The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 132 - Swirling Petals

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 132 - Swirling Petals's an awesome design combination:

Take the spiky shapes of Spiky Vine and combine them with the free-form petal shapes of Butterfly Wings to create a totally new, flowing design called Swirling Petals!

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Last night's lecture was awesome! I had a terrific time meeting loads of wonderful quilters and sharing tons of free motion info.

If you're lucky enough to live around Greenville, SC, you really aught to give Nimble Thimbles a try. This is one high energy, enthusiastic group! I just wish I lived closer and I might just join...

I did film the lecture, but I haven't checked the video yet. If it turned out with fairly decent audio, I'll see about posting some segments for you to enjoy.

Now I'm busy gearing up for the workshop on Saturday. I'm not exactly sure what all I'll be able to cover in 6 hours, so I'm planning on bringing EVERYTHING just in case. It might take 2 days to pack, but I'm definitely going prepared!

When I'm not writing up the class plan or packing, I'm going to copy my new sketch of "My Cup Runneth Over" onto clean paper. The original paper is too covered in pencil smudges to scan properly.

I've never tried resizing a design using the computer before. I've decided to do it this way because the sketch is pretty much exactly what I want and it seems pointless to start all over again with a big piece of graph paper.

This way I can resize it several different times to find the size that feels right. I just really hope she doesn't end up 80" wide. My natural canvas seems to be wall sized. Maybe I was a muralist in a past life...

Anyway, I've kept you in suspense long enough! Let's learn how to stitch Swirling Petals:

Inspiration - I've been really wanting some simple, flowing designs. I like the mix of the spikes and petals and I think this design will look awesome on a large scale over very busy fabric.

Difficulty Level - Intermediate. This design looks a lot harder than it actually is. If you find yourself struggling with it, take a break and practice Spiky Vine and Butterfly Wings.

Once you master those 2 stitches, Swirling Petals should be no problem at all since it's just a combination of the two!

Design Family - Pivoting. This design is based on the same structure as Paisley, so it can go in just about all areas of your quilt top, even around complicated motifs.

Directional Texture - All directions. As I mention in the video, I really like the swirling nature of this design. Keep the spikes flowing in both directions for petals that appear to twist in all different directions.

Suggestions for Use - I'm planning on using this design in my Grandmother's flower garden quilt (if I ever get around to finishing it). I think the extra movement and flow will contrast nicely with the very angular, geometric nature of the flower garden blocks.

Back of Swirling Petals
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. WOW! This is spectacular, Leah. So lovely, sophisticated and classy. This ranks as one of my all-time favorites. UN-BELIEVABLE!! I'll be using this one a lot. Thanks so much.

  2. This one is really pretty. I have a quilt I've been waiting to finish until inspiration struck, and this is very striking!

  3. I really love this one. What a great design. Thanks so much for doing these!

  4. This is my favorite of all your designs so far! can't wait to see what else you have up your sleeve! Claire

  5. Just beautiful! I'm eager to try it as I get better.

  6. Beautiful Leah, one of my favorites. Glad to hear the lecture went well. Good luck on the workshop.

    -debby, chester ny

  7. This one pulled an "ooh!" outta me before I even got to any of the words. It's another keeper!

    Thanks SO much for sharing your talent and inspiration :-)

  8. Thanks for sharing! I'm in Greenville, SC - I'll have to check out that group. :-)


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