This post is about how I free-motion quilted my new Tokyo Subway Map quilt on my domestic sewing machine.
The quilting is based on a grid. Because the top of the Tokyo Subway Map quilt is made entirely out of little squares, it was easy to quilt this pattern without having to draw a grid onto the quilt first. This quilting design would also be great for a Stamp Collection quilt, the Snapshots quilt in The Practical Guide to Patchwork, or any other quilt based on a grid of small squares. The pattern can be sized up or down according to your preference, but keep in mind that free-motion quilting the curves will likely become more difficult as the squares in the grid get bigger.
For the sample I'm going to show you today, I drew a 2" x 2" grid using a water soluble marker.
I started at the bottom right corner of one of the center columns of squares, drew up my bobbin thread and made a knot.
I then stitched a quarter circle (half of one of the orange peel segments) up to the top left corner of the square.
After than, I continued stitching quarter circles back and forth as shown in the above photo, until I reached the top of the column, pulling the quilt sandwich toward me as I worked.
Once I reached the top of the column, I rotated the quilt sandwich 180° and, once again, started stitching quarter circles back and forth as I pulled the quilt sandwich toward me.
As I worked, I made sure that the quarter circles I was stitching in each square were the mirror image of the ones that were already there, which created a finished orange peel segment in each square.
Once I reached the top of the column, I once again rotated the quilt sandwich 180° and started stitching more quarter circles into the next column.
As I worked, I made sure that the orange peel segments in adjacent rows were the mirror image of one another, so that the points would meet in groups of 4, creating a secondary circle pattern (as opposed to the zig-zag pattern that would result if each column were identical).
I continued stitching quarter circles back and forth up each column until the entire quit sandwich was covered.
On my small sample, it was easy to work along the entire length of each column before moving on to the next one. On a large quilt like my 80" x 80" Tokyo Subway Map you may find it easier to mentally divide the quilt into sections (e.g. quadrants, 16 blocks, etc.) and do the quilting in each smaller area before moving onto the next.
Don't get too worried about the quarter circles being perfect. If you look closely at my quilting, you can see that some of my curves are less than perfect, but having the same repeating pattern over the entire quilt still looks harmonious.
Note: This pattern is similar to my dogwood quilting, which you can read about here.