Free Motion Quilting Circles–Tuesday Tutorial

Welcome to all the new followers of The Inbox Jaunt!   We are delighted that you have found our little circle of quilters!  In order to celebrate our ever-expanding ring of friends and followers, today we have free motion quilted circles!  We will be working on two types of circles:  The first circle is the One-Pass Circle and the second is called the Two-Pass Circle.  

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

Last week we stitched the Fabulous Flower and a table runner that included the Fabulous Flower and rows of One-Pass Circles. (See the table runner here.)  The Fabulous Flower looks complicated, but it is quite easy.  Circles look easy, but are a little more difficult to stitch—(Don’t fear-YOU CAN do it!).  Like most very “simple” patterns, circles require more precision.  They require both doodling and stitched practice, but they are WORTH the EFFORT!  There are oo-oodles of circle motifs.  So, let’s get started!

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

Start with two drawn lines or “rails” to help keep the circles in a row.  Starting in the middle, stitch an entire circle-returning to your middle point (In the photo below there is a faintly drawn “X” where I began the left-most circle.)   After you return to your starting point, stitch over your previous stitches and sew another half circle…(You are actually stitching a circle and a half for every pattern…)  In the image below, I stitched a bit off the first line of stitching so you would be able to see the second row of stitching, but  normally, I try to stitch directly on top of my previous line of stitching.

Each circle is actually a circle and a half.  Between each circle, you may want to add a straight line…or you may begin your next circle right that point…

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

The Two-Pass Circle is sewn in halves:  The first “pass” is the top of the circle, while the second “pass” is the lower half of the circle…

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

Begin your row of stitching in the middle of your “rails”…Stitch the upper half of the circle…

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

Then stitch the lower half of the circle…

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

When you are finished, it should look like  better than this!

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

I usually stitch the One-Pass Circle–as I find it easier to create symmetric circles…but both circles are worth learning…

Once you have “The Circle” in your free motion quilting repertoire–I know you will find zillions of ways to put it to use!

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

Thank you for all the messages–I love to hear from you!  Also, if you have any questions about free motion quilting or any aspect of quilting, please don’t hesitate to ask…No question is too small…

15 thoughts on “Free Motion Quilting Circles–Tuesday Tutorial

  1. Something else to try out – thank you. I have only done pebbling or going down inside a tunnel so far and there I have found that doing half a circle to the left then half a circle to the right and come back doing the opposite works best for me (I am not good at backtracking at all!). I like the circles on a string so will give this a go.

  2. I see you sew on a Bernina. I am looking to get a new machine for FMQ (my current machine is good for the other stuff, if I decide to keep it). My only concern with the Bernina is the harp space, which is smaller than what I’m used to. How large are the quilts you usually quilt on your Bernina? What are your thoughts on your Bernina and FMQ? Thanks!

    • You must have read my mind! Tomorrow’s post is about my new Bernina with the larger harp space. I have sewn queen and kind sized quilts on my smaller Bernina, but it can be a struggle when you are working in the very middle of the quilt. I always stitch with the bulk of the quilt to the outside–I know that seems obvious, but it does require planning. Also, using an ironing board or banquet table to help support the weight of the quilt is very useful.

  3. Thank you, Lori, for taking the time to stitch out these samples. You do such a good job of explaining things!
    I can see this is going to take lots more practice. Just like my ski instructor used to say. ..”All you need are hours & miles to get really good at it”

  4. Circles can be tricky! I like how you showed the different methods. I’ll have to try them with the lines in between. Looks good!

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  8. Love your turtorials! I’m going to MQX in Manchester, NH in April. Wish you were going to be there. I’d sign up for your class for sure!

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