The Free Motion Quilting Project: 19. How to Rip Out Quilting Mistakes

Thursday, March 28, 2013

19. How to Rip Out Quilting Mistakes

I know, I know, I might be sending shock waves through the quilt world with the title of this post. For years I've told you to just keep quilting and not stop to rip out every little mistake.

But there are SOME times that you just have to. I accidentally quilted Zigzag Spiral into a space clearly set up for Wiggle Wiggle Spiral and despite the fact that both designs are super similar, this is definitely a mistake I will rip no matter how long it takes.

 Why? Mostly design. If I plan for a design to go in a particular space, that is what must go there, nothing else. Now if it was a HUGE area, I might try to find an alternative like covering the area in a creative way. So understand that I am ripping this section BECAUSE it's so small and won't take an enormous time to rip out. Now without further ado, let's watch how to do it:

So after 10 minutes of ripping, my space is once again empty of that incorrect design and it's time to fill it properly with Wiggle Wiggle Spiral.

free motion quilting | Leah Day

The moral of ripping is simple: take your time when planning, take you time when quilting, and design mistakes like this won't happen so you won't have to rip. The trick is to slow down and not get in a rush to "finish it! finish it! finish it!"

Now that this space is ripped out, it's time to quilt it correctly and move on to another orange space and play with another spiraling design!

Let's go quilt,



  1. This is why I'm so hesitant to start FMQ on the baby quilt I just finished piecing. I'm terrified to have to rip! Thanks for the 'unsewing lesson' - bookmarking this video for reference. :)

  2. Lucky you did it in such a small space! I spent a month of evenings ripping out a design I hated on one of my quilts. But it had to be done.

  3. I also use an old, dull machine needle to help pick out stitches. It is just the right size. Any burrs or scratches on the needle actually help snag the thread and help hold it while you are pulling it out.

  4. Thank your incite. I tend to rip to much and it is very frustration.

  5. If rip you must, then you must rip! I pretty much never rip, looking instead for another solution, but I just did a bunch! That's a good tutorial on it.

  6. Last week I learned a new term
    "froging" rip it rip it rip it!

  7. Sometimes a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do. :)

  8. Thank you for sharing this very useful technique. Many artists hesitate to share their 'process', but it's very helpful to we amateurs to see that even professionals like Leah C. Day can have an error or two, and here's how she deals with it. Thanks very much Leah, your work is an inspiration, every step of the way!


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