The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 21 - Wave Chain

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 21 - Wave Chain

Today I was pondering something I read on the back of "Pathways to Better Quilting" a book about free motion quilting and created this design:

quilting | free motion quilting
On the back of this book, free motion quilting designs are broken down into 5 shapes. The idea is by using one or more of these shapes you create a new free motion quilting filler design, like this Wave Chain.

While the idea sounds good on paper, I disagree that there are only 5 shapes. That's extremely limiting when you can do a million things with a line! You make make it wiggle here or wiggle there, and this doesn't encompass the huge changes that echoing can have for any design: see brain coral.

Case in point is this project. If there were only 5 shapes, how could I possibly create so many different designs? Small changes like echoing, crossing lines, or even rounding points can make a huge difference in how a design looks on an actual quilt.

I was feeling adventurous and decided to limit myself to two shapes. I first created a "U" shape, pointed the tip and swung back to create a new "U" shape. I then stacked the shapes in a line and Viola! created wave chain.

Difficulty Level: Beginner. Stacking the designs perfectly can be a little tricky, but this is a repetitive movement design that gets real boring real fast so it's not much of a challenge.

Design Family - Edge to Edge.

Directional Texture: 2 directions. Yes, you're getting a lot of eye candy with all the swirly shapes, but really this design works horizontal or vertical and your eye will pick up on that.

Suggestions for Use: I see this being expanded to be a good overall fill for a gift quilt, but not something I would use very densely in the background. This design is fast, easy to master and would look really nice with busy fabrics and loads of piecing.

Back of Wave ChainFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and send in a picture to show it off.

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

Happy Quilting!

Leah Day


  1. I am hooked on this site! Simply amazing-- thanks for doing this.

  2. Thanks Susan! I know, it's very addictive. Every day I need my "fix" with a new design.



  3. Leah,
    Saying there are only 5 or even fifty shapes is rather limits your creativity. It is the same as all those people who say there are no new pieced block designs to be found. Wrong, as there are billions, but a lot of people stop looking when they are told they won't find anything new. (And make another Log Cabin!)
    I look forward to seeing what designs you share with us.
    Judy B


Help us create more quilting tutorials! Check out our quilt shop at