Carnations–A Machine Quilting Tutorial

The Carnation--A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Good Morning, Quilters!

It is with great affection that I offer you a new flower motif…

The Carnation is the Flower of the month (Read more here)  Carnations symbolize love, admiration, affection, good luck and a mother’s undying love for her child.

The Carnation is the January birth month flower, the first wedding anniversary flower and the Ohio state flower.  It’s simple beauty and fragrant scent make it one of the most popular flowers worldwide.

And I know YOU are going to LOVE quilting this pretty motif!


Begin by drawing three parallel lines equidistant apart.  Use any size that fits YOUR quilt.  In the sample below, the lines are one inch apart.

Begin stitching on the middle line.  Stitch on the line several stitches then swoop to the right line.  Stitch on the right line several stitches then stop with the needle in the down position.

The Carnation--A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Taper slightly at the tip and echo stitch the swoop–back to the centerline.

The Carnation--A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Stitch over to the left line and stitch on that line several stitches.

The Carnation--A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Echo stitch back to the centerline.  Stitch along the centerline several stitches.  (In the sample below, the distance between the pairs of leaves is approx 3/4 – 1 inch.)

The Carnation--A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Stitch another set of leaves.

The Carnation--A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

The Carnation--A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Add a third set of leaves.  Then stitch on the center line.  Add a small circle (stitch clockwise) to start the flower, then add a wavy line around the circle (stitching counter clockwise.)

The Carnation--A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Switch direction at the stem ( do not crossover the stem)  Stitch clockwise to create another wavy line.

The Carnation--A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Switch directions at the stem, stitching clockwise, begin another wavy line…..

The Carnation--A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

At the centerline, stop and stitch on the centerline to begin the next flower in the row.

NOTE-This creates an asymmetrical flower-but don’t worry–it still looks great!

Add as many rows of wavy line “petals” as is necessary to fill your border or background.

The Carnation--A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

And as always—DOODLE FIRST!

The Carnation--A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial


“The flower that smells the sweetest is shy and lowly.”  —William Wordsworth

Happy Stitching our first Flower of the Month–The Carnation!



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!

19 thoughts on “Carnations–A Machine Quilting Tutorial

  1. How sweet! love the banner at top of page.. Monthly guild meeting is this morning so will have to wait to do some swooping.. Is it OK to doodle-swoop during the meeting? I promise to do it quietly…… the fragrance of carnations too.

  2. Very cool design. Really captures a carnation stem leaves and flower. I also really like your style of avoiding building up thread where things ‘come together’ by having things just miss each other. Your eye fills in smoothly, and (as you said in the JCCFS workshop) it doesn’t draw your eye to focus points that shouldn’t be focus points. I was watching a short Bernina video on quilting swirls mixed with leaves and ‘the unintended focus problem’ was a problem (too much attention grabbing stitching in places that should not make your eye stop). It is definitely worth the effort to pay attention to this nuance. Thanks.

  3. I love this flower motif. I will doodle and stitch it very soon. Thanks Lori for all you share with us.
    Best wishes for you and your wonderful family during all this new year.
    Marie Savini

  4. Happy New Year Lori ! This year I am going to practice and use your tutorials more. I always enjoy them and look forward to each and every one. I have been following you for a few years and am amazed in your approach and how possible your make it look to achieve. Thank You Lori and I will get to work as soon as I get back from the ski hill.

  5. Are these wonderful designs in your upcoming book? I’m waiting to get it as soon as it comes out! Love how you come up with new ideas all the time!

    • Yes. If you are not familiar with free-motion quilting with your sewing machine, you should scroll down the right side of Lori’s blog to her post about Seven Steps to Free-Motion Quilting. She has a lot of good information to get you started. Then check out her tutorials and doodle and practice. You can do it!

  6. How does not like flowers? I am enjoying all of the interesting facts you have been sharing and love the beautiful design you have created for January!

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