The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 84 - Chain of Pearls

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 84 - Chain of Pearls

Once upon a time I was into bead work and my greatest life ambition was to own my own bead store.

Then years later, I'm most definitely not a bead worker, but a quilter, but it's good to know that I can still play with beads on my quilts! Check out today's design - Chain of Pearls:

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis is a design that you can make or break with the control you have over your quilt top. If you have trouble manipulating your quilt evenly, consider investing in quilting gloves to increase the grip on your quilt.

Also a Supreme Slider helps to reduce the drag of your quilt over your sewing machine bed.

By increasing your grip over the quilt top and reducing the drag of the quilt, you should be able to quilt more evenly and with greater control.

This is definitely a more challenging design, but as I share in the video, what works best for me is keeping the outline of the circle in mind as I fill in the space. It's kind of like coloring in a coloring book and staying inside the lines.

Check out your boundaries and estimate your distances to fill in a nice, even circle.

Inspiration - I've been playing around with circle motifs in a new snowflake quilt I've been working on.

I'm a stickler, type A personality so chances are if I used this design in an actual quilt I would probably mark it just to make sure it was perfectly spaced and even within the design.

I can't stand it when half a circle gets chopped off on one end and not the other!

But I wanted to see if I could also stitch the circles freehand. While it pushes my perfection buttons a bit to do it, I think this design looks very nice when allowed to evolve freely.

Difficulty Level - Advanced. Don't let this intimidate you! A lot of the reason I'm rating this as a more difficult design is because it is challenging to estimate your circles and keep them consistent.

It's honestly easier to quilt these getting gradually bigger or smaller, so try both and see what works the best for you.

Design Family - Edge to Edge. This is a design that will work great in open, uncomplicated areas, like sashing or borders.

It's probably not the best choice to place around applique or complicated quilting motifs because Chain of Pearls could easily compete with other designs. It's pretty attention getting to say the least!

free motion quilting | Leah DayAnother reason to keep this in open areas is because it would be tricky to keep the lines consistent over a quilted motif. Let's say you used this snowflake design on your quilt:

You would need to wiggle into the motif and fill it consistently with the lines outside it. This could turn into a big headache, and quilting should be fun!

A better choice for a motif like this would be an independent, stacking, pivot, or echo design since they're easier to control in tight areas and don't have to be matched up through the design.

Directional Texture - Two Directions. This design gives off a definite horizontal or vertical texture, but you could always change this by making your lines more curvy. Where ever you place Chain of Pearls, it's going to get a lot of attention!

Back of Chain of Pearls
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.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day


  1. I really like this one! I love pebbles and this adds a linear interest. Thanks for all your hard work...appreciated.

  2. Leah, You've done it again - another super design
    Could double up as 'peas in a pod'


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