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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!!


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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!