Free Motion Quilting Tutorial: Swirls and Twirls

Free Motion Quilt Tutorial-Swirls

It’s a chilly morning in Minnesota, but what do I care?  I don’t have to go anywhere this morning and we all know I have plenty of quilts to keep me warm!  I am going to quilt all day (I wish!)

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Today we are stitching a little Free Motion Party.  Swirls and Twirls looks like a “party-on-a-quilt” to me!  This pattern dances across the fabric and would look great on any quilt-formal or casual-waltz or zumba!

The Swirls and Twirls Tutorial

This is a 3-Pass pattern.  That means it will require three rows of stitching to complete the motif.

First, a little marking.  For each row of Swirls and Twirls, draw two lines 1 inch apart or more.  (This motif would be very difficult to stitch any smaller than one inch.)  On the bottom line, draw “ticks” 1-1/2 inches apart.  This will help you keep the spacing between the spirals even.  With practice, you may not need the tick marks.

(NOTE-Don’t forget… Frixion pen markings don’t come out with ironing–you must use steam to remove these lines-Thanks, Marianne for the reminder!)

Free Motion Quilt Tutorial-Swirls

Stitch a row of spirals, filling in the one inch rails and  spacing the spirals between the tick marks.  See the Spiral tutorial HERE.

Free Motion Quilt Tutorial-Swirls

Begin the second pass by echo quilting over the top of the first spiral.

Free Motion Quilt Tutorial-Swirls

Add a loop -extending above your marked one inch lines.

Free Motion Quilt Tutorial-Swirls

Add a second loop.

Free Motion Quilt Tutorial-Swirls

Add a third loop and then begin stitching toward the next spiral.

Free Motion Quilt Tutorial-Swirls

Your second pass should look like this:

Free Motion Quilt Tutorial-Swirls

The third pass is the same as the second, except underneath the spirals.

Echo stitch under the spirals, then add the loops…First one

Free Motion Quilt Tutorial-Swirls

Then two and three…

Free Motion Quilt Tutorial-Swirls

This pattern takes a bit of practice, but it is so beautiful when it’s complete…

NOTE-Don’t worry if some of your loops are different shapes and get “squished” a bit.  Just avoid stitching over any other lines or double stitching in any area.

Free Motion Quilt Tutorial-Swirls

This tutorial was stitched with Aurifil in the bobbin and Robison-Anton Rayon thread on top using a Schmetz Topstitch size 80 needle on my Bernina 82o.

Free Motion Quilt Tutorial-Swirls

Tomorrow is Work in Progress Wednesday and I have a little vase quilt with swirls and twirls and spirals and more to share…

Hope you have made some progress on your Quilt Notebooks…How many UFOs have you found?  (Read HERE about this week’s Notebook Assignment)  One reader described her search as an archaeological dig!

Warm wishes and Happy Stitching from Minnesota,


PS…All tutorials, information and images are property of Lori Kennedy @ The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to Pin and Re-blog.  Please contact me at for any other use.  Thanks!

The Quilt Notebook-The Unfinished Project Page (or Pages)


The Quilt Notebook

Good Morning, Quilters!  Thank you, Thank you for all your tips, ideas and links to help me manage my scrap heap.  Suggestions ranged from composting and making dog beds from the smallest scraps to links for the most gorgeous scrap quilts I have ever seen.  I love the leaders-enders idea and can’t wait to review some of the other links you shared!    Some of you volunteered to take the scraps off my hands–I think a Giveaway is on the horizon!   I loved the idea of a scrap-swap.  Isn’t  that a great guild idea?

All of this leads me back to The Quilter’s Notebook... a place to store all of our ideas…(Read More HERE.)

Let’s start a page in our Quilt Notebooks labeled “Websites” ..  List The Inbox Jaunt first then add the links to the scrap quilts.  Our major assignment this Monday is to start a UFO Page.

Today we are going a-hunting and a-gathering.  Grab your Quilt Notebook, a pen and your digital camera (optional).  Your mission is to track down every unfinished  quilt project you ever collected.  EVERYTHING!  It doesn’t matter how large or small the project or quilt is…Write it down!

For today, just make a LIST of all your UFOs.  A quick snapshot  or sketch may also be helpful for reference.

The Quilt Notebook

If you’re like me, you will find a few long forgotten gems…(see  HERE and HERE)

The Quilt NotebookNext week we’ll take a closer look at our UFOs and what they say about our buying patterns and our quilting habits.  Then we’ll analyze our UFOs to set priorities.  Later, I’ll help you decide whether to purge or re-purpose a few of the low priority quilts…


  • Start a page in your notebook to list websites you visit.  List  The Inbox Jaunt first (of course)!
  • List your UFOs–no editing!


PS…All information, tutorials, and images are property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are for personal use only!

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