Friday, February 3, 2012

Baptist fan - quilting the fans

Stitching the curved arcs of a baptist fan aren't much harder than straight lines.  It's really just echo quilting.  To start, quilt one of the marked arcs.  You can start at an edge or in the middle of the quilt, depending on your preference.

I forgot to take a photo while quilting this, so imagine that only the line the guard is resting on is quilted!
After your first arc is quilted you'll quilt a second line that echos it.  If you're starting at an edge of the quilt, this second line will also start at the edge. If you're starting in the middle of the quilt and working out, this line will start on the marked arc in the same row and to the left of the one you're working on.  Decide how far apart you want your quilting lines to be and set your walking foot guide to that distance.  I set mine at 1" but if I were doing this on a big quilt I'd probably go for 1½" or 2". 

Keep echoing each line in the fan until it can't fit anymore then move on to the next fan arc.

Quilting baptist fans this way leads to lots of starts and stops in the quilting.  There are 3 ways of ending off your quilting lines, 2 of which I've pictured above (the 3rd is back sitching, which all of us know how to do). 

On the top line I've slowly decreased my stitch length to zero in the last ¼" of quilting.  I've done this on quilts before and it's held well over numerous washes.  The downside with my machine, though, is lots of pushing of buttons to change the stitch size. 

The bottom line I've opted to just stop my stitching and pull both tails up to the top of the quilt for tying.  This is the method a lot of show quilters use because it's invisible.  The downside though is tying all those knots!

If you want to attempt the tying method, you'll need to thread your ends into a hand sewing needle, then tie a knot in the thread.

Slip your needle into the knot and tighten it.  This will make sure the knot is not right up against the last stitch so that it can be buried.

Insert the needle into the quilt top and batting, right at the end of the line of quilting.  Poke the needle up again ½" to 1" away, pull the thread until the knot pops into the quilt, then snip the tails.

Keep quilting your fans across the quilt top until the whole top is done!  Then check your quilt for stray threads before you take a photo!  I chose to back stitch most of my quilting lines and this little place mat (about 11" by 16") took me half an hour to quilt.  Space your lines farther than my 1" and use a bigger template and it should go faster.

If you want an even more detailed explanation of this technique, Krista from Poppyprint has a great tutorial up on flickr.  Hers is for quilting concentric circles, but an arc is just part of a circle, right?

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  1. You know, I never thought of doing this with my walking foot and I do love Baptist fans! Did you use a frixion pen? Thanks for the link, too!

  2. Pretty fans! I too would not have thought to sew fans using a walking foot. Thanks for the pictures.

  3. I like that arm thing you have on your machine. I was trying to look online for one that might fit my machine. What they heck are those things called?

  4. Awesome. I need to try this. I get tops finished, basted and ready to quilt and then Im paralyzed, lol. I have several things that need to be quilted but my machine gets finicky during FMQ so I'm always too scared to start!