Using a Design Board to Create that Perfect Circle

Awesome Ocean quilt, quilted at Quilted Joy, using the bubbles design board

Free motion quilting is faster, though not often easier than following a predetermined design on a pantograph or design board. Making your design shapes consistently the same size can be tricky. But the design element that can be downright impossible without some sort of aid is the circle. Even with a pantograph, circles can be very difficult to make perfect. Therefore, when adding circles to your quilting design you can always consider the design board.

The Spiral Design Board

Bonnie displays her blue and yellow kid's quilt after quilting it on a longarm machine at Quilted Joy

Bonnie did just that and used our spiral design board in her rental certification class. She had so many lovely angles and shapes in her piecing that she figured she didn’t need to add anymore straight lines. The Spiral board really gives some circular motion to her quilt. It kind of adds a swirling hypnotic feel to her tipping squares on point in hexagons. Such a fun design.

Gail's black, white, and purple layer cake quilt, quilted with a spiral design board at Quilted Joy

Gail also used the same design board to complete this cute purple and grey layer cake quilt. The spiral board is just that, a spiral with the stitching about an inch apart. Although the prints of her quilt top make it very difficult to see the design, it gave this quilt a delicious rippled texture that is quite cuddly.

Gail's black, white, and purple layer cake quilt, quilted with a spiral design board at Quilted Joy

The Bubble Design Board

Vickie's purple, black, and white quilt quilted with the Bubbles Design Board

Can you guess what the favorite color of Vicki’s niece is? I really like how she used the same purple fabric throughout the quilt and added variety with the whites, blacks, and grays. To quilt it, she chose our bubble design board. This design also covers the quilt with circles, but this time they are separated and not spiraled. As a result, it gave it a kind of dreamy quality.

Valerie's Awesome Ocean Quilt, quilted with the Bubbles Design Board

The bubbles totally make sense on this Awesome Ocean quilt by Valerie. We are under the sea in blues and grays. This would make a great quilt for a nursery or an ocean enthusiast. I like how she repeated each of the animals once, but not the fabric or it’s position. By mixing them up like that, it gives the allusion of more animals instead of just repeated ones. I couldn’t imagine any other quilting design with this quilt. The bubbles are just too perfect!

The Orange Peel Design Board

Stars and Windows quilt with baseball themed focus fabrics quilted with the orange peel design board

Colleen chose a more classic circular design for this Stars and Windows quilt for her grandson. Can you tell he loves baseball? The squares on point remind me of the baseball diamonds. The extra large blocks showcase the fabrics. As a result, her classic design becomes a great baseball themed quilt for a little boy. The design board she chose was the orange peel. The interlocking circles kind of look like stacked baseballs, laces and all. She’s not the first to use this effect.

Stars and Windows quilt with baseball themed focus fabrics quilted with the orange peel design board

Circles can be very hard to draw accurately free hand. They are not any easier to trace perfectly either. The design board allows you to add these pesky but pretty shapes to your top with perfection. Consider a design board next time you want to make some rounds.

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