The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 72 - Little Hands and Fingers

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 72 - Little Hands and Fingers

Today's design is going to be short, sweet, and no-nonsense because as soon as I finish we're all headed to the North Carolina Zoo!

And what better stitch to feature on a zoo day than Little Hands and Fingers:

free motion quilting | Leah DayI recently realized how big my little boy's hands have gotten. It seems like only yesterday he could barely wrap his fingers around my thumb!

Inspiration - Megan, the Bitchy Stitcher, has been stippling and make a very illuminating comment about how difficult it was to meander aimlessly with no design to think about.

I thought about this for awhile and realized she really had a point.

Those of us who've been stippling for years think nothing of the description "meander a wiggly line and don't cross your previous line of stitching."

But for a beginner this is probably being received with a deer-in-the-headlights look of complete incomprehension.

Sooooo, I've decided to come up with some designs that work like stippling, but have more structure, or at least something to think about as you stitch it. In this case, think hands!

Design Family - Edge to Edge. Little Hands is really worked in rows from one edge of your quilting space to the other. Because it's so free form, however, it will probably still work in all areas of your quilt like stippling.

Difficulty Level - Beginner. This is really very easy, especially because you can extend the fingers to take up more or less space on your quilt as needed.

Directional Texture - Two Directions. When stitched in rows, this design definitely shows up with a horizontal or vertical texture. However, if you stitched this on the edges of your blocks in just one single row it will give off a flat, directionless texture more like stippling.

Suggestions for Use - Here's my way cool idea: take the hand print of a whole bunch of kids (or one single kid with a long attention span) and applique or paint their hand shapes onto fabric squares.

Put these together with a thin sashing and stitch Little Hands and Fingers all around the edge of the sashing as though the hands are gripping the block.

Sounds cool to me!

Back of Little Hands and Fingersfree 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.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day


  1. this is great that you are doing this. I will be reading daily for new ideas. Thanks!

  2. Im not sure how I got to your blog but I have been looking in for the last couple of weeks and I have to say how much I appreciate what you are doing here. I am new to Machine Embroidery/quilting and while I am not a traditional quilter I can see lots of uses for the designs and ideas you are creating here. Not to mention what amazing practice it would be to work one of these every day which is what I really should be doing - note to self.... I don't think I can catch up with 72 days worth but I think I shall have to make a start! Thank you again, especially for the videos, it really helps to see the stitch worked in real time. I have you on my bloglinks so I look in every day.

  3. Oh Leah....I so need your help! I tried freemotion quilting with metallic thread on my Christmas quilt and had trouble with the thread breaking. Any suggestions??????

  4. Uggh! I feel your pain Donnamo!!!

    Metallic thread is notorious for thread breakage, especially when free motion quilting.

    I swore off metallic threads for a very long time until I found Yenmet Metallic thread. This is a fine metallic thread that works as smoothly as Isacord.

    Even with Yenmet, I will still occasionally get breakages. Try releasing some of your tension in the top and try using a metallic needle.

    However, if the needle change makes things worse, switch back to what you were originally using. Sometimes machines get finicky!

    I found Yenmet being sold at so try there!

    Good luck,

    Leah Day

  5. So adorable, this design. I like it and hope to use it soon on my nieces' quilts. Thx for the metallic thread tip, too!

  6. Awww! My crappy free motion quilting (well, my complaining about it, really) inspired a design? *Sniff!* I'm so touched!

    Now I have to go try it and see if this new sewing table is gonna work for me!


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