Improve Freehand Quilting Designs Using Muscle Memory

Quilt It | Jamie Wallen-Week 1 | Episode 105

Jamie stands at an easel with a large drawing pad, art pen in hand and draws his Hearts Take Flight design. Practicing his design establishes the movements between his brain and hands. So when he moves to start freehand quilting the design on the longarm machine, he “draws” with the needle effortlessly. It’s a muscle memory process with the pen never leaving the paper. Jodie traces over his design, then tries drawing the heart design on her own.

Jodie and Jamie examine a completed Dragonfly Fusion design sewn with YLI thin metallic thread. Jamie then draws his Dragonfly Fusion design on the pad by drawing a “tornado” line for the body and leaf shapes for wings. Decorating the image is the next step. Anything you can do with an art pen, you can do on the longarm. He uses contour lines to fill in the top wings and a pebble pattern for the lower wings. To clean up the outline edges, he uses a back and forth sketching line, rather than a solid line. Free motion quilting requires brain-hand coordination, and this drawing helps us “remember” the pattern.

Then watch part 2 on making a heart design quilt.

Post Your Comment

Connect With Us

Sign up for our newsletter and stay up to date with everything on, including tips, tricks and updates on new video releases.

Or find us online and stay in touch: