Here are some of my latest projects.
As you see, in the center there is an octagon …
and a dodecagon (a polygon with 12 sides).
Notice the quilting; it looks like concentric shapes: quilting lines that follow the shape of the center design, stitched at the same distance one from another.
But it is not concentric shapes – it is a spiral!
What’s the difference? HUGE! For the concentric lines, there is a start and stop of the seam for each line (no one likes this!!). The spiral is continuous- you start it in the center and finish it at the outside edge of the quilt.
When we say “spiral” we are used to think at concentric circles, but you can create a spiral around any shape.
For my quilts, I echoed the shape of the colored design by stitching at 1/4” from the design and that was the starting shape of my spiral.
The challenge is how to start the spiral!
But first: in order to space consistently the stitched lines you have to use the left edge of the presser foot, that will be aligned with the edge of the starting shape – in my case, octagon or dodecagon.
In the picture below:
– the red dot shows the starting point of the spiral – at one of the corners
– the red arrow shows the space between the lines of the spiral (based on the width of your presser foot and the position of the needle)
– the yellow arrow shows how you start the spiral: from the corner, you have to drift away gradually until the left edge of the pressing foot aligns with the edge of the starting shape.
If your starting shape has corners, as you sew you want to keep the corners in line; you could mark this line with a Hera marker, before starting to sew the spiral (I did not do this though).
Did I explain this clearly? I hope so!
See below a few examples using other shapes:
Instead of a smooth curve at the start of the spiral, you could use even a straight line.
The most difficult spiral to star is the one with a circle in the center. The smaller the circle, the hardest the start is. If it is a big quilt, I think it is better to draw a few lines of the spiral and free motion quilt these lines than continue with the walking foot.
You could sew spirals on any quilt, in any size, even if it does not have a center design like my quilts. You just draw the desired shape in the center and start from there.
One thing to keep in mind is that you should correlate somehow the shape of the spiral with the design of the quilt. For a quilt made only with squares, I would not make a spiral based on a triangle.
If you have a big quilt, the center of the spiral will be a little difficult to sew due to the bulk of the quilt but as you drift away from center, the sewing will become easier and easier.
Also, for a big quilt you may want to space the lines of the spiral at bigger distance than the one provided by the presser foot and in this case you have to use a tool like this, called edge/quilting guide.
I hope this helps! Quilting spirals saves you a lot of time!