Scribble Quilting Part 2 -The Process

Scribble Quilting is a colorful, artful way to quilt.  Are you stuck in stitch-in-the-ditch?  Are you a bit bored with straight line quilting?  Maybe it’s time for you to try Scribble Quilting.  All you need to get started is a walking foot, a quilt sandwich ready to quilt and different colors of thread.  Take this opportunity to play with thread color; be aware that it can change depending on what it is on or near.  Free yourself from perfectly matching the thread to the top fabric.  Think about the lines you are making while quilting.

As I continued to Scribble Quilt, I found that even slight variations in the color of the quilting threads added subtle interest to a quilt top.  More color is more interesting. For example, I bought a spool of chartreuse (yellow green) thread at a flea market several years ago.  I never wear this color and had not tried it in quilting, but this thread has become one of my favorites because of the way it plays with other colors.  It brightens green or black fabric, and it often reads as yellow.  I encourage you to play with the thread to see how it changes, depending on the color of the fabric.   More color is more interesting, with one exception.  I tried variegated thread but was not satisfied with the results, because I had no control over when the colors changed and because the bobbin thread didn’t match the top thread.

Are you ready to start Scribble Quilting?  Begin each project by quilting straight lines about 5  inches apart using a walking foot.  Stitch-in-the-ditch works well to hold the quilt sandwich together.  Remove the pins to avoid sewing over them.  After you’ve finished straight-line quilting to secure the quilt sandwich, change to another thread color.  Quilt several lines in one color, spreading them out across the quilt top and gently moving the quilt sandwich from side to side as you sew from one edge of the quilt to the other.  Change thread color and continue quilting, making wider curves so that the quilting lines cross.  Keep quilting until the quilting is evenly spaced and you are happy with the way the lines cross each other.


1)       Prepare a quilt sandwich by pinning together the backing, batting and top (step 1).

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2)      Decide where to start quilting.  In the beginning, it’s easiest to start on one side and go to the opposite side.

3)       Begin by using a walking foot to make straight lines of stitching about 5 inches apart.  Stitch in the ditch if you want.  (step 2).

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4)      Now begin sewing curved lines of quilting, still using a walking foot.  Begin curved quilting on the edge of the quilt, near the middle of one side.  Pull the quilt taut with both hands as you quilt.  Gently move the sandwich from side to side as the machine stitches.  Use your needle down position in case you have to stop.  Stop quilting to readjust the quilt sandwich.  Avoid jerky movements.  The quilting thread should form a smooth, flowing line (step 3).

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PROBLEM SOLVING:   If your line of stitches moves abruptly to one side, stop immediately.  Remove stitches until you have enough to thread a needle, then bury the threads in the batting.  Continue quilting, starting at the end of the line of stitching.  If you don’t want to stop or don’t notice the mistake until later, stitch another line of quilting which crosses the first line at the point where the mistake occurred (step 4).  This will make the mistake less noticeable.

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5)       As you quilt, check the back of the sandwich to see if some areas need more quilting.  The quilting lines should be balanced from one area of the quilt to another (step 5).   Keep quilting until you like the way it looks.  If you’re not happy, add wavy lines in contrasting colors, crossing more lines of quilting.

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6)      Bind the quilt using your favorite technique.

Welcome to the joy of Scribble Quilting!