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Intro to Swirl Designs

Presented by Handi Quilter. Swirls are a great design to add to your machine quilting skills. Angela Walters and Jennifer Keltner walk you through two great designs: basic swirl and a swirl with hook.

Wed, 13 Mar 2013|

"Hi, I'm Jennifer, hear in the American Patchwork and Quilting sewing lab and I'm here with Angela Walters., Handi Quilter's ambassador for machine quilting. We're talking about a basic swirl design and a hook variation. It's a great place for beginning machine quilters to start." "It is. When I first started learning how to free motion quilt the swirl is one of the first designs that I practiced and really mastered. But makes it great is it's so versatile -- you can change up the scale, the size, or even the density with it. And you can actually add your own variations to tweak it a little bit, as well. So here we have an example of just the basics swirl design. It's fluid, it really moves nicely across the quilt. and it's really easy to do, as well." "It's a little more exciting in your basic stipple that some of us have learned." "Yes, and here I have the same design. It's a swirl. The only difference is we're adding a little hook on there just to give it a little bit of a different look. So if you have a quilt that you want just a little bit of a different quilting design on it, this would be a good one for you, too." "Kick it up a notch." "Exactly. so should I show you how to do this?" "I would love to see it." "Great, so what you're going to do for this swirl is you're going to start by swirling into the center. Now what I've done is I've went into the center leaving myself room to come back out." "And that's important part. Always leave yourself room to come out of the design that you create. And I know, Angela, one of the things you always say is about 80% of machine quilting is knowing where you want to go." "Very true. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to work my way out and I'm gonna finish the swirl, and what that means is I'm gonna come all the way back down about to where I almost started. When quilters get stuck quilting swirls what they get stuck on is they're not finishing that swirl before they move onto the next. So you want to swirl in and finish the swirl before you move onto the next one. So here's the basic shape that your working with.  At this point you can continue quilting that same swirl design, alternating directions, and really just filling in that space as you go. Now I'll just add one more and then out. Remember you want to  finish it." "And I think in finishing the swirl the other important thing to remember is that you're in charge of the foot pedal. So if you get to machine quilting and you find yourself stuck or wondering 'where am I  going to go next?', don't forget you can let your foot off the pedal, stop the machine, and think about where you want to go, and start again." "Exactly. Now if you want to try the one with the hook, it's the same basic shape, you just swirl in. The only difference is when you're in the inside you're going to come out and add that little bit of a hook like that. Think of it more like an S shape -- a gentle kind of curve. And then you're going to come back and then finish the swirl. So let me show you. You're going to swirl in, you're going to put that little hook out, come back, and finish the swirl just like that." "I love this design. It's a great overall motif. And one that you can practice working with. Now Angela, one thing we haven't talked about is you could possibly use a stitch regulator on a machine like this if you wanted to make sure that your stitches were even. But sometimes you suggest for curves a different idea." "Absolutely. In my opinion I think a stitch regulator tends to add a little bit of a drag to the quilting. So if you're having trouble getting those nice, soft curves, then maybe try turning off the stitch regulator can help you with that." "Whether you like to work with the stitch regulator on or off, these two designs are ones that can be a regular part of your machine quilting design arsenal. Give them a try today."