Quilting Methods

Celtic Quilting – Intricately designed quilts using thin, bias strips in the form of Celtic (pronounced Keltic) designs or motifs.

Channel Quilting – Quilting has been stitched on the finished quilt in parallel lines.  Lines may be diagonal, vertical or horizontal and are usually evenly spaced.

Echo Quilting – A method of quilting by which the stitches outline (run parallel to) an existing motif or piece in the quilt.

Filler Quilting – A method of filling in large, open spaces on a quilt top (either by machine or hand quilting).  Usually done in a cross hatch pattern.

Free Motion Quilting – A method of machine quilting in which the feed dogs are lowered or covered, so that the quilt is guided through the sewing machine entirely at will by the hands of the quilter.  See also “meandering” or “stippling” quilting.

Lap Quilting – This method of quilting allows completion of a quilt, all three layers (sandwich), in sections.  This is accomplished by quilting one block or section at a time and then assembling the finished quilt from those pre-quilted squares.  Squares are quilted in small lap frames or held in the hands rather than using a large quilting frame.

Long Arm Quilting – Machine quilting done by a long armed machine.  Normally only done on a commercial basis due to the size requirements, 14 feet or more, and the cost of the machine.

Machine Quilting – A method of quilting  a quilt sandwich (quilt top, batting, quilt backing) using a sewing machine.  A walking foot is used on a sewing machine instead of the traditional method of hand quilting using a thimble with needle and thread.

Meander Quilting – A style of quilting that is done with the feed dogs down, or covered, and the quilt sandwich (quilt top, batting, quilt backing) is guided through the machine with hands, in loose motions, closely together, but without any lines crossing over each other.  (Note:  Newer forms of Meander Quilting or Stipple Quilting called Thread Painting, specifically used in Art Textiles, allow lines to cross over wherever they wish.)

Motif Quilting – This type of quilting is used to emphasize a portion of a printed design of fabric.  Example:  on a floral print the flowers may be motif quilted.

Outline Quilting – A method of hand or machine quilting in which the stitches are spaced between 1/4″ and 1/2″ away from the seam line.

Quilt As You Go – A method of assembling a quilt by which each square is pieced, sandwiched, and quilted by hand or machine before it is attached to the next square in the quilt.  Very similar to lap quilting.

Sashiko Quilting – A method of quilting in which large stitches are made on the top of the quilt top, with small stitches on the back, using embroidery or crewel style thread.  The stitches usually create intricate patterns.  Originating in Japan as a form of mending clothing, sashiko is usually done with white thread on indigo (blue) fabric.

Stipple Quilting – Closely spaced machine or hand quilting stitches that form squiggly lines, but do not cross over each other.  A common style of “filler” quilting, stipple quilting is a great way to quickly quilt a project.  When done by the machines, the feed dogs are either lowered, or covered, so that the quilter feeds the sandwich through the machine using their hands.

Stitch-in-the-Ditch Quilting – A form of quilting, either by machine or hand, in which the quilting stitches are placed right in the seams of the patch pieces, or just along that seam, thus, “in the ditch” of the seam.  This is a common form of machine quilting for new quilters and is a good alternative when you are using fussy cut fabric pieces.

Template Quilting – used to add stitched designs to a finished quilt using a template.  Templates are either plastic or paper; similar to stencils.

Thread Painting – In Nancy Prince’s words “Thread painting, or free-motion machine embroidery, is a unique way of embellishing your quilts by “painting” the images on your quilt top, clothing or anywhere your imagination takes you. The quilt top is your canvas and the thread is your paint. In thread painting, because the feed dogs are dropped, you are guiding the hoop and thus maintain control. You are only limited by your imagination as to what images you can paint on fabric.

Thread Sketching – Similar to thread painting but discovered by Nancy Prince as a happy accident.  Not quite as detailed as thread painting and therefore accomplishes faster results.

Tie Quilting – Tying replaces machine or hand quilting.  Instead of stitching as a means of holding the sandwich together, a series of ties are spaced about 3” to 5″ apart all over the quilt.  Rule of thumb is at every hand space one finds a tie.  This method is more commonly used with high lfot quilt battings, which are harder to quilt.  Sometimes buttons are used on the top side of the quilt, especially for a child, to give the quilt a designer feel, and give the child’s hands something to play with when falling asleep.

Trapunto Quilting – A dimensional design in a quilt block by which closely sewn lines of stitching are stuffed with batting to make them appear 3-dimensional, or raised from the surface.  A common style used in Whole Cloth quilts.

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