December 12, 2010

Free Motion Quilting Designs: Words

If you're free motion quilting there's no reason you can't write words on your quilt! This is a great tool for personalizing quilts with your quilting. Some quilters use this technique instead of a label, to record a quilt's maker, recipient and date. It will bend your brain a little to get used to writing by moving the "paper" instead of the "pen" but you will get used to it after a little practice. I can assure from my own experience that even mediocre writing on a quilt will impress the recipient to no end.

Cursive letters lend themselves to continuous line quilting.

Some letters will make you stop and think. This is how I dot my i's and j's.

Crossing your t's or x's require retracing your stitching a short way.

Between words I just extend the line along the bottom. Most letters will end at the bottom so this works well. However, o's, w's and v's end at the top. If you have a word that ends in one of these letters you may want to retrace back to where the letter meets the bottom and extend your line from there.

From experience I'll tell you that n's can look like m's, and m's can look like a mess. I recommend making the first hump very skinny to make sure it's clear what letter you're drawing. Also, v's can look like u's unless you keep them very pointy.

You don't need to write in cursive. How about big block letters connected at the bottom? With block letters you will have to address letters with cutouts. I handle these with a simple little jog to get to the middle of the letter, and trace back along the same jog to get back out.

Here is a technique that is great for practicing any free motion quilting design, but I think it's particularly helpful when you're learning to write on your quilt.  Put a thick piece of paper such as cardstock down on the machine bed. Tape a pen securely to the side of your machine. It should be a pen where the ink flows freely without pressure, such as this fiber tip pen. Then just move the paper to get a feel for free motion stitching! No wasted fabric and no worrying about tension or stitch length. Just focusing on the design. I also removed the foot when doing this, for visibility.

Sketching continuous line words will help you get the feel for dotting and crossing your letters, and for connecting them with a line between. It's definitely worth a page or two in your quilting notebook!

See more Free Motion Quilting designs and tips on the Free Motion Quilting page.


Sand and Sunshine said...

Neat idea with the pen.

Ginny said...

Great idea with the pen! Thanks for the tips on the i,v and t.

Gra said...

very clever idea!

Connie said...

What a great idea, thanks for sharing!

Suzanne said...

My brain is getting stretched with your ideas!

Eileen said...

This is just what I need now! We have a brand-new granddaughter. I'm making a Christmas stocking for her, and was going to applique her name on, but there's not enough room for 'Elizabeth', so I decided to try free motion for it. Thanks for the tip!!

Kay Lynne said...

I really like the pen idea to practice. Adding words to your quilt makes it just all the more special for the person that receives it :)

Dolly said...

Christina, do you ever use a polyester batting when you're free-motion quilting?
I need to make a decision today on a batt and would love the softness of the poly in this quilt, but don't want the layers scootin' around while I try to quilt them.

Please reply quickly if you can, to my email .

Becky Jorgensen said...

love this idea! thanks for sharing it.

Happier Than A Bird Quilts said...

Found this on pinterest. Wonderful tips thank you so much!

Nancy Sue said...

LOve love love this. DId I mention I love this!!!!! Thanks for sharing the tip!!

Julie Beard said...

Thank you for sharing this cool way of learning fmq.

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