Pebble Quilting Demo

A couple of people have asked for a tutorial on the pebble quilting I’ve done.

Pebble Quilted Hexagons.

There is so much info out there about free motion quilting that I’m not going to cover the basics again, but along with those other links, I have a post here about them.

I figured it would just be easiest if I posted a little video of me doing the quilting. Check it out!

I hope that having a visual example is helpful!  I go around each “pebble” two full times and then move onto the next pebble.  Sometimes I start a third time around in order to head off into the direction I’d like.  At first I thought it looked a bit sloppy, but the big picture is the key with this quilting – not each individual pebble.  No one will notice if a pebble or two aren’t just right.

One thing to keep in mind is to keep the size of your pebbles basically the same.  Over time they can gradually grow or shrink and you want to avoid that.  Unless you choose to intentionally mix it up with the pebble sizes.

Also, wind all the bobbins you can before you get started.  You’re seriously going to be going through some thread!

Let me know if you have questions!

62 Responses to “Pebble Quilting Demo”

  1. Cheryl Arkison September 2, 2009 at 6:58 am #

    Great video. Visuals are so important. Questions: how far apart are your pins and do have any issues with tucks on the back with this technique? And, do you essentially plan out an offset of the pebbles row by row?

    • Alissa September 2, 2009 at 7:06 am #

      Thanks Cheryl! I pin the same as when I pin on any other quilt – every 4 to 5 inches. I take a couple of pins out every time I pause. I haven’t had any issues with puckering and think that the key to it is just to be very, very thorough with your pinning. And I don’t really plan for the offset pebbles, I just go along and hope for the best. Sometimes I have to squeeze in a slightly smaller pebble to fill a random spot, but it’s never noticeable when you step back and look at the big picture. Hope that helps!

  2. craftytammie September 2, 2009 at 7:08 am #

    That was so helpful! I am new at all this and nervous to do anything more than straight line quilting. You make it look so easy!

  3. Cristin September 2, 2009 at 7:15 am #

    THANK YOU for the little video – just what I needed! I’ve practiced it once and it was pretty bad :-) I won’t give up though! LOVE how it looks!

  4. badlands quilts September 2, 2009 at 7:20 am #

    Thanks for the video… i tried this the other day and used smaller pebbles… I love the look you have… What would you guess-timate the diameter of your pebbles are?

    • Alissa September 2, 2009 at 7:27 am #

      Hi Karen! I would say here that they are about 1.5″ across. But on a smaller quilt, I did them smaller. I guess it depends on what you think best suits the quilt?

  5. Carrie September 2, 2009 at 7:26 am #

    Thanks for the great video. I’m going to have to give this a try sometime.

  6. Zarina September 2, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve contacted Amanda Jean but her tutorial will be coming much later. I am planning to use this for a lap quilt that I am making for a friend who is diagnosed with breast cancer and the top hopefully to be completed by end of this week.

  7. Zarina September 2, 2009 at 7:40 am #

    A question, the lap quilt is made of 2×6 inch strips. Should I make the pebble 2×2 inch – between the strip, or should I do the pebble so the piecing cuts the pebble in half. I have pictures (very soon on my blog to help you understand better – having problem with the Internet connection to blog).

    • Alissa September 2, 2009 at 10:10 am #

      Hi Zarina! I would say that it’s really a matter of your taste and what you like! Maybe try out different choices on a scrap quilt sandwich and see what you think would work the best?

  8. Tam September 2, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    Wow. Your consistent speed and pebbles are truly impressive. You must have been doing this for quite some time? Thanks for the video!

  9. Anita September 2, 2009 at 8:21 am #

    Thank you for the demonstration. Do you have stitch regulator on your machine?

    • Alissa September 2, 2009 at 9:07 am #

      Hi Anita! I don’t have a stitch regulator. I’ve done a lot of free motion on my machine so I’ve just gotten pretty good at keeping the stitches even lengths.

  10. Sarah S September 2, 2009 at 8:28 am #

    Thank you for the demo. I’m so glad you took the time to make it and share it. It looks so fantastic.

  11. jaybird September 2, 2009 at 8:28 am #

    brilliant!! mine are sooo much smaller.. like smaller than an inch.. eek!! and you do yours on a traditional machine.. so props!!

  12. Audrie September 2, 2009 at 9:17 am #

    Thanks for the video tutorial! I’ve done large circles over a couple quilts thus far but not the pebble quilting yet… kind of nervous to do so because it looks very time-consuming and the amount of thread used is frightening hehe

  13. Karen September 2, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    Thanks for this tutorial! I love the look of pebbles and maybe it’s just me, but it seems easier to do than stippling (which I SUCK at!).

    Love your quilts and blog.

  14. Jackie September 2, 2009 at 10:06 am #

    Great video! I think it demonstrates it so much better than a set of photos!

  15. barbara September 2, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    I love that you did this. I’ve seen it a lot lately and had no idea where to start. I can’t wait to get home and watch it again, and maybe try it out, on a baby size quilt first of course, I’m so chicken!

  16. Amber September 2, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    Great video Alissa! I’m going to have to start small – say a doll quilt – and then try it out on a bigger one – love the effect though!

  17. Amy - parkcitygirl September 2, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    Great visual aid! Can’t wait to see your quilt finished up :)

  18. Sina September 2, 2009 at 12:34 pm #

    Beautiful work! Can I ask what kind of thread (brand) you use? Also,I noticed you don’t use gloves so do you use something on your sewing machine base to make it slick so that the quilt glides freely?

    • Alissa September 2, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

      Thanks! I usually use the Coats & Coats machine quilting thread both for piecing and quilting. That’s probably somehow “wrong” but it works for me! And I have a plastic “table” that extends my machine (you can see a photo here) that helps a lot with the quilt gliding along.

  19. Tina Cockburn September 2, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    Makes me want a nicer sewing machine. Mine doesn’t have a walking foot. If this kind of free-motion quilting is possible with a presser foot, I’d love to know how to do it.

    Thanks for all the amazing inspiration.

  20. Jen Eskidge September 2, 2009 at 2:02 pm #

    Excellent video! Thanks.

  21. kimmie c September 2, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    wow, that is so cool! thanks for sharing your video! maybe someday I’ll have enough guts to try it out! I LOVE the way it looks!

  22. Kate September 2, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    Excellent video!

  23. Cheryl Jaeger September 2, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    Do you have something that helps your quilt glide along as you quilt it? I seem to remember a plastic “sheet” that sits among the bobbin case at my quilt store. I seem to be fighting my quilts when I try to machine quilt. Thanks!

  24. Emily September 2, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    Thank you so much! I’ve been dreaming about trying this technique since you started blogging about it, but I didn’t know where to start. I can’t wait to give it a try.

  25. carolyn September 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm #

    Beautiful work and thanks for the tutorial! I was also wondering about your lack of quilting gloves in the video. Do you normally quilt sans-gloves?

    • Alissa September 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

      Thanks Carolyn! I do quilt sans-gloves… I have never tried them and maybe the minute I do I will be a convert. Until then, I am glove-less when quilting!

  26. Pikku-Kettu September 2, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    Thanks for the video! I’ve been wanting to try this style of quilting.

  27. Jane Weston September 3, 2009 at 1:09 am #

    Great video! You make it look so easy!

  28. Bethany September 3, 2009 at 4:10 am #

    Thanks for the great video! Your pebbling is a lot neater than mine! I don’t tend to put them touching like that (just due to my inability to plan ahead). I do like mixing up the size of the pebbles, but I try to be obvious about it so that they don’t grow or shrink. I like have some big ones with small ones scattered between.

  29. Rachel September 3, 2009 at 6:38 am #

    Thanks for showing this Alissa! Very helpful to see the quilting in action! Love the look of the pebbles.

  30. Heidi U. September 3, 2009 at 7:01 am #

    I am going to try this on my next quilt. Thanks so much for the demo!

  31. Christine September 3, 2009 at 7:33 am #

    Hi Alissa,

    great video, your pebbles look like perfect circles. I’m just doing pebbles on my current quilt. I went from memory, having seen it on your site, so first there was too much space in between huge pebbles, then I started going all over the place with little pebbles to fill in the spaces – now I’m stuck with that… will just have to go back and fill in the gaps of the first section I did. It’s definitely a lot of work and a lot of thread… I think I’m up to 15 bobbins now.

  32. Janet September 3, 2009 at 10:42 am #

    thanks again for making the video for me, it really helped me understand how to do this!

  33. Sonja September 3, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    Your tuto/demo is incredible!!! Thank you:)

  34. Adele September 3, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    Gee you’re clever, the video was great helps to see the quilting in action, thanks for posting that.
    Love the look of the big pebbles, v.nice.
    Love your work. ;)

  35. Kat September 3, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    Thanks for taking the time to share. Gotta love a visual aid.

  36. jacquie September 3, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    pretty cool, alissa! such a great look!! thanks for showing!

  37. amandajean September 4, 2009 at 5:47 am #

    great video. it’s fun, isn’t it?

  38. pixie September 4, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    very cool. but multi size pebbles are fun too…..teeny ones to fill in the holes next to bigger ones looks great, give it a whirl!

  39. Kate September 4, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    Thanks for the demo – must give it a go.

  40. Leslie September 5, 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    where did you get your extension table?

    • Alissa September 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

      Hey Leslie! I really lucked out and it came with the machine… sorry I’m no help with finding one!

  41. Michelle September 6, 2009 at 7:35 pm #

    I wanted to say thanks for the great info on pebble quilting. I am making my first quilt and more than a little nervous about it. I think your tutorial has been really helpful and that the pebble pattern will work really well with my quilt. Thanks!

  42. Heather September 27, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    Alissa, Thanks for posting this video, it’s awesome! I am beginning a quilt this way today, and am HOOKED. It’ll take awhile to finish it though at the rate I go. Your blog is a great inspirstion :)

  43. nanette October 1, 2009 at 2:02 pm #

    Got ya in my google reader now. That video was awesome. And I don’t use that word much, if at all. I am going to try this. I do my own machine quilting and have for years on smaller quilts. I think this is amazing. Hadn’t ever seen this method before.

  44. nanette October 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

    Even though my first attempt was uber messy I loved the technique. I’ll definitely do it again. I had so much fun with it. Thank you so much for your tutorial. Next week I’ll show my little table runner on my blog. Like I said – too messy and uneven, but I’ll keep trying.

  45. susie October 12, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    i wonder if i’m doing something wrong. my presser foot/darning foot thing doesn’t touch the material even with it lowered so the material pops up and down with the needle. is this correct? it seems that there should be some light connection to the fabric on top, not really pressing down hard but enough to stabilize the material. can you help?

  46. belinda October 14, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    Hi Alissa….just a thank you for your demo video on pebble quilting!!! I finally ‘braved’ myself up and went to it!! I loved it sooo much and my
    results are posted on my recent post. Thank You again!!!

  47. Sally June 2, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    Thanks so much for this video! I am new to quilting, but was thinking ahead that I might like to try the pebble quilting and your video was perfect!

  48. Debbie Bell July 20, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    I am new and appreciate the tips!

  49. Jennifer October 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    Quilted pebbles into the border of a small wall hanging. Super fun! I linked to your site in case anyone seeing my quilt wants a video tutorial.

  50. Tanja April 5, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    Yes thanks ;) it is very helpful ….I will try ! greetings from Germany

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