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How to quilt words with free motion

a picture of the word summer with quilting behind the letters

Okay, so you just got an invite to a party–maybe it’s a housewarming/baby shower/wedding shower/etc. You fill in the blank. This person is super special to you and you just want to give a gift that is really cool and not a lame bottle of wine they probably won’t even like (I’m not a wine drinker ;). Aaaaaaand, you want to show off your fancy schmancy free motion quilting skills, amiright? Let’s learn how to quilt words with free motion to make your text POP.

I absolutely LOVE taking a baby name and using this technique to jazz it up a little and make a sweet wall hanging for when the parents bring their new babe home. I made a similar one for my daughter before she was born, but I incorporated a little embroidery into hers as well. The great thing about this gift is:

  • It’s quick and easy
  • Even solid fabric will look good (and fancy)
  • It’s PERSONAL. Capitalized.
  • You can use a name, phrase, initial, literally WHATEVER you want
  • You probably already have the things on hand you need for this and don’t have to run to the fabric store.

Materials-What do you need?

This is a super simple project. Unless you want to piece some fabric and get a little more intricate, all you need is some solid fabric. And, to be honest, this technique looks best with solids. Patterned fabrics will sometimes take away from the relief quilting, unless it’s a really subtle pattern. I have a lot of LOUD, busy prints. So solids for the win for me!

  • Solid fabric for the top or front of the wall hanging–I always make this piece a little bigger than I want my finished piece to end up so I can cut it down to size.
  • Solid fabric (or a print) for the back of the wall hanging. This piece needs to measure 12″ bigger on width and height. If your top fabric is 12″ x 24″, this piece needs to measure 24″ x 36″.
  • Quilting thread that is at least slightly contrasting to your top fabric.
  • Stencil made from your favorite font (you can also freehand whatever word you want)
  • Erasable fabric marker (I like Frixion pens for this)
  • Longarm needle
  • Longarm or domestic sewing machine (whatever you have and are comfortable using for free motion quilting)
  • 2 pieces of batting the same size as your backing fabric
  • Binding fabric for the finish.

Watch the tutorial on How to Quilt Words

Give it a go!

Now that you’re an expert, give it a try! When I was a beginner quilter, I would buy some really cheap flat twin sheets and practice this kind of stuff on that. I built up my confidence a little on the cheap sheets and then wasn’t so afraid to try it with good quality quilting cotton.

Think of what a hit your gift will be at the next wedding shower when you give the happy couple a wall hanging with their new last name (if they are using the same last name :), or for whatever occasion, this can be personalized in so many ways. Be creative and have fun! And don’t forget to spice up your free motion with themed shapes. For the “Summer” wall hanging, I threw in a few whimsical starfish here and there. Have fun and give it a shot!

Happy sewing! -Joanna

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How to quilt a grid using rulers tutorial

how to quilt a grid

Quilting with rulers can seem like a daunting plan. We all love how grids can look in a quilt and how much visual interest they can add. But how do you go about actually doing it? Even beginners can quilt a grid with a little planning and patience. Here are some of my best tips for quilting a grid:

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Free motion quilting tutorial – pebbles and swirls

pebbles and swirls

Quilting pebbles and swirls

You’ve got a quilt that you’re just dying to add some texture to, right? Pebbles seem like the quilting motif of choice, but you’re a little leery of the repetitive, time consuming motif. You can add some swirls in with the pebbles to make the quilting go a little faster.

I know when I’m quilting pebbles, sometimes I get road weary. You know–that feeling you get when you’ve been driving on a highway for hours with no landmarks in sight? You can’t really remember how many hours you’ve been driving for, and everything in the road looks the same. Your eyes get tired and you start to doze off.

Okay, okay! Maybe it doesn’t happen exactly like that with quilting, but you know what I mean, right? I start to get that same feeling when I’m quilting pebbles. I’ve found that adding some easy swirls in with the pebbles really mixes it up and keeps me on my toes. Pebbles are pretty time consuming too, so the larger swirls take up a little of that space and help to solve that problem.

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Free motion quilting tutorial – Echoed teardrops

echoed teardrops

Learning new free motion quilting techniques is an ongoing process when you’re a quilter. In this video tutorial, you’ll learn a quick and easy fill that doesn’t take much practice to master. Unlike quilting circles or swirls, you don’t need as steady of a hand to be able to make beautiful tear drop shapes.

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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.

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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