[ Free Motion Quilting Designs ]

Free Motion Monday – Sometimes, simple is best

Quilting involves a lot of decisions, from fabrics to pattern choices, and finally the quilting design.  If you are sending your top to someone else for the quilting, you should have a discussion about the type of design you want.  A simple quilting design may be more appropriate than heirloom quilting featuring dense, intricate designs.

I made this Snowball I-Spy quilt for my daughter when she was about three years old.  It is quilted with a basic crosshatch and spirals in the borders.

To stitch the crosshatch with minimal starts and stops on a longarm, plan your lines in a V pattern.  Plan on traveling in the seamlines on the edges of the pattern and you may be able to complete the whole row in one pass.

crosshatch quilting 1crosshatch quilting 2crosshatch quilting 3Spirals are an easy design to use in the border of your quilt.  You can add interest by alternating the direction of the spiral…curve to the right on the first spiral, then curve to the left on the next one.  In the Snowball quilt, I alternated direction along the top and bottom borders with wavy lines in between.

quilted spirals

Here is a comparison of the two options when quilting spirals:

Two options for quilting spirals

Many years later, my daughter still enjoys her Snowball I-Spy quilt.  The simple designs of crosshatch and spirals were subtle interesting additions that let the conversation prints take center stage.


Some things to consider three things when choosing a quilting design:

1. Who is using the quilt?

A quilt destined for a child’s bed or the family sofa will likely be washed more frequently than the artistic piece for the guild show. A simple design will be just as effective and stand up to more activity.

2. What elements of the quilt do you want to highlight?

If the fabric is the main feature, consider a simple design.  Use intricate free motion quilting in the negative spaces of a quilt where they can be properly admired.

3. How much time and money do you have to spend on the quilting?

Heirloom quilting takes more time and generally costs more if you are hiring a professional quilter.  Choose the simple yet beautiful designs if you have a tight deadline and/or budget.

Simple free motion quilting can be the perfect finishing touch for your next project.  Enjoy, Experiment, and Excel while you quilt!



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Longarm Quilter, Pattern Designer, Teacher


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