I often get asked how I go about doing straight line quilting, so I thought I'd share my method...
Here's the thing with me, I hate marking quilts (I also hate pinning), so I try my very best to avoid both of those. Only taking the time to mark if it's absolutely necessary. I should also make note that I am not a perfectionist, I don't mind if my lines aren't even, or if they aren't straight. It just doesn't bother me. I do like my quilts to be well made, to stay together forever, or at least until they are worn out. That is the only area that I am a "perfectionist" in.
Anyway, anyone can straight line quilt, but I definitely recommend a walking foot. My machine has it built in, but most walking foot-s (or feet) look like this. Basically it helps move all your fabric through the machine together to avoid pulling/puckering/dragging.
I often use a seam as my guide when sewing straight lines. In my pips quilt, I used the diamond pattern as my guide. I sewed a very generous 1/4 inch away from my seam line, on both sides.
I did the same thing with my rabbits and race cars quilt. Since the blocks aren't straight, I did a lot of rotating at each intersection. I thought it would be very time consuming, but once I got going, it went quick.
I recently finished up a quilt that I quilted straight lines one inch apart over the entire quilt. It's pretty easy, a bit monotonous and maybe even boring, but I love the effect it gives. I'll post the finished quilt soon...
To sew one inch apart, I use a little tool called a quilting guide, I'm sure you all have one. It's so handy.
You slide it in behind your needle, and then tighten a (tiny) screw to secure it.
|sidenote: the normal way to put the guide in your machine is in the picture above this one, but I like to remove the bulk of my quilt from under the machine as I go, instead of adding to it (which is what happens when the guide is on the other side).|
I usually sew one line down the middle (sewing a 1/4 inch from a seam, so I don't have to mark.) Then I use my quilting guide, I adjust it's position to my desired distance from the needle, mine was one inch-ish away.
Line up the guide with your previous stitched line, and sew. It's easy. I keep my eye on the guide/stiched line. It's pretty cool how well it works. If you have puckering or pulling, stop and figure out what the problem is. Trust me, from personal experience, you will notice it once it's finished!
I mentioned that I don't mind imperfection, but if you do, I recommend checking to make sure your line is still going straight (use a seam as a guide), sometimes it can slowly start to drift and will no longer be parallel with the edges of your quilt. Just check it if you are particular about that.
I hope this helps someone, if you have questions, let me know. Or, if you have tips or techniques that you use, I'd love to hear them.