Easy No-Mark Machine Quilting
Hi everyone! My name is Nancy Mahoney and I’ve been making quilts for over 30 years. My early quilts were hand quilted. However, for the last 20 years or so, all of my quilts have been machine quilted. When quilting with my BERNINA 790 I use a variety of techniques, including the BERNINA Walking-foot # 50 and free-motion quilting. Today, I’m going to show you how to quilt a unique design using your walking foot and my easy No-Mark method. If you’ve been wanting to use your walking foot for more than just straight lines, but have been reluctant to try free-motion quilting, this method is for YOU!
Start by layering your quilt top with batting and backing. Then baste the layers together using your favorite method. For this tip, I’m using a sample quilt sandwich consisting of two 12″ x 12″ solid-colored fabric squares and a 12″ square of American Spirit Batting by Fairfield, Superior Blend, 70% cotton/30% polyester. (Using a cotton/polyester blend gives the quilting a bit more loft.) I spray-basted the layers using Sulky KK2000.
Next, cut a 10″ square of freezer paper. If you are not familiar with freezer paper, it’s available at your grocery store.
Fold the freezer-paper square in half vertically, and then fold it in half horizontally to make a 5″ square. Finally, fold the 5″ square in half diagonally to make a triangle, making sure the folded edges are aligned.
Using a pair of sharp paper scissors, free-hand cut a simple design. Or, draw the design first and then cut on the drawn line. A simple design with gentle curves works best for this technique.
Unfold the freezer paper to reveal a freezer-paper pattern. On the sample quilt, use a chalk marker to draw a diagonal line from the upper-right corner to the lower-left corner. Then mark a second diagonal line from the upper-left corner to the lower-right corner. These are centering lines. Center the freezer-paper pattern on top of the quilt sandwich. With the shiny side of the freezer paper next to the fabric, press the pattern in place. (Do not use a water-soluble pen to mark the centering lines. The heat from the iron will permanently set the lines.)
Attach the BERNINA Walking foot #50 to your BERNINA. Thread the top of the machine and use matching thread in the bobbin. (I used a Mettler 30 weight variegated red thread so you could see the design.) Starting on a straight side of the pattern and using a locking stitch, slowly stitch along the edge of the freezer paper.
For outer curves and inside points, always stop with the needle in the down position and rotate the fabrics as needed. Then continue stitching along the edge of the paper.
When you reach the starting point, use a locking stitch to secure the stitches.
Remove the freezer paper to reveal the stitched design.
Ignoring the block lines, I quilted the same design on top of a block.
Happy Quilting! Nancy
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