Machine Quilting Quick Tip-How to Draw a Grid for Quilting
Good Morning, Quilters!
Last week, we learned how to stitch the beautiful Honeycomb. The Honeycomb is a very versatile pattern. It can be stitched as an all over texture to cover an entire quilt, or it can be used as a pretty focus motif.
For the next few weeks, we are going to add to The Honeycomb to create several gorgeous patterns!
I can’t wait!!!!
But we must…
First, I’d like to review how I mark my fabric. It is essential to mark straight lines across the quilt to keep the lines straight. We don’t want a tipsy turvy Honeycomb!
I use three tools to mark my lines:
- A long straight ruler
- The Clover Chaco Liner Pen
- The Line Design Stencil by The Stencil Company
Choose the longest ruler you have.
I like to use white chalk for most of my quilt marking because it is easy to see and easy to erase. When drawing straight lines, the Clover Pen is very quick because it has a wheel at the tip. The wheel tip allows the pen to mark lines quickly and it rolls through the cut-outs in the stencil easily.
STRAIGHT LINE STENCIL
You might be thinking…why would you even bother with a stencil for straight lines? I’ve thought it myself…but I find it is surprisingly difficult to draw a series of even parallel lines without going askew!
The Stencil Company to the rescue!
The 10 x 10 grid is the stencil I use most frequently. (And I have a lot of stencils!)
HOW TO DRAW A SERIES OF QUILTING LINES
Begin by drawing one straight line across the entire quilt or area to be quilted using your longest ruler.
If you have a long seam line in your quilt, you can use it instead, though you might want to draw the line with white chalk so you can view it more easily.
Next, align one of the cutout lines in the stencil lines along the center line.
Use the Clover wheel pen to draw the first set of lines. Move the stencil along the center line and create the next set of lines.
Continue moving down the center line until your first row of lines is marked.
ADD MORE LINES
To add more lines, simply align the stencil with the lines that are already marked.
The whole process took less than five minutes!
HOW TO DRAW A GRID:
There are grid stencils available at The Stencil Company, but I usually use my straight line stencil.
Repeat the process outlined above. Mark a center line, perpendicular to the first set of lines. Place the stencil along this line and mark. (The grid markings are not shown.)
DRAW A FEW WAVY LINES
If you are stitching the Honeycomb motif, you might want to mark the first wavy line.
The Clover pen works for slightly wavy lines. (It is not good for detailed lines found in many stencils.)
I don’t recommend marking the entire Honeycomb–too many lines gets confusing.
READY TO QUILT!
Now you’re ready to quilt The Honeycomb or motifs like Dots and Dashes or Snowflakes!
OOOOHHHH I LOVE a blank canvas!!!!!
Get ready because we are going to fill this up fast!!!
PS…For more fabulous grid and line motifs, as well as tons of quilting tips and tricks—be sure to check out MORE Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3...and get a free “trick or treat” with every purchase!!!
PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only. Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt. For all other purposes, please contact me at email@example.com.
29 responses to “Machine Quilting Quick Tip-How to Draw a Grid for Quilting”
All this time spent trying to get off the grid…Just when I thought I was out they pull me back in! (Apologies to Mario Puzo.)
LOL! I agree, trying to get off the grid, too!
But the Mario Puzo reference escapes me…please enlighten me!
Lori, I wanted to let you know that I absolutely love your tutorials and your books!! The other night I was agonizing over how to stitch ribbon candy around the inner border corner on a quilt I am entering in my Guild’s show. “Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3” to the rescue! You explain it perfectly and with a photo on page 39!!
Thank you, Brenda!!! I’m so happy I could help!
I used the clover chalk pen using the yellow color and I couldn’t get all of the yellow out of my fabric. What color do you recommend for showing up on light colors?
Following this as I have had problems removing this marker from fabric too. I was beginning to think I was the only one and had done something wrong. I marked a flannel baby quilt and could not get the marks out.
I, too, have problems with that yellow chalk Clover marker. The yellow doesn’t always come out. And washing doesn’t always help. I have a gray pencil that does a good job, but it doesn’t roll as easily as the Clover marker.
I love the clover pen as well and use it all the time, but don’t like the chalk itself. So I emptied the chalk out, disposed of it, washed the pen out and thoroughly dried it. Then I refilled it with Miracle chalk which comes off with an iron…so quickly and easily. I also use the “pounce” pad with the miracle chalk to rub across the stencil. Don’t pounce…it makes a mess….just rub across it while holding the stencil firmly with the other hand. Cuts down marking time considerably! You can buy miracle chalk refill powder by itself and I believe a refill bag comes with the pad. It’s a little difficult to see on light fabric, but with the right lighting I even use it on whites. I have a black light that helps.
Like Jo, I also LOVE ‘Pounce’ chalk. It’s only drawback is sometimes the warmth of your hands can make the marks fade. It also has a lavender color chalk as well, which works well for light color backgrounds. I’ve tried all kinds of marking methods (to include colored pencils, slivers of soap, sharpened soapstone). As some have commented above, sometimes the marks are not easily removed. I have a solution that I mix up in a medicine container & keep on hand: 6 Tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, 2 Tablespoons of water & 2 drops of liquid soap, like Dawn). Apply with a small, soft toothbrush & the marks should come off w/ very little ‘rubbing’.
Thank you for this “recipe”. I will mix it up today!!!
Thank you for the recipe!
Thank you for the tip on miracle chalk! What brand is it?
I like using Clover chalk white, and was told to stay away from the yellow. Now I “see” why. I’ve used the white on fleece, in particular, and a few other fabrics with no problems.
Lori, how big is your fabric top? Half yard by WOF or is it a full yard (by WOF)?
My fabric shown here is 22 x 30 inches–a random size I found in my drawer!
Perfect! Thank you.
Patsy Thompson turned me onto using soap slivers to mark lines and stems on fabrics. Works best on darker fabrics. Not sure if it would work well on a big grid, though.
wowie, what a cool chalk pencil. I like it!!
This looks simple enough. I will give it a try
thank you for the link, bought my stencil, looking forward to having straighter lines!
Cindy Needham has sets of grid stencils on her site that are really nice (different sizes of grids and sizes of overall stencils). Soap slivers were my favorite source of marker until I lost my bar soap user. I marked a grid with pounce powder once and found that it “bounced” off as I quilted. It didn’t last for me to complete a small project. Suggestions? I applied the chalk with a foam paintbrush instead of a pounce pad as recommended by a well known quilting teacher. Do you think the applicator may have made the difference? I would love to hear others experience with pounce chalk. Since then I use a white ceramic marker which works really well for me but it would be faster to use the powder if it would last.
Let’s talk about this on Friday. I found the pounce powder challenging as well.
I had problems when I first tried “Pounce” because the chalk was barely sitting on the surface & then heard that it’s best to rub it over your stencil, which gets it into the fibers of the quilt top. I do find that if you have ‘hot’ hands (or arms) coming into contact with the marks, they will fade. For that reason I would mark the new area as we came to it on the floor frame. I’m not adept at FMQ (yet?), so haven’t tried it there. Pounce does come in another color besides white — a lavender blue for light fabrics.
I know that the pounce chalk comes in blue, but it’s hard to remove, so I don’t use it. I only use miracle chalk and when I looked at their site, I only saw white. But I did write them about it, so will be interesting to see if they have it in another color.
the miracle people got back to me really quick. It only comes in white, so using a black light on white really helps and that’s what I do. They have tried colors, but they won’t come off easily with an iron, so they have stuck with white. I use a longarm, so I don’t have the issue of it coming off because of me touching it or it sitting in my lap. I don’t have a good solution for that, other than marking with something else.
I’d love to have some ideas on quilt on an Americana table runner
Margo, go to Lori Kennedy’s blog. Go to the history month by month. I’ll bet she has some ideas there for Americana. The first thing I thought was straight line quilting.
Eureka! It is so nice to see several quilting designs using one marking technique.
Am I missing something? It sounded like the Friday discussion was going to be about chalk marking, but I can’t find it. Help, please!