How to Space Your Quilting // 100 Quilts for Kids

Quilting ideaLast month, I was flipping through a book of long arm pantographs. I came across this one and thought it would be perfect for my 100 Quilts quilt along quilt.  I had a lot of fun quilting my quilt, but when I was done, there was something that wasn’t quite right: the density of my quilting was all wrong. When I first started quilting, I often thought about the quilting pattern, the color of the thread, and what type of foot to use. However, I almost never thought about the spacing or density of my quilting. No longer :) So, I decided to try again with my For the Love of Solids Swap placemats, and share a few basic tips I have learned through trial and error.

1.  If you are trying to quilt using a specific design, make sure the quilting is appropriately spaced. My quilt along quilt–the lines are pretty straight, the angles are decent, but the quilting is spaced too far apart to discern a real pattern.


Finished Placemats--FTLOS
2. Thread color matters! Sometimes you want your quilting to stand out. Sometimes, not so much.


3. Don’t stipple too close together, or your quilt will be so crinkly it won’t drape nicely or be very snuggly. I learned this the hard way with this quilt for my son–the quilting is less than an inch apart. Ha!  It is not used very much.

4. Sometimes, it is fun to play around with the density and style of quilting in borders, both the borders of a quilt and sashing between blocks.  Spacing the quilting differently, or using a different style stitch all together can really add to the quilt.


5. Varying the density of your quilting within the quilt itself, in this case straight lines, can add interest to a quilt.  Make sure that you check the manufacturer’s recommendation for your batting, different brands require different quilting density.

6. Finally, sometimes simplicity really is the best. I splurged and used Quilter’s Dream batting for this quilt for my daughter, and only quilted about a 1/4 inch on either side of each strip of fabric. The minimal quilting makes the all-voile quilt really really soft.

I would love to hear any other suggestions on spacing your quilting!  If you are looking for more quilting inspiration, Leigh from Leedle Deedle Quilts started a Modern Free Motion Quilting Flickr Group–check it out!

And Carin from Margaret’s Hope Chest is in need of lots and lots of quilts, especially boy quilts right now.  If you are making a 100 Quilts quilt and don’t have a place to donate it to, please consider contacting Carin.

Finally, check out Modern Day Quilts today. You might recognize the quilt :)
Modern Day Quilts
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  1. Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on quilting..hoping to start playing with FMQ when a machine I`m waiting for arrives. Must get on with a quilt and love the idea of quilts for kids with parents in prison. Will try and get one done. Love this idea of quilts for kids and your blog!

  2. Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your thoughts on quilting. I am in the middle of machine quilting my 100 quilts today.

  3. Posted September 21, 2011 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    I’m so glad to see this post – I’ve been looking for it ever since you mentioned it!! Good points about density that I hadn’t thought of before. Great job!!

  4. Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    handy post – thanks!

  5. Posted September 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    You’re absolutely right – density is SO important to a bed quilt. If it’s too dense, the quilt ends up stiff. However, I’ve found that repeated washings will soften the quilt slowly, but it will always be a good play mat for a baby, not so much quilt to snuggle with.

    When filling a quilt with a filler design (think stippling) try to keep at least 1″ between the lines of quilting. This way the quilt will finish soft and comfortable.

  6. Posted September 22, 2011 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    Is this post because of my questions last week?? I feel so honored! Emily

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