Thursday, April 9, 2015

Quilting a Motif

Today is a quilting lesson on how to stitch out this beautiful Lotus Bud motif that was used in the border of Flowers for Nana Girl.
Disclaimer:  if you are not a fan of backtracking over a previous stitching line, then either get over it, or this is not for you! This design requires backtracking, or lots of starts and stops (translation: knots!), whichever works. I, personally, don't mind backtracking, as I want to stitch continuously as much as I can. And as long as I don't go over the stitching more than three times (somewhere I heard that was the rule!), then I'll tackle the design. With all of that in mind, let's proceed.

This is the Lotus Bud design,

from 501 Quilting Motifs.
 501 Quilting Motifs
It's a pretty design, and takes a bit of creativity to figure out how to stitch this continuously. This is the option I came up with:

Don't be scared! I'll go through the steps!

Follow along the arrows for the stitching order.
Steps 1-3:  
Step 1 creates the left side petal; step 2 is the straight line up the center petal; and step 3 is the left side of the center petal. Notice 3 is stitched all the way down to the point.

Steps 4-6: 
Step 4 is in red because that is backtrack stitching. It follows step 3, back up 2/3 of the way, so that the left back petal can be stitched (step 5). Step 6 (in red) stitches on top of step 1 for a small distance before step 7 is stitched.

Steps 7-10:

Step 7 completes the lower half of the back left petal, meeting up again at step 3/4. Stitch over these two stitchings once again, up to the top, step 8, shown in purple. The small center area in this line is the only place where there are three overlapping lines of stitching. I deem that acceptable! Continue down the right side for step 9, and stitch a partial petal for step 10.

Steps 11-15:
Step 11 forms the top of the back right petal, and step 12 (in red) stitches over a small portion of step 9. Step 13 completes the lower portion of the back right petal, and step 14 stitches over a bit of step 10, and on, to complete step 15. That finishes the bottom right petal.

Wondering if I marked the quilt beforehand? Well, no. The only marking I did was to evenly space the bottom petals along my border, and mark off the height of the center petal. But using a marking technique, such as my tutorial using tulle for marking, can easily be done.

How did I know where to stop along some of the petals? I used the lines on rulers as guides, but that could also easily be marked. 

The following are pictures of the process, with the rulers. If I had another pair of hands, it would have been a video!

Phew! Looks like a lot of work, but really, once the path is determined, it's quite easy to stitch! Now, if this pattern is being stitched on a domestic machine, I highly recommend marking the quilt. But if it's done on a longarm, this is how to get it done with some basic straight and circle rulers.

Hope this has encouraged you to try quilting a motif, and to break it down into parts so that it can easily be sewn.

Have a great day quilting!


  1. Great design! I have this book, I need to get it out more often!!! I believe it was Karen McTavish who said if you go over a line more then 3 times you are thread painting - in her McTavishing book! That rings in my head when I backtrack to get where I want to go!!!

  2. Definitely a great design! I love the 501 Quilting Motifs book--such inspiration! They also have a 502 Quilting Motifs out, but I have yet to acquire it.


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