Freemotion Quilting Tutorials – part 1

The most recent freemotion quilting challenge by Angela Walters of Quilting is my Therapy has inspired me to create some new tutorials for you and also design some new freemotion patterns.

In the Facebook Group for Angela’s challenge, many quilters commented they had trouble with the Ribbon Candy pattern and the Wishbone pattern. I saw this as an opportunity to help my fellow quilters out with my concept on how to learn to do these patterns. I am now sharing the tutorials with you too.

In the first tutorial below you can see how I learned to grasp the Ribbon Candy pattern.

Start with a steady movement up and down. Once you have got this under your belt, make the lines move curvy to ‘capture’ the idea of a larger circle inside of the bends in the pattern. The black circle are a visualization of the curve that needs to become larger and larger. You do not actually quilt the black circle. Keep enlarging the circular bends and stitch the lines more curvy. Eventually the lines will start to touch each other… and ta-da! You have a Ribbon Candy.


Tutorial Ribbon Candy 1

A quilter in the same Facebook group commented that for her it was easier to make the line deliberately cross over to the previous curve, like in the drawings below.. There are  various degrees of overlap you can create. I would not recommend going further in your overlap than the last example… and that is already a very densely quilted piece.


Tutorial Ribbon Candy 2


Here are some more Ribbon Candy ideas for you to try out once you have got the basic shape down.


Tutorial Ribbon Candy 3


Besides the ribbon candy pattern, the wishbone pattern was the most discussed element (in my opinion) in the FB group.

In the next tutorial I have tried to explain how this pattern is constructed

When stitching a wishbone you need to keep the diagonal lines parallel as much as you possible can. You can pre-mark some lines on your quilt to help you do that. Most quilters just eyeball it. The most important thing is to keep a steady rhythm.

There are two variables in wishbone:
1. the size of the loop
2. the angles of the ‘diagonal’ lines.

A. Small loops, steeper angle; narrower wishbone with space between the loops

B. Bigger loops, steeper angle; narrow wishbone that touches.

C. Small loops, lower angle; wider wishbone with space between the loops.

D. Bigger loops, lower angle; wider wishbone that touches.

E. The ‘diagonal’ lines will become more curvy when increasing the loop size.


Tutorial Wishbone 1


Again, once you have got the basic shape down, you can go and experiment to your hearts content.


Tutorial Wishbone 2


I have discovered that I can actually create video tutorials of the drawings I create in the Procreate app (see below for more information). As this blog is currently running on a free version of WordPress, I can not upload the video itself directly, but I can redirect you to my YouTube channel. I have been able to turn the second drawing of the above tutorial into a video. Check out the video tutorial of the Wishbone variation ‘Double Wish’, clicking HERE.

The first drawing of the next tutorial has also been turned into a video, click HERE to view the wishbone variation ‘Wishing Twice’ 


Tutorial Wishbone 3

I have been coming up with names for all the variations of the Wishbone pattern. If you know a pattern under a different name, please comment and I will add this name to this post.

These tutorials were created using the Procreate app on my iPad Pro with an apple pencil. The iPad needs to be compatible with the Apple Pencil for the Procreate app to work. If you are considering buying the app, please check if your iPad will actually work together with the pencil (stylus). The Procreate app is actually a drawing/painting app that is very handy for graphic designers, artists and calligraphers. I have started using the app for the calligraphy classes I was taking this Spring. Now I have found the app very useful in my quilting projects too. I will be showing you some of these applications in the future.

There are a lot more videos and drawing waiting for publication in the near future as well.  But for now, I wish you Happy Holidays and fantastic New Year!




17 thoughts on “Freemotion Quilting Tutorials – part 1

  1. This is great information and breakdown of these two motifs, Esther! I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. I love doing ribbon candy and find it comes naturally to me. I like the variations you provide.

    • Hello Sandra!
      I love Ribbon Candy too, and maybe that is why come easy to me to find variations of this concept. There will be a lot more videos and drawings that I will share on my blog. These post will all be labeled with the word tutorial and also marked with the tag FMQ and the name of the basic pattern (like ribbon candy). This way you can always find the drawings and videos again. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can browse there too.
      Happy Holidays,

  2. Hi Esther! Well, this is a fun post. What great suggestions you have shared. I’m going to check out that app for the iPad. I like to just practice the quilting ideas over and over before heading to my sewing machine. Happy Holidays to you and your family. ~smile~ Roseanne

    • Hello Roseanne! Thank you for your lovely comment. There will be many more tutorials in the next couple of months, if everything goes well. I learned a lot about Procreate through a class I bought from calligraphy teachers Loveleigh Loops. There are free resources out there, but you would need to google for them. I know that Procreate has tutorials too on their site/instagram account.
      Good luck and happy holidays!

  3. What fun those are! It reminded me that things can carry over from one art form to another. I do a lot of hand embroidery, and the herringbone stitch is really what your wishbones are based on, so I can look at my hand stitching for quilting possibilities. Thanks for the idea!

    • Hello Susan! I too have noticed lots of similarities between art forms. The wishbone patterns can also be found in calligraphy where it id used in flourishing letters. I will show examples in my next post.
      Have a lovely holiday!

  4. Thank you for going over this again. I have your previous (2017?) instructions and am interested in seeing what updating you might have done. =)

  5. Thank you so much for tutorial. I was really struggling with Ribbon Candy and though not perfect, I am showing some improvement. You really have a gift for this type of instruction.

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