Rules for Quilting “The Big Quilt”

FMQ, Peony, KennedyGood Morning, Quilters!

I hope you had time to doodle or quilt Claire’s Peony from Wednesday’s “Tuesday Tutorial”…



It’s a great BEGINNER motif!


Quilting the Double Wedding Ring, Kennedy


Because I have had so many requests and questions about using the motifs in quilts–today, we are starting a new series, Rules for Quilting THE BIG QUILT!

I’m really excited about this project…It will start us all in a new direction.  This is for long arm quilters as well as domestic sewing machine quilters like myself  (I am currently stitching on a BERNINA 770 QE–a dream machine!)  While there are obvious differences in the two methods, there remains a lot in common-especially in the design phase of quilting.  I think we can all learn from each other!

There will not be an established time table…just regular updates.

So let’s get started!


When choosing motifs for The Big Quilt, it’s easy to get carried away–there is so much space to fill and there are SO many quilt motifs

I recommend choosing 2-3 motifs to start…only adding more if necessary.    This saves time learning new motifs, but more importantly, it helps keep the design unified.


As you are basting your quilt, think about where you want to add quilt motifs and where you want to keep the quilting simple– like stitching in the ditch.

Remember that prints conceal and solids reveal.–Save your most elaborate quilting for the solids and choose simpler patterns for the print fabrics.


Next, think about the shapes that will be filled.  Make a list in your Quilter’s Notebook.

For example, in the Double Wedding Ring Quilt:

  • Pinched squares (approximately 8 inches)
  • Melons
  • Border (six inches wide)
  • Corner squares in border
  • Setting triangles


Time to doodle!

Claire’s Peony fit well into the pinched squares:Quilting the Double Wedding Ring, Kennedy

For the melons, I stitched a small peony with two leaves:


I planned to stitch a row of Peonies down the center of the border, but after doodling, I found that left a lot of negative space.  By stitching half-peonies, I was able to fill the border space more fully.


Setting triangles–The setting triangles are the space between the rings and the half square triangle border.  My initial plan was to stitch leaves and flowers into each of these triangles.

However, after stitching all the center and melons with Claire’s Peonies, I could see that the quilt needed a visual break from all the curvy motifs.  For contrast, I added straight line quilting…I think this is sometimes called Piano Keys.WeddingRingQuilt.FMQ.LKennedy008Now the Peonies really stand out!
FMQ, Peony,LCKennedy


We will be adding a lot more to this list…but for today:

  1.  Quilting should not be an after thought.  Think about the quilting through every phase of the project.  Choose solid or near solid fabrics in some areas of the quilt for more elaborate quilt motifs.
  2. Choose just a few motifs–add more later if necessary.
  3. Make a list of the quilt shapes (including sizes) that will be quilted with motifs.
  4. Doodle variations of the motifs into each shape.
  5. Use contrast (curvy motifs and geometric motifs) for better quilt design.
  6. Be willing to change your plan as the quilting phase progresses.

This is just a start on our series, “Quilting The BIG Quilt”…we are going to come at it from several different angles…

Please chime in…We have more than 7500 experienced quilters…we want to hear from YOU on this challenging topic!

Tomorrow:  How Long Does it Take to Quilt a Quilt?

Happy Stitching!


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




Claire’s Peony-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

FMQ, Peony, KennedyGood Morning, Quilters!

It’s Wednesday and we have our Tuesday Tutorial!  My computer is feeling better now…I had to upgrade my Mac and found Apple is no longer supporting my photo organizing and processing package, Aperture.  I had a few minutes of pure panic thinking my photos were lost…

For the long-term, this new system will be great, but in the short-term it is very time-consuming!


Let’s talk about pretty posies…My five daughters, including the bride, Claire.  Claire was married in May and chose peonies for all the bouquets so I thought it would be appropriate to have this gorgeous flower as a motif on her wedding quilt.View More:, we will learn Claire’s Peony–a BEGINNER motif…it fits into any square and…FMQ, Peony, Kennedyis perfect for the center of the Wedding Ring Quilt.



Begin by drawing a square and marking the center.  Any size will work, from small to very large.  In the sample below, we are stitching an 8 inch square.

FMQ, Peony, Kennedy

Stitch a spiral directly in the center of the square and then stitch five scallop shaped petals around the spiral.  Try for five evenly spaced petals, but the flower will be lovely with 4-1/2 or 6…anything goes, really!
FMQ, Peony, KennedyNext, echo stitch the petals.

NOTE-Echo stitching gives any motif more boldness.  Whenever stitching on The Big Quilt, echo stitch a motif for more emphasis–it really helps.  In the case of Claire’s Peony, we are echo stitching each row of petals as well as the outer edge of the motif–very dramatic!FMQ, Peony, Kennedy

Stitch another row of scallop shaped petals.  This row will have several more petals than the previous row.   Avoid lining the petals up with the points of the petals all in the same place.FMQ, Peony,LCKennedy

Echo stitch this row of petals, then begin another row of petals.  Each successive row will have more petals.

Add as many rows of petals necessary to nearly fill the shape.


The echo stitching on the last row of petals is a little different…

Stitch all the way around creating the new layer of petals.

Begin echo stitching…

FMQ, Peony,LCKennedy

Then add a leaf in the corner.

Echo stitch the inside of the leaf.

FMQ, Peony,LCKennedy

Once the leaf is completely echo stitched…

FMQ, Peony,LCKennedy

Follow the line of the petals, add a vein, and continue around the Peony, adding more leaves and embellishments.

FMQ, Peony,LCKennedyIt looks best if you add small and large leaves around the Peony and perhaps an occasional spiral tendril.

FMQ, Peony, Kennedy Gorgeous!  Claire’s Peony!

This would make a perfect pillow…or add it to YOUR next quilt–any quilt with a square block or The Wedding Ring Quilt

Tomorrow, we’ll look how to modify this motif to create a border and fill the “melons”-the shape where the Wedding Ring Quilt intersects!

Throughout November we will continue to talk about Tips and Tricks for THE BIG QUILT!

May your stitches (and your computer) be happy!


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

Computers–Not MY Cup of Tea!

Free Motion Quilted Tea Cup

Good Afternoon, Quilters!

Computers…we can’t live them and we can’t live without them…

I’m having a string of computer problems…fix one thing and it seems to cause the next thing to crash…

I’ve been at it all day–and I need to STEP AWAY!

When my computer decides it’s ready to work again, I have a new free motion quilt tutorial,  Claire’s Peony-a gorgeous beginner motif…

COMING SOON–or not so soon, who knows when you are dealing with computers!