This month, I am introducing a new free resource for followers: Quilt Motif Monthly!

I am super excited about this new project. I have twelve months already planned out for you. Each month, I invite you to check back to the blog (or subscribe to the blog) for a new free downloadable quilt motif to help you “Improve Your Practice.” This project is born out of a book I am working on behind the scenes…right now the working title is “Free Motion Quilting – Improve Your Practice.”

Of course, lots of quilters have pet names for their motifs. You will certainly get a glimpse inside my head just based on what I call my motifs. I generally stick to a basic few, but I am excited to be pushing myself beyond my comforts with this project.


Switchbacks have it all, especially when we are talking about “improving your practice” of free motion quilting. Switchbacks are an excellent place to start that journey as well. They have straight lines that run parallel to each other as well as curves. They encourage you to visualize even distances and allow you to run short or long widths of the quilt top. They are also excellent for any directional changes necessary to move around the quilt top. Whether you are quilting them on a long are or a domestic, a ruler can help you with the straight lines, but if you are moving short distances, I encourage you to try it totally free motion.

When practicing on a scrap quilt sandwich with no piecing, you may want to tape or mark off some shapes. Practice filling these shapes with the switchbacks.




Follow the simple arrow directions on the image to practice. Quilt a straight line then curve over in the direction your quilting needs to travel. Quilt a second straight parallel line in the opposite direction and curve over at the end. Repeat this as many times as necessary to fill the space. I always encourage practicing on paper first.

Tips & Tricks

  • Quilt each line equal distances apart.
  • If you need to pause, try to pause on the straight line, not the curve. Stopping in the curve can make it harder to start back without a little “glitch.”
  • Quilting the straight lines closer together in a section of the quilt top will give the illusion that the area is receding or flat. Quilting them farther apart will make that area visually poof up like bringing it forward on the quilt top.
  • Lines can continue in the same back and forth direction for as long as necessary to fill up one specific area.
  • Each consecutive line can stretch longer if necessary to fill a space.


Click the button below for a FREE Printable Download that includes the direction image and the Tips and Tricks.  Print it on 8.5″ by 11″ paper. If you are a super organized person, you may want to start a folder or binder for all future images.


Share the Resource

Have a friend or guild working on free motion quilting? If you found this helpful, I invite you to share it with a friend. And thanks for stopping by!

Switchbacks PDF Download by Jittery Wings


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    What a great idea. I struggle with my small quilts. I need to build up confidence to leave the straight lines and echo stitching behind, except where they would be more effective. Thanks for the new resource!

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