Free Motion Monday – Follow the Fabric

Where do you find inspiration for your free motion quilting?  If the quilt contains classic blocks or soft colors, traditional feathers add a touch of elegance.  If there are busy, bold prints then the quilting details may not be noticeable so a simple meander might be the best choice.  And sometimes, you can follow the designs in the fabric itself to create gorgeous texture and whimsical patterns.

applique lantern quilt top

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A customer brought me a quilt with a variety of prints and said a pantograph (edge to edge design) would be fine.  I looked over the pattern – Lanterns  – and decided it would be more fun, and perhaps less time consuming, to do a bunch of different free motion quilting filler designs.

Free Motion Quilting Design – Traveling Flames
free motion quilting, Tula Pink

One of the prints is a Tula Pink fabric from the Chipper line, featuring this super cute fox.  I outlined the fox, and filled around it with Traveling Flames.  Once you are comfortable with the basic S-curve that makes the center of the flame, you can widen the design a bit and travel in any direction.

free motion quilting traveling flames

Free Motion Quilting – Echoed Spirals

Several fabrics called out for spirals.  In the tree rings pictured above, I traveled between each circle and the spirals were contained with the print.  In this green section, the spirals are almost touching.

free motion quilting, echoed spiral

I stitched a basic spiral, then echoed around the outside 2-3 times before stitching the next spiral.

how to stitch an echoed spiral

Tip: Use the hopping foot as a visual reference to keep the echoes evenly spaced!

With practice, your eye will learn the “right” distance for echoes.  I aim for a quarter inch in most cases.

Do you have a quilt whose fabric is calling you and inspiring some free motion quilting?  Please share in the comments.

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