Thread Talk from My Sewing Machine #53

thread-talk1Lookie here, cross-hatching (with the hand quilted look) is vogue!

article-2416433-1BB8BC06000005DC-237_634x778[image source: Daily Mail UK news article]

Of course, cross-hatching is not new to us quilters.  Many traditional and antique quilts were quilted cross-hatch.  Though simple, cross-hatching gives the look of order and textured elegance that withstands the test of time.

Following you see cross-hatching on my own quilts, quilted anywhere between 1/4″ to 2″ apart, straight and curved.

Ivory Spring, Quiltmaker’s Quilting & Embroidery (Summer 2008):

 Quilting Around the Pieced Block, Quilter’s World (February 2011):


Quilting Around the Applique Block (Quilters World, April 2011):


Thanksgiving Topper (Quilters World, October 2011):

Thanksgiving Topper3

Kitty Collage (Quilting & Embroidery, Spring 2007):

Farm Crossing, publish pending:


I have learned a few things about cross-hatch quilting using my domestic machine:

1.  Make sure the lines are marked as accurately as possible for maximum visual effect.  This it the part I tend to not do a good job because all I want to do is get to the quilting part.  But the time invested in marking is always time well spent.

2.  The effects of cross-hatching 1/4″ and 1″ are vastly different.

3.  I love to use wool/silk batting for dense cross-hatching because the individual diamonds just POP!

4.  For cross-hatching far apart, I think I still prefer to use a cotton blend (80/20) because cross-hatching on silk/wool batting looks a bit “loose” and unkempt to me.  Don’t get me wrong, the cross-hatching on silk/wool batting doesn’t look bad at all.  It is just a matter of personal preference.

5.  Cross-hatching over applique pieces gives a rather soothing and blended look.  I like it.  Don’t get me started on cross-hatching on a whole cloth quilt – the effect is simply divine!

6.  I can quilt straight lines  (almost!) free-motion, but I still like to use my walking foot to quilt straight lines because I demand the look of uniformity when I quilt straight lines.  That makes the needle down function come in really handy!

7.  When I quilt cross-hatches, I try to pin my quilt as close as possible in the basting process.  Free-motion quilting is great to quilt down any slack on the quilt top if a quilt isn’t properly basted, but not so when I quilt straight lines with my walking foot.  I also starch press my quilt top pretty well before I baste when I know I will be doing cross-hatching.

Anyway, those are a few tips and tricks in my quilting toolbox concerning cross-hatching.  I would love to hear your additional tips for cross-hatching!

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you are enjoying your week.

19 thoughts on “Thread Talk from My Sewing Machine #53

  1. Wendy your cross hatching is awesome. I always struggle with “where” to use it… But maybe that comes with time and trial and error. It’s funny you post about cross hatching tonight though as I just finished crosshatch ing the exterior of a small sling for my daughter. I usually FMQ but was lazy and used my walking foot (with the outside edge of foot as my width)… No additional tips from me but sure always learning from your blog? Thank you!

  2. As my daughter use to say when she was small: “Oh my doodness” ! ! !
    I’m still in awe of your beautiful quilting and wish I had a tenth of your
    skill !!! Gail

  3. Cross-hatching is always a winner in my book. Yours is beautiful. I really like your gently curved cross-hatching. Love the top, it looks very elegant. I have been successful marking lines every so often and then using the edge of my walking foot for guidance along the previously stitched line. By marking the lines every couple of inches, if I tend to go astray, the marking helps me get back on the straight track.

  4. Thank you very much for sharing your experiences. I am a bit scared of cross hatching and only tried it once when I ended up with puckers. I will try your starching idea next time. I always starched my fabric before piecing but I suppose it gets soft from handling when putting the top together. Something I had not thought of before. Thanks again.

  5. Your quilting is just beautiful! I am in awe of your from the 2008 article. Amazing work. I think always the piecework is most important, then I see your beautiful quilting and think; the heck with the piecework! You work inspires me.

  6. Thank you for this article on cross-hatching. I always thought I was taking the “easy way” out on my quilts. I always cross-hatch because I haven’t yet sat down to try free motion. That’s next on my list…now that I feel ever so much better about cross-hatching:) Thanks for making my day!

  7. Yes, like Vickie, I thought that quilting a grid would be easy — until I tried it and got wobbly crooked ickiness and agony instead of the loveliness in your quilt photos!


    1. At what point do you mark quilting designs in general, or cross-hatched designs in particular? What marking utensil(s) do you use? I have found it nearly impossible to mark straight lines on a quilt top once it has been layered and basted, but so many of the marking pens and chalk pencils rub off or disappear too fast for me to get the whole thing quilted before the lines are gone.

    2. When you combine cross-hatching with other designs in your quilts, in what order do you do the quilting? I know you probably anchor along block seamlines first, but then do you go straight to your quilted grids or do you do things like feathers and spiral motifs first and then finish up with the grids? And does the size of the grid you’re quilting factor into this decision at all?

    3. Slightly off-topic, but you did mention batting… I’ve been trying to make 5/8″ stuffed berries for hand applique using Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circle templates and putting a little circle of batting in before I run the gathering stitch and starch and press the edges. I’ve been using scraps of the Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting because that’s the first thing I grabbed, but my berries aren’t coming out as nicely as I want them to and I wondered if it’s because my batting is so wispy and doesn’t stay in a distinct circle shape when I cut it out. Do you ever do little stuffed circles on your applique quilts with this method and, if so, which batting do you recommend for this technique?

  8. I agree with you Wendy – cross-hatching is elegant, no matter how you look at it! My favourite is done on a 1/2″ scale, but I think that I just might have to try the 1/4″ now… and yes, basting is important! Learned that the hard way LOL
    Thanks for sharing your expertise, yet again – you’re the BEST!

  9. I’m always confused about whether to stitch all in one direction or alternate each row? I cross-hatched on diagonal on a baby quilt recently, stitching in the opposite direction on each row, and it ended up with puckers. Apparently that tends to happen more when stitching across the bias.

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