The Free Motion Quilting Project: Quilt Along #32: Wiggle it up with Snake Paisley

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quilt Along #32: Wiggle it up with Snake Paisley

It's time for the Free Motion Quilt Along where we only have 2 more weeks of Pivoting Designs!

Yes, this new format of moving from design families every month might seem a bit faster paced, especially if you're just now joining us.

But please don't hesitate to jump right in!  Each month with start with a simple design and through the month we will play with different versions or variations on that theme.  This means if you can stitch one design, chances are the others will work for you as well.

The cool thing is you never know exactly what will work, or how it will feel until you try it.  Such was the case with this design Snake Paisley.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Back when I started quilting, I really struggled with stitching Paisley.  Then I tried Snake Paisley and the mechanics of the design clicked. For some reason this wiggly snake shape was easier to master than a tear drop shape.  Will it be the same for you?  You'll have to try it out and see this week!

Just in case you aren't aware - if you'd like to be emailed each week with an update about the project and details about the designs being posted, make sure to sign up for our free weekly newsletter right here.  You'll also get access to the Batik Beauty quilt pattern and be able to make this beautiful quilt for yourself!

Also ASK QUESTIONS! You don't have to link up to ask questions about this design or any of the other topics posted to this project.  I generally pick around 5 questions to answer on Question Thursday posts.

Now let's break down Snake Paisley into simple steps:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

Snake Paisley works just like all the other Pivoting Designs we've learned this month: start with a wiggly shape, return to your starting point, pivot and echo.  When you're bored with echoing, branch off in another direction with a new wiggly snake shape.

Basically this is a lot like Lava Paisley, but with a sharp tip on the end.  Make it as wiggly and wobbly as you like, as long and slithery as you like, as short and stumpy as you like.  There are no limits or rules for how you quilt this design!

And yes, do play around with all of these options because they each produce a slightly different effect:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

See the wide range of shape and texture you could get by playing around with the length, width, and wigglyness of your initial snake shape?

I admit I have issues with calling any design a "signature" design simply because many quilters use that term to excuse copyrighting their special wiggly lines (absolutely ridiculous!)  However, how you decide to quilt a design can be as personal and unique as writing your name.  Go with what feels comfortable for you, and what look you like the best.

See all the different textures you can create with Snake Paisley, Lava Paisley, and regular Paisley:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

Instructions for Linking Up Your Blog:

1. Write your blog post. Publish it on your blog.

2. Copy the link of the specific blog post. This is not just the link to your blog itself (, but the link to the specific post:

3. Click the blue link up button above and paste your link into the box.

Keep in mind that you're posting your progress from LAST week on THIS week's post. This way you have time to watch the lesson, play with the ideas, then post your progress to the next quilt along. I hope that makes sense!

Also it's not required, but highly appreciated and super cool to link back the Free Motion Quilt Along so everyone you know can come quilt with us too.  Grab a button to put in your post or on your blog to share the love!

Free Motion Quilt Along
Let's go quilt!

Leah Day


  1. Snake Paisley is just what I was looking for to do a little filler work. Thank you for sharing this design with us.

  2. HI I've been doing the quilt along and doing my own 365 squares too since May and didn't feel I was making much progress. I did all the things with turning the stitch down to 0 tried both with dog feeds and not and have been very disappointed with the results.

    Got really frustrated and stopped for a while as I found that although I had good hand and foot movement and could make the shapes both large and small it was not working for me. There were many loops on the back or the needle got stuck in the same place.

    It always seemed such an effort to move the fabric and watching the videos it seems to just glide with a little push in the right direction.

    I worked it out! Starting in the same corner as Leah meant I was always pushing the fabric rather than pulling it. I'm left handed so I started in the top right corner and what a difference, the fabric just glides because I can pull with my left and guide with my right hands. It does mean that some of the shapes have to be reversed from those being made on the video because I'm working across the other way but most are symmetrical and easy to work out.

  3. Studio Stitches - What's funny is, I'm left handed too! It's just down to the way our brains work. I'm so glad you were able to figure it out and bust through that difficult time. What number are you on right now?!



  4. I've done paisley before and love the snake paisley variation. Can't wait to try this one on a quilt. Motivates me to get some deadline driven projects done so I can get back to experimenting. Love your blogs Leah, thanks for sharing.


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