February 10, 2011

I’m so glad many of you enjoyed “Leah Day’s 365 Days of Free Motion Designs”. She has really inspired me!

I mentioned in Monday’s post that I find the quilting process to be so much more fun if I’m quilting a free mo design I like doing. I have many “favorites” (and there are so many left to try :-), but so far the design I enjoy the most is spirals. The secret to good spirals is:

#1 – Practice!

#2 – Make them fun sized! So often we think everything has to be “stipplelike” tiny. Most normal quilters don’t do projects that need tight and tiny designs and making your designs a bit more open often yields a more pleasing effect.

#3 – Leave yourself an out! Begin by starting a circle the size of a quarter or even a half dollar. As you spiral in make sure you leave the channel opening double the size you want the actual channel to be.

#4 – Circle out down the center of the channel opening and once you reach the “exit”, continue around the outside until you feel like branching off and starting another spiral.

#5 – Be careful. With a little practice these can become addictive!

For those of you in Wisconsin; next Saturday, February19, I’ll be teaching Beyond Meandering for the Hustisford Community Ed Department. Hustisford is a small town on Hwy. 60, north of Watertown. This is a workshop for quilters who have tried a bit of free motion quilting and are already tired of stippling or meandering. There are so many fun designs to try and we’ll play with a bunch! The class will run from 9 – 3 at Hustisford High School. To sign up please contact Cindy Fitzsimmons at 920-349-3261 ext. 228 or ce@hustisford.K-12.wi.us. For more information feel free to contact me. Thanks and happy quilting :-)!


  1. Love the fluidity of these S’s! Is that S for Someday Summer? Let’s hope so!

  2. This isn’t a pattern i have tried, but I will. The tip about the opening size is a great one.

  3. I love free motion quilting and do use the design that you show us here. I was thinking of using it on the irish chain that is pieced but not quilted from our Ireland trip. You may be familiar with the “Dogs Gone Wild” block of the month quilt of a few years ago with Roberta Williams. I finished quilting the piece in December and tried a lot of different free motion designs on the background, of which there was quite a bit. Since the piece has a sewing machine in the center I will hang it in my sewing room, thus can use it as a sampler for quilt designs and just look up when I can’t figure out which one to use on a piece.

  4. Another informative post Chris. Thanks!

  5. Chris,
    I am glad you found the machine quilting designs inspirational. I post a picture of 4 or 5 of the designs in my quilt room and try them out for a week or two with whatever I am working on. Happy quilting.

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