Monday, 3 February 2014

Cross Hatched Quilting Without Tears


We’ve all been there. We’ve just finished quilting beautiful straight lines in one direction and are feeling mighty pleased with ourselves. Then we decide to finish off the cross hatched look with beautiful straight lines in the other direction. Except that’s when the problems start. Puckering. It’s like a four letter word, but with 9 letters. Although shortened to puck, it does rhyme with a four letter word that might suit this occasion. Coincidence? I think not.

So! I posted a pic on IG of my recent foray into cross hatched quilting. I was feeling deliriously happy because I managed the whole quilt (okay it’s cot quilt size, but still!) without any puckers. A couple of lovely ladies there asked for some tips. So here I am. Sharing my inexpert tips on cross hatched quilting.

But first, let’s look at the pretty.

Cross Hatched quilting

Ah that makes me happy. And to think I nearly chickened out and kept it as just diagonal quilting! Thanks Jane for making me see the light.

So. Tips. Or at least here’s what worked for me.

#1: Iron your backing reallllly well. I’ll admit. I’m sometimes slack and don’t iron my backing fabric. Is there any wonder I occasionally battle with the dreaded puckering?! Note to self: Stop being a slacker and iron. It’s worth it.

#2: Baste realllly well. You know how it’s said you shouldn’t have a hand space between pins when basting? Well yeah, that’s what we’re aiming for. And make sure you baste right to the edge. I struggle with basting as I have joint problems and all those safety pins wreak havoc on my joints. But to avoid the puckers, it’s worth it.

#3: Prepare to quilt! I put in a new full bobbin of thread so that I wouldn’t run out partway through the quilting. Then marked the quilt for quilting! I used a piece of tape down the centre of my quilt as my first guiding line. I ran it from corner to corner. Then I set my walking foot with the guiding bar to the width I wanted and got started.

For those new to the guiding bar (which I was recently), it’s a thing of beauty. Okay not so much in looks, but in what it does! My new machine came with guiding bars to attach to either side of the walking foot.

Walking foot and guide bars

At first I didn’t understand how it went together, then Midge and Gemma enlightened me. See that silver thingamajig? You have to hold that in place on the walking foot, then slide (or shove!) the guiding bar through allll the holes. Then you tighten the screw and it’ll hold the guiding bar in place. Seriously. Magic. When you are quilting you just trace your previous seam with the guiding bar and your next seam will be parallel to it! Cool huh?

Putting the walking foot together

#4: Roll your quilt. After marking the quilt with the tape, I then rolled the two sides up, so just the middle strip was visible where the tape was. This made it easier to fit into the harp of the sewing machine and I wasn’t battling with scrunched quilt all over the place. It also lays easily over your shoulder while you’re quilting too.

#5: Quilt in the same direction. I don’t know if this is necessary – but it worked for me. I started on the same side each time and quilted all the way to the bottom, cut threads, moved the quilt back to the top and started over again. (And for the curious – I used a long stitch length – 4.5 on my Bernina). I started from the centre and moved to one side. Then I switched guide bars and quilted the other half of the quilt. I removed the basting pins as I went so by the time I got to the cross hatching part, pretty much all the pins were out. I think it also helps if your lines aren't too far apart - less room for puckering!

#6. Quilt the second lot of diagonals! Same as you did the first time. Make sure you hold the quilt firmly so that you don’t end up with any puckers when you cross your first set of quilting lines. If you do get puckers at the first line you cross, unpick it and try it again as the puckers will only get worse. I also put in another new bobbin of thread for this second part. Glad I did too as the first bobbin was down to a quarter.

Cross Hatched Quilting Front

That’s pretty much it folks! The above is a picture of how the quilting looks on the front of the quilt. I can’t really show much more as this is a quilt for publication in a magazine (won’t be out til October!) but it gives you a bit of an idea of how it looks.

So those are my tips on cross hatching without pucking it up hehehe. Again, I’m not an expert – this is just how I did it and it worked beautifully for me. Made me stupidly happy to have such a nice cross hatched quilt without puckers – especially when it’s a magazine quilt – oh the pressure!!

If you have any tips on cross hatch quilting or on avoiding puckering, please share them in the comments! Always nice to know any hints and tips!

30 comments:

  1. Beautiful work! Thanks for the tips :D

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  2. Thanks for the tips as well. Some day I'll try the quilting part again.

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  3. Inspiring! Question: What is your theory on the use of quilt basting spray? To give you a background, I tend to be a stitch-in-the-ditcher historically. That's fairly easy, but I do use my guiding bar for areas like larger borders (where I don't have a seam to follow). I dislike basting pins for all the same reason everyone else dislikes them - they get in the way! I have found basting spray to be really useful instead of pins. Have you used it? Is there something I should know about why NOT to use it?

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    1. I haven't tried spray basting - mainly because I don't have a well ventilated area to do it in (and my son is very sensitive to smells and fumes). But I have heard good things about it!

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    2. I only use basting spray now - not sure I will ever go back to pins. My quilts pucker way less with the spray.

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  4. Thank you for sharing, Kristy!! I giggled at what you said about puckering. ;) I love how you write, this article has me excited for when I tackle cross hatching! Which I love, I just don't have many things I quilt. Light bulb! I am going to try it on the Jan PP oven mitt. :) My excitement level just went up a notch!

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  5. Nice tips! I've never done a cross hatch, maybe I should! :)

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  6. Thank you, very helpful at all
    especially for me who still needs a lot of references
    hopefully I can learn from your experience
    info modifikasi terbaru berita otomotif

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  7. Great work! I have only quilted small things- baby quilts and table runners and I use the turning method, one horizontal followed by one vertical live without cutting the thread. It involves lots of turning but gives great results- not sure if it is do-able for large quilts though- I am scared about doing them- but hopefully I can use your tips and achieve success now, thank you.

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  8. Well done for coming out of your comfort zone, great result

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  9. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I iron and iron and iron and iron and iron it seams on my backing. I guess it's worth it because I usually send my quilts out to be quilted and I've never had one come back with a pucker. Of course, I also press my quilt tops, too!

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  10. i just cross hatched my little Valentine's mini and did it just like you! except i do not have a guide bar and had to mark every line with tape :( i love cross hatch quilting!

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  11. I love cross hatching - good tips :)

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  12. Well this new machine is really bringing out the adventurer in you ! Now you have cracked cross hatch quilting what's next - feathers ?? :)

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  13. Love this post! I just did some tight stippling on a quilt and discovered a couple of puckers on the back when I finished. Aaargh! I'm pretty sure I was too light on the pins, so I second your tip to use a lot of pins. I've never tried cross hatching, but it looks very pretty.

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  14. I know you said you do all the same way, I do all of them on one half one way and then flip the quilt so I do the other half the other direction. That way I don't end up with the entire quilt in the harp of the machine!

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  15. This is what I want to do on my (eventual) scrappy trip quilt - I love the on point cross hatch on the back look.

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  16. I chicken out of cross hatch quilting every time, maybe next time i'll be a bit braver with your tips, thx! :o)

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  17. Great tips! I agree - lots of pins! I have covered my basting pins with little plastic covers and sometimes I use this little device called "quick clip" which saves my fingers! Also, I find it helpful to use lots of starch when I'm pressing the heck out of the backing;).

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  18. thanks for the tips! it sounds like my issue may be insufficient pinning. i hadn't heard there should be less than a hand length between pins before, so hopefully this will clear things right up!

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  19. Maybe this is a silly question, but do you need to re-baste when you do the cross-hatch part?

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  20. Fabulous tips! I love the cross-hatching. I've done small projects and the increase of the stitch length is a big tip I have found too. Great job and congrats on quilt being published!

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  21. I am waiting for my walking foot, and then I will re-read this post ;)

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  22. It looks great- thanks for the tips! I want a guiding bar now!

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  23. I've been battling with the p(h)uckers all week. I found lowering the bottom feed dogs a notch helped.

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  24. Great work! I remember the first time i managed to cross hatch without puckering, the Mr. didn't understand all the fuss. Pfff, men.

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  25. Ahhhh.. so that's what that screw is for on my walking foot. No wonder my guiding bars would always move. Thanks for all these tips!!!

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  26. Runs off to see if her walking foot has a screw..........thanks Kirsty!

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  27. I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to thank you for this tutorial. I'm using cross hatch on two sections of a child's quilt and thanks to your tips, the first section has turned out great!

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