Free-Motion Quilting Magic Without Any Marking!!

This past week, I started and finished a fun new Wholecloth Quilt that yielded 36 fun, new free-motion quilting motifs.  Not only am I thrilled with the fabulous quilted textures, but stitching the motifs was surprisingly simple and easy to complete without the use of any marking pens or even my trusted blue painter's tape!

Yes--you read that correctly--zero marking was required for any of these designs!!  Keep reading to learn my magical secret...
Free Motion Magic Without Any Marking!! (Finishes 28" x 28")

I simply turned to my fabric stash for quilting inspiration!  For this particular stitch sampler, I looked for prints/batiks with circular designs that reminded me of pebble quilting and variations.  Once I started looking through my stash, I was surprised by the range of design possibilities!  The quilt back was a simple 6x6 grid pieced using 5" charm squares representing a variety of patterns, scales and combinations!
Magic Trick Revealed--Fun Quilt Back with Lots of Pattern! 

White (#2024) Aurifil 50 weight was used for all the piecing, quilting and top-stitched binding.  The quilt sandwich was turned over so the pieced backing was facing up.  Once all the stitching in the ditch was completed, I moved from block to block, drawing inspiration from the backing fabrics for my quilting.  As I approached each new block, I looked for ways to capture and/or enhance the circular designs.  Some designs required only outline stitching, while others involved more intricate pathway planning!

Here are some more quilting tips:

  • Quilting with a thin thread such as Aurifil 50 Weight on a busy printed fabric, greatly helps to disguise any stitching imperfections!  Any stitching wobbles will be better disguised if you use a matching color that blends in with the print!
  • It is ok (and encouraged) to take some creative liberties by deviating from the fabric patterns.  I may have skipped stitching some of the smaller circles on a block and/or grouped several circle motifs into a larger circle/bubble!  Or perhaps add some stitched lines/meandering to connect the various circle shapes without needing to break thread.
  • Be mindful of the scale of prints and how that might translate to the amount of quilting involved!  Using a small scale print might be fine for a small wall or crib sized quilt, but might be extremely time and thread consuming if used on a larger quilt!!   
  • There are quite a few prints that would lend themselves nicely to walking foot quilting too, just as I did on my Sprint then Crawl For Color quilt!
  • Have fun!!!

The next time you are looking for quilting ideas, consider choosing a fun print for your quilt backing and quilt from the back!!