Eva Larkin Hawkins

The Quilting Princess 

Free-Motion Quilting Designs 
for the 
Every Day Quilter!


April 2014

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Template + Borders = Easy Free-Motion Quilting Design

I'm always on the lookout for easy free-motion quilting ideas. I want designs that the everyday quilter, like me, can successfully quilt on their home sewing machine. I don't mean designs that can be quilted after hours of practice. I'm talking about something you can sit and immediately quilt and still get fantastic results.

The other day I saw this long-arm quilting pantograph design I loved. 

Machine Quilting Patterns - Could trace the flower first with a template and then quilt it. The flowers are connected by first stitching the whole way around the flower and then stitching either the top or bottom of the flower again before moving onto the next one - Smart!!!

As I studied it, I realized I could use a template to recreate a similar design for the home sewing machine.

It was super easy and I loved how it turned out!!

I used June Tailor's Mix 'n Match Flower Templates for Quilters.

I first spaced the design to fit the borders and then traced the template.

Next I added the outline flower design. I found it easier to draw the outline using short pen strokes rather than trying to draw it with one straight line. 

The second row of flowers on the drawing below show how the flower is stitched. First stitch the main flower design (shown in red) and then stitch the outline shape (shown in blue). Move to the next flower by stitching the small wavy line.

I decided I would also use the templates to for the free-motion design in the quilt center. 

Hope you'll give the design a try. I'm pretty sure you'll love it!!!

There's more to this stencil than meets the eye!

Hello quilters!! Hope you're having a good week. I'm excited to share with you a couple simple ideas of how to get a few more design options out of a specific quilting stencil. This week I'm working with a continuous line stencil design.

This stencil caught my eye since it had the larger design for a block center and then the smaller hearts for a border or sashing. 

But.... you could use the larger hearts to create a straight line design for a border just like the small hearts!!! You would simply draw the outside hearts with their sides touching. 

Then you would use the bottom part of one of the designs to connect the hearts - shown in orange.

In this picture you can actually see where the bottom half of the heart I used is orange from the marker.

You can also use two of the large hearts to create a corner design. I connected them using the bottom half of one of the designs - just like before.

And.... you could use the small heart design to create the same four heart design for the inside of a smaller quilt block. 

Now back to the actual quilt top!! I marked the center block with easy reference lines (diagonal and horizontal/vertical) to center the design in the area. I only used two of the heart from the center stencil design since the space wasn't wide enough for all four hearts.

I placed a couple of the small hearts on the diagonal in the corner blocks.

Presto - The quilting is done! Here is what the back looks like.

and the front of the quilt.

Well that's it for this week. I hope your inspired to go and take another look at your stencils and see what additional designs you can come up with!!! Happy Quilting 

Sometimes simple is best!

I'm still working on quilting my samples from my Craftsy Class. I'm also trying to use each one of the MANY stencils that I purchased for the class. I purchased them for educational purposes of course - not just because I thought they were cute or fun!! 

Two of the challenges when working with stencils are getting them to "fit" the space and figuring out what to do at a corner when a corner option isn't provided with the stencil. 

Here is the stencil that I decided to work with for this wallhanging. I like this stencil because of it's movement and the versatility of the design. It could be used on a whimsical quilt like this one, a children's quilt or even an Asian style quilt. Lots of choices - I like that!!!

I decided to audition the quilt using Quilters Preview Paper.

 Things were going well until I got the idea in my head that I should somehow make the design connect to flow around the corner.

What was I thinking???? Yes, sometimes it works but this time it wasn't working but I couldn't seem to give up the idea.

What a hot mess! I finally came to my senses and decided to just keep things simple. I started with the top and bottom borders. I found the middle of the border and the middle of the stencil and  started marking from the middle of the border out to the edges of the quilt top. I decided that I would "finish" the design however it ended at the edges. I didn't care if part of it was cut off or not since the quilt and the design where both so whimsical.

I did the same thing for the side borders. I decided to end the design at the seam lines. The design doesn't start and finish the same but the difference didn't bother me. I felt like it had a flow to it.

Here is a closer view of the corners.

So the moral of the story is to remember that you have options when working with stencils. Don't get stuck trying to get it to fit in a "traditional" manner. There are other options that look great!!

Happy Quilting and talk to you soon!!

YouTube Intro on my "Craftsy.com"- borders class

Let's just relax and enjoy our own personal quilting style!

Hello there,

I hope you're having a great weekend. I just wanted to share a quick thought with you. I was looking at all the beautiful quilts on Pinterest. There are so many talented quilters out there. It just amazes me. However, I'm a little nervous that other everyday quilters, like me, may find it more discouraging than inspiring. Let me explain what I mean. 

When I used to teach beginning free-motion quilting, I found my students to be very critical of their own work. It seemed like they were always comparing their style to their neighbors. I tried to make it a "rule" that they weren't allowed to do that but we are human and it happens. 

My wish for the everyday quilter would be for them to enjoy the process of free-motion quilting without comparison. There are so many designs out there that can be quilted and look fantastic - regardless of the level of experience. Just do "your" thing and be proud of it. Easy to say but not always easy to do. 

So, lets just relax, be inspired and enjoy our quilting style!! Happy Quilting

Stenciling...you really should give it a try!

Hello there,

Feathers - you just have to love them. There is something about them that makes most quilters want to use them. I know I did when I first started free-motion quilting. I tried to do them free hand but they always ended up looking like "intestines". Horrible image I know but it's what they looked like. I don't know why I never considered working with a feather stencil. It would have made life so much easier for me. 

What about you? Have you ever worked with stencils? You really should give it a try!

I've been quilting some of my samples from my Craftsy class - Machine Quilting Beautiful Borders and decided to finish this one with one of my favorite feather stencils. 

Here is the stencil I used. I love that it includes both a corner design and an ending feather. 

I used Glad Press'n Seal to work out the fit of the stencil. I always prefer working directly on the quilt top when I'm able.


I decided not to quilt the last layer of the feather design. I felt like it balanced better with the other quilting designs.

I was trying to get fancy with my photo skills on this last photo!

What makes a free-motion quilting design easy?

Is there really such thing as an easy free-motion quilting design - especially for the every day quilter using a home sewing machine. Yes!!! The key when quilting on a home sewing machine is to stop often!! I know, we hate to stop once we get quilting but it's a must!!! The more often you stop, the more control you'll have of your quilting design because you can reposition your hands and keep them close to the needle. It's that simple!! 

Sorry for the bad pictures but I wanted to share a couple of examples of easy designs. They're combined ideas from my two books. Take care and Happy Quilting!!!

Resizing a quilting stencil

I found a great website which makes resizing a quilting stencil super easy. It allows you to individually change the height and length of the design. Check out Rapid Resizer Online. 

Pictures of the quilt I Re-stitched!

 I wish I had a Before picture of the quilt - next time!

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