The Free Motion Quilting Project: 10. Learn to Quilt a New Version of Concentric Circles

Thursday, February 7, 2013

10. Learn to Quilt a New Version of Concentric Circles

Yay! I managed to wake up early enough to day to share this video and neat redesign of a cool design called Concentric Circles.
free motion quilting | Leah Day
So here's the deal with this design - I never liked it. As you can see from the photo above, it looks a lot like Paisley, but it's quilted from the outside-in, which gives the internal echoes a bit of a weird look.
free motion quilting | Leah Day
This is the redesigned version that I absolutely love. Basically it's two circles connected with a spiral. It's fun, it's beautiful, and it's an absolute knockout in the background of Express Your Love:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Concentric Circles stitched in Buttercup Isacord Thread
So why the redesign? When it came time to prepare the 4 inch squares for their photo shoot to create the book 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs, I took one look at this design and decided it had to be changed.

In the literary world, this is called a Retcon - changing something already established into something new, and you've probably noticed it in a book, but never had a name for it.

For me, changing some of the original designs just HAD to happen. First off, I had to re-stitch out over 100 of those 4 inch squares just to get them on darker fabric so the stitching could show. I figured if I was already having to stitch them out again, I might as well change the ones that made me cringe.

So here's the video for this new version! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do:

By the way, have you checked out the Express Your Love Page? I'm linking up all the posts right here so you can always go back and check out the videos and try techniques anytime you like.

Remember, there's no rules on this quilt other than to have fun, so try what you like and forget the rest!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Hi Leah,
    I'm caught up so thanks for your new post. A few questions: 1. what rays did you fill in with the concentric circles? I hate to be a copycat, but I need that guidance right now. (a peek at the total quilt so far woud be helpful. 2. about spacing. My previous stitching - boomerangs - like my others are really close together - like 1/16"-1/4". Should I be trying to space out my stitching a bit? For example, how far apart are your lines of stitching on Concentric circles? Thank you.

  2. Leah, Thanks so much for sharing all of your wonderful quilting ideas - and stories of your life. You are such an inspiration to so many folks - including me! Keep up the fabulous project!

  3. I purchased your online class from Craftsy and have been enjoying trying out your designs. Doing my own machine quilting has not been a priority until now, but I think I may end up being a convert. I love the paisley, but these concentric circles also appeal to me.

  4. I have been trying to make these concentric circles all day and they look horrible. I can't seem to get my circles round. I may have to go back to the original that look more like paisley. That I can do.

  5. Hi Suzanne - I don't have a shot of the whole quilt with me to show you what exact rays I plan to fill. Basically it was the top middle two on either side of the white mctavishing, then the two pointing to the left and right. It might make more sense next week when we learn another design in the rays. On spacing, it sounds like you're quilting right along the same scale I am and that's just fine. How do your stitches look to you? With Concentric Circles, my largest circles were around the size of a quarter, maybe a little bit bigger, and the lines of quilting were generally 1/8 inch apart. I hope that helps!

  6. Hi Sue - Can you switch to just plain Pebbling and see if that helps? Just practice the circle shape itself for a bit, then step it up a notch with the concentric version.

  7. I love this design and the way the yellow thread pops against the black background. I also just wanted to say how much I'm learning from this goddess quilt series, even though I'm more into functional quilts than art quilts. I found you on Craftsy and have totally fallen in love with your blog!


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