Heirloom Sampler Blocks

TIP: If you click on the image, a slide show of enlarged photos will appear.  This will make it easier to view the actual quilting lines.

In various machine quilting books, many authors state how "difficult" can be for someone to quilt an heirloom sampler, as the thread paths are not as predictable as regular edge-to-edge free-hand patterns.   As a result, I have decided to add close-ups of various traditional blocks in samplers and tell how they were quilted.  This entry is organized to range from easy techniques to more difficult techniques. 

Blocks featuring Edge-to-Edge Quilting

This block was so much fun that I created my own stencil from it. It is a rotating pattern of swirls and points emanating from the center of the block.

This block features micro-stippled, loop-the-loop in the open white areas.

Blocks featuring Squiggle-in-the Ditch
I developed the Squiggle-in-the-Ditch technique and know of no other quilter or quilting book that showcases this technique or tells how to do it.  I wanted an easier version of stitch-in-the-ditch for me to do (and more cost-effective for my customers).  The undulating lines were very forgiving, look great, reduce the number of starts and stops required to cross the quilt; thereby simplifying the thread path needed to quilt.  My customers have said that it looks more difficult to do than traditional stitch in the ditch.  It's a great choice for any type of quilt.

I chose to Squiggle-in-the-Ditch around the friendship stars.  .

The pieced blocks were sewn on point into the top. This can create a challenge for the quilter to do something beautiful in the open spaces. I didn't simply want to stipple it, it deserved something better. I like how these swirly heirloom feathers turned out.

Squiggle in the ditch done on two different lonestar quilt tops.  It looks fabulous, closely mimicing stitch in the ditch, but with undulating lines.  Humm...I seem to quilt a lot of these!  It must be a "best-seller"!  :)

This block combines Squiggle in the Ditch with Shadow Rhythms (see below).

This block also combines Squiggle in the Ditch with Shadow Rhythms (below).

Blocks Featuring Shadow Rhythms Technique developed by Sally Terry

Blocks Featuring the Terry Twist technique also developed by Sally Terry

The Terry Twist mimics continuous curve quilting (see below) by stitching along every pieced seam.  It differs in that it uses an "S" curve instead of a "C" curve along the seam line; thus creating a turning pattern in the block.  It mimics traditional hand-quilting while adding a modern twist.

The "s" curve creates a skewed center so mistakes are less noticeable.  The following blocks were sewn without using a ruler or marking and then hyper-quilted with free motion techniques.  They create a whimiscal contemporary look that is stunning!

Terry Twist hyper-quilted with a swirl.

Terry Twist echoed--it's amazing this is free-hand work!

Terry Twist with hyper-quilting is in the sashing setting squares.  This center square is quilted with a traditional heart-feather wreath.  The contemporary sashing squares play nicely with the traditional longarm feathers.

This traditional feather plume was hyper-quilted with swirls echoing the hyper-quilted Terry Twist.

Blocks Featuring Continuous Curve Technique

Continuous Curve adds visual interest to any quilt by creating circles around the pieced seam lines.  This is valued as it mimics the traditional hand-quilting where they traditionally quilted 1/4 inches (1/2 cm) inside the pieced seam lines.  It adds strength to any quilt and when done on multiple blocks, also adds unity to the finished quilt's appearance.  To create accurate circles, a ruler must also be used.

Blocks Featuring Stitch in the Ditch
Stitch in the Ditch quilting also closely mimics the look of hand quilting as each pieced seam is quilted down using a straight line.  A ruler is required to align the needle and hopping foot of the quilting machine in a straight line to get exactly into the ditch.  This is difficult and time-consuming work which is why it costs more than any of the above options.  It is beautiful!  Some of the blocks' centers were filled with free-motion rosettes to compliment the stitch in the ditch work.
Lonestar block
Modified Ohio Star block with a rosette free-motioned in the center of the stitch in the ditch quilting

The completed quilt by Gerrie S.