From the Sewing Room – The Daisy Motif

Daisy motif for quilting

Learn how to quilt this informal daisy motif onto large, pieced quilt squares.

Remember how I said I was going to start doing some charity quilting to increase my quilting practice without using up my entire quilting budget? Today I plucked up the courage to start on my first charity quilt. There is a part of me that was a bit concerned that the owners of the quilt top may not be enthralled by whatever I did. I am not a professional quilter, after all. They have already invested their time and money into this quilt – what if I did bad things to it?! But that attitude will not get quilts into the hand of recipients or practice into my quilting muscles, so I took a few deep breaths and this is what happened….

Choosing a quilting motif

I quickly discovered one interesting thing. Apparently I think a lot about quilting a quilt while I am piecing it. It was quite a new experience to decide how to quilt a piece without weeks of prior musing. I can’t say I was prepared for how different it felt to be handling a quilt I was not intimately familiar with. Has anyone else experienced this?! 

Coffee and TimTams charity quiit all pinned
The beautiful quilt I received to quilt. It arrived thoroughly pin basted and ready to go.

The quilt I have been entrusted with has chocolate brown pieced squares with cream coloured sashing. I like to think of it as Coffee and TimTams (an Australian chocolate biscuit). My daughter argues that it is actually Maltesers and Milo (more Australiana). But anyway, at first glance I assumed it was a man’s quilt and instantly thought to quilt a strong geometric design on it. But on closer inspection I discovered that the fabric prints were predominately floral. So I decided that this little beauty needed something feminine in  the way of quilting to bring out it’s gentle side.

While I got my head around this thought, I stabilised the quilt by stitching in the ditch in every sashing seam (ie every seam except those inside the brown boxes).

Stabilised quilt
Coffee and TimTams is a 5×5 grid of squares measuring around 6″. The quilt is 47″ square

Working up the Daisy Motif

The process of stabilising the quilt thankfully helped me feel more connected to the quit and able to decide how to proceed. One of my priorities was to leave the quilt feeling soft and comforting. Eventually I decided that I wanted to fill the the boxes with a simple flower motif. Before I attempted this though, I did two things. Firstly, I mocked up a digital example on Inkscape software to see what it might look like.

Digital trial of daisy motif
I started with photos of two representative blocks. Then I drew a basic circle and petal design. Finally I decided to fill in the centre spiral and place a line in the centre of each petal.

Secondly, once I was happy with this design, I got out a good old fashioned pen and paper to see how I could quilt the daisy motif as a continuous design.

First attempts at daisy motif
First: I tried drawing the petals and then filling in the centre in one pass. As you can see, it wasn’t a huge success. The petals aren’t nicely formed and the centres are jagged.
Second attempt at daisy motif
Next: I tried drawing the spiral centres first, then the petal outlines and then going back to fill in the petal centre lines. This is better, but the double outline is busy, and escaping the block looks messy.
Third attempt at daisy motif
This time I did the same as my second attempt, but just traced the original centre circle when I returned to add lines to the petals. Much simpler and tidier.

If you would like to learn this design by first tracing it, you can download a free pdf of the daisy motif here: Daisy motif free printable.

Quilting the Daisy Motif

To get the daisy motif to show up better against the mildly busy fabrics of this quilt I opted for a rayon (40wt) thread in antique white for the top thread. In the bobbin I had 80wt cotton/poly thread.

Step One: use chalk to mark thirds on the centre fabric of the block. Quilt the stem of the daisy and the centre circle. Fill in the spiral now, if you want one.
Step Two: Quilt the petals clockwise out to the edge of the block. Stop each petal just short of block edges and the centre circle – this looks neater than accidentally crossing the lines.
Step Three: Once all the petals are outlined, fill in the centre line of each petal by travelling anti-clockwise around the centre circle.
Step Four: If you have forgotten to do the spiral, you have another opportunity to fill it in now. Otherwise, exit the block by completing the other side of the stem.
Finished daisy motif
The finished daisy quilting motif

A Bonus Variation of the Daisy Motif

In every second block, I didn’t add the centre spiral – so I have some open and some filled flowers. Truth be told, this is largely because I forgot to quilt the spiral into one of the flowers early on. Then I decided I liked the variation…. so now it’s a feature! Hahahahaha!

quilting spiral quilting In the sashing I did a simple leaf vine with the same thread combo. It is very nearly invisible but it gives a good overall texture. I left the star fabric squares un-quilted and filled the outer border with quick perpendicular lines. And finally, I put spirals in the four corners to echo the flower centres.

So, that’s it. Quilting completed, and quilt ready to hand to the next volunteer willing to do the binding!

Here is the finished product!

Finished daisy motif quilt

Further Reading

If you want to further explore the topic of how to choose a free-motion motif for your quilt, you can read a very thorough discussion on this at Amy’s Free-Motion Quilting Adventures.

If you want to know why I think you should consider quilting for charity, you can find out in my previous discussion here.

Perhaps you like the colours in this quilt and want to make something with the same colour palette? Here is a colour inspiration bonus for you, even though it is not Tuesday.

Cookies and Cream color scheme from Clever Chameleon
Let’s call this colour palette Cookies and Cream.

Clever Chameleon logo brownI hope you enjoy quilting this daisy motif. Until next time – keep Quilting Your Own Story!


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