The Free Motion Quilting Project: All Over Quilting - Part 1

Sunday, August 29, 2010

All Over Quilting - Part 1

We're going to skip More Filler Monday and Totally Filler Tuesday so we can move on to the All Over Quilting section of our How Do I Quilt This?! Video Series.

The first part of this series - Stitching in the Ditch - has already opened up many questions and a healthy debate on how to press seams.

So now let's stitch it up another notch by learning how to take a single free motion filler design, expand it, and cover your whole quilt top with it in free motion.

Of course, in order to be able to cover a quilt with All Over Quilting, we first need to understand the difference between the different Filler Design Types listed on the blog.

Let's learn about 4 different design types that work great for All Over Quilting!

So Independent, Pivoting, Echoing, and some Foundational designs are good choices for covering your quilt with All Over Quilting.

Here are some great examples of these designs: Stippling, Wandering Clover, Circuit Board, Lollipop Chain, Tear Drop Tree, Echo Shell, Trippy Triangles, Echo Hook, Paisley, Pointy Paisley and Desert Sand.

But really when it comes to stitching big designs, covering huge amounts of space with every pass, nearly every design on this project will work just fine.

Now enough waiting! Here is All Over Quilting Part 1:

Basically All Over Quilting works by taking one design (for this quilt I was using Lollipop Chain), and stitching it all over your quilt.

But where do you start and how do you move around the quilt?

This was the big giant question in my mind when I first got started free motion quilting. Everyone said simple to "Quilt from the center to the outside" but how is this actually DONE?!

And even more important, how do we quilt a really large quilt with All Over Quilting? Is there a way to minimize how much we must turn the quilt so it's less of a wrestling match?

After a lot of brainstorming with a quilt I stitched All Over a few years ago, I decided to break my quilts up into 4 quadrants.

So the first step is to pull up thread in the center of your quilt and quilt your filler design in a row from the center to one edge of your quilt.

free motion quilting | Leah DayI find it easiest to quilt from left to right, working from the center to the right edge, but please play with this to see what method works the best for you.

Most of the filler designs in this blog have been stitched in a row. Even though these designs are stitched on a smaller scale, the design and idea behind how they work remains the same - quilt a row of shapes that interlock together moving gradually from one area to another.

For All Over Quilting, I find the widest row I can really keep track of is around 4" wide, but again play with this to see what you feel comfortable with.

Now that we're on the right edge, what do we do? We could break thread and go back to the center, but what is the point?

The right side is already secured, why not build off this, cover more space, minimize a thread break, and just quilt from the right edge back into the center?

So this is the next step - stitch another row, interlocking it with the first moving from the edge of the quilt back into the center.

You've now created one leg of your quadrant without breaking thread and without needing to rotate the quilt!

Now we're back in the center of the quilt, where do we go next? Let's stitch down from the center to the bottom edge of the quilt. Again stitch a 4 inch row of your filler design down to the edge of the quilt.

free motion quilting | Leah DayWhen you get to this bottom edge, you have a choice whether to rotate your quilt and stitch from the right into the center, or to leave the quilt in place and stitch backwards back into the center.

I prefer to rotate my quilt in this situation because it's difficult for me to see what I'm doing when I'm stitching away from myself, but again try it yourself to see what you like best.

When you get back into the center, you will have 2 legs of your quadrants completed!

Now it's just a simple process of repeating these rows to the left side and top side of the quilt until your quilt is broken up into 4 quadrants.

free motion quilting | Leah DayUnless you run out of bobbin thread, you really shouldn't have to break thread at all while stitching the rows to create your quadrants. That's one of the things I like most about this style of quilting - fewer stops + less distraction = faster quilting!

Make sure to check out Part 2 where we learn how to fill our quadrants with All Over Quilting.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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  1. You suggest "desert sand", which I love, as appropriate for an all over design. Even though that is a foundational design, would you still use the quadrant approach that you describe?

    By the way, Lollipops looks great as an all over design!

  2. Hi Janet - Great question! To do All Over Quilting with Desert Sand probably the best way to tackle it would be to stitch to the right with a foundation, then do a single echo back into the center.

    Once in the center, stitch down with another foundation and again, echo back up into the center.

    Set your foundation radiating to each side of the quilt, then simply echo and set more foundational lines to fill the quadrants.

    I hope that makes sense!

    Leah Day

  3. Leah,

    Try using 505 basting spray. Safety pins are time consuming and hurt those of us with sensitive hands, wrists, and arms.

  4. I absolutely love your website, your designs, and your work in general. Thank you SO much for all that you do!

    I think that this 2 part series has been your absolute best. In it, you have answered just about all of the questions I have ever had regarding all over quilting, that your filler design posts have not. Goodness; do you have a video of several of these all over designs?!!

  5. I just found your blog, Amazing! I came via 501 Quilt blocks!


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