Free Motion Daisy Fill Tutorial

At last-a tutorial on the Daisy Fill! Many of you at the International Quilt Festival-Long Beach Saturday Night Sampler wanted to know how to do this one. I promised I would post a tutorial. It’s a fun and easy motif to do and you’ll find it useful in many situations.

Let’s go! 1. I start with just simple circle/oval for my flower center. 2. I make my first petal, coming back to the center. 3. I continue on to make my second petal. There is no “right” number of petals-it’s your daisy! 4. I keep “petaling” back around the center until I’m back to my first petal. 5. Now, I backtrack to the top of the petal that I just stitched. NOTE: I have stitched just a smidgen away from the previous line, just so that you can follow my stitching. On your piece, you would backtrack right over the previous stitching line. 6. I start my next daisy by stitching half of a petal. I’m imagining that the second daisy’s center is where my needle is in the picture.7. Now I go ahead and backtrack over the stitching for the half petal that I just did and continue on to finish out a whole petal. Once again, I have put my stitching next to the previous line so that you can tell what I have done. You would be stitching right over the previous half petal’s stitching line. 8. I make my center now and fill in with petals all around the center. 9. Oh dang, I ended up finishing my daisy at the “3 o’clock” position and I want to exit at the “10 o’clock” position!10. Oh well, I think I will just travel across the center and out to the “10 o’clock” petal. That did it! I can exit in any direction by traveling across the center of the daisy and exiting where I want.11. Now I’m going to do the same thing all over again. Start with half a petal12. ……back track over my half petal again and continue on until I complete the first petal. Then I will make a center and finish the petals on my second daisy. Now I’m on my way to making a third daisy! Done! On and on it goes until I have something like what you see above.

A couple of things to note about successful “daisying” (Yup, that’s a verb!):
-I chose to vary the sizes of my daisies, you may prefer to keep them similar in size.
-Study the photo of the finished piece above and note how much negative space I left. It’s actually prettier leaving some of that space unquilted as long as it’s fairly evenly spaced. Quilting it to death will flatten the piece and make it look “thready”.
-Variegated thread is fabulous option for this type of motif. A word of caution though: If you use a variegated thread with a high contrast of light and dark, it may get all muddy on you-try it out on a scrap piece first to see how it looks.
-You will get an entirely different look if you match the thread to the background. It will provide interesting texture but be much more subtle. Sometimes you want a quieter fill, like this:It would be quieter still if I made all the daisies small and all of similar size.

Now that you see how easy it is, have fun with it! Once you get the hang of it it’s quite relaxing to do. I’d suggest working through it with pencil and paper first, and then going to a practice sandwich.

Now, go try it!

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