The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 242 - Heart Flow

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 242 - Heart Flow

Move over Christmas, it's time for Valentine's Day! Once I actually went to Walmart immediately after Christmas to look for candy canes and couldn't find a single one. The whole holiday isle had been already filled with Valentine's Day candy. Talk about moving fast!

So just in case you've got a Valentine's Day quilt in the works for your special sweetie, let's learn how to quilt it with this awesome heart design called Heart Flow:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
I admit, this is probably going to go down in the books as one of my favorite designs. It works a bit like McTavishing because it's a branching design, but the open heart shapes can be as big as you like, taking up loads of space and finishing up your quilt quite quickly.

Looking at the list of heart shaped designs, I'm thinking I should do a bit more organizing on the project. We have a pretty good system set up now so you can easily find designs based on difficulty or design type, but we don't have pages where they are organized into similar shapes like triangles, circles, spirals, and hearts.

That will have to go on my list as something to work on in 2011!

Inspiration - I love tracing the inspiration for a design back to it's roots! This design was originally inspired by McTavishing because that's what I was thinking of when I created Swirling Water.

From Swirling Water, I then tried opening up the center of the swirl to create Poseidon's Eye. This worked so well, I decided to try it with other shapes like these hearts. Next I want to play with filling the shapes with other designs. I have a feeling there will be a lot more branching designs in this project's future!

Difficulty Level - Intermediate. This design is intermediate because of the amount of echo quilting involved in it. When I first started free motion quilting, I found it really difficult to echo consistently. One line with be 1/8 inch from another and then the next would be 1/4.

There are many ways to learn how to consistently echo a certain distance away, but really the best way is to stitch it! Take this design and quilt it over a whole quilt, full or queen sized is best, and I promise by the time you finish the whole quilt, you will be able to echo perfectly.

Design Family - Branching. All branching designs work by branching out with your line, then echoing back. It's a very simple design type that works with a nice rhythm. I love all of these designs because they allow you to get into a really nice groove which makes the time spent quilting just melt away.

Directional Texture - All Directions. This design can change a bit, depending on how big or small you quilt the hearts. If you keep all the hearts small, you will get a very flowing, echoing design. If you stitch the hearts big, the heart shapes will dominate the texture because they leave such big open spaces.

If you don't like how the open hearts look, feel free to fill them with circles, more lines, or another design. The possibilities are endless!

Suggestions for Use - I'd love to see how this design looks when stitched over a whole quilt. It has a beautiful texture that would look wonderful on red fabric with white thread or black fabric with red thread.

If you prefer not to contrast, this would still look great if stitched on a light quilt (darker fabrics don't tend to show matching thread texture as well as light fabrics). Maybe a pink and red quilt with swirling white Heart Flow? Sounds like a gorgeous combination!

Back of Heart Flow
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion quilting design in your quilts

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day


  1. With a blog named 'With Heart and Hands'...I can tell you that I am loving this one! Absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for creating this for all of us!

  2. i really like this one! I may have to use it soon it seems really valentiny!

  3. I like this one a lot. Can't wait to try it out.

  4. I have the perfect UFO to use this design on. It is made of pinks and maroons with a central star block surrounded by various sized triangles and stars. I can visualize "Heart Flow" stitched larger in an all over pattern. The curving echoed hearts will contrast nicely with the straight lines in the piecing. The Quilt is sandwiched, pinned and ready to quilt. It is next on my list.

  5. What a great design to end 2010! Heart Flow perfectly describes the whole year of 2010 for you personally. You have learned to let your heart flow with love and joy. Let this design symbolize this past year for you.



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