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Quilting Motif 11 - Spiral

Howdy friends! Get ready to spin with today's motif - the SPIRAL or the CONTINUOUS CIRCLE.

In this lesson I am creating the spiral with my walking foot. This is a slightly easier way to create this design as one giant spiral that is uniform in stitch size and ring spacing.

You can add more dimension and interest to this design by making several smaller spirals that are the same size or different sizes. And you can place them floating randomly on your quilt top or they can even intersect/overlap for a really interesting texture!

With the walking foot technique, it does require you to spin your entire quilt, so I only recommend this method for smaller quilts. If you want to use this motif on a larger quilt, I would definitely switch to the free-motion foot.

I prefer more natural, organic shapes because I am NOT a machine, so I very rarely use rulers or markers. If this makes you crazy and/or you want your spirals to be more perfectly circular, there are quilting rulers and a ruler foot as an option or you could draw out your design with marking pens or chalk and then stitch on the lines.

To get ready to spiral: change to your walking foot, get out your quilting gloves, and make sure you have basted your quilting sandwich or block.

Additional supplies should include a small roll of tape or clear cup and a marking tool.

Also your iron or water mister to remove your marks depending on the type of marker you prefer.

Are you being drawn into these spirals? Your eye does get drawn to these concentric circles, so when using this motif on a quilt remember to draw the eyes to your favorite parts - fabrics, blocks, etc.

Starting the Spiral is the hardest part

I say that not to scare you, but to say that once you get the center done - the rest is easy!

For this type of spiral, I start from the center. We will learn another similar motif that is made from the outside inward. So to make a good center circle my best tip is to get a roll of tape.

1) Mark the center point. Find your center POINT - by measuring with a ruler OR by folding the square in half in both directions.

I tried a roll of duct tape first, but you can probably see it was a little big for my purpose (see the blue line around this roll of tape).

2) Trace a circle that has your center point in the middle. I chose to use the inner circle of this roll of electrical tape. I like tape because it is easy to center your starting point. If you use a cup it needs to be clear, otherwise it can be frustrating to get it centered.

Time to go around

3) Stitch your center circle. With your center drawn, now it's time to trace that same inner circle with your sewing machine. Since you are using your walking foot, you can make a locking or reverse stitch at your starting point or you can leave long tails of thread to tie a knot and bury it.

For me, this center is the slowest part of the stitching process because the center circle is pretty tight. There are frequent stops and starts while I change the direction of my fabric. Sometimes I wobble just a bit, but the overall shape is circular, and any little wobbles will look fine when you're done and especially after the quilt is finished and washed.

4) Stitch your spiral. After your center circle is complete, then slowly curve away from your inner circle until you get a certain increment away and stitch another circle. Your increment can be a measurement, in which case I would make marks occasionally to aim at with your walking foot. Or I use my walking foot and simply stitch so that the outer edge of my walking foot is a small distance (1/4") away from the inner line. I measure this with my eyeball, no ruler.

5) Continue stitching connected circles until you get close enough to the edge of the block for your taste. Toward the end when I am stitching basically the corners only; I run my machine off the block edge but sew straight down the batting until I get to the next corner to continue the circle.

Here is a video showing me spiraling my Smitten block. I did speed it up because of the repetitive nature of the design (don't get dizzy - LOL).

When you're done stitching, iron or mist your lines away and admire your stitching. Show it off to someone and share it to me too and listen to the oohs and ahhs!!

If you are new around here, missed a few lessons, or want to see what's next, here is a schedule recap with links:

January 22 -

January 24 – Affection/GRIDS Quilting Motif 1 - Grids (

February 7 – Refuge/OUTLINING Quilting Motif 2 - Outlines (

February 21 – Joyful/SQUIGGLES Quilting Motif 3 - Squiggles (

March 21 – Devotion/PUMPKIN SEEDS Quilting Motif 5 - Pumpkin Seeds (

April 4 – Inspiration/WAVY LINES Quilting Motif #6 - Wavy Lines (

May 2 – Admiration/FRACTURED SPIRAL Quilting Motif 8 - Fractured Spiral (

May 16 – Infatuation/SCALLOPS Quilting Motif 9 - Scallops (

I hope you had fun and don't forget to share your progress and quilt pictures here or on social media with any of these tags #nothingbutloveqal #quiltingspirals or tag me @polkadotpeepquiltsetc on Facebook or Instagram.

Have questions or comments? Please leave them below.

Until next time, have a great day of stitching & see you next week for a new block!

Be blessed,



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