The Free Motion Quilting Project: All Over Quilting - Part 2

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All Over Quilting - Part 2

Yesterday we learned the basic idea behind All Over Quilting - that by breaking your quilt up into 4 quadrants with rows of a filler design, you can easily quilt any sized quilt on a domestic machine.

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis method knocks out at least a 8" channel through the middle of your quilt. I like to say it's like eating your vegetables before desert - you're taking care of the hardest part of your quilt first, and with each new row the process gets easier and easier.

Now it's simply a matter of filling in each quadrant with more rows of a filler design so they fit together seamlessly.

Let's finish off learning how to quilt our Cheerful Shapes Quilt with this Part 2 video:

I received a great question yesterday about All Over Quilting from Janet:

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?
This is a great question because Desert Sand really doesn't work like Lollipop Chain or any of the other designs I mentioned in Part 1.
Desert Sand is a Foundational Design which means you start with an initial line (your foundation), and then echo this line on either side to finish the fill.

So how would a design like this work with my All Over Quilting method?

First, start in the center and set a foundational line (in this case a gently curving, irregular line) all the way to the right edge of the quilt.

Once at the edge, start an echo of the foundation all the way back into the center. Once back in the center, branch of with a new foundation working straight down to the bottom edge.

Again use the echoing portion of the design to get back into the center and continue breaking your quilt up into 4 quadrants. Once the quadrants are created, then it's just a matter of filling each one with more foundation lines and then echoing everything until the quilt is completely filled.

So now let's see just how much the Cheerful Shapes Quilt changed when we quilted it:

Before Quilting
free motion quilting | Leah Day
After Quilting!
free motion quilting | Leah DayAnd here's a final summary of this process:

Now that you can see the finished quilt, you can see how much the thread texture stands out on top of the piecing and appliques.

This is partly because I contrasted thread so boldly so you could see what I was doing in the videos. In a typical All Over Quilted quilt, you would probably try to match thread a bit better.

I like how the piecing and applique design - cheerful applique shapes obviously designed for a baby quilt - match with the kid friendly filler design. It makes the whole quilt come together and the intention obvious: this quilt is intended for children.

But All Over Quilting isn't just reserved for kid quilts. If you're making a bed quilt that you know will be washed a million times, this form of quilting is a great choice because it's fast and durable.

How fast to quilt exactly? This Cheerful Shapes took exactly 3 hours to quilt, 30 minutes less than the Stitched in the Ditch Quilt!

Of course, this form of quilting isn't perfect. While we did finish the quilt quickly, it can be argued that on a more complicated quilt, like Vines of Hearts, this type of quilting would be very distracting.

This type of quilting is also not going to win you any awards at a quilt show.

At the last quilt show my local guild held, a member asked me why the judges were so harsh with the quilts that were quilted with All Over Quilting.

The fact is show quilting and bed quilting are two different things. This doesn't mean one is any better than the other, just that these are quilts designed and destined for two very different futures.

All Over Quilting is a great choice for a quilt you want to use, to cuddle up with, to sleep under, to wash, and to wear out.

But if you're craving a ribbon or you want to highlight and enhance the piecing or applique design you've created, then you need to give Section Quilting a try.

So stop by next week as we start to explore this style of quilting as we quilt the Circles of Daisies quilt!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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  1. Lollipop, Lollipop, oh lolly lolly lolly.......thanks Leah for these videos! They are so very helpful! I'm very much looking forward to seeing the next one!

  2. Leah - I must tell you that I am so glad I found your blog! I have been machine quilting for over 20 years, much of it self taught. I read books, magazines, get ideas, glean tips, and use it to improve my work. I have to admit however, that your blog is one of the best resources that I know of.

    I spent my 30's raising my babies with a little quilting thrown in. Now that I'm in my 50's (!!) I have the time and energy to focus. (People said that I could raise boys and quilt at the same time, but there's something very distracting about hearing crashes in the kitchen just when I get into my zone . . .)

    Thank you very much for taking the time to put this all together. What a committment!

    Chris Moon

  3. About Janet's question . . . Desert Sands is kind of directional – left to right. When you said "once back in the center, branch of with a new foundation working straight down to the bottom edge", would this change the direction?
    Would the quadrant method work with a more directional filler, like Flowing Glass, for an all over filler? Or is there another way?
    Thanks, Leah. Watching your videos and seeing how you quilt this has been terrific! I am ready to fmq!

  4. Hi Mad Elena - Maybe I should do a bigger sample of this design!

    While it looks directional in the photo, really the entire design works off the starting foundation, so really you can go anywhere with it.

    So what makes the texture of the design is the shapes you make with your foundation - desert sand's texture is created with a gently curving, occasionally swirling line.

    I will have 2 new foundational designs coming in the next few weeks that work similarly so maybe that will help you to understand how they function. They're definitely very different from most free motion designs!

    Let's go quilt,

    Leah Day

  5. I, too, am happy I found your blog. Like Chris, I was sewing and quilting before children, then put it aside. I am retired and the kids are on their own. You have such wonderful tips and directions. I wish you and your husband much success in your business endeavors. I am looking forward to the publishing of your book.

  6. Hi Leah, you are extremely talented, and I'm jealous! LOL I love watching your videos. I appreciate the lessons on quadrant quilting. I love the look of stippling (or meandering) and I don't know how you can start in the middle of the quilt using this type of design. Wouldn't you have a "loose end"? Anyway, keep up the good quilting work and keep the videos coming!

  7. Hi Leah, I am really happy I found your blog. I have been quilting for years 100% self taught and it was very funny and reassuring to see you doing things the same way I discovered by myself. But I am writing this not to tell you that, but to THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge.
    I found here many things I had no idea about and so so so many thing I was doing so wrong.
    You are an inspiration... I can't wait to try free motion!!!
    PS: yes, I only knew stich in the ditch... thanks again ;o)

  8. Thanks so much for your tutorials!! I am in the midst of free motion quilting a whole quilt for the first time. I wouldn't have had an idea where to start without your instructions for inspiration. Oh and its a CA king on my little Bernina :) Yes it can be done!


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