Easy Longarm Piano Keys
Piano key quilting is a standard motif in the longarm world. I recently wanted to do a piano key motif for the background of a mandala quilt. But piano keys are usually done with ruler work and I wasn't interested in doing that. I needed something faster. I also didn't want to have to tie off every line where it hit the center medallion. I needed to start and stop the line off the quilt. Here's what I came up with.
A ribbon line let me start and stop off the end of the quilt and I didn't need to do any ruler work but I did need guidelines.
I use Crayola Washable Markers on my quilt. So far I haven't had any problems with that. I started in the middle of the edge of my quilt. In my case it was the top of my mandala star. I marked only one edge of the quilt and my width was the width of a ruler I had close by. Next I needed to mark my lines all the way across the quilt.
After unsuccessfully trying to make a couple of straight lines across the quilt I realized that I had the best tool for that in my longarm. I had channel locks! Without stitching I held the Crayola Washable Marker tight to the needle bar, I set the channel lock and then moved the machine across the full width of the quilt. I lifted the marker a bit over the mandala and pressed it down on the other side. It took just a couple of minutes to mark enough lines to quilt before rolling the quilt forward. At the end of the row, unlock the channel lock, bring the sewing head back to the starting side and line up the next line.
Stitch from the edge of the fabric to the center motif with a wavy line. Don't tie off. Just echo the wavy line back to the edge to make a pretty ribbon.