The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 27 - Lightning Bolt

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 27 - Lightning Bolt

So what happens when you take a popular filler design and turn all the curves into sharp angles?

You go from McTavishing to Lightning Bolt! This sharp angled fill looks terrific and quilts up just as quickly as McTavishing.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Here in NC, we've not had rain for several weeks, but last night the weather finally broke. I'm enjoying a cloudy, cool day, and hoping for more rain, and maybe some thunder and lightning tonight.

I've been working on a new challenge project for my local Thread Benders group. In this challenge piece, I used Art Nouveu inspired motifs, but wanted to use some new fillers to really make the designs stand out.

Playing around with McTavishing just seemed like cheating (yes, it's my favorite filler by far), so by giving the designs some sharp angles, I felt like I was quilting an entirely new design!

Difficulty Level: Intermediate. McTavishing is a very fun, free form filler and Lightning Bolt is just the same. You will have to practice to get your lines perfectly parallel, but the texture is worth it!

Design Family: Branching.

Directional Texture: All Directions. This fill really creates some interesting movement and texture because the sharp angles and straight lines are coming in from all angles!

Suggestions for Use: This is a very versatile background filler design. You could easily use this over a large area because Lightning Bolt can cover a lot of space very quickly. This would also look very interesting placed with smooth flowing motifs because the designs would contradict one another.

Back of Lightning Bolt
free motion quilting | Leah Day
Feel 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

Happy Quilting!

Leah Day


  1. Hi Leah,

    What an inspiring blog you have! Thank you for sharing the different free-motion quilting techniques.

  2. Hi Leah

    I have just stumbled onto your blog. What a fantastic woman you are to do this project and share it with all of us. The videos are brilliant and how cool to see Jo's video response. I have subscribed via bloglines and I look forward to seeing what you produce. Thank you, thank you!!

  3. You have a very inspiring blog! If you would like to see my blog, you may visit it at


  4. WOWEE! I just came over from Hanging on by a Needle and Thread :) This is a wonderful of you to give us - I am an advanced beginner quilter who is frightened to even put on my walking foot! I've been reading about free motion quilting for so long - I just haven't had the nerve to try it! This blog is a great inspiration!! I will let you know when I take the plunge! Thanks so much :)

  5. Leah, I just finished using Lightning Bolt for the pine needle-covered floor of the forest in my newest landscape quilt. At a glance it really looks like pine needles. Thank you for all your wonderful designs!!


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