Leah Day Logo

Learn How to Quilt McTavishing

McTavishing is a free motion quilting design that was invented and named after Karen McTavish, a famous longarm quilter. You can learn about McTavishing in Karen's book Mastering the Art of McTavishing.

Learn how to quilt McTavishing from the creator Karen McTavish:

Click Here if the video does not appear
mctavishing quilting design | free motion quilting

Karen is a longarm quilter and the video above showed McTavishing being stitched out on an APQS longarm machine. But that doesn't mean you can't quilt this design on a home machine too! Here's a video of Leah stitching the design on a home sewing machine:

Click here if the video does not appear

Here's an example of McTavishing swirling around the snowflake in the Winter Wonderland Quilt:

leah day | winter wonderland quilt

McTavishing is a gorgeous design to put anywhere on your quilts! It adds a beautiful flowing texture, almost like wind or swirling waves, and looks wonderful when combined with applique.

This gorgeous design is not alone! McTavishing is the mother of all Branching Designs.

This set of designs all works very similarly, but subtle variations in how you stitch the starting line will create new and varied textures. Once you can quilt McTavishing, you should be able to quilt any Branching Design easily.

quilting design | lightning bolt
Lightning Bolt
quilting design | swirling water
Swirling Water
quilting design | poseidons eye
Poseidon's Eye
quilting design | heart flow
Heart Flow
quilting design | blowing wind
Blowing Wind

Lightning Bolt is quilted exactly the same as McTavishing, only now the lines are all straight and jagged. This funky texture looks wonderful when combined with curvy piecing or applique shapes for an interesting contrast in textures.

Swirling Water is a much more intense, spiraled version of McTavishing. Concentrate on forming a swirling spiral, then build up the design by echoing multiple times.

Poseidon's Eye is what happens when you open a circle in the center of Swirling Water. Smooth lines of quilting swirl around the circles, making them stand out boldly on the surface of your quilt.

Once you get the hang of combining different shapes with the flowing McTavishing line, the variations really are endless! Heart Flow incorporates hearts surrounded by swirling texture. This awesome design would look wonderful stitched over a baby quilt!

Blowing Wind shows just how intense this texture can get by combining a tear drop shape filled with internal echoes so the whole design looks like wind flowing over the surface of your quilt.

Remember, if you can quilt these designs, you should be able to tackle any Branching Design!


Learn how to quilt the 4 most popular quilting designs! Click on the links below:
stippling quilting design | free motion quilting
mctavishing quilting design | free motion quilting
pebbling qulting design | free motion quilting
paisley quilting design | free motion quilting