The Circus Train-A Machine Quilting Tutorial

Train, Machine Quilting, Lori Kennedy

Good Morning, Quilters!

The Circus has come to town!

(Sadly, Ringling will perform its last act this May–Read more at

This tutorial was requested by several readers, however it took me a long time to create a continuous line design that was teachable in a Tuesday Tutorial format.  Thank you for your patience!

NOTE-Today we will stitch the Train Engine and we will add the Coal Cars and Caboose next week.

There are many steps–but each step is EASY–so don’t be overwhelmed!!


Begin by drawing two parallel lines -3 inches apart.  Add a line 3/4″ above the bottom line.  (Or fit to YOUR quilt!)

Begin stitching on the line above the bottom line.

Stitch a right triangle.  Stitch down several stitches then stitch a short horizontal line.

Add a Silly Spiral (see tutorial HERE)

Stitch over several stitches and create another Silly Spiral.

End the Silly Spiral on the right edge of the Train’s wheel.

Stitch through both wheels (from right to left) then stitch a straight vertical line to create the front of the train.

Stitch a short horizontal line, then add a smokestack…add a few more horizontal stitches. Stitch a vertical line, jog to the left and add a short rectangle. Stitch horizontally from right to left, stitch back a few stitches.

Drop down to create a window. Complete the window, stitch to the right 3-4 stitches, then complete the back of the Train Engine with a straight vertical line (or add a little bumper)…

Chugga, Chugga….

Here’s the entire tutorial…(In the photo below, step one is shown twice…)

Again, don’t be discouraged–it is easier than it looks with just a little doodling!




From my Circus to YOURS!

Happy Quilting!


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy 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!

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Doodle to Design, Craftsy, Lori Kennedy

Craftsy Title Card


Where’s the Caboose?

Something unusual happened to me last week–I was delayed by a freight train.

As I sat there waiting, I became a bit nostalgic.  My husband and I were raised just outside Chicago–where long train delays are a daily frustration.  Chicago boasts the greatest number of lines coming in to and out of any city in North America, and prides itself for hauling the most freight-mostly coal and farm products.

Minnesota is only eighth in its railroad lines and carries primarily iron ore and farm products.  Fortunately for Minnesota residents, waiting for a train is a rare phenomenon.

So, I sat there reminiscing, enjoying the sounds of the wheels and the squeaking of the couplings as they went down the tracks.  Reflexively, I was counting…1, 2, 3, caboose….1, 2, 3, caboose…The last car came into sight and the gates chimed their opening, but I felt a little cheated–the last car– was just another boxcar.  What happened to cabooses?