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Super Easy Straight Line Quilting on a Longarm

I have a new charity quilt to quilt today and I'd like to knock it out in a less than an hour. I decided to use the channel locks on my Grace Continuum longarm frame to help me quilt straight lines 1 inch apart across this entire quilt. See how easy and quick this can be in this quilting tutorial:

Tips for Quilting Straight Lines

I don't think there’s an easier way to quilt your quilt on a longarm than with these simple straight lines! Since my quilt already had an obvious linear design printed on the surface, it was very easy to line up the needle with the lines I wanted to quilt and pull the machine across the frame.

How to quilt lines with channel locks

Channel locks are a standard accessory on most Grace Company quilting frames. It’s a small attachments on one wheel of the machine and carriage that can really help you control the machine and be able to stitch straight lines perfectly across the frame.

Just in case you have a Continuum frame and do not have channel locks, this is usually packaged in a very small box that's easy to miss when you're putting your frame together. If you are just getting your frame, make sure to take the time to attach your channel locks.

I was tempted to skip this step in the middle of preparing the machine and carriage because I was in a hurry to get the longarm set up, but I wisely decided to attach everything we could from the very beginning.

If you notice the red breaks when stitching in one direction or the other, that might be a sign you need to increase your needle size. I’m now quilting with a size 18 needle with Isacord polyester thread.

Lately I’ve only been breaking thread when the bobbin runs out. That is awesome reliability and definitely speeds up the quilting process too.

How to Quilt Matchsticks

A very popular quilting design is Matchsticks. This is basically the same straight line design, but quilted very densely across the entire quilt. Some quilts have lines only 1/16th of an inch apart. That is a lot of quilting over at big quilt!

This style of quilting has become very common thanks to the modern quilting movement, and I’ve seen many beautiful quilts that honestly would have been ruined with any other design.

Quilting Matchsticks is more complicated than you might think because this is a dense quilting design. You’ll need to quilt matchsticks carefully to avoid distorting your quilt.

First quilt lines 1 inch apart as you saw me quilt in this tutorial on my charity quilt. Quilt the entire quilt with lines 1 inch apart over the surface.

Then advance the quilt back through the frame, quilting lines in between the first set. This will increase the quilting scale to ½-inch apart. Wash and repeat to quilt more lines, breaking the quilt down to a ¼-inch scale, then 1/8 of an inch apart, then 1/16 of an inch apart if you're really going for gold.

I cannot emphasize how much time and effort this will require, but sometimes straight lines or matchsticks is the absolute best design to stitch on your quilt!

Sometimes the Simplest and Fastest Design is Best

Please don't discount this design idea as too simple or easy to try. It does take effort to not get bored while quilting straight lines. It’s also easy not to pull the machine across the frame too quickly. I listen to audiobooks while I'm quilting and it makes the job more enjoyable and helps me not try to speed through the quilting process.

Do you have a quilt that could use some straight line quilting? Give this fun design and your channel locks a try and see how fast you can knock it out!

Click here to find more longarm quilting videos.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


I was told by the person I bought my Qnique 15r from that I can get the same results as channel locks by placing a 10×10 piece of a quilt sandwich under the wheel or carriage which will cause enough resistance that it will then sew straight lines. Are you aware of this or is there a video showing how to do this?


god blees you . you are amazing and great designer


I have the Bernina 830LE on the older style Grace frame made for Bernina. My carriage doesn’t have channel locks. Is it possible to order the channel locks for my carriage??? Thanks in advance!

Debbie Miller,

I just purchased my 1st long arm and trying to learn the basics. Wondering if I can load a wall hanging that has been partially started on a sewing machine

Amy Duha,

This will be my first time to use a long arm machine. I have a tumbler quilt that I want to stitch horizontal lines and then vertical. Could I do all of the horizontal first then take the quilt off and turn it to do all of the vertical lines? That way I can go edge to edge.


How do you and Where do you put the Chanel locks on the machine??? There’s no video or instructions in the book to the 25r to show you how to put the Chanel locks on?


Hi Nancy – You’ll need to contact Grace Company for help getting channel locks for your machine.

Leah Day,

I purchased my machine before channel locks were available. Is there a way to get them now?

Nancy Goff,

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