Nikki’s Jigsaw Puzzle-A FMQ Tutorial

Jigsaw Puzzle Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

Good Morning, Quilters!  Today I have an extremely fast and fun Free Motion Quilting (or Long Arm Quilting) tutorial for you–Nikki’s Puzzle.  As you might recall, last month I spent some time assisting  Mrs. Schellinger’s Creative Quilting Class at Forest Lake, MN High School.  The girls were indeed very creative–Read more HERE.  One of the students used her new free motion skills to stitch a jigsaw pattern.  I adapted her idea to create this continuous line free motion quilting pattern.  Thanks, Nikki!

Some patterns look easy and are challenging to quilt–like Circles (see tutorial HERE).   Other patterns, like Nikki’s Jigsaw Puzzle, look complicated, but are simple to stitch.  This is a Beginner Free Motion Quilt pattern.  It would look fabulous on any child’s quilt and I think it would look very contemporary on any Modern Quilt.

Nikki’s Jigsaw Puzzle Tutorial

This pattern requires a little quilt marking.  Begin by drawing a grid.  In the samples below, I used one inch spacing between my grid lines.  I used Stencil SCL-457-10 from The Stencil Company.  (Available HERE)  (Note–The Stencil Company is generously offering a giveaway on The Inbox Jaunt–details next week!)

If you don’t have a stencil, simply use your ruler to mark several lines equidistant apart.

Jigsaw Puzzle Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

Turn the stencil, and draw another set of lines perpendicular to the first set of lines.

You now have a grid to follow.  We will be stitching directly ON the grid lines.

Jigsaw Puzzle Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

Begin stitching in one corner.  Stitch along the grid line.  In the middle of each square, stitch a petal shape.  Stitch a few “up” petals and a few “down” petals.  Do this randomly.  It is preferable to avoid a regular pattern of “up and down” petals.

Jigsaw Puzzle Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

Continue stitching the entire row.  Then begin the next row.

Jigsaw Puzzle Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

Stitch all of the parallel rows first.  Then begin the perpendicular columns.

Jigsaw Puzzle Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

When you get to the end of each row or column, you have a choice:  either knot off at the beginning and end or trace directly over your previous stitching to reach the next column.  Either way looks nice.  Decide which you prefer–lots of knots or double stitching lines.

Jigsaw Puzzle Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

Jigsaw Puzzle Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

In the sample below, you can see that some of the edge pieces are a bit darker from double stitching.  If you don’t mind this look, it is much faster than knotting.

Jigsaw Puzzle Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

Give this a quick whirl today… I don’t think you need to doodle this one!  Just go right to your machine! Please let Nikki and me know what you think!

Jigsaw Puzzle Free Motion Quilting TutorialNote:  The above samples were stitched with Aurifil 28/2 (gray spool) in both the bobbin and on top-using a Schmetz Topstitch 80 needle on my Bernina 820.

I would love to see what you create with this pattern!   Please post your photos to Flickr (See sidebar link.)

Pleasantly Puzzled,


PS…All tutorials, information and images are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Please feel free (in fact, encouraged) to re-blog and Pin with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  Please contact me for any other use at

36 thoughts on “Nikki’s Jigsaw Puzzle-A FMQ Tutorial

  1. Looks like Nikki is a natural born quilter! I wish I would have seen this before I started meandering a Jelly Roll Quilt. Next time.

  2. Hi Lori! I showed this post to the quilting class and all were so excited for Nikki. She, naturally, asked her classmates if they would like her autograph! Thank you for inspiring the students.

  3. I like this very much and will try it right away! I’m in the throes of beginning free motion quilting, and this looks doable. Thank you Nikki and Lori!

  4. Thank you for including the type of thread and needles you use; am enjoying your posts very much. So happy that you are talking to students and hopefully they will be encouraged to become the quilters and sewers for the next generation.

  5. What a great tutorial – thanks to you and Nicki as I am a beginning FMQ and like this very much. I can see there’s lots of room for growth! lol BTW Bonnie Hunter sent me!

  6. A Facebook post by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville sent me here.

    This. Is. Adorable. I have at least two quilts in the works on which this would be perfect. Thanks for the fun, clear, detailed tutorial!

  7. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!
    My son has Autism and Autism Speaks! symbol is the puzzle piece. I’m working on a Swoon quilt for my son using Pieces of Hope for Autism fabric by Riley Blake, and I’ve been looking fora way to do the puzzle piece quilting. Thank you thank you!

  8. Just found your blog and just love this puzzle-quilting!
    I will explore this and your other tutorials more and want to try by myself since I want to develop my freemotion quilting.

  9. I love the jigsaw puzzle. It reminds me of christmas. I use to get a puzzle each year. I will have to find a quilt to put this design on. Thanks for this tutorial. And thank you Nikki for the inspiration you gave Lori

  10. Pingback: Grid Play-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial | The Inbox Jaunt

  11. I love your free motion stitching techniques. You have a fresh new twist on stitching. I’m moving just north of you in 2 weeks from SC where it’s 79 degrees today!

  12. I LOVE this quilting pattern. What kid wouldn’t love and relate to this puzzle pattern on their quilt! I work with Quilts For Kids and plan to try this on the next quilt I do for them! Thanks for sharing this great tutorial!

  13. Pingback: Free Motion Quilting Quick Tip-Feed Dogs | The Inbox Jaunt

  14. Pingback: Feathers, and pebbles, and triangles, oh my! | Smiles Too Loudly

We'd LOVE to hear! Please reply...