The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 1 - Shadow Waves

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 1 - Shadow Waves

Welcome to the Free Motion Quilting Project! In 2009, I challenged myself to create 365 new free motion quilting filler designs. Click Here to learn about the original challenge.

Kicking off with Day 1 of our 365 days of free motion quilting designs is a beautiful filler design is called Shadow Waves.

free motion quilting | Leah Day

This simple design is quilted from edge to edge across your quilting space so it will be a great choice for sashing, borders, or to quilt across your entire quilt. Shadow Waves is simple enough you can quilt it with walking foot quilting too!

Update! Would you like to see all 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs from the original challenge in one place? Maybe as a book you can flip through easily to see all the beautiful designs at once? Check out the book 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs!

Now let's learn more about Shadow Waves and where it will work best on our quilts!

Inspiration - Gradient of rocks in photos of the Grand Canyon. I looked at many photos of cliffs and how the different types of rocks form bands across the canyon. Shadow Waves is a very simple take on this inspiration.

Difficulty Level - Super Beginner. This design feels very easy to quilt with a gentle curving line. It's also not very time consuming to quilt back and forth across your quilting area. The biggest challenge is keeping your stitching even and consistent and not forget to space the lines closer together at one end and further apart at the other.

Design Family - Edge to Edge. This design is quilted from one edge of the quilting space to another. I think in a big quilt, you'll want to start in the middle and branch out, but in a narrow space like sashing or borders, you can start right on the edge and quilt across easily.

Directional Texture - 2 Directions. Quilting across from one edge to the other is going to make an obvious horizontal or vertical texture on your quilts. Depending on how wavy your line is to start with, your directional texture will change. An extremely wavy line will produce more texture than a less wavy line.

Suggestions for Use - Hmm...I think this would look great in landscape quilts for the ground. It could also be used in skinny sashing (2 1/2" or less) between blocks to add movement without a lot of fuss.

Shadow Waves Back
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day

I have found these quilting tools very helpful on my home sewing machine:


  1. I just found your blog and look forward to catching up and trying a few new patterns!

  2. Excellent Kim! This is definitely the place to get new inspiration and designs for beautiful quilts.



  3. I am an art quilter and am always looking for quilting designs for the borders of my art quilts.

    This series is wonderful and I thank you so much for going to all this trouble. I have put the link on my blog. Shirley Paterson, Calgary, Canada

  4. I love this. good luck with 365 though. I'm working on a sampler and have been stumped to come up with quilting ideas... so I'll be back.

  5. Just found your blog, and I love it! Great work! I'm going to use the Shadow Waves on the baby quilt I'm making for my new grandson. Looking forward to learning more from you. I've linked to you from my blog.

  6. Just found your blog through a link another quilter posted on a forum. Love the shadow waves as they remind me of topography lines on our property map...hills and dales. Bookmarked your blog as you make this look so easy and the videos are very clear :)!

  7. Someone in my yahoo group called Quiltville turned us on to your blog recently. I am SOOOOO excited to find it. I am a new quilter using a HQ16 sit down machine and trying to learn on my own. Now I feel like I have a tutor. Thank you so much for this project

  8. Thank you, thank you for sharing all of this. You rock!

  9. I wanted to start with Free Motion Quilting and I didn't know how. Your tutorial is great!
    Thank you so much, it's going to help me a lot.

    Greetings from Spain

  10. Ditto to all of the positive comments. I, too, am new to free motion machine quilting and your tutorials are fantastic. Mahalo from Hawaii. Aloha.

  11. I have discovered a goldmine! Who knew that free motion quilting could be so creative and beautiful? What a treasure of fun learning.

  12. Bonnie Hunter just posted this site on FB and I will be back a lot. Such variety.

  13. I love to free motion quilt, but run out of ideas for different designs, so I was delighted to find this site. How big do you make your sample squares?
    You are so generous to share this with everyone.

  14. Omg what a find you are. I dreamed of making a quilt that looked like land from the air. I fly a lot for work. I wanted to incorporate John Deere fabric as much as possible because both my parents grew up on farms and I have great memories of riding tractors with my grandfather. The top is done and waiting for a quilt design. I googled free motion quilt designs for beginners and yours was one of the choices. What a blessing you are to provide us with ideas that complete us! I can’t wait to share with you the completed project now that I know how to finish it!

    1. You're very welcome! When I started this project, that's exactly what I wanted to find - someone that had made a list of free motion quilting designs and tutorials. It didn't exist so I decided to make it myself. I'm so glad you'll be using these designs in your quilts!


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