Saturday, February 2, 2013

There's More than One Way to Quilt a Spiral...

Quilting Spirals with a Walking Foot
 
When using a walking foot, I love the amount of control I have as I'm stitching, resulting in very even concentric circles. Don't get me wrong, I love the wobbly free motion ones as well but depending on the project and size of the desired spiral...it's nice to have a choices. 
 
This particular method works best, if the piece you are quilting isn't overly large, since you are moving the quilt round and round in a circular motion. The larger the project you are working on, the more cumbersome that would be. Since I am an avid Quilt As You Go quilter....the blocks I'm quilting are usually no larger than 20 inches. 


Quilting Spirals with a Walking Foot
 
  •  This sample block is approximately 20" square.
  • Layer the quilt block, batting and backing together.
  •  
 
  • Baste the layers together....my preference is to use a basting spray.


  •  When I was first learning to quilt spirals, I would start my spiral by drawing a small freehand spiral with an erasable fabric pen.
  • I've drawn you a sample. The key is to stitch the spiral in the same direction as your drawing.....
  • My preference is clockwise, which I'll be doing in this tutorial. 
  • Tip: Use an edge/quilting guide.
  • I will be using the edge of my presser foot because I only want 1/2 inch between my quilting lines...if you want anything wider, the guide works extremely well.
  • Note: I'm working on a Pfaff, for this tutorial, so it may not look like I'm using a walking foot but I am because the Pfaff has a built-in dual feed ( a fancy term for walking foot).
  • I love using variegated thread for my spirals.... my absolute favourite being Valdani because of the long colour changes and beautiful Colours.
  •  Wind yourself extra bobbins because you'll need them. On this particular sample, with the quilting lines being  1/2 inch apart, a full bobbin isn't quite enough to quilt one, twenty inch block.
  • Just to stabilize the block a little more, I stitch in the ditch on one or two major seams...I find the blocks lay a little flatter this way, once the quilt is finished. 
  •  I put the edge/quilting guide onto my presser foot, just to show you what it looks like attached.....you want to attach it, to the left side of your presser foot....these fit onto regular walking feet as well.
  • It's hard to see my little spiral drawing, but it's there. Once you get experienced at sewing these spirals you can probably skip this step....but it's really helpful in getting started.
  • Put your needle into the beginning of the spiral....set your machine at a needle down position.
  • Set your stitch length at 1.
  • Put your presser foot down.
  • Start stitching very, very slowly in a clockwise direction....just follow your little drawing to get you started, gently turning your block as you stitch. I cannot emphasize the slowly part, enough.
  • Increase your stitch length to 3.5 as you stitch.
  •  After you finish stitching the center loop of the spiral, you'll  be able to use the edge of the presser foot as a guide or the edge/quilting guide if so desired.
  • Note: I have moved my needle position, to the far right, in order to get a 1/2 inch space between my quilting lines.
  • Slow and easy does it.....this is the most and only difficult part of the spiral, and just think, you get it over with right at the beginning.....I know, how amazing is that.
  • Now I could confuse you and tell you that you could do that difficult little center with your free motion foot, but that would mean changing feet midway....not fun. 
  • Tip: These handy dandy quilter's gloves are just the thing here.
  •  Now just stitch away....
  • The larger the circle becomes...the easier it gets, because there is less fabric under the arm, of the machine and the curve becomes less and less steep. 
  •  
 



I hope that was helpful.....this is truly one of my favourite ways to quilt.

47 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this! When I quilted my wheels quilt I didn't know any better and shoved the whole thing through the machine's arm with each pass. The effect was good but your "quilt as you go" method makes so much more sense!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love this spiral quilting Marianne- I will have to try it one day. I'm also keen to try QAYG, I'm making my first traditional quilt right now, I've always loved the modern fabrics more but I fell in love with a quilt that would lend itself to QAYG as it has sashing between the blocks, your tutorials have been a big help to me with that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is clear and easy to follow, thank you. Next time I do a spiral I will remember to do the line or two in the ditch first, I think that is a great idea.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yep, I'm got to do some spirals. Very cool. I'm curious- why no counterclockwise?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just in case this confuses anyone I made a mistake on the tutorial and made a change. You want to stitch in the direction that you draw your spiral.

      Delete
    2. Also....thanks for being curious Lynn.

      Delete
  5. Love the spiral quilting!
    Thanks so much, this was really helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That tip of drawing the beginning is so good! I can't wait to start quilting a spiral this afternoon :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brilliant post, really, thank you! I havent attempted it yet so it was wonderful to read exactly how you do it. Like the ditch stitching bit first! And starting the spiral on shortest stitch. Brilliant, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love spiral quilting but have never tried it, thanks for the quick tutorial!
    ~ Tabatha at BendingPins.com ~

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for such an excellent and inspiring post. Might have to go off and do some spirals!
    Louise

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love the look of spirals, although I have yet to do it! Thanks for the inspiration and great directions.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just got my first iphone. Loved the spiral and will try it soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have fun with your new phone and have fun with the spirals.....both are highly addictive.

      Delete
  12. I think I'm going to have to try this after seeing your tutorial. I'll practice it on mug rugs.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Very helpful, thanks so much. I was wondering how you accomplished this. Have tried free-motion ones and did not care for the results at all. This looks better for me.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for that tutorial. I have a piece I can practice on and I'm looking forward to seeing how I do!

    ReplyDelete
  15. When I saw your previous post I said to myself, "I sure hope Marianne explains how she goes about making spirals." I was really happy to see you did exactly that. I'm ready to give spiral quilting a try. Thanks for sharing your technique.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is really, really helpful and clear and awesome! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and skill!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Beautiful! I must try this sometime :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for sharing this. I am going to try one soon. I'm confused by something, though. In the finished pictures, it looks like your spiral has gone off the edge and then back on. Did you slice it later? Or have extra batting over there to go through?? Or am I just hopelessly confused?

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have a Voyager 17 on a stretch frame that I have never used. It is about five years but I have some scrap material to learn to use this machine so I can get some of my quilt finished in the near future. I am trying to learn some simple movements to start with. Your explanation seemed to help me and will get it ready to work on in the next couple of days. I am an aneurysm recover and do move in my old speed but do try to keep moving. Thanks, Lynn

    ReplyDelete
  20. Love your spirals! Have been considering spirals for my "next up" quilting project, and this post convinced me it's the way to go. I've done both free-motion and walking foot spirals in the past, and love them both: the walking foot ones are so regular and hypnotic, and my FMQ ones so wildly wonky and exuberant. Fun to get such different effects from the same line.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This was just SO helpful...great tutorial. Thank you Julierose

    ReplyDelete
  22. super cool quilt and the quilting is fabulous

    ReplyDelete
  23. Genius- I just ruined a block on my QAYG trying to free motion a spiral- it certainly spiraled out of control. I never even thought of using the walking foot- thank you!
    Kay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad it was helpful. At least it's only one block.....of course there's always the seam ripper.

      Delete
  24. THank you so much for posting this, it's really helpful. Now I know how to start, when I want to quilt circles, fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks for the great tutorial on quilting your spirals. I love the way they look and I'm inspired to try this myself. The thread you are using is wonderful, I think I'll be looking for some at my local shops.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Mari, thanks for the great tutorial on how to quilt spirals. I'm definitely going to try to use this technique sometime soon. I have a QAYG machine quilting sampler in progress and this would work great in one of the blocks!! I also am glad to know that you start out be drawing a circle and then quilt very slowly and carefully at the beginning. It's nice to get the tough part out of the way right off the bat. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It's much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  27. That looks fabulous! I love the choice of thread and I wouldn't necessarily thought of using it. I like the effect of two blocks together too - how the spirals look overlapping. Any suggestion on how to get that look when you're not doing QAYG??
    PS Nemo has me snowed in...which isn't necessarily a bad thing as I found your great tutorial! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I like this quilt very much looking so nice and i love the color combination so beautiful . where you got this beautiful colorful fabric for quilting.
    Cosmetic Surgery India

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much.....I've collected the fabrics over time from my local quilt shops.

      Delete
  30. Marianne, the way you explain the process is incredible,. You are a natural teacher. Thanks for sharing your amazing talents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marg....I'm glad it was helpful.

      Delete
  31. Googled "spiral quilting tutorial" and found this page. Brilliant - just what I needed, some helpful advice on how to start that spiral. Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I tried spiral quilting just now! At the end of it I found that my 12.5 block had become 12 inches and a little skewed. I dont have basting spray and just used a few pins. Should I be putting a lot of pins to keep the square stabilised. I did stitch in the ditch but since it was just one circle in a square did not have too much to do it.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Have you, or ANYONE, ever done a method of spiral quilting, that somehow uses a PUSHPIN and somehow you either hold the pin, or run your foot along side it (I CANNOT REMEMBER ANYTHING BUT A PUSHPIN :)?????? I've been OCD over finding this method for 4 years or so, b/c I DO remember it looking so sensibly easy!!! Thanks all, I love your blog, which I just found this morning :) Kate

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hello,
    This is extremely helpful!! I've been looking and looking for a tutorial for spiral quilting and came across your blog on Pinterest. Yesterday I pieced a scrappy log cabin (foundation piecing) 20" x 20" wall hanging that I would like to quilt this way. I'm so relieved to know it's done with a walking foot and not free motion.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I loved the tutorial. you've explained it so well. thank you so much. I'm going to try it soon.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thanks so much, I'm glad it was helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  37. so no one has heard of the push pin thing??
    Kate

    ReplyDelete
  38. Marianne Just to say thank you for your lovely tutorials.I finished a quilt inspired by your lovely quilts and have given you all credit for it. http://thequiltbug.blogspot.in/

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I try to respond to all of your wonderful comments....if you are not getting any response from me it's because you are set up as a no-reply blogger. In order to receive a response you can change your status in your blogger profile. I'm no longer accepting anonymous comments.

Thanks again for all your wonderful comments
Marianne

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...