The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 327 - Topographic Map

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 327 - Topographic Map

After a long, beautiful birthday weekend, it's time to get back in the studio and get some work done! Here's a design you might recognize from the new book From Feathers to Flames as it heads the chapter on Foundational quilting designs:

free motion quilting | Leah DayTopographic Map was actually one of the very first Foundational Designs I ever created and it has set the stage for many beautiful textures. The inspiration was the texture on topographic maps that show the different elevations of land when viewed from an airplane.

Every time I tried to stitch a version of the design, I kept getting stuck in the design. Finally when I set an initial foundational line, I knew I'd stumbled on an excellent new way to form filler designs. Let's learn exactly how it works!

Difficulty Level - Beginner. This design is SUPER simple! Start with a wiggly line, and occasionally curve it back to create a single curvy bubble of space. Try not to cross this foundation as you quilt it throughout your quilting space.

Once you get this baseline set, all you have to do is echo! Travel stitch and echo this design multiple times until the entire space is filled.

Design Family - Foundational. If I was stranded on a deserted island and, due to a bump on my head, could only remember one group of designs to play with, I really hope it would be this one! These are the most innovative, inspiring designs in my opinion, and I know I’ve only just scratched the surface of what they can do!

Directional Texture -
All Directions. The texture you get with this design is entirely dependent on your starting line. If you’d prefer the bubbles of open space to not show up as much, stitch them smaller. If you’d prefer them to show off a lot, stitch them much bigger!

Suggestions for Use
- If you need a filler design to fill a quilt quickly and easily, this is the design for you! Start with the wiggly foundation, then echo leaving at least 1” between the lines of quilting. It’s sure to fill very quickly and without much fuss.

Back of Topographic Map
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion quilting design in your quilts

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day


  1. I LOVE this design! I've been wanting to make a topo map quilt for a while, this would be great for the quilting! My DH works in the woods, and hunts, so uses topo maps constantly. I used to work in the woods, and still like to hike and such, so they're a big part of our lives!! Thanks again!

  2. I have a quilt pieced, but not yet quilted for my son. He's an orienteer (among other things), so this is perfect for him! Thanks Leah, you designs are great. I really appreciate you sharing them


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