String of Pearls-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

String Pearls, Free motion quilting,Good morning, Quilters!

Now that the kiddies are back at school I hope everyone has a little more time for quilting!

Last week, we started our own lesson plan…to learn the Humble Circle.  Like most simple things, The Circle is challenging to get just right.  It takes a lot of practice.

We started with the  Dots and Dashes Free motion quilt tutorial last Tuesday (Tutesday?)

While Dots and Dashes is a fabulous pattern in its own right, it is also a SKILLBUILDER pattern.  It helps build muscle memory for other circle patterns.

String Pearls, Free motion quilting,

Dots and Dashes teaches four things:

  • Clockwise circles
  • Counter-clockwise circles
  • Stitching around a circle one and 1/2 times
  • Stopping in the middle of the circle –to start the dash…

If you are new to circles, try Dots and Dashes first, then move on to today’s free motion quilt tutorial, The String of Pearls.


Begin by drawing two lines.  For this tutorial, the lines are 1/2 inch apart.

Begin stitching in between the two lines.  Stitch a full clockwise circle.

String Pearls, Free motion quilting,

Stitch over the previous line of stitching around the circle to the midpoint on the right side of the circle.

(NOTE- In the sample below the stitching is offset–this is for demonstration only.)

String Pearls, Free motion quilting,

Instead of stitching a straight line — as in Dots and Dashes–Stitch a curve toward the bottom line and begin the counter-clockwise circle.

String Pearls, Free motion quilting,

Stitch over the previous line of stitching, back to the mid-point and begin another circle.

String Pearls, Free motion quilting,

Continue stitching clockwise and counter-clockwise circles to create a String of Pearls.

String Pearls, Free motion quilting,

Once you are comfortable with the String of Pearls, try varying the size of the Pearls.  (This will help when we try another circle tutorial–The Circle Filler also known as Pebbles.)

String Pearls, Free motion quilting,

String Pearls, Free motion quilting,Circles look simple, but they require a slower pace and full concentration…(You may notice, that I lack focus frequently!)

The clockwise, counter-clockwise method allows the quilter to develop a regular rhythm and this will help with both consistency and speed.  Again, Circles take practice!


I have decided to delay the circle tutorial planned for tomorrow.   Practice Dots and Dashes, The String of Pearls, and changing pearls (And of course, the Race Car)

We’ll add some really fun motifs next week…then a tutorial on “Pebbles” –-the Circle fill pattern later in the month.

So many ideas, so little time…

I’m off on a JAUNT!–Can’t wait to tell you about it!


PS…The above tutorial was stitched on my Bernina 150 (A domestic sewing machine) without a stitch regulator, using Aurifil thread in the

PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free (please do) Pin, re-blog and share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!


10 thoughts on “String of Pearls-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

  1. So glad that I stumbled across your blog through Instagram! Such an awesome resource. Thank you!

    What is your preferred tool for marking your quilts? I’ve got a water soluble marker, but I’m nervous about residual marks. What sort of pencil are you using?

  2. I have a question…when you are creating your string of pearls, are you working from left to right (horizontally) for from top to bottom (vertically)?

  3. Pingback: 2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge – October Challenge with Lori Kennedy of The Inbox Jaunt | QuiltShopGal

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