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and the BEAUTIFUL quilts being made by others who share your passion for quilting... by HAND!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Journey of a Quilter (quilting lines)

Thank you to Caron for allowing me to post on the hand quilting blog. I always enjoy reading the postings here and wanted to contribute to the blog and be part of this wonderful group of hand quilters.

I have been thinking this year about how to hand quilt straight lines.
My friend Pat always uses 1/4" marking tape to quilt her grid lines against.

In the past I have probably tried all the tools and marking devices that you have tried. On this large quilt I used pencil to mark the bows on the peach coloured border, and soap slivers to mark the bars/lines in the outside border. I enjoyed the "aromatherapy" of the soap, but found the lines quite wide, which wouldn't work for closely spaced lines.

I have also used the Hera marker, which I loved for working on white fabric because there were no lines to worry about removing (but I had to quilt under really good light).

But as I finish each hand quilted project I find myself starting to dread the marking of the next one. 
I have experimented with the technique called "no marking" or "eyeballing it"! 
I want to call it "organic" quilting design, but don't know if it really is?
I don't want to have to mark or trace any lines, or do any planning for the quilting. Am I just lazy? Maybe! But it has been soooo much fun!

The current project in my hoop is called Journey of a Quilter (pattern by Leanne Beasley) and I decided not to mark one single quilting line on it. All the quilting is intuitive, "loosey goosey" and "eye-balled". 
And I love it!
I would encourage quilters to try this method of quilting lines. It allows for more relaxation and enjoyment on the quilting journey!

Happy Quilting!


  1. lovely to see how others work! that is a great looking quilt that you are doing

  2. What a beautiful embroidery quilt Kathy!
    You have an interesting idea on Free-style "Organic" quilting. I wouldn't mind trying this method on a pillow top or small/miniature quilt project.

  3. You have some great looking quilts there. I love the words you use to describe the free and easy approach.

  4. me gusta su entrada, cuantas cosas para compartir
    buen fin de semana

  5. Hey Kathy, Glad to see your post here! I think a lot of us dread marking. For me, it is not really the marking but deciding on the quilt design that I want to use.

  6. I guess I do a mixture of eyeballing it and marking. I can do an accurate quarter inch, but for cross-hatch quilting, I usually use tape. It's a great tool. For designs, from templates, or my own design, I need to mark it. I use a plain old pencil. For dark or busy fabrics, the silver color pencil usually works.

  7. not "organic" but free form quilting, it's how many antique quilts were quilted and it is quite enjoyable and liberating....

  8. I love hand quilting and find it very relaxing but marking is one of my biggest issues as well and I have every marking device known to me yet still an issue with each quilt. I applaud you and purging ahead with no lines. you know our grandmothers didn't mark and yet each quilt so amazing. They used what they had on hand to judge distance and direction. We really should take a lesson from them. Love your blog

  9. Love your "organic" quilting! Check out Gwen Marston's Liberated quilting. Her webpage is at She is someone who certainly isn't interested in being really precise!

  10. I am a hand quilter also, but I do not mark the whole quilt before I start, HA HA ... I have only had one issue with not pre marking a quilt I hand quilted and it worked out fine in the end. I usually mark a block at a time. I recently finished hand quilting my dear jane and it turned out wonderful, I did each block with different quilting. It just spoke to me for each block. Keep on Quilting... it is the best !

  11. I so agree with you! That's my favorite way to quilt, although I still end up marking some areas of my quilt!

  12. I've done free hand quilting using the Baptist Fan design. Its easy enough to eyeball, and doesn't have to be perfect. For marking, I've used just about everything out there. My current favorite tool is the Sewline mechanical pencil, which comes in white, "black" (like a regular pencil) and a few other colors. The line is nice and thin, and the "lead" is strong enough where you get very little breakage. And you never have to sharpen it!

    btw its so wonderful to find this website, and to know there are still hand quilters out there.

  13. Your work is lovely Karen, and its inspiring me to do some hand quilting again. So good to read the other comments as well. I too love the Hera marker. Must try it for hand quilting as I dont like marking with pencils. :-)

  14. I'm fairly new to hand quilting. I've only marked one quilt. I liked the end results but I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoy "free motion" hand quilting. Yes, please, it's much more fun to quilt without lines.


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