Pebble Quilting Tutorial

Pebble quilting

Pebble quilting

Pebble quilting was my filler choice for quilting the pale star quilt.  I have machine quilted pebbles in all the white sections – mainly triangles and stripes – and I’ve put a very simple star design in the large squares.

What is pebble quilting?

As its name suggests, pebble quilting is a series of small (pebble sized) circles all touching each other to fill up the space completely.  It is a smaller design than meander quilting so it takes longer to do it, but it does give a very different look to your quilt.  The trick is to make the circles vary in size enough to make the pattern more interesting, and to make sure that they do not end up sewn in rows – you don’t really want the pebble quilting design to be symmetrical.

How to do pebble quilting

The first thing, as ever, is to stitch in the ditch around the area to stabilise it.  Then begin with one small circle.  The second circle can come straight off the first one, but for the next one you need to change direction so that your circles are not in a straight line.  To do this, travel stitch back along part of the circle so that you can start the next pebble from a different part of the circle.  Travel stitching just means going back over a line that you have already quilted in order to get your needle to a different starting point.  Branch off now and sew another circle.  Keep going and sew more and more circles in all directions so that you fill the space.

Keep an eye on the overall design as you go, so that you don’t end up with gaps where there are no pebbles.  If you want to check which direction you need to go next, just stop quilting while you draw breath and take a good look.  I have quilted completely round a circle for a second time sometimes when I am deciding which direction to go next – a bit like going round a roundabout a second time when you’re not sure which road to take!

When you have filled one space, the next space may be immediately next to the one you’ve just done.  If not, just stitch in the ditch to get to the next area that you want to fill with pebble quilting.

Star quilting design

Star quilting design

Star scaled up for a larger square

Star scaled up for a larger square

Star quilting for the large squares

I needed a simple design for the large squares – they were too large to be left unquilted, but I didn’t want too complicated a design so I used a simple star pattern.

I began with a circle in the middle and then added spokes going to each corner and to the middle of each edge.  This is a design that you need to draw first before you quilt it, but all you need is something round for the central circle (I drew round a glass) and a ruler to draw the spokes in.  Quilt the circle first and then just quilt up and down the lines for the spokes of the star.

It’s very easy to make the star bigger or smaller to suit the size of square that you are filling.

Here’s the video:

I hope that this has given you some help at trying pebble quilting as a filler design for your next quilt.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

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  1. Beautiful quilt. I like the combination of the blue and white.

    • Thanks, Susan. I’m always worried that I use too much blue and white – it’s my favourite combination of colours.