10 Jul Straight line quilting
|The quilting on Sedimentary pulled a bit –
quilted on my old machine
I’ve done a lot of straight line quilting over the years and it has worked out better on some quilts than others. I’ve heard conflicting advice about whether you should alternate quilting directions or not. I usually try to alternate, but it depends on the quilt and how the space I’m quilting is divided up.
|Alternating quilting directions|
So, I decided to do a test yesterday. I cut out 2 20″ square pieces of fabric and layered them with backing and batting. I quilted one in alternating directions and one starting at the same side each time.
|Quilting one direction|
To me, the one direction piece looks slightly smoother, though the other piece doesn’t have any puckers or places where the fabric pulled. This made me wonder whether I had quilted the pieces along a different grain of the fabric – e.g. crosswise vs lengthwise. I did not think to pay attention to that when I layered the pieces. However, using the stretch test says this is not the case – both pieces appear to have been quilted along the same grain.
|The quilting on Curried Plums
turned out great – also done on
my old machine
I also trimmed the pieces along the raw edges of the 20″ squares and measured the results. The one direction piece was slightly out of square by about 1/8″. Now, these are small samples, so if you were quilting a queen sized quilt and the distortion grew along with the size, that could be a problem.
So what have I concluded? I can’t say this test was definitive, but I will continue to alternate directions when I can to keep things square. But I’m also not going to stress about going in one direction if the bulk of the quilt gets too much to handle. Perhaps some of the issues I had in the past were more to do with tension, thread or needle problems.
How about you – do you alternate directions or not?