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Continuous Line Quilting

“Less Stopping”

With continuous line quilting the only times you need to stop are if:

·         You ran out of thread

·         Your thread broke

·         You need to adjust the quilt to sew in the next section

We’ll show you how to practice this technique and incorporate your own freehand design. 

Practice Makes Perfect

Go at your own pace.

To implement continuous line quilting you will be using free motion quilting.  If you have not read this page, please do so now.  This will give you some of the basics.

Since your stitch length is set to zero, your stitches will depend on you.

If you move the material too fast, your stitches will look too loose and sloppy.  Too slow and they will be too tight.

Only you will know the perfect pace that is just for you.

That is why we’re giving you a way to practice that will be ok if the end result is not perfect.

No official quilts will be harmed.

To Start…

Do you have a pieced block lying around somewhere?

Yes… We can use it for this practice.

No… You can either make one or just grab some leftover fabric that is around 10 to 12 inches square.

Make a sandwich of fabric, batting, and more fabric.  Or as I like to call it and Oreo cookie.

This will be your practice material.

Freehand design uses no actual pattern.  It’s just one continuous squiggly line.  It looks like this.

You might want to try drawing one on a piece of paper to get comfortable with the motions.  Fill out the entire page with the design.

When you are ready, place your square sandwich under the machine’s needle.

Start at the corner or center.  Whichever you feel more comfortable with.

If you choose to start at the corner, make sure you gave yourself extra material for the back fabric.

Move your fabric as you stitch your design in. Make sure you cover the whole square.

Try this practice technique two different times.  One gliding the materials away from you and one toward you.

Which direction are you more comfortable with?

This should also give you a feel for what is your pleasant pace.

Now that you are done with your square, check the back.

Do the stitches look as nice and even as your top?

If so, you are ready to move on to doing an actual quilt.  When you start working on the quilt remember after a small section to check the back of the quilt too.  You don’t want to remove a lot of stitches if you don’t have to.

If the back stitches don't look as nice as the top it’s time to troubleshoot.


Okay, the back doesn’t look as good as the top.

Now what?

The problem isn’t always tension.

Here is some common troubleshooting to do before you jump to the idea that the cause is tension.

·         Is the bobbin in right?

·         Is the machine threaded correctly?

·         Is the needle dull?  Always use a fresh needle to avoid this problem.

·         Is the thread low-quality or hand quilting thread?  Hand quilting thread has a waxy coating that can mess up your machine.

If all of these are not the cause of the problem, check your machine’s manual.  There’s usually a section that talks about tension problems and how to identify the culprit.

Practice again until you would feel confident in using this technique for a quilt. 

Wrap up

After a time or two of practicing, continuous line quilting becomes fun.  Give it a try and see what you think.

Until next time.

Happy quilting,

Color Block Quilts

› Continuous Line Quilting

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