Tiny and Teeny Stippling

Hey Everyone, welcome back to Free Motion Friday.

What is stippling – also known as meandering?

Essentially, it is like doodling on a piece of paper in a continuous line forming squiggles and turns all over the piece of paper while never crossing over another line. The difference in quilting is that it is done with thread, needle and fabric rather than pen and paper.

A good way to practice the design before starting with thread and fabric is to use a pen and paper and just doodle on the piece of paper. This will help get your brain in gear for what you want it to do with the needle and thread using the sewing machine.

Practising stippling with pen and paper

You can practice stippling with pen and paper to get your brain in gear

This little exercise works very well for any free motion design not just stippling.

When doing stippling on the sewing machine the key is to have your foot speed and hand speed coordinated to make even sized stitches. This takes a bit of practice but once you figure it out the “ah-ha” moment is great. When you first start out the curves may be a bit jagged and pointed – keep on practicing as they will improve.

If your speed is too fast the stitches will be very tight and tiny:

Tight Stippling Stitches

Tight and tiny stitches from either a slow feed or fast stitch speed

If your speed is too slow the stitches will be very large and loose:

An example of Loose Stippling Stitches

Loose and long stitches from either a fast feed or slow stitch speed

And if your speed is just right then the stitches will look like this:

An example of a Large Stippling Pattern

Speed and feed are just right…

Gee, sounds like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Stippling can be:

For all of the examples below, the test pieces are the same size so that you can see the changes in density as the stippling gets tighter and tighter.


An example of a Large Stippling Pattern

Large Stippling


An example of a medium Stippling Pattern

Medium Stippling


An example of a small stippling pattern

Small Stippling

Tiny and Teeny:

Tiny and Teeny Stippling

Tiny and Teeny Stippling

Stippling is a lot of fun and once you get the hang of it it is very addictive.The size of the stippling used will certainly depend on the size of the space the stippling design is covering and how dense you want the quilting to be.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post on how to use the different stippling densities in creative ways.

Happy Quilting!

Jen Transparent Signature