The Free Motion Quilting Project: Videocast #8 - Spring Sale and Stippling Tips

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Videocast #8 - Spring Sale and Stippling Tips

I swear if the pollen in NC doesn't start backing off, I'm going to move to the North Pole! Josh and I still can't tell if this is just allergies or a cold, but we're both sick of having stuffy noses and scratchy throats.

So if I sound a bit stuffy in this latest Videocast #8, you know why!

Today I'm launching the Australian Shadows Quilt Pattern. Don't miss out on the special launch price of this awesome new pattern and online quilting videos.

Now let's catch up on everything shared this week on the project:

Sunday I worked on another experiment, this time transferring a portrait photo onto fabric with a black Pigma pen and sharpie marker. Click here to read the original post.

While I don't think I'm very good at drawing, I just kept reminding myself that I was only using a fat quarter of white fabric, so if I totally messed it up, it really wasn't that big of a deal.

Yesterday I got into the studio and quilted along all of the lines with black thread. Today I'm going to quilt in the white sections with a multi-directional design. Which one should I use?!

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis week we've also learned two new designs. Triangle Starships is a variation of Echo Shortcut and a great choice for a quilt you want to finish quickly and easily with fun texture. I might just use this design on my Supernova Quilt, if I can ever get the blocks pieced!

free motion quilting | Leah DayWe also learned Seashells & Waves, a new foundational design. This will be the perfect texture to put on an ocean inspired quilt! The beautiful, flowing texture could really look great anywhere, so feel free to experiment with many areas of your next quilt.

free motion quilting | Leah DayI got a question a few weeks ago from Nancy in IN about Stippling and I decided to shoot a segment of tips on tackling this tricky design. Here's a sum up:
  • Keep in mind that Stippling is not the easiest design to learn first because it really doesn't give you a lot to think about. Sometimes the lack of instructions can make a design more tricky!
  • To tackle the vagueness of "meander around and never cross your lines" I personally start stippling by stitching a curvy letter "u" back and forth in rows until I get into the stippling groove.

    Then I start thinking of cartoon letter shapes like E, F, C, H, and S that are easy to think about and visualize. Stitching theses letters with curvy lines that never cross is much easier than jumping into Stippling with nothing to think about.
  • Keep in mind that it is NO BIG DEAL if you NEVER learn how to Stipple! No one is ever going to judge you for your inability to stitch this one design. Just because it's the most popular certainly doesn't mean it's the only free motion design that matters.

    So if you're struggling with it and getting really frustrated, take a break! Pick another design that is easier for you to visualize and stitch and have fun quilting it over your next quilt.
  • And finally, the best way to really get ANY design firmly memorized into your noggin is to stitch that single design over an entire quilt. Pick a full or queen sized quilt top you've pieced, but aren't extremely emotionally attached to.

    If you don't have a quilt top that fits this bill, make one today by taking 4 yards of fabric, cut this yardage in half, then seam the two pieces together to create a nice full sized quilt top.

    Baste this quilt top and stitch only 1 design over the whole surface, working from the center to the outside. I promise, by the time you finish quilting that whole quilt, you will have memorized that design completely and be able to stitch it in your sleep!
I hope these tips help you tackle Stippling! If you have a question about free motion quilting, share it in the comments below and I'll try to answer it in my next videocast.

Now I know I'm not the best at organizing all my videos, so I've created a special list on my articles page with links to each videocast. This way if you miss one, or if you need to watch it again, you can always go back and find the videos you need.

Now I'm heading back into the studio to work on my portrait quilt. The hardest part will be picking which design to use!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Awesome tips Leah. I recently learned to stipple and have only quilted one quilt with it so far. It felt like a real breakthrough when I actually quilted something I cared about rather than just practice pieces!

  2. "Stipplwing is nuthin' to be afwaid of. Now, let's go qwilt!!" I just want to squeeze that boy!
    PS. I just finished a monster quilt that I will post on your flickr page as soon as I finish the binding. I used C's and E's and Sunflower, and Loopy Flower, and Icicle Lights that morphed into clovers! It looks great! Thanks Leah for all these AWESOME designs. :)

  3. Leah - mucinex! If it's a cold or allergies, mucinex will dry your sinuses up just enough to let them heal. For me about a day and then I stop taking it to see if it's related to pollen allergies or what.

    I'm a terrible stipler, the random wavy is too consuming I always end up moving to something else like - "hey that looks like a hand!" Then I start FMQing hands. "hey that looks like flames"... you get it? I had a great time doing skyscrapers on a large lap quilt. Lots of fun.

  4. I got so excited about Seashells and Waves. I made it into Hearts and Swirls using the same strategies. I even posted it on Flikr before I was finished with the quilt. I just had to share!(Calif Poppy)

    Thanks for the tips on stippling. It seems that it should just be part of one's quilting toolkit.

  5. Leah,
    I just love your blog, and have been following you religiously for well over a year now. Thanks for sharing so much of your work and yourself.
    In regards to the allergies...if that's what it is. I have heard that eating the locally made honey will help the allergies over the course of a couple weeks. If it doesn't help, at least it won't hurt!

  6. You know, I really look forward to your blogs about quilting. Life threw me some curveballs this morning and I was very wrapped up in my problems today; then I remembered to check here. Quilting, design theory, art - these are very nice things to focus on. Glad you're here.

  7. Interesting, I'm here to get away from stippling!!! As a free machine embroiderer all I ever did as background texture was stippling, or as I know it in the UK - Vermicelli. So I came to your blog a while back,to find out other ways to make decorate freeform surface patterns, and have been here ever since. Your instructions and advice is so easy going and informative, I tell all my friends to look, and yes some of them are even quilters!!!


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