If you're looking for a kick of texture and a great design to quilt on a large scale, definitely try free motion quilting Bubble Fern! Learn how to quilt Bubble Fern on a stationary home machine and on a longarm on a frame in this video:
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Quilting Bubble Fern on a Home Machine
Bubble Fern is a great design for adding a lot of drama and texture to your quilts. If your quilt top is feeling a little boring, consider quilting Bubble Fern in contrasting thread.
It doesn't even need the glitter of metallic thread to stand out boldly on the fabric. That is the power of thread painting!
Just in case you've never heard of Thread Painting - this is a form of free motion quilting where you literally paint the quilt with thread. It's VERY intense and dense stitching and the greatest challenge is to cover the space with thread, without building up so much the density of the quilt breaks your thread.
Here's a quilt I created many years ago with a combination of thread painting and applique. I hope you can see the creative quilting possibilities with this technique!
Now Bubble Fern Stem-Centered design has a lot of steps and thread painting so if you're looking for a simpler design to try first, please check out the tutorials for Fern & Stem and Fiddlehead Fern first.
As for the time investment, the thread painted bubbles do take a bit more time. I believe it took around 15 minutes to quilt my 4-inch square on a small scale.
Longarm Quilting Bubble Fern
On a larger scale, quilted with a powerful longarm that can keep up with my movement, I covered a lot more space in far less time! This is going to be a great design for All-Over Quilting or quilted in a space it can really expand and show off like borders.
Bubble Fern wants to expand and I found it very easy to swirl the bubble leaves into all spaces of my practice quilt. I also realized that this was an excellent design for practicing feathers because the initial shape is very similar.
What's nice is you get to practice lots of techniques when quilting this design - spirals, echoing, thread painting, travel quilting, and space estimation. All of these skills are must-haves for free motion quilting on any machine / setup.
Where do you plan to use Bubble Fern in your quilts? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Let’s go quilt,
Karen Y. Warman - December 21, 2022
I really like this pattern. Mine continues to look a bit fat instead of dainty and long like yours