Helpful Tool for Machine Quilting

I teach Beginning Free Motion Quilting classes for the Sewing Expo. I have for 11 years. Probably at least 5-6 dozen times! I like to introduce a variety of tools and helps. For a few years I offered some printed panels developed by Holis Turnbow for Benartex Fabrics. The panels are no longer in print, so I began looking for other inspiration. As you can see in the next photo, a lot of free motion quilting was generated to transform this hand embroidered crib sheet into a sweet little blanket for my granddaughter! I just wanted to fill in all that white space.

Hand embroidered, machine quilted crib sheet
Here is one 15" square of that pre-printed panel by Holis. You just follow the lines. The lines will wash off after you're finished. But you have to ignore the folds - no ironing or you will make those blue lines permanent!

I had a few of those fabrics leftover from my classes and I joined them with some blue strips and quilted them this way:

Printed panel strips quilted, but not soaked to remove blue lines
I finished the quilting, soaked away the blue lines and trimmed up the sides for binding. What do you think?

Scraps of Holis Turnbow's machine quilting panels
Another panel I discovered is by Jane Hauprich. She is a master quilter and an educator for Handi Quilter. She has developed several panels for practice and she sent me one in white and one in black. I decided to test-drive the white one.

Jane Hauprich's panel with blue lines to follow
There are a lot of different designs there! It took me awhile to work through this one. I wasn't very good. I'm better without any lines or stencils or markings. When I have to follow lines, I can't follow the lines (does that make sense?)

I made the mistake of using blue thread! Then you can really see where I went outside the lines. I changed thread on the outer rows (to cream) and then added my own free motion designs in the very outside border.

Jane's practice panel before soaking in water
I soaked it and pulled the backing around to the front for binding. What do you think?

This is a real treasure of stitches. You can see them even better in the image from Jane's website:

Jane Hauprich's practice machine quilting panel
Here is a short descriptive from her website:

Skill Builder Pre-Printed Whole Cloth available in black or white.
Use this fabulous piece to practice your free motion quilting.  You can use this on a domestic machine, longarm machine or even hand-stitch if you would like.  The lines are water soluble.  There are directions inside so that you can use this over and over again to practice, or use it one time.  This piece measures approx. 20” x 20” and comes in black or white fabric.

$12 each.

Visit her store: Stitch by Stitch Custom Quilting

I'm off to Texas (Dallas area) to teach this weekend. One of my classes is Free Motion Quilting. I am taking these two new samples. I have found that my students seem to breathe a sigh of relief when they can have lines to follow. That's why I bring each of them a stencil. And then they can see if indeed they can follow the lines!


  1. I have a hard time following lines on my Avante as well. Much better with a ruler or make it up freehand. lol

  2. I don't do very well with following lines either! Though, on certain projects I do mark and TRY to follow the lines. I do love ruler work though and have all the HQ rulers as my LQS had a ruler of the month club for a few years. I also love doing custom quilting with my Pro-Stitcher, as well as edge to edge with it! Thanks for sharing your findings! I think your samples look really good!

  3. Hi Debby! Very interesting - I didn't know preprinted pieces existed. I can sometimes follow lines, like if I Pounce a stencil in a border. I'm able to follow that around without an issue, usually. I think I would have issues following the center lines . . . but it sounds like a fun exercise in strengthening those skills. Have fun teaching your class! ~smile~ Roseanne


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