Oct 25 11

Back to the Swirly Flower Quilt

I haven’t had much time for any sewing lately, but I’ve gotten a fair amount of work done on the swirly flower quilt top.  I’d started on this flower below, but wasn’t happy with the outlining I did for the center:

In this close-up shot, you can see how boring the inlining thread line is, and you can also tell that I need to do something to tack down the edges of the mirror image teardrop shapes that make the 4 “heart-like” shapes in the center:

This is still just a quilt top, so what I did here was free motion machine embroidery, and the stitching will be prominent once it’s in the final quilt sandwich.  I used a solid gold rayon thread (“24 Karat Gold” by Robison Anton) to outline the red teardrops and have them “loop” in the center of the heartshapes:

…and here’s what the backside looked like at this point:

(I still get a thrill knowing I can get away with giant knots like that, since no one will ever see them or feel them!)  I wanted the center as a whole to be protruberant, so I threw a piece of scrap batting behind it and finished the edge of that center with a gold satin stitch that was wide enough to cover my original inlining:

…and here’s what the backside looks like at this point:

Next, I placed a layer of scrap batting behind the entire flower.  This means that once the quilt is finished, the center will have 3 layers of batting and the rest of the flower  will have two layers.  I did the EKG edge finishing design in the row of green petals:

Here’s a closeup of some of the green petals that shows the stitching better:

…and here’s what the backside looks like at this point:

The last thing I did was to finish the edges of the red shapes and then the outermost petals:

…and here’s what the backside looks like at this point:

And here’s the final flower:

I’ve only got one more big flower to go on this top.  I’m still on the fence about how to handle this top.  A part of me wants to attach it to a larger background piece and another part of me wants to place it into a quilt sandwich once the embroidery and traputo are done.  Which side will win out?  Stay tuned!


  1. Sally Says:

    Loving this piece! Curious to see how you’ll finish it. Question–you do a lot of kind of zigzaggy outlining around your pieces. How do you keep your shoulders/neck relaxed so you don’t ache for days afterwards. TIA, Sally

  2. Linda E in AZ Says:

    thanks for walking us through your steps, it’s really helpful to me!

  3. Patsy Thompson Says:

    Thanks Sally and Linda!

    The only time that I get aching/soreness in my neck/shoulder area is when I do stitch in the ditch quilting. I can free motion anything for hours and hours and never get sore. I think it comes down to the fact that I am only putting a very slight pressure on my quilt top when I free motion quilt. By using the Machingers gloves, spraying my machine bed with silicone spray, and “pooling” a lot of quilt slack around all 4 sides of my extension table, I am only lightly touching my quilt top to get things moving to create the design. I believe the soreness comes because of ongoing contractions/tension in the muscles of the shoulders and neck, and those areas are very relaxed for me when I FMQ.


  4. BETH Says:

    Thanks so much Patsy for this great up close tutorial. I love that you show the back each time. You are the most precise and detailed teacher I have seen on line. I always know exactly what you did and how you did it. Plus – I always learn something. Thanks again for sharing your time and talents!! I always look forward to what you post next and tell my friends to check you out. I even told an owner of a Pfaff store to check out your tip for the free motion foot without the ankle.

  5. kaholly Says:

    Wow, that’s quite a process. I’ll just bet it comes out great when the whole quilt is finished.

  6. Maria Nickler Says:

    Everytime I read this blog, I’m just amazed! Each time there is something new that is unique and beautiful.

  7. Beverly Cotton Says:

    Don’t know where to start! I am a beginner quilter and have learned so much from your youtube videos. I just made a gorgeous king sized bedspread and Spray Basted it. The thought of all those pins – WOW! I had to still do mine horizontal though. Laid lots of sheets out on my garage floor & taped them to the floor. Down went the backing & a little tape – spray, down went the 100% cotton batting (smoothe & spray), folded the quilt top in fourths & tip-toed more to the center & placed the top(smoothe). It came out fantastic! What will I ever do the all the pins I had just bought! Lol That’s another art project!

  8. Dorothy Says:

    Loved the effect of the three layers on the flower…it looks great.
    I look forward to your posts…I learn something new every time. Thanks.