The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 45 - Pug Eyes

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 45 - Pug Eyes

Today's filler is a hopeless disaster. Seriously, stop reading. Go check your email or watch the new New Moon Trailer.

What are you still doing here?

Okay, fine! Horribly ugly filler design coming right up!

free motion quilting | Leah DayWhile you may not agree that Pug Eyes is a hideous disaster, I beg to differ. Okay, I'll concede that it may not be a total disaster, but it's still not what I was envisioning at all.

That happens sometimes with filler designs just the same as it can happen with quilts. Haven't you ever created a quilt that sounded great on paper and finished not so great in reality?

Inspiration - The inspiration for this design was this a cute picture of a pug I glimpsed at my Mother-in-Law's house. His shiny black eyes just cried out for a free motion design and I had to try it.

Difficulty Level - Advanced. Don't let your thread painting areas build up too much or you will get thread breaks and nests on the back of your quilt.

Design Family - Echoing. The big difference between this design and Echo Shell is filling in the center half circle with thread painting.

Because this is created by stacking the shapes, it could work in a tight area, but only with lots of maneuvering. You might want to keep this design in open areas like sashing or borders.

Directional Texture - 2 Directions. Because these shapes are stacked so neatly, your eye will very easily pick up a horizontal or vertical direction with this fill. If you want it to have more movement, simply make the echos very random and more like Echo Shell.

Suggestions for Use - Okay, by now I'm starting to like this design only because it's pretty interesting on plain fabric. It'd be really cool to see quilted on a pillow in contrasting thread to create an overall dense texture. Play with it and see for yourself!

Back of Pug Eyesfree 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


  1. this is not a disaster at all! It's a really clever and original version of the classic clam shells and Baptist Fans with a touch of thread painting. Try it in a matching thread or a thread-fabric combination that's not so opposite as green and red. We may need you to use the high contrast for the camera for the purpose of your 365 days - but in the context of a real quilt and thread choices this will be great!

  2. I don't know about "pug eyes" but this design would be a wonderful filler for a looks like scales!

  3. Leah,
    I have been spending a relaxing morning trying to doodle your free motion designs on paper to get the feel of the movement before I go to the sewing machine. But I get confused when I watch your video and then the still picture in your post is oriented either perpendicular to how you do it or reversed. Is it just me?

    I truly, truly love your blog. Please don't every stop...

  4. Thanks rccq! I think it would look great in a wholecloth and do plan to make a pillow cover with it eventually.

    Susan - Good name! I think this design could fit, but I'll design a Fish Scales too just for fun.

    Wordmama - I know what you mean and apologize for any confusion. The orientation changes because sometimes I stitch from bottom to top, or from left to right.

    When I take the photo, I always orient it to how it looks the best, not to the way I originally stitched it.

    It could be a good thing that the orientation changes because it will encourage you to draw it in a variety of ways to find the way that works the best for you.

    Just play with it and if you ever feel like you're fighting with your hand to draw the stitch, rotate your paper and try it from another angle.

    Let's go Quilt!

    Leah Day

  5. I wouldn't call it a disaster. What a great way to show off some nice thread.

  6. I really like it! I can see uses for it in
    my underwater scenes. As the lady above said, wonderful fish scales. I can also see it in a
    Victorian quilt around the border but it would be a lot of work. I am enjoying your series so much -I just finished a sunset wall hanging (on my blog) and I used 3 different patterns from the ones you have shown, as well as some of my own.

    It is quite possible to do different patterns on your borders. I mix and match mine all the time. Debbie from Making quilts taught me that.

    Shirley Paterson.

  7. Shirley here again. This pattern as well as some of the others, would also do very well in
    a crazy patch block -- In fact as soon as I can find the time I am going to try it.

    You could do it in a small area , or work in some bead work and use this pattern along a seam.

    Ideas never stop. Shirley

  8. Very cleaver. And I love the name "Pug eyes".

    Too cute.

    I also think this design would be really interesting with some Texture Magic!


  9. I like it. It would be a great fill used in the right place.

  10. I like the pattern. Also like it better on the backside fabric which is more muted.

  11. Hi Leah - I don't think its a disaster at all ... remember you are using a contrasting thread so the design is highly visible. I think its an excellent texture producing fill. I'd be less brave than you I think and use a thread the same colour as the background fabric.

    Love the shinny fabric in the video - what is it?

  12. Hi Leah, Wonderful!! A longarm student of mine forwarded a link to your designs. Please, please, please do this as a perpetual calendar!! Perhaps talk to Fons & Porter, American Quilter's Society, That Patchwork Place, Martingale, all publishers of quilt books, etc. Keep on going! Allison C. Bayer, Plano, Texas

  13. This is gorgeous! It was a complete ''squee! I love it'' moment for me.
    I totally agree with the other it 'sea serpent', and be done.


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