I had a reader ask me about straight line quilting the other day and I wanted to open it up for discussion here, if you all don't mind. I've quilted 3 quilts this year with straight line quilting, and it has mostly been challenging for me because of shifting problems. I did a baby quilt with horizontal and vertical straight lines on my new Janome and had significant shifting. I quilted my watercolor quilt on my 80s-era Viking but on the diagonal and the shifting was minimal. And this 9-patch, that I'm almost finished quilting, was quilted first diagonally and then horizontally and vertically, and I'm having shifting problems with some of the non-diagonal quilting lines. (I'm quilting it on the Viking.)
I feel like I understand why it works better on the diagonal because of the way fabric behaves and stretches and shifts on the bias, but it seems like lots of quilters do straight line quilting with the fabric grain that doesn't distort or shift the quilt layers, and I'd love to figure this mystery out and improve my straight line quilting skills.
So, my question is, if you are successful at straight line quilting, how do you do it? Do you use a special basting technique, special sewing machine settings, special sewing machine, period? Or is it something else I'm not thinking of? I would love to hear your tips and suggestions for successful straight-line machine quilting, especially if you can do it without the layers shifting!
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