Off the Grid: Tips for Grid Quilting


FullSizeRender_1 |by Christopher Thompson|
Let’s be honest — any form of machine quilting is a tad bit scary, especially if you’re a beginner. Simpler forms such as straight line, matchstick, and grid quilting are effective and easy with the walking foot attachment on your machine.

[DID YOU KNOW: Machine quilting was not an acceptable form of quilting until the late 80’s, early 90’s. Debatable, but machine quilting has now replaced hand quilting in popularity.]

There are so many things that feature grid design — from apparel, paper goods, marketing, and home décor, it’s impossible not to spot something everyday! Graph paper is a popular example and many quilters use it today when designing their next quilt.

[DID YOU KNOW: There are several formats of graph paper, which include quad paper, engineering paper, hexagon paper, isometric graphing paper, and logarithmic graphing paper.]

We’re going to explore grid quilting using the walking foot attachment and the four easy steps below.

1: Preparing Your Layers

Ensure your quilt top is square, trimming down where necessary.

Starting with the backing, lay the quilt top on top of the backing and trim the backing to 1” around each side of the quilt top.

Grid QuiltingIMG_4215

Repeat step one with the batting. Because this mini quilt is less than 20”, there’s no need to make the backing bigger than the batting and quilt top. If you need to, use painter’s or artist tape to secure the backing on a hard surface.

Grid Quilting

Using a spray baste, such as 505 Spray and Fix, baste the batting to the backing.

Grid Quilting

Repeat step four with the quilt top.

Grid Quilting

2: Create a Starting Line

Using tape, create a starting line guide. Make sure your starting line is straight and if possible, right on the edge of the quilt.

Grid Quilting

3: Sew Row-by-Row

Following the left edge of the tape, sew the first line.

Grid Quilting

Repeating step 1, follow the edge of the walking foot attachment and the first sew line to sew the second line.

Continue repeating these steps until you’ve reached the other end.

Keep the quilt steady and sew slower than you normally would—keeping the lines straight and even. Use a slightly longer stitch length (3.0) for nice looking stitches.

HELPFUL HINT: If your sew lines start to become wonky, stop, seam rip that line and start over. Wonky lines will distort the grid in step four.

HELPFUL HINT: Keep the ends of your threads going in the opposite direction of the quilting. This will prevent them from becoming tangled under the quilt while you’re quilting the rest of the quilt.

4: Create the Grid

Following the four steps in Row-by-Row, turn your quilt. Sew the grid in the opposite direction.

Grid Quilting

Now wasn’t that easy?

Grid Quilting

HELPFUL HINT: Using a different color thread for the bobbin will create additional texture and color on the back of the quilt.

Grid Quilting

Practice makes perfect, so continue exploring grid quilting using some of the alternate examples below.

HELPFUL HINT: Depending on your walking foot attachment, there may be additional openings on the foot that you can follow when sewing the rows.

These are some finished examples of how effective and easy grid quilting is.

The octopus (Disney’s Ursuala inspired) mini quilt is an original design from The Tattooed Quilter.

Grid Quilting
“A Brilliant Cut” mini quilt is from Fat Quarter Shop.
Grid Quilting

Hailing from a very small town in Southern Virginia, Christopher has lived in several cities over the years from Atlanta to San Francisco and now NYC. He grew up in a traditional quilting family and before he could walk and talk, was playing under a quilt frame. As the years passed, Christopher continued tinkering with crafts, quilting, and other odds-and-ends creative endeavors. He purchased his first grown up sewing machine and has been working late nights and weekends to create interesting quilts inspired by the world around him–art, music, fashion, and of course, there’s a nod to his traditional roots thrown in there too!

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One Comment on ““Off the Grid: Tips for Grid Quilting”

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