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Quilt Marking Hack: Using Channel Locks on a Longarm

Marking a quilt can take a lot of time but in a lot of situations, I find it's worth the it. Here's a trick to make it easier. Links in this post help support support my small business.

Step 1: Start by loading your quilt as squarely as possible. Then decide how far apart you want your marks. Use a ruler along each side of the quilt top to mark the desired distances.

Step 2: With the cap off, use painters tape to tape your marking pen to the needle bar of your machine. The tip of the pen should be lightly touching the quilt top. I take the thread out of my needle and the lower thread guides so it doesn't get stuck in the tape. I wrap the loose end of my thread around the squishy part of my handle a few times to keep it out of the way.

Step 3: Line up the tip of the marking pen with your first mark and put the needle down to keep the marking pen in the right place.

Step 4: Engage the appropriate channel lock for the direction you want to mark, lift the needle, and move your machine to mark!

Repeat by disengaging the channel lock, move the marking pen to the next mark, needle down if needed while you engage the channel lock, needle up, and mark! Makes perfectly square marks pretty quickly!

Isn't that little astronaut so cute! I used this marking technique to quilt the sample quilt for this quilt kit. It's my Tumbling Blocks pattern in this super soft flannel called Blast Off! by Shawn Wallace at Riley Blake Designs.

To see this technique in action, watch a short video here. Let me know what you think in the comments! How will you use this technique?

Happy Quilting!




Hi! I'm Jen, a quilt pattern designer and teacher. I founded Snapdragon Quilting in the spring of 2022 in memory of my beloved Grandma Louise, a skilled seamstress and crafter who grew beautiful snapdragons in her garden. I've been sewing for as long as I can remember and began passionately crafting quilts of my own creation in 2006. My quilt patterns bring bold and vibrant designs that blend traditional piecing methods with contemporary techniques. I love to play with color and contrast so you'll find lots of layout and color options in my patterns. Whether you're new to quilting or making your 100th quilt, you're in the right place, because here at Snapdragon Quilting, quilt patterns make sense. 

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