Free Motion Quilting Striped Blocks

A customer brought me a quilt made from striped fabric.  What design to quilt over all those lines? I used a variety of motifs when free motion quilting striped blocks. I was worried that the navy blue thread would be overpowering, but from across the room it blends nicely.

free motion quilting striped blocks

Echo Stitch around Applique

In the corners of the quilt, the customer placed applique leaf clusters that she had drawn herself.  Sometimes applique need some stitching on top as well, but these shapes were small enough to do without and the customer preferred the puffy look, so I just echoed around the stems and leaves, and added some wavy lines in the background.

echo stitching around applique

Free Motion Quilting Striped Blocks

Then I faced the challenge of choosing a motif for the striped blocks.  I wanted to use several designs, so I started with basic spirals following the lines in the fabric.

free motion quilting striped blocks

I embellished a bit with a loopy meander that spiraled to the center.

free motion quilting loops

Free Motion Quilting Plus Shapes

Some of the striped blocks were turned so that the fabric stripes formed a plus instead of a square.  I followed the lines in these sections and ended up with a quarter square design.

free motion quilting plus shape

I used my favorite Flame Flower too (read more about this design here)

flame flower on stripes

Free Motion Quilting Pebbles

The pebble block had me worried since it is very bold quilting in contrasting thread.

fmq spikes and pebbles

I created a new spiral variation with spiky lines as shown in the green block at the top of the photo.

I wanted to lighten the pebble design so I spread it out into single lines, which I call Infinity.

free motion quilting pebbles

Once you start free motion quilting, you will be surprised at all the variations.  Combine shapes, such as loops, with the basic form of a square or spiral to see what new designs you can create!

Free Motion Monday – Designs for Log Cabin Blocks

A customer brought me a quilt with the Cactus Wreath pattern so I needed to think of quilting designs for log cabin blocks.  I decided to use Flame Flowers in the sections with points, and clusters of pebbles in the flowers.  For the background fill I chose a curvy meander.  For the main portion of the wreath, I knew I wanted another curved design to provide balance for all the straight lines and angles in the piecing.  I selected Scallop Hills as something a little different to fill this space.

First, Choose Thread Colors

One of the challenges with free motion quilting is thread choice.  Should I match the fabric or draw attention to a contrasting color?  Is there a single shade that could blend enough with all the fabrics or will I need to change colors? My customer’s quilt has three distinct colors: teal, magenta and white.  I auditioned various shades of teal and pinks and purples, but with the batik fabrics, a single shade just didn’t work.  So, I am using a light teal, dusty rose and eggshell white.Cactus Wreath pattern from Cozy Quilts

Flame Flowers and Pebbles in the Blossom Block

I matched the thread colors to the fabrics in the Blossoms.

cactus blossom quilting plan quilting designs for log cabin blocks

Learn my method for stitching a flame flower quilting design.

Pebbles fit into a variety of shapes.  See more quilted pebbles.

Background Fill Quilting Designs

I chose the curvy meander for the background to continue the theme of using curves to offset the angles in the piecing.  Meandering quilting designs also help move around the odd background spaces without having to stop and start again.  See my filler designs from the Arizona Flag quilt for more detail on meandering.

scallop hills sketch scallop hills on a quilt

Scallop Hills: quilting designs for log cabin blocks

Scallop Hills are easy to stitch and they fit into the angles of a log cabin block surprisingly well.  Start with a row of hills across your quilt block.  When you reach the end, backtrack to the middle of the last hill and begin your next row by bouncing off the middle of each hill.  If your rows of hills end at the edge of a block, you can hide your travel stitches in the seam line and start with either a full or half-hill depending on where you left off in the previous row.

scallop hills free motion quilting design

Since my customer mixed the magenta and teal fabrics in this log cabin wreath design, I could not match each individual fabric.  I decided to stitch the Scallop Hills in both dusty rose and teal thread, alternating by quadrant.  Of course, the design is more visible on the fabrics with contrasting thread, but the overall texture complements the quilt pattern quite nicely.

Any of these designs could be used on log cabin blocks.  What will you stitch today?

Free Motion Monday – A BIG Daisy

Quilts have many purposes…to provide comfort and warmth, a gift on a special occasion or as a piece of art.  One goal of free motion quilting is to invite the viewer to take a second look.  Designs don’t have to be intricate, although some talented quilters can stitch fabulous designs that are very detailed pictures.Colorblock Flower

This is “Colorblock Flower,” a quilt I made in 2009.  I used the colorful blocks as the background for a large daisy motif.  It was a joy to stand near this quilt as it hung in my guild’s show and hear people exclaim as they recognized the quilted image in addition to the bright colors and bold shape of the quilt blocks.

Quilt a daisy with a pebble center and echoed petals.

petals and pebbles

I chose thread that fit with the daisy theme – yellow petals with a purple center.  The quilting shows up nicely on the pieced quilt back.

colorblock flower back

The big daisy did not completely fill the quilt, so I added a meandering leaf in green thread to carry the design to the edge of the quilt.

meandering leaf

Three simple designs combine to make one BIG daisy an unexpected surprise in the Colorblock Flower quilt.

Quilt some pebbles, petals and leaves for a hidden garden in your next project.

Step 1.  Define the space for the center.

Step 2. Add pebbles by stitching a circle.  Continue on top of the circle halfway around again before branching off for the next pebble.

Step 3. Add five or six petals around the center of your flower.

pebble daisy tutorial

Step 4.  Echo inside each petal.

Step 5.  Fill the background with meandering leaves.  The leaf shape is a wider version of the flame design. (See my Flame Flowers here.)

Share your garden on the True Blue Quilts Facebook page or Instagram with #Mayisforflowerquilts