improv quilting

machine quilting blog hop {week 4}

We are back for Week 4 of the Machine Quilting Blog Hop! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I explain it here and links to the other weeks are at the end of this post. But the short form is that some friends and I are blogging and quilting our way through The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting in an effort to improve our machine quilting skills.

If you happen to be following along–we are going to throw you a bit of a curve ball this week because we are skipping the next chapter, called Swirling Butterflies. It is a whole cloth design and I felt that it seemed more like a Master’s Degree in Quilting rather than Quilting 101, so we all agreed that we will leave that one for Week 10 (and frankly I am making no promises about that week either).

So we all happily moved on to the chapter called Fractured Squares. In many ways, the quilt designed for this chapter covers different ways of handling borders–which I always find challenging. The most common way that I handle this is actually to leave borders off of quilt–but that’s just me 🙂 But recently I sewed up two quilts with borders and I used one of the motifs (wavy lines) on both of them and now wish that I had tried out a few others from this chapter.

The good news (for me) is that that this chapter is all about the walking foot! This was a welcome relief to me–those pebbles from Week 2 are still tormenting me.

Enough with the chit chat! What did I practice this week? I know I told you it was all borders, but there is also a center motif that I enjoyed stitching. It is a really fun way to fill up a block. You can do this with a quilting ruler–but I just totally winged it with my walking foot with no marking (except for the outer rectangle) and I love the way it came out. There is obviously a lot of turning with this design–but if the quilt isn’t huge–it’s totally doable.

domestic machine quilting

domestic machine quilting

Next came the border designs. I actually have some examples of some of these on real quilts, not just practice pieces. First up is the wavy stitch motif–done with a decorative stitch. On my Babylock, I stretch the default setting for this stitch out to 7.0/3.0 and I use it all the time. It give such a great texture to the quilt and is very relaxing to quilt. I usually quilt the lines about 1″ apart.

domestic machine quilting

And I really love the way they look when they overlap in the corners.

domestic machine quilting

Next is a cross hatch. This is pretty zen to quilt as well. There are a few ways to mark the lines for this–but my favorite is a hera marker. It leaves a crease easy enough to sew on, but eventually relaxes out and leaves no mark.

domestic machine quilting

The last border design is clever in its simplicity. It is just doing straight line quilting with different spacing between the lines. No picture really needed for this. Christa is very clever in how she shows you to do this with no marking.  Really this book is so packed with instructions and tips–I’m so glad to be going through it in depth to really absorb all the information. What we are showing you here on the blog hop is just the tip of the iceberg.

Truthfully, I’ve not be as diligent as I’d hoped about putting in my 20 a day practicing quilting this week. Since this week was walking foot designs–that turned out okay–but I hope to get some more practice pieces prepped (so. many practice. pieces.) and sit down each night after dinner and practice. But I thought I would leave you this week with what what one of my practice pieces looks like before I retire it. It is well used.

domestic machine quilting

I found a great YouTube channel to check out called Man Sewing. He has a whole playlist of Free Motion Tips and Tutorials. You might want to check that out.

A quick reminder that–The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting is on sale all month long over on the Martingale website. It’s a great time to grab a copy! Don’t forget to share on Instagram: #machinequiltingbloghop.

Machine Quilting Blog Hop series:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

See how the others handled this weeks designs:

HollyAnne at String and Story

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

Or just click the image below to get all the links.


improv quilting

scrappy table runner tutorial


Scrappy Christmas Table Runner

Size: 12” x 42”

Block size: 6″


  • 1 ½” strips assorted prints (I used a honeybun of Holly’s Tree Farm from Moda)
  • Background fabric, neutral (I used Kona Snow), cut into 6 7/8″ strips
  • Cotton quilt batting, such as Warm and White
  • 3/4 yd. backing fabric
  • 120″ of 2 1/4″ strips for binding
  • Triangle in a square Bloc Loc ruler, 6″ (optional, but helpful)

Here is an alternate method of making Triangle in a Square blocks, though not at 6″.

Note: All seams are 1/4″

Block Assembly


  1. Sew together 7 strips and press the seam allowances all the same direction. Using the triangle template, cut out the first triangle. Continue using the template to cut 14 triangles. Here is a video that shows how to use the Bloc Loc ruler.


2. Using the second template, cut the background fabric as shown. You should have 14 sets of 2.


3. Lay out the triangle and background pieces as shown.


4. Position the background fabric on the left side of the triangle as shown and stitch. Press open.


5. Position the remaining background fabric on the right side of the triangle as shown and stitch. Press open.


6. Repeat for remaining 13 blocks. You can get some good chaining piecing going by doing Step 4 on all the blocks, pressing, and then Step 5 on all the blocks.trim-2-1024x654

7. Using the Bloc Loc ruler, trim to perfection! The assembly part of this project will go so much smoother when the blocks are are perfectly uniform.

Table Runner Assembly



8. Layout blocks as shown and sew them together. Instead of sewing them in rows, I do them as 4-patches and then sew the 4-patches together. I find that I get more accurate nesting seams than if I try to stitch full rows together.


9. Baste and quilt as desired. I did some straight line quilting with a walking foot in the background areas only, using Aurifil 2311.  Bind.


This pattern has so many possible variations! You can use a single print for each triangle, instead of going scrappy. Or you can make the triangle space a neutral fabric and use the prints for the side pieces, for a totally different look. I’m looking forward to playing around with this a bit more and hopefully ending up with a stack of new table runners! And then I will move on to full-size quilts!

Let me know if you make a Scrappy Table Runner! I’d love to see it! Please tag me on Instagram: @kristin_esser.