The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 29 - Cat Hairball Filler

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 29 - Cat Hairball Filler

In my early morning doodling I came across the most ingrained, well known, and easily recognized continuous line design ever: circular scribbling.

This is the very first drawing we ever do as children, but what will happen if we use a sewing machine instead of a crayon? Well, you end up with something reminiscent of a cat hairball:

quilting | free motion quilting pattern

Personally, I expect you all to take me to task for daring to call this a possible quilting filler. However, as I mention in the video, this design does have it's place in the quilting world.

If you're interested in thread painting, try starting with cat hairball as a base, then move on to stitching forward and back repeatedly over an area until it's solidly filled with thread.

Inspiration: If you watch a 2 year old color long enough, it's going to wear off. My little boy is already preferring the sewing machine to crayons - so many buttons to push!

Difficulty Level: Super Beginner. You will want to be careful to keep your lines consistent.

Of course the lines of stitching should cross, but they shouldn't build up excessively or you will get some nasty distortion, not to mention a quilt that feels like sleeping under cardboard.

This is one stitch that you probably already have the movements ingrained into your body, so you'll want to increase your speed to your stitches are even. If you end up with big wide stitches, try to speed up the needle and slow down the movement of your hands.

Design Family - Overlapping.

Directional Texture: No Directions. This is a flat fill like Stippling, so your eye isn't really being caught by any movement within the texture.

Suggestions for Use: Play with thread painting! It's fun and will definitely help to loosen you up if you're struggling with free motion. In a quilt, this would look great and be easy to stitch around complicated shapes and tight places.

Back of Cat Hairball Fillerquilting | free motion quilting patternFeel 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. I found this site a few days ago and I am enjoying your progress. The video link may been to be corrected, since it is referring to a previously uploaded video???

    Since you seem to be consistent with the size of the blocks of fabric, are you planning to make quilts of all of your little blocks? Imagine 52 wall hangings of a week's work of new quilting designs, or whatever size would be easy to make and store. Since you have interesting names, somehow those should be incorporated into the quilt. It would make for an interesting display at quilt shows.


  2. Sorry! YouTube and I had a fight this morning getting this video uploaded and on the blog. I won - eventually - so the video should work now.

    I'm actually putting all the 4" squares into a notebook. It's very easy to page through the notebook and select a new filler, or take out several to audition them for certain spaces within a quilt.

    I think of the squares almost as paint chips that I can switch out as needed. Really they're more like texture chips!

    Happy Quilting,


  3. I'm fascinated at how you develop the patterns -- I recently tried to come up with 25 different patterns for a quilt as you go project I was doing and while I managed it was a struggle...

  4. Now this is one that I think I could do! Thanks Leah!


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