Stitching Spools-A Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

Free Motion Quilting, Spools of threadHappy Tuesday and Happy Tutorial Day!

Today we are working on an update of an old tutorial, FMQ Spools.

This pattern is tweaked a bit for our Mystery Quilt-a-Long.   By now, some of you have guessed, we are stitching spools onto our grid…

The Mystery is not completely solved…we still have much to investigate.

Last week, we created a spool template.  Today, we will be working with the template to create a wide variety of spools.


Free Motion Quilting, Spools of threadTRACE THE TEMPLATE

For this practice, draw a straight line across the width of your fabric and trace the spools along the line.  Space the spools approximately 1/2 inch apart.  Don’t measure–this is good practice in “eyeballing”–(learning to space things without a ruler), and is an essential skill for free motion quilting.

Free Motion Quilting, Spools of threadBegin stitching on the STRAIGHT SIDE of the spool.  (It is tempting to begin on the bottom line…)  Leave a small tail and stitch up the side, follow the line across the top and down the short angled line.    Stop at the top of the Right Straight Side of the spool.

NOTE-For this project, leave the tail of threads at the beginning…we want the tails as an added design element.

Free Motion Quilting, Spools of threadStitch a line from the right side of the spool to the left side of the spool and back again. (photo above)

Free Motion Quilting, Spools of threadNext, continue stitching down the right side of the spool, along the bottom and at angle back to the thread tail.

Free Motion Quilting, Spools of threadStitch a double line at the bottom of the spool.

From here, you can decorate the spool with any creative stitches.

Then stitch a loop-de-loop and begin the next spool.

Free Motion Quilting, Spools of threadDecorate the spools with as many different stitches as possible.

(If you’re brave, you can even try The (sometimes) Dreaded Zig Zag

Free Motion Quilting, Spools of threadOther nice choices include:

The Twist, The Twist Variations, The Twisted Rope

Free Motion Quilting, Spools of threadYou may also add spirals and loops…

Free Motion Quilting, Spools of threadBe a wild and crazy quilter!???

Tomorrow–we will add a spool to our Mystery Quilt…but don’t get ahead of us…

Happy Stitches!


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 to re-blog, share or tweet with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

15 thoughts on “Stitching Spools-A Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

  1. These are so cute!! You are reading my mind…or my to do list! I have been dieing to start a little spool quilt to decorate my sewing area…this will be perfect for the quilting! Love!

  2. Question about the spool pattern length. Is the whole thing 2 1/4 in length as it looks like with the graph paper? I was concerned because after doing my template I looked at your already done pattern and it looks 1 3/4 total. Or is it important? Quilters are used to being fussy about accuracy. ; – )

  3. Lori is this suppose to be stitching on scrap fabric for practice or on the outer edge of our Stitch a long mystery quilt?

  4. I’ve done 8 practice spools, the hardest part is making the straight lines straight! The decorative middle is slightly forgiving! Perhaps by the time we’ve done 24, they might look something like yours! Lol

  5. Ok, I was thinking I really wasn’t interested in stitching spools. But then I saw how cute they were when you varied the “thread.” Just adorable.

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