‘Open headband’ quilting motif

17 11 2012

I don’t know where I learned to do this quilting motif that I call ‘open headband’ — perhaps Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Project, or maybe Diane Gaudynski’s excellent book on free motion quilting, or perhaps Helen Godden’s DVD, or maybe my own variation of techniques learned from all three. Anyhow, I use it often and find it a very relaxing motif that can be quilted large or small and that fits into all sorts of places.

Several people have asked me to share how I do it, so today I got a piece of paper and a Sharpie and took some (very amateur) photos of how the motif goes. I realised I’m much better on the Sweet Sixteen than I am with my drawing! But hopefully this will help you get started.

General tips:

  • Start this motif near the centre of the quilt and move out in an overall circular direction — this flattens out any wonkiness and pushes puckers out to the edge. Don’t be tempted to fill a quarter of the quilt, then move to another quarter — if the quilt is even slightly wonky, you may end up with puckers and pleats in the middle of the quilt.
  • While I mostly do three hops around the arc, sometimes I do four so that I don’t end up with a long streamer of these motifs all going in one direction across the quilt. The fourth hop allows me to go off in a different direction, thus covering the quilt in an apparent random fashion.
  • Use the ‘needle down’ position on your machine. If you have to stop in the middle of an arc or at a point, then you’ll be able to start again without being a stitch or two ‘out’.

So here are my photos with some instructions.

Start by stitching a semi-circle/arc near the centre of the quilt (the arrow shows the direction I use, but go in whatever direction feels comfortable to you):

At the end of the arc, stitch another arc back towards your starting point, but not quite coming even with it. Echo the general semi-circle shape, but don’t try to echo at a specific distance from the original arc (my drawing below shows a VERY uneven second arc!):

Now bounce back with a third arc extending from the end of the second arc. Again, you’re following the arc’s general shape, but you’re NOT trying to get an even distance from it:

You’ve now done what I call ‘three hops’ — the arc and two echo lines. Next, you create a new ‘headband’ by starting a new arc at an angle off from the end of the third arc; I try to put this arc next to the earlier one so that I don’t end up with awkward gaps later — in other words, I fill the empty spaces as I go:

After creating the second arc, stitch two more echoing arcs around it, just like you did for the first one:

At the end of the third echo, bounce out in a different direction to create another small arc and echo it just like the previous two:

To stop you going off in an overall diagonal, this time do a fourth echo (not the three you’ve done previously):

At the end of the fourth echo, bounce out in a different direction to create another small arc and echo it just like you’ve done with the others. You should only need three bounces this time, though there’s no hard and fast rule:

Create the next arc off the end of the third echo point, and keep going creating arcs and three or four echoes until you’ve filled the entire area or the whole quilt!

And here’s an example of it finished (you can see that I’m much more even on the machine than with a pen!):


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66 responses

17 11 2012
Community Quilt 26 « At Random

[…] quilt, especially as I used another favourite allover quilting motif — the one I call ‘open headbands‘. This meant I didn’t have to think a lot and could go faster than usual (I think I had […]

17 11 2012
Community Quilt 24 « At Random

[…] (Deco-Bob) in the bobbin to match pale pink backing fabric. And I decided on what I call an ‘open headband‘ […]

17 11 2012
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[…] I used an open headband motif, with a variegated cotton thread in pale pastels on the top and a pre-wound bobbin in beige […]

17 11 2012
Baby quilt 3 « At Random

[…] Wonderfil Deco-Bob (colour DB 205; 80 wt) in the bobbin. The quilting motif I used was an ‘open headband‘ […]

17 11 2012
Community Quilt 7 « At Random

[…] it into submission’. A close large stipple was an option, but instead I decided on an open headband […]

17 11 2012
Community Quilt 29 « At Random

[…] that I decided to do a simple all-over motif. And guess what? I went back to my favourite ‘open headband‘ […]

17 11 2012
Community Quilt 9 « At Random

[…] outer border was quite ‘busy’, so instead of making a feature of it, I just did open headbands in it with the brown variegated Sulky […]

17 11 2012
Holly

WOW love it. Your stitches are really consistent. Thanks for the details. I follow your quilting on the SS group.

17 11 2012
susieqmcf

Lovely! Thanks for posting!!!

17 11 2012
treadlemusic

Such an effective pattern AND very forgiving!!! That’s why I love it….and others similarly stitched! Great post!!!!

17 11 2012
Quilting Babcia

Thanks! I’ll be trying this one on my next donation quilt! It looks like more fun than meander/stippling!

17 11 2012
mary

thanks for tutorial… to me it looks like Wendy Sheppards Jester hats on FMQ challenge
Godspeed,
mary

17 11 2012
Pam In Utah

I have done closed headbands, but I like this more open motif. Thanks for the explanation!

19 11 2012
Jen

fabulous! Thank you for posting this tutorial.

25 11 2012
Community Quilt 33 « At Random

[…] to quilt it? I was tempted to take the easy way out and do any all-over design like open headbands or a large meandering stipple. But then I wondered how I’d tackle the black border. So I […]

26 11 2012
marblers76

Really like this design! Thanks for posting it.

25 12 2012
Community Quilt 41 « At Random

[…] against this fairly quickly after examining some of the motifs more closely. I thought of the open headband motif — quick, easy; or a large all-over stipple. Then I decided to do a variation of the […]

1 01 2013
Community Quilt 44 « At Random

[…] was a busy quilt with all those solid colours, so I just did a squared off variation of my open headbands motif using a variegated thread in gold, green, and tan autumnal […]

1 01 2013
Community Quilt 45 « At Random

[…] blue and black quilt was a variation on tumbling blocks. So that I could perfect the squared off open headband motif, I repeated it on this quilt too — I think it’s in my ‘muscle memory’ […]

1 01 2013
Community Quilt 47 « At Random

[…] sections too. However, the border fabric was quite geometric and I thought that the squared off open headband motif would work well […]

1 01 2013
Community Quilt 51 « At Random

[…] a single colour thread (yellow) and a single all-over quilting motif. The motif is based on the open headbands, but inside of doing a second arc back over the first, I made three ‘petal’ loops or […]

6 01 2013
Practice may not make perfect, but it helps! « At Random

[…] McTavishing takes FOREVER as it’s so dense and goes into every corner, whereas the various headband motifs I use – and large stippling – take me far less time. I’m up to 60-80% speed on these motifs […]

15 01 2013
Community Quilt 55 « At Random

[…] Also, the pinwheels were the focus, not the white space. So I did another variation on the open headband motif — instead of doing a second and third arc back over the first, I made a few spiky star […]

12 02 2013
Community Quilt 61 « At Random

[…] used my favourite quick and easy ‘open headband‘ motif all over the main top of this quilt in a variegated yellow, purple, and green thread. […]

25 03 2013
Community Quilt 66 | At Random

[…] purple, and green. The quilt needed to shine, so I just decided to do an all-over funky, floral open headband variation in keeping with the floral fabric in the border and the centres. (This quilt was […]

2 04 2013
Community Quilt 67 | At Random

[…] likely be well loved by a child, I decided to keep the quilting design to a basic all-over ‘open headband‘ motif, but in a matching bright fluoro orange […]

7 04 2013
Community Quilt 69 | At Random

[…] keeping with the bright cheerful colours, I quilted it with an all-over design variation on ‘open headbands‘, in a bright fluoro orange […]

16 04 2013
Community Quilt 73 | At Random

[…] a small floral print in the border, along with the tiny aqua squares. I decided to use my ‘open headband‘ variation of adding a petal-like sweep to one of the ‘headbands’, emulating the […]

16 04 2013
Community Quilt 74 | At Random

[…] They gave me inspiration for doing my geometric, ‘flat end’ version of the ‘open headband‘ motif. I was pleased with how it turned […]

20 05 2013
Community Quilt 83 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] disappeared into the quilt and didn’t try to overpower it. I also used a squared off ‘open headband‘ motif because I wanted to add some curves to the very geometric quilt design, but flowers […]

17 06 2013
Community Quilt 88 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] one of the fabrics, so did a sort of grassy motif, which was really just a very open version of the open headbands motif I use a […]

24 06 2013
Community Quilt 90 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] that went well together. I decided to do an all-over design — my ‘squared off’ open headband motif. In keeping with the bright colours in the coloured blocks, I used a variegated thread […]

8 07 2013
Community Quilt 91 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] quilted it with an all-over variation of the ‘open headband‘ motif — this time I added a few rounded ‘bounces’ along one of the […]

8 07 2013
Community Quilt 92 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] quilted it with an all-over variation of the ‘open headband‘ motif — this time I squared off the points of the […]

5 08 2013
Community Quilt 99 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] yellow. I used an all-over continuous line quilting design — the squared-off variation of the headband motif I use a […]

1 09 2013
Practice may not make perfect, but it helps! | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] McTavishing takes FOREVER as it’s so dense and goes into every corner, whereas the various headband motifs I use – and large stippling – take me far less time. I’m up to 60-80% speed on these motifs […]

2 10 2013
Community Quilt 112 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] decided to do a continuous line all-over design — my squared-off open headband motif, which I’ve decided to rename to ‘WiFi’ as the shapes look just like the WiFi […]

7 10 2013
Community Quilt 114 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] So I decided to fall back on an old stalwart design I haven’t stitched for a while — open headbands. I used a lovely Affinity thread (from Fil-Tec) in variegated browns and it was perfect for this […]

10 11 2013
Community Quilt 123 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] to start with the centre diamonds, and stitched a wavy matrix/cross-hatch in each. Then I did an open headband motif for the rest of the top, and some small clam shells in the border (using my Handi Quilter 2″ […]

30 11 2013
Community Quilt 127 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] counter the rectangular/square design by quilting it in a rounded motif. I used my favourite ‘open headband‘ motif, making the arcs much larger than usual to try to get this quilt stitched fairly […]

8 12 2013
Community Quilt 130 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] went, so I opted for an all-over continuous line motif — one of my old favourites: the ‘open headband‘ motif. I made the arcs quite large, which meant I was able to quilt this quilt in just over […]

13 04 2014
Community Quilt 134 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] something to soften the edges a bit, so I quilted it in a squared-off variation of the ‘open headband‘ motif I’ve used many times before. I stitched this design all over the quilt, using a […]

14 04 2014
Donna Chambers

Thank you for your tutorial – I’ll use your open headband motif on my next quilt. Thank you! 🙂 Cheers Donna in Brisbane in Australia.

3 05 2014
Community Quilt 139 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] in alternating blocks, but I ended up doing something more rounded — a variation on the ‘open headband’ motif with flower shapes around each inner arc. I stitched in the ditch around all the blocks […]

26 05 2014
Community Quilt 143 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] I needed to do a design that I had a lot of ‘muscle memory’ for, so I did my open headbands. That way, I didn’t need to concentrate on my quilting so much if I was talking. And because […]

3 06 2014
Community Quilt 144 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] lots of floral fabrics, I decided to quilt it using a ‘flower’ version of my ‘open headbands‘ motif — same as that motif, but instead of a curved line for the second arc, I just […]

3 06 2014
Community Quilt 146 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] of the quilt top. To echo the circular motif, I stitched a squared-off-end version of my ‘open headband‘ motif across all the open areas. And then I stitched circles/bubbles/pebbles in the open […]

10 09 2014
Community Quilt 161 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] For the border, I did a squared off open headband motif. […]

7 12 2014
Community Quilt 176 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] soften the geometric lines by doing an all-over circular motif in red thread, opting for my ‘open headbands‘, which are lodged in my muscle memory […]

25 01 2015
Community Quilt 181 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] in the ‘busy-ness’ of this quilt, so I opted for a variation of my ‘go to’ open headband motif. Instead of arcs, the centre part of each motif is a paisley (or a really big […]

17 05 2015
Community Quilt 211 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] How to quilt it? The busy-ness of the fabrics dictated something simple and all-over. So I went back to a design that I have a lot of ‘muscle memory’ for — open headbands. […]

16 08 2015
Community Quilt 221 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] any quilting I did on this quilt would fade into the background, so I just an all-over motif (my open headbands) in a black and white variegated thread. I thought about using a neon pink or green thread, but […]

4 11 2015
Community Quilt 136 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] I sort of did that. The motif I used for the blocks next to the straight line blocks was a curved open headband motif with squared off edges, and then the one for the blocks and piano key border adjacent to that was a […]

15 11 2015
Community Quilt 238 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] and an echo, before starting a new ‘flower’. This is a variation on the open headband motif that I’ve done many times […]

26 06 2016
Community Quilt 267 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] was made up of 16-patch blocks, in various fabrics. I decided to quilt it simply using an ‘open headband‘ motif, in a pale lilac […]

26 06 2016
Community Quilt 272 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] in the ditch around every stinkin’ seam, I decided to do an all-over motif based on ‘open headbands‘, using a variegated autumnal […]

26 06 2016
Community Quilt 274 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] I wanted to enhance this basic scrappy quilt with something floral, and ended up doing a sort of spiral centre, surrounded by rounded ‘petal’ arms. It’s another variation on ‘open headbands‘. […]

30 07 2016
Community Quilt 277 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] big quilt, with lots of ‘busy’ fabrics. This time I stitched a large open headband motif, using a variegated red, white, and blue […]

30 07 2016
Community Quilt 284 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] This was one of the quilt tops I made on our quilt retreat weekend and donated to the Community Quilts program. They supplied the batting and backing fabric — I did the rest. To add contrast, I quilted it with an orange thread, using my favourite open headband motif. […]

30 07 2016
Community Quilt 285 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] fabric — I did the rest. In keeping with some of the floral fabrics, I did a variation on the open headband motif, adding ‘petals’ to the large […]

3 09 2016
Community Quilt 289 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] this quilt, I just used a simple variation on the ‘open headband‘ motif, adding a slightly curved hook to the point of the inner […]

1 01 2017
Community Quilt 302 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] was a really big quilt. How to quilt it? I decided on an all-over motif, a variation of open headbands, with ‘petals’ to emulate flowers. I used a purple, yellow, and cream variegated […]

1 01 2017
Community Quilt 305 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] geometric quilt needed something to soften the hard edges, so I quilted it using the curvaceous open headband motif in a bright yellow […]

7 02 2017
Community Quilt 306 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] the geometric shapes, I stitched a squared-off arc motif, which is a variation of the open headband motif I use quite […]

27 02 2017
Community Quilt 312 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] quilt. The ‘busy-ness’ of the fabrics meant a simple stitching motif, so I chose ‘open headbands‘, which is a muscle-memory motif for me — I think I could do it in my […]

25 04 2017
Community Quilt 325 | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] my ‘muscle memory’ motifs for quilting this quilt — a flower variation of ‘open headbands‘. Instead of finishing the final arc with a curved arc, you hop back with little arcs that […]

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