2023 Quilt Along - Month 8

Kimberlee Tanner

Now that we are getting close to done, I'm going to start showing you how you can combine the quilting motifs we've learned to quilt lots of different projects! 


Looking for previous months? Check out the main quilt along page for links to all the blocks and instructions.

2023 Quilt Along - Quilt as You Go

Preparing the Block

Before we can quilt, we need to prepare the block. If you want to see this, head to Month 1, we show you how in that video. Grab one of your 19" background squares and 1 - 19" batting square. If you want to spray baste them, spray the backing square and carefully lay the batting on top of it. If you are pin basting, you don't need to worry about this.

Next, fold the backing and batting in half on the diagonal and press it. This will help us line up the quilt block in the middle. Press it again on the opposite diagonal and press again.

Now that you have an X across your block, spray (if using spray) the back of your quilt block, then gently lay it down, lining up all the corners on your X. I find that folding it in half makes this easier so it's not sticking to everything.

If you are pin basting, after lining up your block, go ahead and put a few pins in. You might not need as many as a full sized quilt, but it's good to keep everything in place.

If you have a specific layout, quilt the blocks following the order below. We'll be trimming outside edges differently when joining the blocks to allow us to add the borders. 

The Quilting Plan

We are going to start our quilting plan in the center block and work our way out. This keeps everything in place and if things shift, they are shifting out and not creating extra backing fabric we have to deal with. Remember, don't do anything with the extra backing and batting yet, that will be used to join the blocks.

If you want to print out the quilting plan, click on the photo below and it will pull up a bigger version.

Month 8 quilting plan

If you want to create your own quilting plan, click on the blank photo and you can print out the block and sketch your own designs.

If you are new to free motion quilting, I recommend printing out the blank block and practice drawing the designs, moving as if you were quilting the block. This is great practice, creates muscle memory, and helps you figure out how to move around without the stress of ruining the quilt block. 

Setting up your Sewing Machine for Free Motion Quilting

Now we need to set up our sewing machines. A couple of general tips:

  1. Put on your free motion quilting foot. This will let us move around the quilt block in any direction.
  2. Lower your feed dogs. If you can't lower your feed dogs, try setting your stitch length to zero. That way they won't move.
  3. Create as much flat space as possible. If you have an extension table or can set it level in your sewing table, this helps.
  4. Put your needle to stop in the down position.

If you have quilting gloves and want to use them, grab them! They can really help with moving your quilt around the machine.

Quilting the Block

Now we are ready to start quilting. We'll complete the plan as follows:

  1. First, mark the edges of the strips we will be quilting around the quilt. You'll have three sets of borders marked along the very outside, and two white squares on the inside.
  2. Put your needle in the center of the block. Worked around each seam, create a diamond shape that starts and ends in the center. Quilt a smaller diamond shape inside the first one that also starts and ends in the center.
  3. Repeat this design around all four seam lines in the center of the block. Break your thread, knot and bury the ends.
  4. Move your thread to the outside edge of the center diamond. Stitching along your marked line, stitch the inside line of the first corner unit, then the outside line, then fill with ribbon candies.
  5. Move along the edge of the center diamond to the next corner and repeat the same pattern till all four of the inside white corners are filled.
  6. Use the seam lines to move to the next set of white corners on the next outer square. Repeat the same pattern to stitch the inside marked line first, then the outside line, and finally fill with a ribbon candy.
  7. Use the seams to move around the quilt block and fill in all four of the white corners on the second white inner square.
  8. Now we will quilt the corner all as one. Quilt along the seam to the center of one of the colored triangle units. Following the shape of the triangle, quilt one triangle, one diamond unit around the seam with a smaller diamond unit inside, and one more triangle. 
  9. Quilt ribbon candies to fill the connecting bar to the opposite triangle. Repeat step 8. 
  10. Follow the seam to the outer marked border. Quilt the inside line, the outside line, then fill it with ribbon candies.
  11. Quilt along the edge of the block, staying within 1/8" of the edge to outer center block. Quilt the border by quilting your marked lines first, the fill with ribbon candy.
  12. Repeat steps 8-11 to finish all the outer blocks and corners.

When quilting, remember to stop at the edge of the quilt block. Don't stitch into the extra batting and backing, we'll need these free for when we join the blocks.

Free Motion Quilting Tips

If you are new to free motion quilting, there are a couple tips that might help.

  1. If you are having trouble moving the block around, try stitching a little faster. This will also help smooth out curves. It seems crazy, but works. I promise.
  2. Doodle the design first. If you are comfortable doodling the pattern, you'll feel more comfortable stitching it.
  3. Sit up straight. Try not to hunch over your machine. You'll just end up causing unnecessary muscle strain and pain.
  4. Try different hand positions and holds till you find one that feels comfortable for you.
  5. Practice, practice, practice. Just like anything, you can't get better if you don't quilt! Be gracious with yourself and allow the opportunity to improve. No one looks at your quilting as closely as you do, so don't judge too harshly!
  6. Have fun! If it's not fun, why are we doing it? 

If you have any questions, please let us know!

Happy Quilting

Kimie and Missy

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