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How I Straight Line Quilt my Quilts

(First, a little disclaimer…… I must say this is not a tutorial. I have no idea if I’m doing this the “right way” or not. I do know that it looks fairly decent and that my quilts hold up through washings.)

I love to make quilts, but I don’t like to quilt them. Oh the irony, right? But, as I have said before, although I absolutely love the way long arm quilting looks, I love knowing that I made the entire quilt. Just me. No one else.

So when I quilt, I usually just straight line quilt. As the name suggests, all straight line quilting is the process of quilting using straight lines.

If you need a visual, in the picture below I highlighted where I quilted my postage stamp quilt. I used diagonal straight lines. (Forgive the poor quality and my wiggly lines, I’m so not a techie!) But hopefully you get the idea.

quilt with lines drawn on2

So here’s what I do. After completing the quilt top and making my quilt sandwich, I then baste my quilt. After basting, it’s ready to be quilted.

Next, I attach my walking foot. At that point, I’m ready to quilt.

I start from the middle of the quilt. To keep my stitches from unraveling, I do NOT back stitch. Instead, I set the stitch length on my machine to 1 for about 4-6 stitches. Then I move it to 1.5, then 2, and the finally to 2.8. On 1, the stitches are super short (teeny tiny) and therefore won’t unravel like a longer stitch might.

sewing machine buttons

I probably do about 15 stitches before I get to 2.8. (where I leave it) I move it up slowly for 2 reasons. 1) I think it would look weird to go from teeny-tiny stitches to normal stitches without anything in between. The way I do it means that the stitches get bigger more gradually. 2) It gives the stitches a little more strength/staying power.

Then I slowly guide my quilt through my machine. I think the key for me is to go slow. The more experience you have, the faster you can go I guess, but for right now, slow works best.

slowly feed quilt through machine when quilting

I slow my machine way down when I get about an inch away from my stopping point. Then I slowly make my stitch length shorter. I go from 2.8 to 2 to 1.5 to 1.  (Reverse order from when I start.) Same thing, the small stitches will keep your thread from unraveling.

I take the pins out when they get in my way.

take out safety pins as you quilt

And then I just repeat these steps until my quilt is quilted. Starting from the middle and going to the edges.

I’m working on getting braver, and trying to experiment a little with quilting. Maybe trying some loops or circles next time.

We’ll see!


  1. I often start with good intentions, telling myself I will tie off all my ends!!! Who am I kidding. Thanks to your pinwheel help, I have just finished the front/top of my table runner. The back looks like a rats nest! Hopefully the local quilting shop will be open tomorrow so I can buy the fabric for the back (hide all the messy ends and irregular ironing)


  1. […] straight line quilted it, because that’s the only way I can quilt that looks halfway decent. I’m getting braver, […]

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