Easy free-motion quilting designs: a stippling sensation

Detail of Log Cabin quilt from Easy and Fun Free-Motion QuiltingAre you a wannabe machine quilter? I am. I want to do my own quilting, but I rarely do. I love to stipple, and I can do a mean stitch-in-the-ditch. I can do some very basic loops and stars, but mostly I just stipple. I’m ready to expand my stippling skills. Aren’t you?

Author Eva Larkin is breathing new life into the good ol’ stipple stitch in her new book, Easy and Fun Free-Motion Quilting. She makes me want to grab my sewing machine and start stitching, right NOW!

Easy and Fun Free-Motion QuiltingWhat’s that? You think you don’t stipple well? No worries. Eva starts off with several tips to improve your stippling. I’ve been machine quilting for years and never heard of some of these great ideas, like breaking down a stipple design into a series of “wiggles,” and how to draw paths to follow so you don’t get stitched into a corner. She also provides excellent basics on general machine quilting and thread/machine troubleshooting. I especially like the exercise for testing thread tension, giving quilters four simple steps to ensure proper tension before you start working on your quilt.

Now, on to the easy free-motion quilting designs. Oh my gosh, I never dreamed simple stippling could look so dramatic and fresh. There are literally hundreds of ideas here! Best of all, Eva spends time explaining and demonstrating the mechanics of design to help you decide what works best for your quilt. Every design starts with super simple lines to create interesting spaces for fillers. Here are just a few examples, from basic to slightly more complex.

Four corners frame from Easy and Fun Free-Motion Quilting
Four Corners Frame

Half corners frame from Easy and Fun Free-Motion Quilting
Half Corners Frame and Open Square Filler

Inside border frame from Easy and Fun Free-Motion Quilting
Inside Border Frame

Curved outline stitching from Easy and Fun Free-Motion Quilting
Curved Outline Stitching

Eva is an amazing teacher. Her instructions make it easy to achieve the goal, step by step. She’s organized her new book in a way that allows you to focus on one block at a time instead of an entire quilt, which can be overwhelming. In addition, Eva includes:

  • Choices! Use each frame design on its own, enhance it with filler designs, or outline the frame or filler with stitching. There are literally hundreds of design options.
  • Six different frame styles that can be stitched in any quilt-block size without tracing or resizing.
  • A sequence of clear illustrations for each design, showing the order to stitch for both outlining and filling. These illustrations are particularly helpful for those new to machine quilting.

If you’ve seen Eva’s first book, Free-Motion Quilting Made Easy: 186 Designs from 8 Simple Shapes, you know she is the best at teaching you to use simple shapes to create dramatic free-motion quilting designs for machine quilting. In her new book, she even has a section on how to combine the stippling fillers with the simple shapes to make even more dramatic designs.

Ready to start stippling? I am!


What kind of machine quilter are you? Are you talented, capable, or eternally grateful to your local machine quilter? Tell us your machine-quilting story in the comments and you could win a copy of the Easy and Fun Free-Motion Quilting eBook! We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you’ve won. (You can also purchase Eva’s book here, and if you do, you can download the eBook for free right away.) Good luck!

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The randomly chosen winner is Linda, who said:

“I am tired of stippling but I seem to fall back on it regularly. This looks like a fresh approach to stippling and just reading your post makes me excited about stippling again!”

Linda, we’ll email you each a special coupon code for your free eBook. Congratulations!


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