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How to quilt feathered swirls

how to quilt feathered swirls

Have you ever wanted to combine a couple of different quilting motifs, but didn’t know where to start? In this video tutorial, you’ll learn how to use feathers and swirls together to quilt feathered swirls! Learning how to quilt feathered swirls will give you another great tool for your quilting tool box and you’ll be able to tackle that negative space in your quilt in no time at all!

Video tutorial – how to quilt feathered swirls

Using feathered swirls in you quilt

Here are some examples of quilts I’ve used feathered swirls in. I’m showing my successes and not so successes in these, so you can see how these look in different quilts.

Example quilts

antique quilt
Antique quilt with feathered swirls

This first quilt is an antique quilt that my lovely friend Amy picked up at an estate sale. It was in relatively good condition for being around 80 years old, and it needed a fairly dense all over. The feathered swirls work really well in this top because you can see the quilting, but you also see the quilt first and foremost.

modern quilt
Modern quilt with feathered swirls

This second quilt is a good example of a pattern that is pretty complex and has lots of prints. If I’d had more time, I would have custom quilted this one and used some straight lines and ruler work. You can see the quilting, but it tends to try to compete a little with the fabric and quilt pattern–and that’s not usually the outcome I like to have. Live and learn, right!? Also, I used hot pink thread on this, and a blending thread–maybe a silver would have been a little more subtle.

elephant quilt with feathered swirls

Now this third quilt is the jackpot. The background is a nice light solid, and the quilting motif does a good job of adding texture, but not overdoing it so much that you don’t see the piecing work. My sweet friend Loretta pieced this darling elephant quilt as a baby gift. You can also scale up the design and make it larger so the quilts are more luscious and soft.

Baby quilt

And this fourth example is kind of a mix to me…the pattern is really busy and the fabrics are too. Straight lines would have been superb on this to help the quilt pattern stand out, but the client opted for this motif–which is okay!! She loved the look of it, and it does add a bit of a feminine touch to the quilt. The quilting can’t really be seen in the center, but it is seen on the outer borders where the fabric is more low volume.

Putting it into practice

I hope you’ll take a look at these quilts I’ve used feathered swirls on and take them into consideration when deciding to use feathered swirls. Think about the end product and what the complete quilt will look like. It is a really great fill when using solid fabrics, or filling the space in the background of a block. And it’s perfect for an easy all over that you want to use to add texture.

Have fun with it and go practice those feathered swirls!

Other free motion quilting tutorials

If you like feathered swirls, take a look at the basic components. I did some video tutorials of feathers and swirls separately that you might be interested in before trying this one out. You can see more videos at my youtube channel. Until next time, happy sewing!!

-Joanna

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How to quilt stacked swirls

how to quilt stacked swirls

Good Monday morning! I’m so excited to share a new video tutorial with you this morning. I just LOVE to quilt stacked swirls in the background of quilt blocks and in negative space. They create amazing texture and fill up a space without a lot of thought and concentration. This video will show you how to quilt stacked swirls and how to navigate to the spaces you want to quilt.

Quilting it

I used Kona Cotton Splash (the Kona color of the year) and white Glide thread by Hab+Dash for high visibility quilting. Typically, I would use a blending thread color when quilting this in the background of a block. I like to use blending threads because I want the quilting to show, but not compete with the design and piecing of the quilt. Contrasting thread colors definitely have their place, and should be used with discretion. After all, this is YOUR quilt, and YOU should get to decide the thread colors, right!?

Check it out 🙂

I hope you’ll take a quick look at this tutorial and see how easy it is to quilt this fill. Quilting round motifs is very simple and repetitive. These are easy to perfect with just a little practice, and you will probably find that you won’t even have to doodle for very long before your swirls look great!

How to quilt swirls video tutorial

Quilts that I’ve used this fill on

I thought I’d show some practical examples of quilts I’ve used this fill on so you can see it in context. Stacked swirls are a great way to add texture without drawing the viewers eye away from the focal point of the piecing on the quilt. Check out some of these quilts I quilted with stacked swirls:

Cheeky Churn Dash

This first quilt is my Cheeky Churn Dash quilt. It’s a great quilt for using layer cakes or 10″ precuts. If you want to really show off a fabric line, this is the perfect pattern for it! You can see that I really love to pair stacked swirls with simple ruler work. You can see the quilting but it doesn’t stand there shouting, “HEY!!! Look at me and not the fabulous quilt!”

As a pattern designer, I would hate for the actual quilt to not be seen for the quilting on it. We spend so much time piecing our quilts that time and thought really needs to go into planning the quilting motifs used. And as a longarm quilter, I love for my quilting to be seen, but not at the expense of the maker’s work. It needs to be an equal relationship where both parts can be valued and appreciated.

Cheeky Churn Dash

Katelen’s Applique

Now below are a couple of pics of my dear friend Katelen P.’s quilt. Katelen is SO talented and creates these amazing appliqued animals. Quilting the stacked swirls behind her applique really makes the animals pop and helps them stay the focal point of the quilt. It’s really important when picking quilt designs that you don’t upstage the maker’s work on the quilt. Quilting is there to help the quilt shine and not overpower it (that’s just MY opinion ;).

Katelens duck

Dreamer’s Star

This is my Dreamer’s Star quilt that I quilted stacked swirls in the background of. The swirls pair so nicely with a little ruler work to really show off the quilt design and the gorgeous fabrics used.

Dreamer’s Star

Above is a close up of the stacked swirls. You can see how much texture it adds without taking away from the quilt design. One of my favorites!!!

I hope you’ll give this motif a try. Quilting stacked swirls is just a breeze, and I know you’ll get in the groove of them in no time! Happy sewing!

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Learn how to quilt swirls – video tutorial

smoky swirls video tutorial

Want to learn how to quilt swirls? Sometimes it’s difficult to determine what should go in the negative space of a quilt. I really like using swirls to quilt empty space because it gives texture and movement. It can also double as smoky swirls or wind looking swirls to create a darker look, or mimic the weather.

When I started out quilting on a domestic machine, my stitches didn’t look precise or smooth–it took a lot of practice and relaxing to get a consistent look and feel. I’ve heard a lot of people say that quilting on a longarm and domestic are completely different, but I feel like they’re very similar and require a similar skill set. If you’re willing to put in the time and practice, you WILL eventually see improvement. I know when I started out, I was easily discouraged at how awesome other quilters’ quilting looked and how crummy mine was in comparison. Over time, my quilting started to look a little better each week and I was satisfied with the quality of quilting I was doing. I doodled a lot to practice when I was away from my machine, and that really helped.

Video tutorial – how to quilt swirls

I made up a fun free motion quilting tutorial on how I quilt these swirls. These are hands down my favorite motif to use to look like wind or smoke on the background of a quilt. I recently quilted a quilt for one of my clients that had a Christmas theme with adorable little houses (Hi Debra!!) and used this motif in the background to look like a little snowstorm. It worked out perfectly and gave just the right feeling to the quilt.

I hope you’ll take a moment to check out the video tutorial. I’ve even put in a little time lapse preview at the beginning so you can see how it comes together quickly. I’ll walk you through how to quilt these swirls. I always recommend to start out with paper and pencil. Then doodle and draw until your swirls look smooth. Once you draw them enough, you don’t really have to think about where you’re going to put the next one. Then it makes quilting them a breeze! Pun intended ;).

So go watch the tutorial a few times. Practice drawing your own swirls. And whether you have a domestic or a longarm, you can quilt up some samples. I’d love to see your quilting if you give it a try!!! Feel free to give me a tag on IG @kustomkwilts if you post your progress :). And if you liked this tutorial, check out how to quilt feathers! Happy quilting!

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How to quilt feathers – video tutorial

Have you ever been at a loss for how to fill negative space in a quilt? I know I’ve sometimes struggled with what quilting motif is the right one, and I wanted to share some of the fills I use the most. I made a quick video tutorial on how to quilt feathers and I think you’ll really love some of the tips I give in it 🙂

How to quilt feathers

how to quilt feathers

I love quilting feathers. They add so much movement and texture and fill a space quickly. When I first started quilting, I had a hard time quilting feathers. They came out ugly and wonky and wobbly. So I decided to stop wasting so much fabric and grabbed some scratch paper and just drew them over and over again. They were still ugly and inconsistent, but I could gradually see some progress. It seemed like one day, it just clicked, and my feathers suddenly looked like feathers. I was happy that I only drew on paper and didn’t go through that much fabric, batting, and thread before my feathers started coming together!

Putting needle to fabric

Once you’re confident that you’re ready to start quilting, grab some fabric, batting, and a good contrasting thread so you can have better visibility while you quilt. I think it’s easier in the beginning to mark the spines of your feathers, and even mark some of the feathers so you have some guidelines. I like to use a chaco liner or some sort of white chalk marker that easily rubs away or wipes off. Practice is definitely going to be your friend, and if you can just quilt feathers for an entire afternoon, you’ll really begin to see a lot of progress between your ending feathers and what you started with.

I hope you’ll check out the video tutorial I created to help you quilt one of my favorite motifs. You can click on the video below, or follow this link to see the video on youtube.

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Inspired Free-Motion Quilting (and giveaway!)

This has been such a busy and exciting week for me! I had a little time away from sewing celebrating the Christmas season with our family (and our daycare was closed for almost two weeks–insert the screaming face emoji here ;). All joking aside, it was wonderful to get to spend so much time with the family and remember what’s important in life! I hope you were able to rest, recharge, and be around the people you love.

Photo courtesy of C&T Publishing

One thing I’m super pumped about is Amanda Leins and Bill Volckening’s new book Inspired Free-Motion Quilting. The book is described as “90 Antique designs reinterpreted for today’s quilter”. I do a lot of custom quilting, and this book is really inspirational, as far as brainstorming designs goes. There are pages of antique quilts with really amazing quilting designs, along with step-by-step instructions on how to execute and master each design. It’s a great reference for seasoned quilters and beginners alike. I’m so excited to be a part of the Inspired Free-Motion Quilting blog hop and team up with Mandy Leins and C&T Publishing to give away one free PDF copy (that means the giveaway is open internationally!!!) of this awesome book! Read to the end for details on how to enter.

As soon as I was able to flip through Inspired Free-Motion Quilting, two designs immediately caught my eye that I knew exactly what I wanted to use them for. My two favorite motifs from the book are “Double lines and orange peel” and “Echoed Crosshatch”. I really enjoy making bags (in addition to the quilting I do), and I like to add a bit of decorative quilting to the exterior of the bag, if I’m able to. I had a new pattern I was really excited to try–The Gloss Cosmetic Bag by Sew Sweetness (Sara Lawson). The pattern is available with purchase of the Minikins Season 2 pattern bundle on Sara’s site.

This is a really great way to spice up some solid fabric–and solid colors show off the quilting with less distractions than prints. I cut the green linen-canvas fabric I had slightly larger than the pattern called for and quilted it prior to assembling the pattern. I loved the instructions and diagrams that are included with the book–they really leave no room for error, even if you’re just starting out. I’m really thrilled with how impactful the design is that I selected from the book. I chose “Double Lines and Orange Peel” for a classic motif that would really look great on a cosmetic bag. I love the definition and texture it gives the solid–in what would otherwise be a really boring cosmetic bag. It’s not as easy to see in the picture, but I opted to skip the orange peels on the patterned fabric on the bottom of the case, and only quilted the echoed crosshatch.

I quilted the bag components on my longarm, but it would be easy to do this sort of quilting on a domestic. Just pop on a walking foot and measure out your straight lines, and follow the simple instructions for free-motion quilting the orange peels between the lines to finish up. I used a slightly contrasting thread color for a little pop, but I’m dying to make another in black canvas with black thread for subtle texture and style.


Amanda and Bill do a fantastic job of sharing some amazing antique quilts and their in depth knowledge of how to reproduce the motifs, and I highly recommend Inspired Free-Motion Quilting as a must have reference for quilters! Make sure you read below to enter the giveaway, and check out the other blog hop participants’ posts for more chances to win!

Giveaway Details

Here’s what you came for!! C&T Publishing has so generously allowed me to give away one PDF copy of Inspired Free-Motion Quilting. All you need to do to enter is like my Instagram post and tag a friend in the comments OR leave a comment on THIS blog post telling me why you’re excited to get a copy of this book! The giveaway is open internationally and will close Sunday, January 13, 2019 at 6:00 PM, CST. The winner will be notified by me soon thereafter. Good luck!!!

 

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Free-Motion Framework book – Giveaway!

Free-Motion Framework

I am delighted to announce that I had the honor of contributing to Jen Eskridge’s new book from CT Publishing called Free-Motion Framework.  It’s an amazing book that offers tips and tricks for really building your free motion quilting skills.  There are so many amazing contributors (17, in fact!) in Jen’s book, you’ve really gotta check it out!  Keep on reading to the bottom for two separate chances to win!

Free-Motion Framework
Free-Motion Framework Book

Head over HERE to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway!  Jen will be announcing the winner on June 19th (entry closes June 18).  Prizes include: Clover marking tools, Clover Wonderclips, HandiQuilter machine quilting rulers, and a couple of copies of the book!  AND…For a second chance to win, I’m giving away a copy as well, courtesy of C&T Publishing!  Head over to Instagram @kustomkwilts and enter for your chance to win a copy of the book by:

  1. Following my instagram account @kustomkwilts
  2. Liking the giveaway post
  3. Tag a friend!

You must do all three to be entered to win!  My giveaway will close Sunday, July 10 and I’ll announce the winner Monday July 11, 2018.  The giveaway hosted by me is closed.  Congratulations to Marnie Anderson on winning a copy of the book!

Free-Motion Framework launched at Spring Quilt Market this past May, and is available on Amazon now.  Check it out here!  The book includes ten designs that can be transferred to a whole cloth or a single piece of fabric as your quilting guide.  I quilted two of the samples included in the book, and really loved how simple the process was for transferring the design to the fabric and then starting to plan your quilting ideas.

One of my samples in Free-Motion Framework

Jen gives lovely suggestions for how to create your own designs and fill the area creatively.  This book is a wonderful exercise in working out your quilting muscles and trying something new.  The skills to be gained from this are limitless, but I found that it really helped me plan block based quilting designs much more efficiently and gave me some new ideas I hadn’t tried before.  I really like the idea of using hand guided free motion quilting in conjunction with some simple ruler work and straight lines.

sneak peek
A peek at the corner of my other sample in the book

The picture above is the corner of another of my samples in the book.  The designs provided in the book are so simple to use and provide a great study on symmetry in your whole cloth work.  I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy so I can quilt up some more of these quilts.  Don’t forget to follow the link in the second paragraph to comment for a chance to win some great prizes in this blog tour of Free-Motion Framework!

Stop by each blog this week for a possible chance to win a copy of Free-Motion Framework. (International winners, outside the USA, will receive a digital copy.)

Monday | June 4

ReannaLily Designs (here!) 
C & T Publishing

Tuesday | June 5

Joey’s Quilting Co
Helen Ernst Longarm Quilting
Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC The Blog

Thursday | June 7

Wise Craft Handmade

Friday | June 8

Kustom Kwilts
Living Water Quilter
Seamingly Slawson Quilts – Susan Lawson

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Quilting applique and some modern maples

Swirls!

I just love some good free motion quilting!  Last month, I quilted some amazing client quilts.  One quilt was a BOM from a local quilt shop – Sew Special in San Antonio, TX, and another was pieced by Kasandra Lee from the SAMQG.  The first quilt I mentioned was a quilt pieced by Katelen Postert that started as a traditional BOM using Moda’s Grunge line.  Katelen added her own special touch and added some amazing animal appliques to really make this quilt special.  Katelen is so talented, and that mini-parade of wildlife strolling down the center of the quilt is just perfection!

Katelen's Quilt
Katelen’s Quilt

When I met with Katelen for her quilting consultation, we decided on some  clean straight line quilting (not too dense), and outline the appliques with some stitch in the ditch and surround them with medium-sized swirls.  I used Glide thread in a 50 wt. light teal color that matched the duck (along with a lighter cream color for the swirls), and used a single layer of Quilter’s Dream Wool batting.

Duck Applique
Duck Applique

Longarm View
Longarm View

I was so in love with Katelen’s color choices and her addition of the applique was such an awesome touch.  Here’s a portion of the finished quilt with the applique.  Bravo Katelen!!!

Katelen's quilt
Katelen’s quilt

Kasandra’s quilt was just as exciting for me to quilt.  She did a great modern maple quilt with lots of negative space in a cool color palette.

Kasandra's Quilt
Kasandra’s Quilt

I did some diagonal straight line quilting within the maple leaves to follow the lines of the piecing, and then added some free flowing swirls to the background.  The batting used was Quilter’s Dream Orient for a functional, soft, and drapey quilt that will be useful in a hot climate.

Longarm View
Longarm View

And these are the free-flowing swirls I did in the negative space.  This is truly one of my favorite fills to do, and so relaxing to get lost in!

Swirls!
Swirls!

I’m so happy I can share these quilts made by some very talented women.  I love mixing a little free motion quilting with ruler work and I think it makes the quilt really stand out without being overly done.  Hope you’re getting to do some lovely sewing this week!

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Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt FREE PATTERN

Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt

Who wants a free Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt Pattern?  Well today is your lucky day!!!

You have to check out this adorable fabric line Michael Miller Fabrics just released. The line is called Ice Cream, You Scream and the colors are everything!  Also, there’s this border print that is just dying to be put in a quilt (or made into a little girl’s skirt!!), and nearly makes me swoon!  I got a chance to get my hands on this fabric to design a quilt for the release, and I’m not gonna lie…I spent a few hours just playing with the fabric and coordinating Cotton Couture.  It features sweet ice cream cones, sundaes, and the best stripes.  It reminded me of the 4th of July and ice cream socials and everything pure in the world.  The best part is, Michael Miller Fabrics is offering this pattern as a freebie–you can get your own PDF pattern download from their website.

Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt
Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt – Picture from Michael Miller Fabrics website

The pattern is for “confident beginners”, which just means you need a general knowledge of foundation paper piecing and fussy cutting.  I fussy cut the border pieces so the ice cream sundaes were centered along the center of the borders, and the cornerstones in the border were fussy cut to showcase the cute little ice cream phrases on the fabric.

I had a blast designing and piecing the quilt.  I had even more fun quilting it!  I used Glide thread (from Hab+Dash) and Quilter’s Dream batting in the quilt.  I used a few different colors of thread and matched them to the different fabrics.  Most of the quilting was handguided free motion quilting, with the assistance of straight rulers for the grids.

Ice cream cone
Ice Cream Cone Quilting

Cornerstone block quilting

I’d love to see what you do with the pattern–the foundation paper piecing blocks are pretty quick to sew up.  Just remember to shorten your stitch length (I like to use 1.5) so the paper is perforated enough to tear away easily and print your paper piecing templates at 100%.  Then add your sashing and borders and voila!  Don’t forget to grab your free copy, and check out the pattern (pictured below).  Happy sewing!!!

Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt
Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt

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Quilting for Market with Urban Artifacts Fabrics by Leslie Tucker Jenison

So I guess this is part 2 of my Quilt Market preparations posts…The quilting edition!  

I had the opportunity to quilt a couple of quilts for my friend Leslie’s quilt market booth.  I’m going to be brief here…
The first one was an awesome quilt designed by Liberty Worth.  It’s pretty modern and gave me tons of inspiration with the quilting.  Below are pictures:

Putting the binding on…
Quilt designed by Liberty Worth with Urban Artifacts by Leslie Tucker Jenison

Quilt designed by Liberty Worth with Urban Artifacts fabrics by Leslie Tucker Jenison

The next quilt was designed by Allison Chambers of the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild and was inspired by mid-century modern style.  I love this quilt!  I was aiming to keep the quilting modern but understated and used a blending thread instead of a highly contrasting one.  I did some geometric ruler work with stitch in the ditch on this one.  

Quilt designed by Allison Chambers using Urban Artifacts Fabric by Leslie Tucker Jenison

Quilt designed by Allison Chambers using Urban Artifacts Fabric by Leslie Tucker Jenison
I got to quilt 2 other amazing quilts that were designed by Leslie, but those are patterns that are not yet released, so no pictures of those yet!  I am so blown away by the talent and creativity.  I really wish I could have attended Quilt Market this year, but like I said…life happens.  There’s always next year!

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A little more FMQ

I love the understated look of Superior Threads’ So fine thread for busier quilts.  There’s just enough substance there to make the quilting do its job, but not so much that the quilt is overwhelmed.  


This isn’t a super involved post–I just wanted to share a quilt that some of the ladies in the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild put together for our past president who moved out of state.  This quilt was designed by Emily Robbins using some of the modern quilt block guides put out by Love Patchwork and Quilting this year.  Cotton + Steel prints were used in combination with various shades of grey.  It’s pretty difficult to see the quilting, but the real star is the quilt design and the fabrics.  

This was the finished quilt prior to the binding being put on.  Love the design, and I think Emily did a great job!