How to Machine Quilt on a Marked Line

We're moving right along with the Heart Medallion Checkerboard Quilt and it's time to outline quilt around the heart medallion designs. This stitching will secure the fabric in the center of each block and create a beautiful design on the front and back of the quilt. Learn how to tackle outline quilting in this new quilting tutorial:

Outline Quilting the Heart Medallion Quilt

In this video, I use Isacord Polyester thread to outline quilt around the Heart Medallion Designs. I use this thread because it's thin, strong, and doesn't break while free motion quilting.

This is a 40 weight thread designed for embroidery so you can quilt over it multiple times and it won't break. This is really important for free motion quilting any design because we want to be quilting, not tearing our hair out because the thread keeps breaking!

Is it okay to use polyester thread in your quilts? 

Many quilters have been taught to use only 100% cotton fabric with cotton batting and cotton thread. This is a carry-over from hand quilting in the 1970's when cotton thread was really the best choice.

A lot has changed in the past 40 years and now you can find beautiful polyester, rayon, and silk threads that are wonderful to use on your quilts. The myth that other thread types are bad for your quilts is just that - a myth!

You can use any thread you want to use on your quilts, especially if it helps you quilt the designs and styles you want to quilt.

Outline Quilting the heart medallion checkerboard quilt

The fact is, if I hadn't switched to Isacord thread in 2009, I probably wouldn't have mastered free motion quilting. It was so frustrating to constantly break thread that I couldn't quilt designs like Paisley and Pebbling until I switched to Isacord.

Skill-Building Outline Quilting

When it comes to outline quilting, the key is slow steady stitching. This will be a terrific skill-builder for free motion quilting as you learn how to balance the speed of your hands moving the quilt with the speed of the needle moving up and down.

Outline machine quilting tutorial

Are you struggling to make consistent stitches? Don't worry! It's normal to struggle with your stitch length in the beginning because you're used to the machine doing this work for you. When free motion quilting, we don't use the feed dogs on the machine.

This means that the stitch length is entirely up to you and it's a constant balancing ratio between the speed of your hands moving and the speed of the machine.

Instead of focusing on every single stitch, focus instead on moving the quilt smoothly under the needle and staying on the outline of the heart medallion design. Just following the line smoothly and shifting the quilt steadily under the needle is a big job. Don't worry about the occasional huge or tiny stitch that happens as you move the quilt.

Outline quilting the heart medallion checkerboard quilt

One tool that's essential for free motion quilting with control is quilting gloves. Click Here to find the quilting gloves I wear every day because they're lightweight, let my hands breathe, and help me grip the quilt and move it smoothly over the machine.

If free motion quilting feels too challenging to master, please remember there are other types of machine quilting you can do on your home machine. One type of machine quilting is Walking Foot Quilting which is much easier because it uses the feed dogs on your machine to feed the quilt forward.

You'll learn more about walking foot quilting in the next tutorial:

Stitching in the Ditch Quilting Tutorial

1. Stitching in the Ditch

Outline Quilting Tutorial

2. Outline Quilting

Quilting Straight Lines Tutorial

3. Quilting Straight Lines

Quilting Heart Paisley Tutorial

4. Quilting Heart Paisley

Click Here to learn how to make the Heart Medallion Checkerboard Quilt.

If you enjoyed this series, consider taking a quilting class with me! We have created many online quilting workshops to guide you through all the steps to creating beautiful quilts. You will love taking a quilt workshop because you get to see each step of the quilting process with great instructions!

Click Here to check out our online quilting workshop.

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