Home Quilting Free Movement Quilting: The Final Begin-Up Information

Free Movement Quilting: The Final Begin-Up Information


Is free-motion quilting one thing you stated you’d do “sometime”? Or perhaps you’ve given it a attempt to are searching for extra steerage? It doesn’t matter what introduced you right here at this time, you’ll discover a great deal of data and assist to enhance your abilities. With this information we’ll make it easier to develop your free-motion method, provide you with methods for fulfillment, and options to remain on observe when you meet a roadblock. Key classes embody:

Setting Up Your Workspace and Stitching Machine

Getting Began and Exploring Primary Quilting Designs

High 3 Important Fillers Video

We invite you to beat any free movement fears and be a part of us in studying how you can free-motion quilt. We’d wish to thank our wonderful sponsor, Gammill, for his or her assist in serving to us launch this free movement content material useful resource for you. Gammill educator Jodi Robinson is your host in our free video present in Lesson 4 (she’s utilizing the Gammill Imaginative and prescient 2.0 longarm). Test it out and uncover one other method Gammill helps you quilt confidently.

As with different areas of quilting, there are just a few vital steps you’ll take earlier than the quilting begins that may prevent time later. They embody having the suitable instruments shut at hand, figuring out your machine, and establishing your workspace.

First, we’ll focus on the precise instruments for free-motion quilting that you just’ll want shut by. We’ll suggest a few of our favorites, however as you discover, you’ll discover those that work finest for you.


Machine Quilting Gloves – These have a rubberized grip which helps you maintain onto cloth to maneuver it round, lowering arm fatigue. There are lots of types of gloves, so head over to the quilt store and take a look at on just a few to see which you want finest. That is an non-obligatory software however extremely really useful.


Quilting Slider Mat or Silicone Spray – Each merchandise are designed to cut back friction and create a clean floor to assist your quilt transfer simply. Slider mats (additionally referred to as glider mats) are a reusable sheet with a precut opening for feed canines that’s positioned in your machine mattress. Silicone spray is another choice that many quilters love as a result of you possibly can spray your machine mattress and surrounding onerous surfaces (akin to a desk) for a slick end. Attempt each and see what works for you!

Useful provides together with quilting gloves, slider, silicone spray, and clips.


Needles – Once you decide up provides, seize dimension 80/12 topstitch needles. These are longer, thinner, stronger needles that will help you get by way of your layers of cloth and batting. Many quilters use these for all elements of quilting, however are perfect for free-motion.


Thread – To make your stitches pop choose a heavier 40 weight thread on your prime, and a lighter 50 or 60 weight thread on your bobbin. Going lighter within the bobbin balances out the machine and can scale back the variety of occasions it’s important to refill the bobbin thread.


Marking Pens – Material marking pens allow you to draw pointers and designs in your quilt and assist construct confidence as you begin out. Disappearing ink or water-soluble pens work nicely for many quilters (strive just a few and see what you want). Simply bear in mind to not iron over these marks because it makes them tougher to take away.


Free Movement Foot – Find your free movement quilting foot and discover ways to set up it. In case your machine got here with a number of choices, we propose the open-toe foot (proven under on the left). It provides glorious visibility when you are quilting and is nice for every type of quilts (even these with uneven thicknesses).

Instance of two varieties of free movement quilting toes

These instruments will make studying dramatically simpler, and are small however worthwhile investments for any free-motion quilter.  

Lesson #2: Setting Up Your Workspace and Stitching Machine

Discover a spot the place you’ve got the perfect gentle to arrange. Eye pressure can pressure your entire physique so ensure that your workspace and quilt are nicely lit. In the event you want extra gentle, put the sunshine behind you and direct it over your shoulder and in your needle. Additionally, discover house the place there may be an prolonged floor round your machine for the quilt to sit down (akin to a kitchen desk).

Earlier than we get to the great things, be sure to know how you can use your machine in and out. It sounds apparent, however in case you are a bit rusty on the fundamentals, seize the machine’s handbook and spend just a few hours changing into an professional on threading, winding bobbins, putting in needles, and utilizing the primary options. It’s an excellent reminder that the extra you already know about your machine and instruments, the extra you’ll be capable to diagnose when one thing isn’t proper and repair it rapidly and transfer on.

To organize your machine for free-motion quilting:

Set up a contemporary needle, free movement quilting foot, and, when you’ve got it, a single gap throat plate (non-obligatory).

Change your machine settings to free-motion stitching mode and decrease the feed canines. In case your machine doesn’t have this feature, tape an index card over the feed canines to maintain them from slowing the motion of cloth.

Make sure that your bobbin is filled with thread and put in, after which use the slider mat or silicone spray on the machine mattress to make your floor clean and friction free.

Are You Quilting on a Longarm?

Up to now the steps for establishing your machine and making ready the quilt prime for free-motion quilting have centered on utilizing a house stitching machine. However what about utilizing a longarm? What are the variations?

Instruments: Needles, thread, and marking pens ought to nonetheless be in your record, however you received’t want to fret concerning the different instruments for grip or lowering friction.

Basting: When utilizing a longarm you may not have to baste your quilt. If the longarm is on a body, you possibly can skip this step, however test your instruction handbook.

Feed Canine: Longarm machines come prepared for free-motion quilting and should not have feed canines. No have to decrease them! You might be accountable for the stitching always.

Begin Stitching: Free-motion quilting on a house stitching machine or a stationary longarm machine requires transferring the quilt beneath the needle. Nevertheless, longarm quilting with a machine on a body means that you can transfer the machine and the quilt stays stationary.

If you should utilize a longarm or take a look at one out, it’s a beautiful possibility and enjoyable to discover!

Lesson #3: Getting Began and Exploring Primary Quilting Designs

Free movement quilting is about fluid motion and muscle reminiscence, so we’ll begin by practising designs on paper, after which transfer to the machine. On this lesson you’ll discover ways to use a design to refill an area, discover the perfect hand velocity, and be taught two primary motifs.

Example blocks showing what we'll cover in the loops and lines parts of this lesson.
Instance blocks displaying what we’ll cowl within the loops and contours elements of this lesson.

Getting Began with Loops

We’ll start with meandering loops, probably the greatest beginner-friendly free movement designs. They’re straightforward, forgiving, and can be utilized to refill any house from a border to a full quilt. To make it even simpler, consider these not as related loops however as related cursive letters. The loops of a cursive e or L (lowercase or uppercase) come naturally, and we now have the motion of them already in our reminiscence.

As with all free movement designs we’re going to follow first. So, seize your pen and paper and begin on the backside of the web page, drawing cursive loops till you refill your web page whereas making an attempt to not raise your pen. Apply filling as many pages as you want.

Hold the following pointers in thoughts as you follow loops:

Don’t go for perfection, selection often seems to be higher and making an attempt to be precise can result in frustrations whereas studying.

Check out the spacing and the scale of your loops to search out what you want.

Keep away from making rows. Fill in a part of an area after which transfer to a distinct part.

When filling up a big house don’t make too lots of the identical loops in a row, after one or two loops one route, swap and loop the other method.

Keep in mind that batting permits fairly a little bit of spacing between stitches.

Practice drawing your loops on paper first.
Apply drawing your loops on paper first.

With loops and any future design, bear in mind to follow drawing on paper first earlier than you are taking the design to your machine, which we’re going to do now. You may as well watch this in motion in the video present in lesson 4. First, make a follow take a look at block quilt sandwich, roughly 14″ sq. utilizing cloth, batting, and backing much like your quilt. Subsequent, get your self arrange in your machine. In case you have velocity management, set to a medium velocity, and put in your machine quilting gloves.

If you’re feeling nervous, seize your marking pen and draw a meandering guideline to start out out however attempt to simply do just a few loops after which let your self strive quilting freely. Begin on the backside of the block and refill the block with meandering loops. Transfer round to keep away from making rows, stopping to reposition your fingers as wanted. In case you have reached this level and crammed up your take a look at block, you might be formally free-motion quilting!

Traces and Pace Checks

Now that you just’ve tried loops, in our second fundamentals train we’re going to follow strains that will help you set up the velocity of your fingers and sew consistency. For this lesson, go straight to your machine and seize a contemporary take a look at block. Beginning just a few inches from the sting of the block, free-motion sew a straight line at medium velocity whereas transferring your fingers at a cushty tempo. After you end this primary line we’re going to do three extra strains to check hand speeds. First go quicker together with your fingers, then a lot slower, after which again to a standard snug velocity.

Example quilted lines showing different hand speeds.
Instance quilted strains displaying completely different hand speeds.

Now deliver your block from the machine and study your stitches with every of the speeds. Discover when your fingers go too quick, you get huge stitches which may catch, too sluggish and also you get tiny stitches. You might be searching for proper within the center. Additionally test that your bobbin thread is even on the underside and regulate your stress if wanted. Now that you’ve two starter motifs and have practiced your hand velocity, you might be able to discover extra important motifs and plan the free movement design on your first quilt!

Lesson #4: Important Free Movement Quilting Designs

The liberty, the grace, the creativity that free-motion quilting permits is unparalleled. It stands alone, or will be paired with walking-foot quilting or ruler-work quilting. It could actually function a filler, or be the primary attraction. Free movement designs can fill in a single patch or form, or cross the seam to unify two areas. Mastering a design or two, after which including to your talent set over time, is among the finest selections you may make once you begin ending your personal quilts.

Within the video above, Jodi Robinson talks you thru the highest 3 important fillers as she stitches! Jodi is engaged on a Gammill Imaginative and prescient 2.0 longarm, however all of those designs will be tailored to your home, sit-down stitching machine.

Listed below are the highest 9 important free movement quilting designs:


Loops: Essentially the most primary design, loops additionally typically really feel essentially the most pure. Whether or not you’re engaged on a stand-up longarm or a sit-down home stitching machine, the motion mimics cursive L’s (higher and lowercase). The flowing strains are forgiving, the circles or loops can differ in dimension and nonetheless look pleasing to the attention. The design will be labored small to fill small areas, or be enlarged to fill bigger areas.

Loops free motion quilted on fabric.


Pebbles, Bubbles, & Pearls: Pebbles—additionally referred to as bubbles, or pearls, or generally simply circles—are a pure extension of loops. You’re making the identical form, simply nearer collectively. As a result of they’re so shut, your eye will rapidly discern irregularities, so don’t attempt to make your circles all evenly sized. Natural variation is the perfect wager! With pebbles, you’ll find yourself stitching over an space a number of occasions, and can get a build-up of thread. And the denser you quilt, the stiffer the quilt shall be and the extra you will notice the thread. Apply this important filler, and know the place and why you would possibly wish to use this design to good impact.

Pebbles, Bubbles, Pearls free motion quilted on fabric.
Pebbles, Bubbles, & Pearls


Meander and Stipple: This go-to free movement quilting design is the best filler. A meander by no means crosses over itself, however squiggles in and round, roughly evenly spaced. You’ll discover over time that you just’ll develop a signature “meander” form. A stipple is equivalent to a meander, simply tighter, and higher suited to smaller areas.

Meander/Stipple free motion quilting on


Teardrops: Our instance right here options doubled and even tripled teardrops, which some quilters think about less complicated, as a result of it fills house whereas making a path again. You may as well see that we didn’t at all times meet proper again at the start line, that a few of the teardrops are “open.” And that’s completely tremendous! That is an adaptable, elegant form. As with all free movement shapes, various the scale of your teardrops will construct in some forgiveness, as a result of your eye is much less more likely to discern irregularities. It additionally offers it a way more private contact.

Teardrop free motion quilting on fabric.


Feathers: The basic, elegant look of feathers fits many conventional quilts—and generally not so conventional ones, too! They’ll curve across the quilt in a freeform method, or be formed into wreaths or vines. Feathering requires a sure stage of free-motioning consolation and confidence, and is mostly thought of intermediate and even superior. (We suggest mastering teardrops first as a result of the movement will really feel considerably comparable.) Feathers can stem from a stitched backbone, or not, relying in your consolation stage or desired look. You can begin small and enhance in dimension, or be extra random. Research what different quilters do, and experiment to develop your model.

Feathers free motion quilted on fabric.


Swirls: Swirls are one other pure subsequent step after teardrops. They don’t cross over themselves, and customarily have even spacing between stitching, so can take slightly follow. It’s price it! Swirls have a playfulness to them which might deliver plenty of pleasure and enjoyable to a quilt. And, like plenty of these free movement fillers, will be tailored to fill greater areas, or scaled all the way down to smaller spots.

Swirls free motion quilted on fabric.


Geometric: In all probability one of many more difficult free movement designs, straight-line, geometric quilting is price making an attempt out. Generally you possibly can’t swap to a strolling foot, or seize a ruler, so with the ability to free hand a design that “reads” straight is a helpful talent. Irregularities with 45-degree angles and parallel strains shall be instantly obvious to the attention. The structured shapes, although, convey a really distinct look-and-feel!

Geometric pattern free motion quilting on fabric.


Vining Leaves: An extension of loops, creating vines that sprout leaves as an alternative of loops is a enjoyable, and helpful, variation. The leaf form comes naturally to some, requires slightly follow for others. It may be tailored to have a vein or not, to have a pointy or rounded tip, will be massive or small, and at all times creates a contemporary, pure look that works splendidly with many designs.

Vining Leaves free motion quilting on fabric.
Vining Leaves


Vining Flowers: Step it up yet one more notch with vining flowers! The loop, right here, is tailored right into a flower! Whereas more difficult, flowers will be made extra forgiving with just a few methods. First, when making to circle middle, don’t go sluggish. Overthinking a circle is commonly how you find yourself with an ellipse! Second, ensure that the petals aren’t equivalent, however have an natural vary of comparable sizes. Final, throw in just a few easy leaves to present your self a break from the demanding movement of the flowers, and—bonus—it seems to be nice as a part of the design.

Vining Flowers free motion quilting on fabric
Vining Flowers

Whether or not you’re employed on a longarm or a home stitching machine, probably the greatest issues you are able to do is grasp just a few free movement fillers. Begin a “sampler” like we did to follow the movement of the designs. Some will really feel pure, others would require some follow. Decide which of them you wish to develop and give attention to these. As you get to know the motion, the machine, and even batting and thread choices, you’ll end up coming again to that sampler and choosing new free movement designs to strive

Lesson #5: Last Free Movement Ideas

As you begin your first quilt, hold these confirmed ideas in thoughts that will help you achieve success:

Be nicely rested earlier than you’re employed in your first quilt (10pm might be not the perfect time to start out your first free movement challenge).

Use marking pens to attract pointers that will help you overcome any lingering nerves.

Any time you strive a brand new motif, follow it on a bit of paper first. If you wish to follow on an even bigger floor space tape just a few items of paper collectively or seize a newspaper part (crayons work nice on newspaper) and follow your spacing and motifs.

Use cloth and batting that’s much like your quilt on your follow items.

Spray baste your quilt sandwich (vs. pinning) and add just some spaced out pins if it’s lap dimension or greater to make it further safe.

Go slower on curves to maintain stitches even.

Take a deep breath and drop your shoulders earlier than you begin quilting.

Loosen up and bear in mind how a lot enjoyable stitching is meant to be!

Completely satisfied quilting!

Due to our wonderful sponsor Gammill and for bringing their Gammill Imaginative and prescient 2.0 longarm!


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