The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 223 - Water Plants

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 223 - Water Plants

Sorry about not posting a filler design on Monday! I got caught up coding pages, then finally got back into the studio after dinner to finish up some last minute details and didn't get back on until midnight.

But I really want to share two designs with you all this week because they really tie in with Halloween coming up this Sunday!

The reason it's two designs and not just one is because this design is a bit complex and I realized I could easily break it into two designs to make it easier to learn. So here's the first step called Water Plants:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Of course, this being a 4" square that I've quilted and photographed, it really doesn't explain how this design works very well.

This design was created to fit into sashing, almost exactly the way Modern Art or Cave Points fits into and fills to the center of a narrow sashing strip, creating a beautiful texture in even the most narrow places.

To quilt Water Plants into the sashing, you would first start with one side, quilting the wiggly lines into the center (or a bit beyond it) all the way down your sashing. Here's an illustration I created this morning, but I'm using straight lines instead of wiggly lines:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
You would start with the blue water plant shapes and fill the whole side of sashing. Then you'll probably have to break thread and move to the opposite side, butting up the next set of water plants (black) in with the first set.

So now that you have an idea of where to put this design, let's learn how to actually quilt it!

Inspiration - Just wait until you see what this design becomes tomorrow with one tiny extra step added. Let's just say I was super inspired by Halloween and the idea of making a fall themed table runner / quilt. Not to say that I actually got it done, but I'm certainly thinking about it!

Difficulty Level - Advanced. There is a lot of traveling involved with this design, which can be tricky if you have trouble staying right on the line. If you're getting frustrated, instead traveling back along the wiggly lines, try stitching just 1/4" to the side to create more of a wiggly tentacle shape.

The design might look a little different, but it will end up being easier to stitch!

Design Family - Edge to Center. This design set is quickly becoming my favorite for interesting sashing designs. They work right off the edge into the center of the quilting space, then you either travel stitch or break thread to fill the opposite side.

The end result is a set of designs that work easily into the sashing or borders of a quilt without a lot of fuss.

Directional Texture - 2 Directions. Edge to Center designs typically have a very clear horizontal or vertical texture, but really if you fit your Water Plants together tightly, this will probably end up reading as no direction. Either way, it will definitely attract some attention!

Suggestions for Use - Water Plants will be perfect in the sashing! Wouldn't it be cool to create a water or ocean themed quilt with fish, and quilt water plants in the sashing? I'm sure Josh would love a quilt like that so maybe I should give a try designing it!

Back of Water Plants
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 will definately be using that in the eight inch sashing on my next charity quitl! It is PERFECT. Not too dense for cuddle-ability. You are fabulous!

  2. I'm looking forward seeing where the 2nd part of this design goes - pity I'll have to wait until after Halloween, as we'r off to my brothers wedding this weekend, but I'll be patient.

  3. Love this design. looking forward to tomorrows. I have a hand appliqued fish quilt that needs finishing. Each block is a different blue with an orange fish on it(different shades and designs in the fish). A couple blocks with turtles. Doesn't need a lot of quilting in the blocks, but Water Plant will look fantastic in the sashing. I understand your sketch for the horizontal portion of the sashing. How would you place the motif in the verticle portion?

  4. Hey Roberta - Great question! I've answered it on the followup post at:




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