you for all the great examples.

ReplyDeleteI would love to try the double hatched squares. Yours are perfect! I am interested in using a ruler to try some of these, I've never down that. Great post Rachael!

ReplyDeleteThis is a brilliant post, Rachael. So many fabulous ideas. I love the snowflakes, but I'm more likely to try some of the cross hatch patterns. Baby steps...

ReplyDeleteThis is a brilliant post, Rachael. So many fabulous ideas. I love the snowflakes, but I'm more likely to try some of the cross hatch patterns. Baby steps...

ReplyDeleteTruthfully, when I think of practicing these for hours, I get dizzy ... even looking at all the design possibilities is overwhelming ... seems like skills way beyond my capabilities. Your sampler is beautiful!

ReplyDeleteI love the double and triple hatched designs! Thanks for all the great ideas!

ReplyDeleteI like #11. I think I've accidentally tried some of these on my own, but would love to win this book to obtain better results. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

ReplyDeleteThank you for this wonderful post! I'm definitely going to bookmark it. I especially like the Modern Weave pattern. I do a lot of curvy free motion quilting on my domestic machine, but never realized all the possibilities of straight lines until I read this post. Thanks for sharing!

ReplyDeleteWow! Thank you for showing these to us all! I definitely want to try Diamond Plaid. I think I've seen a design like this in a sashiko book.

ReplyDeleteWow! What a post! Thank you so much for taking the time to show us all your designs and thanks for your explanations. There are quite a few ideas there that I like and must try next time. Thanks again for sharing!

ReplyDeletethis is what I've been searching for...two days...thank you!

ReplyDeletethese designs are fabulous... my search is over!Thanks for being

sooo kind to share this post!!!

I like the all the greek key designs (slypignc@gmail.com) Thanks for posting this ... there are some great ideas here. It's interesting how different a crosshatch looks with double and triple lines

ReplyDeleteI am a beginner on a long arm machine. This is a wonderful reference to the designs I would like to try.Would love the book to have it next to me when I do the designs.Thank You!

ReplyDelete