Following-the-line-quilting (free-motion, and not walking foot) mainly comprises of quilting according to a set design, be it custom or from a stencil. This technique is actually more difficult than one would think. Though “on the spot” design maneuver is not necessary as in the case of unmarked quilting, precision is important in following-the-the-line quilting. And that means skill is required to move your quilt sandwich just right to navigate a curl, a curve or whatever is on the design.
1. Stitch slow. Normally a marked motif is meant to stand out, and so the less snags and jerks in the stitches the better the quilting looks. Stitching slowly helps me see where I am going next better, and reduce the chance of the snags and jerks, thus improving the overall stitch quality.
2. I also like to know how I would stitch the marked motif from start to finish prior to stitch, even if I have to take out the pencil and paper and experiment the best way to tackle the motif — much like how I would map out ahead of time how to drive to and back from a place.
3. Don’t be afraid to use the seam ripper when you don’t think you have put forth your best foot in stitching the motif. Take out the stitches and try again! Trust me, I am speaking from experience! :)
4. Use good quality threads – you’ve got to see for yourself the difference threads make on your stitches if you haven’t already!