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How to Use Yarn to Preview a Quilting Design

Use this easy technique to preview quilting stitches...

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Machine Quilting Previews

This quilt is pinned to a piece of styrofoam insulation board. Blue yarn is pinned to the quilt to preview where machine quilting lines might be placed.

Photo © Rosaland Hannibal

Quilting Tips

Previewing a hand or machine quilted design is critical, because quilting stitches are definitely not fun to remove. Try this easy stitch preview technique. Simply use a length of yarn to preview a quilting design before you stitch the quilt.

Supplies: yarn that contrasts with the quilt top, straight pins, digital (or film) camera

  1. Place your quilt top on a flat surface or attach it to a design wall. Insulation board from your local home improvement store that is at least one inch thick makes a convenient and portable design wall.
  2. Pin one end of the yarn where you plan to begin the quilting stitches. Wind the yarn to follow the path of planned stitches, placing pins in strategic areas to help secure the yarn as it turns corners, or cut the strands to a shorter length and pin each one in place. Try wavy lines, circles and straight lines.
  3. Photograph your yarn mock-ups and expand digital photos on your computer monitor. If possible, scan prints from a film camera and make the images larger.
  4. Are you happy with the design? Do you see one or more areas where the design should be altered? Should more stitches be added?

Taking a photo of each potential design helps you decide if the planned stitches work with your quilt. Keep the photos to develop a collection of machine quilting ideas for future quilts.

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