Diagonal Cross-hatch Quilting on a Longarm {Tips}

Based on responses to my post earlier this week about my Local Fair, a few things became obvious:

  1. Quilters are visual!
  2. Adding more description (using images, photos, or pictures) on the tips I learned while quilting a diagonal cross-hatch on my longarm on Wayward Transparency would be helpful.

I am certainly no exception to being visual. I actually have a very hard time learning verbally: I learn best doing things hands-on and visually. So, it didn’t take much to nudge me to create this more visual representation for tips.

Note that this really is only applicable to longarm quilting and is something that domestic quilting does not require!

There are two main questions to consider and work through if you want to create a diagonal cross-hatch quilting motif on a longarm:

  • Is your backing big enough?
  • Is your batting big enough?
Backing Size

Backing Size

The first question to address is the backing size that will be needed when doing a diagonal crosshatch on a longarm. The quilt top will be loaded at a 45-degree angle so that the quilting will be done horizontally on the first pass, then the quilt will be re-loaded on the longarm for the second pass of horizontal quilting. This means that the backing needs to be big enough to accommodate the rotated quilt top.

In this example (shown above), I am using a 6″ square to represent the quilt top and a 10″ square to represent the quilt backing. To calculate how large your backing needs to be, you would use the Pythagorean theorem:

backing = Square root ((quilt width)^squared + (quilt length)^squared)) + 8″

Note that for a 45″ square quilt top, that means a quilt backing of 72″, and for a 72″ square quilt top, that means a quilt backing of 110″!

Backing - Option 1

Backing – Option 1

Once you have your backing prepared, the next topic to consider is the size of your batting. If you have wide enough batting, the easiest approach would be to use batting that is just a bit smaller than the backing fabric, like the 9″ square batting shown in the example above.

Remembering back to needing a 110″ square backing for a 72″ square quilt top, it is pretty impractical to use a batting that is 108″ square for only a 72″ square quilt top.

Backing - Option 2 (Partial Solution)

Backing – Option 2 (Partial Solution)

The next option would be to use the normal size of batting for the quilt top and rotate the quilt top and batting on the quilt backing. This is what I did when I did my first pass of quilting for Wayward Transparency, and I quickly learned that this is only a partial solution to what is needed.

As the quilt is advanced on the long arm, the triangular areas without a quilt top and batting do not have as much material, and it is very easy for the quilt to be distorted as the quilt is advanced. Therefore, I learned and recommend this tip:

Backing - Option 2

Backing – Option 2

Using scrap batting, fill in the triangular space where there is no quilt top and batting, as illustrated above. Depending on the size of the quilt top, you will also need to add scrap batting as you advance the quilt beyond the halfway point, the image above is to show the difference between not having batting in the triangular spaces.

By placing scrap batting in the corners, the quilt will advance evenly.

Cross-hatch Quilting

Cross-hatch Quilting

Another advantage to using scrap batting in the triangular corners is that when you unload the quilt and rotate it 90 degrees to do the second pass of horizontal quilting, you simply insert the same scrap batting in the corners.

I hope this visual representation helps. Be sure to share any other tips and tricks you have learned about cross-hatch quilting on a longarm in the comments!

12 thoughts on “Diagonal Cross-hatch Quilting on a Longarm {Tips}

  1. Cindy Pieters says:

    I agree most quilters are visual. Nothing like a good picture to help get a persons mind around something new.

  2. Andrea_R says:

    I had a queen size to do diagonal cross hatching so it was too large to turn like this. I did a LOT of marking and double checking with rulers, and also ruler work when it was loaded.

    Basically you do the lines diagonally with a ruler as “zig zags” across the top. The next row butts up to the points and you can tell if you look close. My fabric helped hide this a bit.

  3. A very clear and concise tutorial. Those scrap battings in the blank parts really help the backing from flopping around. Your Wayward quilt is beautifully quilted.

  4. Patty says:

    Great tutorial. I just did my second quilt with a diagonal straight line on my domestic. I really like the way it looks.

  5. Very informative tutuorial – again wishing I had a longarm. It really is nice to have these hints for all of us though.

  6. Liz says:

    Thanks for the pictures! You’re so nice to take time out to do that!

  7. Excellent tutorial, very clear! This will be perfect for the next Tips and Tutorials Festival 🙂

  8. The visuals are so helpful! Great tutorial!

  9. Lisa says:

    I’m not a long arm quilter but this is interesting.

  10. Sylvia says:

    Thanks for sharing! So far I keep chickening out on loading diagonally and just use rulers, but it’s mostly been for zigzag designs where that is more workable than for a crosshatch!

  11. Elizabeth E. says:

    Now your notes from your quilting experience the other day make sense. Thanks for this great explanation for those who use long arm machines–I’m sure many will find it helpful!

  12. I’ve thought about doing it this way but the size of the corner triangles always put me off. I recently did a diagonal cross hatch and just went back and forth, advancing slowly. If you think of overlapping Ws that’s kind of how I did it. Glad this worked for you, and maybe I’ll try it myself sometime.

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