Free-motion Stitching Shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day

Hello, free-motion quilting fans! I am Lori from Lori Kennedy Quilts (formerly The Inbox Jaunt) and I love machine quilting! While I’m only Irish by marriage, the clover is one of my favorite motifs. A simple, one-pass Clover border adds a touch of charm to any quilt. Or, Double the border to quadruple the charm!

Free-motion Quilting Shamrocks

I stitch on a BERNINA 770 QE sewing machine and a BERNINA Q 20 sit-down, long arm quilting machine. Both machines create beautiful stitches! Be sure to clean your machine before free-motion quilting to get the best possible stitches.


BERNINA 770 QE in a sewing room

For more on machine set-up, see my post “Twelve Steps to Machine Quilting” here on WeAllSew.

Insert a single-hole throat plate

Insert a single-hole throat plate to support the quilt where the needle penetrate the layers of fabric and batting. This helps the machine create a well-formed stitch.

BERNINA Free-motion embroidery foot #24

There are several foot choices for free motion quilting. My favorite foot is the BERNINA Free-motion Embroidery Foot #24 . It is open at the front and the shank is offset which allows greater visibility when you are stitching.

free-motion stitching of a shamrock

To create the lovely clover border, begin by marking two parallel lines on your fabric. (If you are making the double border, mark three parallel lines). In this sample, the lines are one-inch apart. Add small “tick” marks every 1-1/4 inch to keep the clover evenly spaced.

Start on the bottom line (or the middle line if you are stitching the double border). Stitch a curved line then add the left petal.

Stitch a rounded center petal

Stitch a rounded center petal.

Add the right petal

Add the right petal.

Stitch a curved line

Stitch a curved line from the right petal, down to the marked line and then back up at the tick mark.

complete the simple Clover border

Continue stitching from left to right to complete the simple Clover border.

create the double Clover border

To create the double Clover border, stitch the mirror image motif. This can be accomplished by stitching the motifs upside down from right to left, or knot off at the end of the first pass, then rotate the entire quilt to stitch the mirror image.

“May you live to be a hundred years, with one extra year to finish your quilts!”

—Irish Toast

Please join me at Lori Kennedy Quilts for daily inspiration and machine quilting tutorials!

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