The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 245 - Graffiti Art

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 245 - Graffiti Art

Since I decided how to quilt Sinkhole back in September, I've received many curious emails about exactly HOW I was going to write words on my quilt.

So I decided to create a filler design just for this! Here's what it looks like when you miss-spell Graffiti on a quilt!

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Nope, I'm not the best at spelling and I learned a very important lesson while quilting this sample: it really helps to mark the word (and spell check) before quilting it!

I also played around with curving the lines so it looked like cursive writing, but the textures looked so different from the straight lines and sharp angles of Graffiti Art that they really needed to be two different designs. So Graffiti Art Curved will show up sometime next week!

Inspiration - When creating this design, I wanted a way to write words on a quilt, but not have them too tiny and small to read, or too big and showy that they overwhelm the design.

Stitching the words as a foundation for echo quilting seemed the best balance. By stitching the words first, then echo quilting, you can still definitely read the words on the quilt, but they are not too obvious.

Difficulty Level - Advanced. Writing the words in straight lines and sharp angles is actually harder than writing in cursive because you need to do a little more thinking about spacing the words and shaping them. As I said before, this is one design that it doesn't hurt to cheat and mark on your quilt first!

Design Family - Foundational. This design is formed by first quilting the words, then echo quilting the whole phrase to fill up your quilting space. If you want your words to stand out a bit more, try stitching them twice (or with a different colored thread), then echo quilting with a single line. The extra thread play will darken the lines that form the words and they will be slightly easier to read through all the echo quilting.

Directional Texture - All Directions. The texture of the design is really created by the words themselves, so the bigger and more interesting the letters, the more interesting the texture will be!

Suggestions for Use - Having quilted all but 3 lines of Sinkhole, I can most definitely say that writing words, particularly words that have emotional weight, onto a quilt can be terrifying, but also an extremely beneficial experience.

As you write the words, you have to repeat them in order to keep the correct shapes in your mind. For me this repetition became almost like a prayer or a meditation on releasing negativity. Face it and release it.

Back of Graffiti Art
free motion quilting | Leah Day
Feel free to use this free motion quilting design in your quilts

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day


  1. Love this idea; however, I'm having a hard time seeing the words in the stitching. Would denser stitching help me? Do you plan to post more pictures of Sinkhole so that we can see this stitch in use?

  2. Hi Leah, your incorporation of words in your Sinkhole quilt is a wonderful idea. It made me think of a quilt made by one of the members of my guild. She is Jill Buckley and she's a multimedia artist who quilts. If you check out her blog at
    and look up her "Off the Wall" quilt. It's a show winner. And it's beautiful. If you check the process of how the quilt was designed, it uses the phrase "Graffiti, is it vandalism or is it art?" as a basis of the design. She then echoed it and mirrored it until it became the amazing piece of art that it is. I hope you enjoy it, and can use it for inspiration in your endeavor.

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