Free-Motion Snowman Vase Quilt

Every child listens with doubt when they hear an adult say “It is better to give than to receive.” That changes once the child reaches kindergarten and waits with joyful anticipation for his mother to open the carefully wrapped macaroni necklace under the Christmas Tree. From that day forward, the tradition of giving, especially handmade gifts, is rooted.

For my family, Christmas would not be Christmas without handmade gifts. This year, I’m working on small, free motion quilted “vase quilts” for my family and friends. Vase quilts are bigger than a mug rug but smaller than a table runner. They are the perfect size to place under a vase or candle, or use as a wall hanging.Free-Motion Snowman Vase Quilt

Here are the steps of how to free-motion quilt a snowman

The snowman is an adorable motif that can be stitched in the center of a block or stitch a row of snowmen to create a border for any Winter quilt.

Free-Motion Snowman

Begin by drawing five lines. The spacing indicated here is just a suggestion. Play with different proportions to create a variety of snowmen.

Free-Motion Snowman - spacing indicated

Stitching the Free-Motion Snowman

Set up your BERNINA sewing machine for free-motion quilting. Use the BERNINA Stitch Regulator (BSR) or use a foot designed for free-motion quilting such as the BERNINA Darning foot #9, BERNINA Quilting foot #29, or BERNINA Embroidery foot #15. My favorite is the BERNINA Free-motion Embroidery Foot #24 as it is open in front and offset, providing the best visibility.

Begin stitching on the bottom line. Stitch a complete circle, then echo stitch the left side of the circle all the way to the next line.

Free-Motion Snowman - first stitches

Stitch another complete circle and echo stitch the left side of the circle.

Free-Motion Snowman - repeating the first circle

Stitch the snowman’s head—a full circle—and again, echo stitch the left side. Stop here with the needle down to adjust your fabric if necessary and to plan the next step.

Free-Motion Snowman - stitching the head

Stitch a top hat for the snowman as shown. Stop at the right side of the snowman’s head.

Free-Motion Snowman - stitch the top hat

Echo stitch the right side of the snowman’s head, then add two to three small loops to create the scarf.

Free-Motion Snowman - stitching the scarf

Continue echo stitching the right side of the snowman all the way to the bottom line. Stitch along the bottom line to create a border of snowmen motifs or add a little spiral to end the single snowman.

The perfect snowman and your hands aren’t even cold!

Free-Motion Snowman - finishing stitching the snowman

Add simple trees and spirals to create a fun vase quilt. Make one to give to your family, but make sure to stitch one for yourself as well!

It’s better to give than to receive, but why not give one to yourself as well!?

For more than 100 step-by-step tutorials like the snowman, visit Lori Kennedy at her blog, The Inbox Jaunt.

Our December 7 Gift For You

Today’s gift is the Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book by Amanda Murphy to one awesome WeAllSew fan. All you have to do is post a comment below answering the following question:

What will be your next free-motion quilting design?

A winner will be chosen at random on December 8, 2015 and announced later this week!

Good luck!

Congratulations to our WeAllSew reader “clamb”, the winner of the December 7 gift. Enjoy!

19 days until Christmas

Difficulty level: Beginner
Projects: home décor
Techniques: free-motion quilting, quilting

136 thoughts on “Free-Motion Snowman Vase Quilt

    1. I am finishing 5 small quilts for the Grands, I will or have FMQ on them with my new 770QE, and will slip this cute snowman into my swirls and whirls
      Love Loris posts. So inspiring

  1. I am still not very good at FMQ but I do like the look of the Snowman and I love Lori’s easy instructions. I just might have to try this one. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  2. Sadly my free motion quilting skills are not good. No doubt my next design will look like all of the others, like intoxicated ants wandering around aimlessly trying to find their way home. Maybe the book could help – fingers crossed!

  3. I have yet to try free motion quilting, because I thought it would be above my capabilities. This snowman looks like a great starter project for me. Thank you so much for posting it!

  4. I’m finishing a baby girl quilt with some pieced hearts so will fmq hearts on it as well as some swirls. Will bookmark this snowman pattern for my next winter piece. thanks.

  5. This is beautiful!
    As for my next free-motion quilting design, HA! Can you say disaster? I can barely make straight lines but that is indeed what I will be working on.

    Thanks again for all of the WONDERFUL inspiration and ideas! I can’t wait to see what you come up with tomorrow.

  6. Unfortunately, I am not a very good free motion quilter, but the snowman looks so intriguing I just might have to try it. So far, my free motion quilting has been limited to some baby quilts I made for my grandchildren when they were little. A long time ago! lol

  7. Oh how I would love to have a Bernina with a BSR. Sigh. Alas, I need many hours of practice to gain any skill in free motion quilting. With such simple and well-stated instructions, I think I will have to give this snowman ⛄ a try. INSPIRED ?

  8. My first free motion attempt will be something for myself as I probably won’t want to give it to anyone! It’s on my to do list but I have so many things to learn and do with all of the versatility of my B790, my V7 and Designworks software that I am going to have to retire very soon to fit it all in.

  9. I am currently working on a wall hanging with a kind of flower petal free motioned on the triangles in the piecing. Finding it somewhat challenging though, not being a real experienced free motion quilter.

  10. I have finished a lap-sized Christmas quilt TOP. The centre of the quilt top is a ‘decorated’ Christmas tree.
    I will free motion evergreen trees and Christmas baubles in the borders.

  11. Thank you for the wonderful tutorials! I appreciate how much thought and time and creativity went into them all and I enjoy reading them every day. Thank you and have a wonderful holiday!

  12. I have not done any free motion quilting yet, but I plan to practice on some old comforters after the holiday season. I will probably start with simple swirls, stippling, and then maybe branch out into something a little more difficult. lisajcowell(at)cs(dot)com

  13. I’ve wanted to make a Christmas quilt for years. I’m a beginner at FMQ and am pleased at my progress making squiggles but have had no idea how to take the next step. Free motion snowmen? I had no idea! I can’t wait to try my hand at some FMQ Christmas designs and start planning my Christmas quilt.

  14. I have never created scenes with fm questions, will try the snowman the directions are so clear I know I can do it and I’ll add some floating hats and wind gusts. Thank you.

  15. I will be perfecting the free motion quilting by doodling in a book. I have just begun to understand how quilting designs are drawn. After I get the rhythm I will so a sampler of designs.

  16. I am making table runners for my family. I have been doodling different ways to do snowflakes. Found the style I like. It will be fun to do. I like this snowman too. It would be fun to try a mix of both.

  17. Being Jewish most of the designs that are given at this time of the year are more Christman oriented, which is why I just love this snowman motif — it’s good for all religions as it is about the season and not the holidays. I have been toying with making a door quilt for my front door to leave out throughout the winter months. This would be a fantastic design to quilt it with and I do thank Lori for giving it to us today–I think she is the “best” :o)

  18. i think my next project will be a star baby quilt with flowers all around quilting. Lori Kennedy is just a great teacher and a tremendous inspiration.
    thanks so much,
    shoshana
    p.s., i love my bernina, which is already 35 years old a sewing just like a new one!!

  19. I can’t wait to try some of these patterns in the New Year. I have a Bernina old 830 from 1978 and am getting my Bernina 770 QE in the spring. Found a Bernina store in Tecumseh Ontario (Joy Quilts) that takes lay away with a deposit. When I pick it up it will be fully paid for! I appreciate the tips about the feet. Did some free motion quilting about 15 years ago and can’t wait to get started again. Had planned to purchase the 750 QE last year but it didn’t happen; good thing they have big sales. So pleased you have the 770 Lori and that you are doing tutorials with it! Have been telling Quilt Guild members about your blog for awhile

  20. I plan to free-motion quilt on my large bed quilt I’ve just finished piecing. I took a free-motion quilting class at my local Bernina shop. Anxious to incorporate this snowman into the design!

  21. Straight line quilting maybe with one of the fancy stitches on my machine will be my choice.. I am so afraid of getting “lost” when doing FM I can;t get it even started!

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