Wednesday, June 27, 2012

FMQ: Pebble Quilting

So until now, my free motion quilting was pretty boring.  I could do a meandering "stipple"-like quilting.  And even that looked kind of bad sometimes.  The density of the lines changed so much over the course of quilting one quilt...I kind of thought FMQ was dead to me and I'd be a straight-line and slight-curve quilter forever.  

I was trying to figure out how I would quilt my latest quilt (tutorial coming soon, I promise as soon as I finish quilting this, I will post it!) and was stumped.  The quilt itself is very simple - all squares and rectangles.  Straight lines would be boring.  Maybe staggered straight lines that would give it a sort of "plaid" look?  Nah...  The Kona Coal was reminding me of pavement as I was piecing this all together - I GOT IT!  How about pebble quilting?  It'll look like a gravel road!

After observing a few examples of pebble quilting online (aka doing a Google image search!), I tested it out on a scrap quilt sandwich.  I tried going around the pebbles one time as I sewed - it looked good.  But going around two times looked even better! 

Looking at it up close, it seemed a little sloppy.  I am sort of a perfectionist... I really am not a fan of skipped stitches, bad tension, frayed applique edges, etc... But when you take a step back and look at the big picture, what you're really noticing is the texture, not the fact that you've got stitches not perfectly overlapping each other.

I started out quilting a small 2" x 2" square on the quilt - it's much easier to rip out a small chunk of something you quilted!  Especially with such dense quilting on this thing.

 When I decided that looked good, I moved on to the bigger area next to it.  The one problem I'm having is that when I get back around to where I started, there's a little bit of puckered fabric I have to just try to stretch out and quilt over.  I had everything pulled pretty well when I pin-basted it on Friday.  Any suggestions?  Is that just something I have to deal with or is there a good fix for the puckers?

I've quilted 174 sq in so far and it's used up about four bobbins - from now on, there will be a stash of pre-wound bobbins sitting next to me, this technique uses up SO much thread!


I think it's going to look really neat on the back when it's finished.  The design will echo through to the back but it will be sort of like a negative (the colored areas - where there is no quilting, will become the negative space).  

Now if I could just buckle down and get through about 100 more bobbins, this quilt will be finished up and I can decide what to do for binding!  I have some more Kona (it's Crimson or Ruby or something...not sure exactly which red) but I'm worried it will be a little too solid looking (solids are slightly out of my comfort zone - hopefully soon I will be embracing them!).  I might get some yardage of one of the Hometown prints to use for it.  Thoughts?


  1. Your pebbling looks great. I have a terrible time picking binding. I always try "auditioning" some different fabrics out by rolling up a piece of fabric on the edge and seeing which one I like best.