Quilt-A-Long Week 2: Stabilize, Mark and Begin Stitching

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy

Good Morning, Quilters!

It’s time to begin our Second Annual Mystery Quilt-a-Long!

Read all of the instructions first.

If necessary, draw the composition on notebook paper first.


Last week I asked you to collect a fat quarter of solid fabric in aqua, blue or red and a backing fabric in a nautical theme and create a quilt sandwich with your choice of batting.

I also asked you to mark a rectangle…  here is where the change comes in…DON’T MARK YOUR FABRIC YET!

I’ve re-written the tutorial to allow more room for error….let’s call it “wiggle room”.

We are going to do the marking together.

(If you have already marked your fabric…just follow along, you will just make a small change at the end…


In my first Craftsy video, Divide and Conquer-Creative Machine Quilting, we learned six compositional styles to divide quilts or blocks into manageable sizes for quilting.

This quilt is a Horizontal Composition.

The basic layout is below:

We will stitch 14 rows of motifs.

Each of the rows are 1 inch apart except Row 8 is 4 inches and Row 2 is 2 inches.

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy

Drawing the OUTLINE–bottom and sides only:

Draw the following lines onto your fabric:

  1. Draw a line 1-1/2 inch above the bottom edge of your fabric.
  2. Draw the left side line 1-1/4 inch in from the left edge of the fabric.
  3. Draw the right side line 1-1/4 inch in from the right edge of the fabric.
  4. The top line will be added as we draw the quilting lines.

NOTE-The Width of the quilt is not important.

The distance between the two sidelines will be around 15-1/2 inches…don’t fuss if it’s smaller or larger.

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy

Continue Drawing (The Quilting Spaces)

Working from the bottom line, add the lines following the chart.

Use a one inch stencil or any ruler and your favorite marking pen-(I like chalk)

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy

Your top line should be around 2 inches below the top edge of the fabric.  (Mine was 2-1/2 inches…but if the fabric was only 21 inches–yours may be smaller)

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy



Once the quilt is marked, use a matching color thread to stitch the outlines.  This stabilizes the quilt.

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy

To stabilize your quilt, stitch each long, vertical border–knotting off in between.

Stitching long, straight lines are difficult to free motion quilt–

Either add a walking foot and straight line stitch or stitch a slightly wavy line...(that’s what I always do!)

Sailboat Sampler, Lori KennedyAfter stitching both  vertical borders…

Sailboat Sampler, Lori KennedyStitch the short, horizontal borders.

NOTE-I don’t recommend that you stitch all the way around in one path around the rectangle as this will cause the layers to twist and create ripples in the quilting–trust me, I know these things….

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy


Choose a decorative thread in a contrasting color.  I recommend a heavier weight thread — 30 or 40 wt in Rayon, cotton or polyester.

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy

In Row One and Row Fourteen-Stitch Beginner Loops

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy

Stitch Row One Loops downward

and Row 14- Upward Loops.

Sailboat Sampler, Lori Kennedy


  1. Press a fat quarter quilt sandwich.
  2. Mark the sidelines and bottom line.
  3. Mark the quilting lines, creating the top line.
  4. Stabilize the quilt by stitching the sides then the top and bottom using matching thread.
  5. Stitch Beginner Loops in Row 1 and Row 14.
  6. Place your right hand on your left shoulder.  Pat, pat, pat…Cheers!


Don’t forget to enter Craftsy’s Giveaway contest to win my second class, Creative Free Motion Techniques:  From Doodle to Quilt.

The Winner will be announced on Monday, April 11 when the class goes “live”!

Happy Quilting!


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  This blog contains affiliate links.  Thanks!


29 thoughts on “Quilt-A-Long Week 2: Stabilize, Mark and Begin Stitching

  1. Hi!!! I’m still in TX and am planning a workshop here (Killer Bees quilt group) next winter season. Thought I would encourage the gals to “jump in” to your QAL for some great practice, so shared your link to the group’s (closed) Fb site. Your teaching is so inspiring and motivating………LUV!!!!!!! Hugs………..

  2. Had a lot of fun preparing my quilt sandwich and stitching my first two lines of loops! Thank you for sharing this lovely QAL…. it has fallen at just the right time as I have just gained a little bit more confidence in my FMQ after practising hard since the beginning of the year…. new year’s resolution! Christine

  3. At the top you said this was a Horizontal composition, but the way the lines are drawn on your fabric, it looks more vertical to me? which side is the 18″ and which is th 21/22″ fabric?

  4. Hi. I am new to your blog so thought the mystery QAL would be a good place to start. Excellent instructions except that it took me a while to realize which edge of the fabric you meant to be the sides and which the top and bottom. I ended up making the wrong choice and having to turn and remark. The reason for the confusion is that I am Australian and our fat quarters are a slightly different size, being half a meter by half the fabric width. Perhaps for those of us in the metric world you could just state whether the shelved he is the side or the bottom of the piece. I am looking forward to the next installment. Thanks

  5. Thanks, Lori. I am curious though about where to get the stencil you show for making the lines. It would make the marking faster.

  6. I got the sandwich done 🙂 and marked and stitched the first two rows! Very fun. The batting I’m using is a leftover, so a bit wavy, but the free motion will likely beat it into submission hopefully. Looking forward to the next step 🙂

  7. the outline stitching in matching thread, is that done with the Free Motion Foot, or is that just using the “regular” foot and kind of doing a serpentine ? Thanks! 🙂

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  9. As we’re doing the quilting with the light colored thread, should we be using bobbin thread that matches the top thread or the back of our quilt sandwich?

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  11. A family emergency stopped me in my tracks 3 weeks ago. I finally tried my beginner loops. Takes me back to third grade and learning cursive – complete with tongue sticking out. Have to remember to breathe.

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