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Mark Your Quilt for Quilting Without a Pen

There are so many different methods out there for quilting your own quilts on your domestic machine; most involve marking the quilt top in some way before getting started. While pens and chalk markers are effective, they do have messy drawbacks at times. Sometimes the pen marks don’t wash out entirely, or they reappear after the quilt has been washed and dried! Yikes! Chalk can rub off on other parts of the quilt making the lines hard to follow. So, here are some foolproof ways to mark a quilt for quilting without the hassle!

This tool has a sharp edge that can put a defined, easy- to-follow crease into the fabric.

You can use it in conjunction with your ruler to make distinctive lines wherever you plan to quilt, or to mark off areas you plan to leave open.

I marked this sample piece with a cross hatch design so I knew exactly how to space my stitch lines.

Here is a quilt where I used the Hera Marker to mark the lines blazing out from the star. I then went back and filled in between those stitch lines with free-motion designs.

How about using your iron to put spacing creases into your quilt?! I have done this to define border spaces on whole cloth style quilts.

With this sample block, I did several napkin folds to get my spacing even, then pressed vigorously

This helped me keep even spacing for the petals of a freemotion flower design.

Oh and of course, there’s the painters tape method. Seriously, this stuff has a million and one uses! You can find painters tape or masking tape in several different sizes, all the way down to ¼”...

Mark out your own straight line design with whatever width suits your spacing needs. You can stitch on either side of the tape creating secondary designs.

Then go back and fill in some of those lines to really make it exciting!

Last, but not least, there’s the walking foot bar. Have you ever wondered what that was for? It snaps into the back of the walking foot and can be adjusted to any width, up to about 2” (for most machines) spacing.

This allows you to mark only the first stitch line and then the bar has something to follow. Each row will be perfectly spaced at whatever width you set the bar to. You can also use the bar to follow along a border edge or stitch a spiraling circle once you got it started!

What do you think?! Ready to start some machine quilting? I hope this helps :)


Follow all my quilty adventures on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinte​rest. Visit my website for free tutorials and tips. If you like my patterns, you can buy them on Craftsy, Etsy, and here on the website.


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