Free Motion Quilting from QJ’s Longarm Renters!

Trina shows off her T-shirt quilt after renting a longarm machine at Quilted Joy

Pantographs and design boards are wonderful and beautiful ways to put a professional design onto your quilt without being a professional yourself.  We sell several paper pantographs that work great with many longarm machines. (Sorry, machine quilters at home. These don’t work so well on a domestic machine.) But sometimes you just want to be free to do whatever you want. Free motion quilting can be intricate and intentional, but it can also be very free flowing and a little wild. These are some quilts with renters who decided to free-motion.

Meandering with Trina

Doing a meander on a t-shirt quilt is very typical. Often with memory quilts and the like, you have buttons or edges that can get in the way of the hopping foot. Whenever you have those types of elements, we recommend quilting from the front of the machine as opposed to the back with a pantograph. It’s easier to see what is happening and avoid those areas if necessary. But I think Trina decided to free-motion this quilt because meanders don’t add a distracting design when it is the t-shirts that are the stars.

This is a great gift from Trina for a friend who is an elementary school teacher. All of those shirts are from the same elementary school. Trina did a great job quilting this. You can see how even the quilting lines are. The back of the quilt is also super cute. I do warn you, though, that it is very hard to ensure a pieced backing like this ends up right where you want it. It’s still a fun way to use the last of the shirts in your quilt.

Continuous Curves with Erin

This is a quilt top made by Erin Harris, author of The House on Hill Road blog. She used fabrics designed by another fellow local Kentuckian, Melissa Mortenson. These were part of her Derby Day Fabric line. It’s a simple pattern but it works so well with the fabrics and how she quilted it. She just put some very intentional continuous lines in there and then crossed back across to create those oval shapes. You can see how she managed to cross her other continuous curves right at the seams. I think it works really well.

Straight Lines with Patricia

Sometimes free-motion does not mean without assistance or structure. Straight line quilting is also considered free-motion because it is done from the front and without a preprinted pattern.

This quilt is lovely! Patricia brought this ultra simple but super fun big block quilt. She quilted it with a minky backing, which is a great idea for a quilt. It makes it so cuddly!

She quilted a stunning geometric pattern with the channel locks on the Millie and a ruler to get the distance. In each corner she quilted echoed squares towards the center that meet perfectly in the middle. Because she made the quilt longer than it is wide, Patricia quilted the middle with just horizontal stripes. The over all effect was amazing and definitely something that I want to try on one of my own quilts!

Wavy Lines with Colleen

This last one was also a gift for teacher. Colleen made this super cute quilt of crayons with a black backing. It is a free pattern from Riley Blake called Color my World.

The bright colors on the black are so striking. She decided to free-motion with some simple wavy lines through the length of the crayons. It kind of reminds me of a child’s crayon scribbles. It was the perfect addition to the quilt, in my opinion. This now hangs in the teacher’s office for all the children to see, which is exactly where it should be!

So you can see that these free motion quilts were not overly complicated or difficult to do. With a little planning and some confidence you can put some very fun designs on your quilt without having to rely on a professional design. Let your imagination run free, then let us see what you come up with on Instagram or Facebook. We always like to see what you’ve made!

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Angela Huffman- Triplet Momma. Quilter. Teacher. Thread Bimbo

I’m Angela- Co-host of the Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting PBS show. APQS Long arm Dealer and Educator. Triplet Momma. Designer. Thread Bimbo.

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