Sunday, January 7, 2018

In the process of quilting words

Starting a quilt can be intimidating, even if the idea gives you all the excitement in the world. For me, it's akin to taking that first step out onto ice (I've had a couple of severe ice falls in my time, so this can be perilous) or how you feel when you take your first sip of coffee in the morning (or, if you're a daredevil, sumptuous coffee ice cream at night). Wired and slightly more aware of your surroundings.

This year, I want to make more word quilts - just because. I'm not into super corny sayings (unless they're for my husband or sister, who love puns), but often, I'll come upon an excellent quote or lyric that's just begging to be stitched into fabric. This particular one has been on my mind since Christmas Eve - I'll explain more when the quilt is done. This sentence is just to illustrate that it's been haunting me, in a good way, for a couple of weeks now; it's finally all coming together. The fabrics, the thread, the fonts.

When I quilt words with free motion quilting, I'm not using embroidery stitches - just my own two hands guiding the fabric. I'm not always marking the letters (though this time, I did). Usually, I'll use Fons and Porter chalk pencils or my hera marker (an amazing plastic tool) with a ruler to mark the straight quilting lines. Then, I just go for it. It's really that simple!

It definitely helps to be confident with free motion quilting, though you can quite easily quilt a cursive word, like a name, while you're learning (it's similar to signing your name on a document, except you're using a needle instead of a pencil). Just like anything else, you have to practice, practice, practice.

In terms of fonts, it depends on the words I want to communicate. Usually I create my own fonts and practice drawing them lots on paper. The last word on this quilt feels fierce, so after going over the curvy-ness a couple of times, I've randomly added streaks to look like fur.  There's your hint for now!

Last year around this time, I presented an hour+ long webinar for the Modern Quilt Guild with much, much more about Quilting Words with Free Motion. You can find it here if you're a member.

And now that the process has begun, I'm going to let these words simmer a bit. However, it's a fairly small quilt, so finishing it can't be too far away. And I'm eager to hang it on my wall.


  1. Your words look great. Can't wait to see the finish.

  2. Looking forward to seeing the finish product! I have some words to put on a quilt in the near future, I'll check out the video as I was wondering about threads. Love what I am seeing so far.

  3. I love the fabric you're working with here and can't wait to see what your finished product looks like! I've only quilted words (letters) on the periodic table mini quilts I've made!

  4. I love the fabric you are using for the background of this quilt. I look forward to hearing more about the quilt and process when it is ready to share. And I love that you are being creative in how you consider the font as well - there is a lot of depth to it!!

  5. Like everyone else I'm anxiously waiting for the finish. Have not tried words yet either. But then I haven't had the need or thought to either. Maybe that might be my next stretching place.

  6. Beautiful quilting! I love the different look and feel you achieved with the different fonts and quilting.


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