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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!