Free Motion Quilting Motif – Snowflakes

Kimberlee Tanner

Free Motion Quilting Motif – Snowflakes

It has definitely cooled down and we are cuddling up for the winter. While we luckily don’t have snow outside, we love snow on our quilts. This week, we are sharing a fun and easy snowflake free motion quilting motif that is perfect for all of your winter projects!


Snowflake Quilting Motif

This is an easy beginner quilting motif based off of an all over loop design. I really like the loop design as it is so easy to customize and add different elements to depending on your quilt top. You can easily mix in stars, hearts, leaves, flowers, really, just about anything. If you can quilt it, you can throw it in with loops. One thing to remember, is that snowflakes have 6 points, so we’ll be breaking our quilting motif down in half first, then adding the points in thirds to help keep things even without the need to do any marking.

I like to always start learning new motifs by doodling them out a bunch before heading to the sewing machine. This helps you build muscle memory and figure out the best quilting path before having the added stress of actually sewing on your quilt. Grab a marker and a few pieces of paper and try drawing the loopy snowflake quilting design a few times until you feel completely comfortable with it.

Note: When doodling and quilting all over designs, I like to work off the quilt edges. I’ve found this helps fill the entire space and eliminates dead spots that may end up looking unfinished later on.

Free Motion Quilting

Before you get started, make sure your quilt sandwich is basted and ready to go. You’ll also want to check that you have a free motion quilting foot on your sewing machine, and I like to fill extra bobbins before I start quilting. Quilting always uses more thread than I think, so if you prefill bobbins, you won’t have to stop in the middle of the project to make more.

Bring your bobbin thread to the top of the quilt and take a few small stitches to lock the thread in place. If needed, this is a great spot to stop and pull your threads under your free motion quilting foot and move them back out of the way. Now you are ready to start. If I’m doing an all over design, I’m going to start in the middle and work my way around the quilt in 4 quadrants, always going from the inside out. This helps keep extra fabric moving to the edge of the quilt and has the least amount of fabric under your throat as posssible, making it easier to move around. I also recommend free motion quilting gloves to give extra control.

First, start off by making a loop or two and move to where you want to start your first snowflake. Quilt a small center circle and then go around 3-4 times to fill it in. You can also use these extra circles to smooth out edges if your first circle wasn’t very round. From there, go straight off in any direction for a couple inches, then stop and make 2-3 circles. Trace back over your line and go out of the center circle directly opposite your first line. Make a couple more circles on the end and come back to the center. From here, you want to split the space between the two lines in thirds. Make your next straight line at one of those points and quilt a couple circles, then head back down the same line and directly out the other side to complete your 4th point. Again, move back to the center of your quilting motif and then split the largest space in half and finish out by quilting snowflake points 5 and 6. After you trace back down the 6th point, you are back in the middle and can exit anywhere you want to move to the next snowflake. Make another loop or two, moving to the next area, then start over to quilt more snowflakes. Continue around the entire top or area until everything is filled in.

Quilting Snowflakes in a Border

This motif can easily be adapted to borders as well. Start by making a couple loops, then stop roughly in the center of your border. Quilt your snowflake the same way, making sure to really fill the space. Use a couple loops to move further along the quilt and add another snowflake, again, putting the center roughly in the border. Continue along to fill the entire border. I recommend planning the quilting to put snowflakes close to the corners as possible to help frame and complete the quilt.

After you get comfortable with this design, I definitely recommend branching out and seeing what else you can come up with! It’s such a simple quilting motif and can finish your quilts with a little extra flair.

Music by bensound.com

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