Wednesday, August 15, 2012

echo quilting - marking a quilt top

I started quilting my postage stamp quilt. I spent a bit of time thinking about how I wanted to quilt this one. I've done a lot of meandering quilting in the past and wanted to try something different. I was looking at a couple of my quilt books (the 100 patterns kind) and noticed some of the patterns used on the antique quilts highlighted in the book. One that I really liked was this clamshell pattern. I wasn't sure if I wanted to try that on a bigger quilt. I also noticed a lot of quilts with overall echo quilting. These seemed to match what I was looking for for this top.

I decided to do a giant X though the center of the top and then echo each section with V's. I tried a couple different ways to mark the top. If anyone has other ideas, let me know. I have mixed feelings on the methods I tried.

Method 1: Painters Tape. To use this method, you lay the tape on your top and then using it as a guideline as you sew. Since I was doing 2" intervals, I used my ruler to lay the tape down.

Pros: I didn't have to use the stupid marking tools (see below). It was also pretty fast to lay the tape down for long lines without having to measure all the time.

Cons: I found it to come up a bit when I sewed, or sometimes I would hit it with the needle. The biggest con was that I found it hard to mark where I wanted to sew - I would have to offset the tape from the sew line a bit so that I didn't sew on the tape.

Method 2: Marking Tools.  These are pretty easy to use. They are pens or pencils made for sewing and quilting. I used a blue wash out pencil (shown in the first picture) and a disappearing ink pen (second picture). I would lay out my ruler and use it as an edge to mark the cloth.

Pros: I liked sewing over the links much better. I could mark exactly where I wanted to sew and then sew on top of it. It also was easy to mark and note the piviot while sewing with the marks.

Cons: Both tools I used were very light and I had to work to get a mark I could see. I found the marker was easier to use but also vanished within a few hours of using, making it impossible to mark the whole top before sewing (unless I wanted to quilt the whole thing in one day!).

Blue pencil - pretty easy to see once marked.

You can hardly see the marker!

Despite how much of a pain marking this top is, I really like how the sections are turning out! I have half of the top done now and plan to finish it up over the week.


  1. I agree, marking a top is a major pain but you always love the end result!

  2. If you're using a walking foot with a quilting bar attachment, you might consider only marking the first x and then using your quilting bar to help you judge the distance between lines. You'd likely lose a tiny bit of accuracy, but it would save a LOT of time.

    Your quilt is wonderful, I love postage stamp quilts. Someday I will make one. Someday.