The Free Motion Quilting Project: Super Quick Quilt Quilting

Monday, December 21, 2009

Super Quick Quilt Quilting

I'm glad to hear that, so far, no one has decided to kill themselves by piecing up the Super Quick Quilt before Christmas.

But just in case you're ready and waiting with your finished super quick quilt top, I definitely can't let you down!

Watch the following video for ideas about quilting your Super Quick Quilt:

So why do I recommend quilting stencils?

Quilting stencils are wonderfully versatile, easy and fast to mark, and get the job done with very little fuss. There's simply no better way to mark your quilt quickly.

The biggest problem with using stencils is not having just the right shape or design for your particular quilt.

For this reason alone, it may be a good idea to start your own stencil collection of stencils you like that will work in a variety of places on your quilt top.

In 2010, I will be coming out with my own line of stencils, plus we'll carry a variety in our Quilt Shop. I'll definitely let you know when it's ready to go!

The next question I'm sure you're wondering is why mark at all, why not use a filler design?

The reason for this is fillers, by their very nature FILL. They cover more surface area than you would technically really NEED to cover if you used the batting I mention in the video.

This doesn't mean that you can't or shouldn't use fillers on your bed quilts. You definitely can and should if you want to!

It's just that quilting a whole quilt with a large scale filler design will likely take 2-4 days longer than quilting just the minimal stencil motifs.

If you do want to use a filler design, make sure you leave at least 1-2 inches between your quilting lines so that you cover large amounts of your quilt as you go.

What's an alternative to Stitching in the Ditch?

I realized in the video I mentioned the dreaded words "stitching in the ditch". Shame on me!

There's nothing MORE time consuming than trying to obsessively stay in the ditch. Unless you're particularly attached to it, don't try do it in a time crunch!

Instead, quilt a slightly wiggly line through the middle of your sashing. It doesn't have to be perfect and you don't need to mark it.

Just stitch the wiggly line through the middle of all the sashing and that should secure your quilt nicely if used with a minimal stencil motif within the blocks.

What about the Borders?

Yeah, okay, if you haven't noticed by now, I shot this video in 4 minutes and without even combing my hair! I forgot to mention the borders completely.

For this area I would either stitch 3-5 parallel wiggly lines to fill in the area or use a simplistic border stencil.

Make sure to pick a design that is super simple, as your borders will usually have about the same amount of space as 8 of your quilt blocks. You can definitely waste a lot of time in this area on a too complicated design.

Finally, how do you mark your quilt top with quilting stencils?

The fastest method will be Quilter's Pounce chalk, which allows you to mark the whole stencil in one easy swipe.

If you're not into using chalk, you could also try the Fine Line water soluble marking pen for lighter fabrics. This will take more time simply because you have to trace through every single line of the stencil.

If your fabrics are particularly dark, you might want to try the Soapstone fabric marker or the Sewline Marking Pencils in white, yellow, or pink ceramic lead.

No matter which marking utensil you use, ALWAYS TEST IT FIRST!

Never, ever, mark a quilt top without testing it first.

I think that just about does it! Make sure to post any questions I may have missed in the comments and I'll get to them as soon as I can.

Let's go quilt!



  1. Hi Leah!

    Great comments as always!

    I'm wondering if you can give me an advice how to fast-quilt this quilt:

    There's no deadline, it's just one of those quilts I'd really like to get done - it's been sitting in my closet, basted and ready to be quilted.

    I've seen you make suggestions for other quilts and am hoping for something similar. The quilt is twin sized, each block in the 9 patches is 2.5" square, for scale.


  2. That's a fantastic post Leah. I AM going to go and piece a super quick top tonight, and see if I can get it quilted tomorrow.

    I bought a roll of template plastic a while back so I might have a go at making up some stencils to use.

    Happy Holidays.

  3. Thanks Leah, for sharing your ideas and expertise in quilting! An inspiration!

  4. Ah Leah! - I'm planning on concentrating (for the most part) on UFO's next year - so other than utilising your catalogue of FMQ stitches I'll be trying to refrain from starting any new tops, now and in 2010

  5. Thanks for your super quick quilt idea. I won't make it before Christmas but I do need one right after so this might just do the trick.

  6. I really admire your industry. I love how the quilt is turning out. Be sure to post the quilted version with detailed pics of the quilting that you eventually selected!

    You are an inspiration! I am going to attempt to quilt a twin quilt I am working on for my daughter. I usually send something that large out. We'll see! Thanks for all the great ideas!

  7. Hey, Leah. My favorite marker is the sewline pencil. That ceramic "lead" makes a very sharp line that lasts. But, I'm going to have to try the pounce, I think. Thanks for all you're doing! Lane


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