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Quilting Motif 5 - Pumpkin Seeds

It's time for another quilting design my friends! I learned this motif as "pumpkin seeds," but I've also heard it referred to as "continuous curve" and "orange peel." No matter what you call it - it's a fun one!

I love the pumpkin seed motif specifically because it is:

  • very versatile and can fit into different shapes,

  • able to be done with your walking foot or your free-motion foot,

  • a quick all-over design,

  • can highlight specific elements in your quilt.

The pumpkin seed/orange peel name comes from this shape that is made that looks like a petal. It looks complicated, but it is really so easy to make.

And even if your shapes are not all uniformly curvy it still looks great - remember you are NOT a machine.

You can also do it one block at a time which is a slightly different method, and it still looks great! I used it almost exclusively when I first started making rag quilts because I thought it was a little faster plus made mine look different.

Decision Time

The easiest way to make this design is by using the seam lines of your block as your guide. If you don't have lines for the way you want to quilt then you can draw them.

In the photos below, you can see the ends of my lines on the white fabric at the top and left sides in the center pic. The result was the four pumpkin seed squares in that one patch.

Now look at your block and decide...are you doing every square patch, every four patch block, breaking up a large block with smaller pumpkin seeds, or just the corner blocks? Remember if you are doing my Nothing but Love Quilt Along you don't have to do the same quilting design in the same blocks as I did - it's ok to put it on a different block.

Your batting guidelines can also help determine how densely you want to stitch this motif. They are typically 6"-10", but you should see some indication of spacing guidelines on any pre-packaged batting, but you may have to ask if you use batting on a roll.

Itchin' to start Stitchin'?

I almost always use my walking foot for this design, but if you are making them very small (like a 2" block) then it is easier to use your free-motion foot.

Next, if needed, draw your lines with your favorite heat- or water-sensitive marker. If you are using seam lines then skip ahead.

Put your needle down at your starting corner in your square and pick the center of your "hump" with your eyes (or mark a dot there). Then angle your fabric slightly, before putting your presser foot down, so you are going in that direction when you start sewing.

Remember if you are using a walking foot then you are sewing vertically, and free motion can go in any direction..

Then start sewing a gentle curve toward your high point in the middle and then back down so that you are ending at the opposite corner of your square. Stop with your needle down, do NOT adjust your angle if you are doing several pumpkin seeds. Instead go with the flow and this time you are making your gentle curve on the opposite side of the seam in the next square. Continue with your one curvy line until the end of the row or block. It kind of looks like a snake at this point.

At the end of the row, with your needle down, pivot your block (or quilt) around to do the other side of the same row. It will end up looking like this:

When you get back to your starting point, sew a scallop to get you over to your next row's starting point and continue sewing rows of pumpkin seeds. If you don't want/need to jump over, then just sew off the block or cut your threads so you can knot them.

After making all of the rows then switch directions to sew the crossing pumpkin seeds. And voila, you are done!

Here is a video (at only 3x speed to help you see the process):

A few more "seeds" about this design

This design can make other shapes besides squares, try it on triangles, rectangles, and hexies for a fun twist!

You can add or subtract parts of the design to make a scalloped edge or just the central flower.

Or echo your curvy lines and have a whole different look. Isn't quilting fun?!

I'd love to see your quilting! Share your pictures and progress here or on social media with #nothingbutloveqal #quiltingseeds or tag me @polkadotpeepquiltsetc on Instagram or Facebook.

If you are new to quilting, I wrote an intro post that you can read to get your blocks set up and machine ready. And if you are just finding this series then you can see all of the other designs, just click on the links below:

Intro to Quilting Quilting Basics - Get Ready to Stitch (

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 7 – Adoration/LOOPS Quilting Motif 4 - Loops (

Next week will be Block #6 - Inspiration and the associated quilting design (April 4) will be Wavy Lines!

Be blessed,


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