Crosshatch quilting is simple and classic and works well with a lot of different
designs. The technique I use is the same one I use for my straight line quilting, so you'll be able to do both types of quilting after reading this tutorial.
To get started you'll need your finished quilt front, batting and backing. For my tutorial I'm demonstrating with fabric I'm quilting for a bag, and so I have the bag front, the bag lining, and the Soft & Stable which I'm using instead of batting.
I begin by pressing the top, bottom, and batting. This seems to help keep things flat.
Next, you'll want to mark your beginning quilting line somewhere near the middle of your fabric. Starting in the middle of the fabric helps you avoid puckering of the fabrics. I like to use a Clover Chaco Liner, White for marking my quilting lines on medium and dark fabrics. The Chaco Liner produces a thin, clear line, and the chalk easily wipes away when you're finished. For working with lighter fabrics, the Chaco Liner is also available in other colors.
To mark the line for crosshatch quilting, line up the 45 degree line on your acrylic ruler with the bottom straight edge of your fabric and draw a line using the chalk marker. I like to mark and quilt on the front side of my project since I can see what is happening at all times with the front.
After marking the fabric, layer the top, batting, and backing. I like to press the three layers together when working with Soft & Stable.
When using Soft & Stable a fabric adhesive spray isn't usually necessary as the Soft & Stable tends to adhere naturally to the fabric. I do like to iron the top, Soft & Stable, and backing together before I begin stitching.
In the photo below you will also notice a metal quilting bar. This is a tool that comes standard with most machines and is the biggest help in any type of straight line quilting. The left side of the bar pictured below fits through an opening on the foot holder. The right side of the quilting bar will rest on the fabric.
Before stitching, consider lengthening your stitch. I like to lengthen the stitch on my machine to a 3.5 or 4 length. You may also need to use a walking foot for this type of quilting. My machine has a built in dual-feed walking feature, so I can sometimes get away without using the walking foot; however, when I'm really concerned I always put the walking foot on first.
Stitch directly on the drawn line.
Now is where the quilting bar comes in handy. Adjust the quilting bar so that the right side of the bar (resting on the fabric in the photo below) is the same distance from the needle as the desired space between quilting lines. For my example I used 1" crosshatch quilting, so I used a ruler to measure and adjust the quilting bar.
Trace the beginning line of stitching with the quilting bar while stitching the next line. Sew from one end of the fabric to the other. Each row of stitching will be sewn with the quilting bar lined up on top of the previous line. This keeps the stitching lines exactly the same width.
This is the view from the back. Continue stitching as directed above until you reach the end of the fabric. Then you'll need to flip the fabric to stitch the other side (we started stitching in the middle of our fabric and will complete all of the lines on one side of the first seam before beginning to sew on the other side of that first seam).
When all of the straight lines in one direction are finished, you'll need to make one more mark using your acrylic ruler and Chaco Liner. Mark another 45 degree line perpendicular to the previous lines of stitching. Again, make this mark close to the center of the quilted piece.
The first line of stitching will be sewn right on top of the drawn line. Then, the stitches on either side of the first seam will be sewn using the quilting bar as a guide.
If your machine doesn't have a quilting bar or isn't able to accommodate one, you will simply need to mark all of your stitching lines using the ruler and chalk. Mark the lines in one direction and sew all of the seams before marking and sewing the lines in the other direction.
When you're finished stitching you'll have a beautifully crosshatched quilt or fabric sandwich!
Tips for Preventing Puckering
- Use care when putting the layers together. You may want to try using painter's tape to tape the backing to a table or tile/wood floor. Use basting spray on the front and back of the batting as directed above. Finally, you may want to pin baste with safety pins to keep the fabrics even more secure and prevent shifting while you are quilting.
- My number one tip for preventing puckering is to use a walking foot. Puckers happen when the top and bottom fabrics aren't moved evenly across the feed dogs. By using a walking foot, nearly all problems can be eliminated.
- Finally, occasionally check the back of the quilt while you are working to make sure nothing has moved. If you begin quilting in the middle as explained above, you will also be able to check the back when you turn the piece to begin quilting the other half.
One of my favorite wall hangings is one I quilted with crosshatch quilting...so I thought I'd share it, too. I love the way the crosshatch looks on the backing as well!
I hope this tutorial has been helpful...crosshatch and straight line quilting are probably the easiest methods to use when quilting smaller projects like pillow tops, wall hangings, place mats, and table runners.
Happy quilting...and thanks so much for stopping by!