An Experiment in Quilting on the DSM

I’ve quilted a number of quilts, large and small, on my home machine (Domestic Sewing Machine, DSM) with the variable results that might be expected 😉 I now do mostly small pieces and send the large ones to long arm quilters.
Then last fall I saw this quilt by my friend Diane Ramsay.

Detail of Dutch Holiday by Diana Ramsay

In addition to thinking it is a wonderful quilt, I particularly liked the grid pattern of the quilting. So when I needed to quilt fabric for a project recently, I gave it a try.

First I spray basted the fabric really well.  It’s small, only about 13 x 18 inches, so it was pretty easy to spray baste.  I then marked a line with 1″ painter’s tape and quilted along both edges of the tape. tape guide for machine quilting

The rest of my lines were spaced by simply moving the tape every time.  Again, the piece is small, so I only needed one length of tape for all the lengthwise lines.  The layers were basted tightly enough that there was minimal shifting, but I did alternate directions as I quilted the lines.

After doing all the lengthwise lines, I put several evenly-spaced lengths of tape crosswise and quilted on both sides of them, moved the tape and quilted some more, etc.  I was greatly relieved to see that there was no puckering where the lines of quilting crossed.

The quilting doesn’t show up much on that busy fabric, so here’s a picture of the finished back:

This was very successful, primarily because it was tightly basted, I think.  Has anybody else tried this?  Any advice?


20 thoughts on “An Experiment in Quilting on the DSM

  1. I have. You will need to mark your quilt with a ruler and some chalk. Just one line for now. Quilt that line with yourealking foot. Then using the bar with yourwalking foot set the distance between your lines. Set the bar onto the previously quilted line and make a perfectly straight parallel line next to it. Each time you stitch a new parralell line, make sure the bar on the walking foot has not scootched. When all lines are parralell repeat by marking a line all the way across bisecting ata 90 degree and quilt that with the walking foot. Repeat steps for making your parralell lines. I tried the blue tape method and it would not stay stuck be the time I stitched to the other side. I had to pin down the tape. Same could ne accomplished with adding machine tape. Nice results you have there!

  2. Quilting looks great! I’ve gotten great results using the spacer bar with a walking foot when quilting evenly spaced straight lines, gently curving lines, and concentric circles. You have to mark your base line (curve, circle) first.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog! I look forward to it every week.

  3. One: Walking Foot always on straight grids! It’s the something extra that all-but-guarantees an even feed of well basted pieces.
    Your post reminded me of the beauty of square-grid machine quilting – its effectiveness when applied to a specific project. ‘Dutch Holiday’ proves this.

  4. I have used tape for quilting small projects, but not in a one inch grid pattern. I have trouble catching the tape. I have never spay basted, mainly because of all the warnings on the label. Have you ever had trouble with the spray?

  5. Square grids are my favorite. I tried tape a few times, but have found using the side of my walking foot against the last line of quilting works perfect. No more tape or marking for me.

  6. This is neat and attractive! Yes, I’ve used tape to mark quilting lines. I wasn’t very successful (and didn’t make enough effort to succeed, perhaps) with quilting using DSM. But the tape is still handy on the longarm now and then.

    As to using the basting spray, I also use it sometimes and haven’t had trouble. I don’t use it to quilt on the longarm, but if I need to patch in a bit of batting and don’t have a good way of getting it to stay in place until it’s quilted in, I might spray a tiny spritz on the piece. Or spray lightly the back of something to applique down. I always use a large, dead bed sheet to protect surfaces from overspray. And I don’t use a lot of spray because choke-gag-cough, I think it can kill you… 🙂

    • I have dead bed sheets for when I spray baste, too. Although it’s a pain for larger quilts, I find the spray works better than pins or basting with far less effort. But I agree, breathing it seems like a bad idea!

  7. Your grid quilting turned out great, did you use a walking foot? I have done a few quilts with straight line quilting, but usually spaced 3-4 inches apart.

Leave a Reply to zippyquilts Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.