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What is Stippling?

by Serena Smith

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What is stippling? Stippling is a free-motion technique used to fill areas of a quilt. It consists of squiggly lines that curve and twist around without crossing over or creating a sharp point. Stippling can be tiny - 1/2 inch loops or large - 2-3 inch loops. It depends on the look you want to create.

The smaller the stippling, the more it flattens the fabric. Larger stipples give the fabric a puffed up appearance. Backgrounds are great for small stippling because it creates texture. Whereas larger loop are better for a large, open area to fill in a quilt.

Stippling is free motion, with you in total control. The feed dogs are lowered or covered on your machine so you can guide the fabric under the needle. Let your imagination take over and guide the sandwich without lines or motifs to follow.

The goal is to have even, consistent stitches. To accomplish this, keep the stitching speed of your foot petal and the movement of the fabric with your hands in tune with each other. If your stitching speed increases, your hands must move a little faster. If your stitching speed decreases, your hands must move a little slower.

Stippling take practice. Start on a test sandwich and create curvy lines and shapes that resemble a jigsaw puzzle. Change directions and vary the shapes without crossing over another line. Start on an edge and work your way toward the middle. Be careful not to quilt yourself into a corner.

Think of a large quilt as small areas of stippling. Plan where you are going to start and look ahead as you are quilting to the next area. Finish that area and move on to the next until your project is complete.

 

Serena Smith is an avid embroidery and quilting enthusiast living in Kansas. Creating new projects and sharing them with others through local classes and online lessons is one of her greatest joys. Visit her website, Embroidery Treasures, for fun projects, helpful tips, inspiration, notions, fabrics and embroidery supplies!


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2007 Serena Smith
Embroidery Treasures


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