The Free Motion Quilting Project: How to Quilt Neat Fans, Design #488

Thursday, October 5, 2017

How to Quilt Neat Fans, Design #488

I have a neat new quilting design for you today! It's appropriately titled Neat Fans:


I realized the other day that it's very easy to loose track of designs. I often try new designs and ideas in random quilts, but then forget to pick a name and add it to the project.

For me, unless it has a 4-inch square stitched, a name and number assigned, it doesn't count. Hmm...neurotic much? Maybe. All I can say is with over 450 machine quilting designs under my belt, it pays to have an organization system that works!

Neat Fans was originally stitched in the original version of Express Your Love, the goddess quilt I quilted together in 2013. Here's the overall quilt:


And here's the Neat Fans in one of the background squares:


Quite neat indeed! This quilt has been on my mind a lot this week as I'm working on the hand / bead embroidery of the same design. It's fun to look at this one and see all the different textures on the surface. You can still find this design available as Spoonflower cheater cloth here.

So it's high time we make it official and add this cute design to the project! Learn how to quilt it in this new tutorial:


Would you like a real free motion quilting challenge? How about you quilt a new quilting design every day for a year? You can do just that with my book 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs!

Quilt one design a day into a 4 inch square of fabric and I promise you'll see an amazing change in your quilting abilities in a very short space of time. Maybe we should make it an official challenge? Hmm...

Now let's learn more about Neat Fans!

Difficulty Level - Intermediate - While Neat Fans looks simple, there is a surprising amount of travel stitching in this design. Traveling is usually challenging for beginners so I'm rating this design intermediate because it's fairly time consuming and might be tricky to master when you're just getting started.

For a simpler design to begin machine quilting try Echo Shell, Echo Arches, or Hot Candy instead.

Design Family - Echoing - This design family is formed by quilting a shape, then travel stitching and echoing around it multiple times to make it bigger. To fill in your quilting space completely, simply quilt more shapes and echoes. It's sort of a clustering-effect that fills your quilts with beautiful Neat Fan texture throughout.

Where do we quilt it?! - Echoing quilting designs like Neat Fans can work just about anywhere. This particular design will work best when you have space for the shapes to expand on your quilt. I wouldn't try to quilt this in a dense or complicated space as the extra travel stitching plus filling in the weird gaps and spaces might bog you down.


But Neat Fans will look amazing in blocks, sashing, borders - anywhere with the space to quilt a quarter or half circle shape!

What do you think about this neat design? Does Neat Fans work as a name or would you have called it something different? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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