How To Add Handwriting to Quilts
Good Morning, Quilters!
Today we are going to add handwriting to our quilts. It’s the fastest way to add personality to quilts.
Because cursive is a continuous line (with a few exceptions), handwriting is a natural quilting motif.
NOTE-Today’s post contains a tutorial, a pop quiz and homework!
Continuous Line Design
Most of the letters of the alphabet are continuous line. The letters i, j, t and x require a little modification to stitch.
The letter “i”
To stitch the letter i-stitch the upsweep vertical line and add a small circle on top before sweeping back to the bottom line.
The letter J
Likewise for the letter j. Dot the top of the letter after the upsweep.
The letter t
For the letter t, stitch the vertical upsweep of the letter, then stitch down a few stitches. Add the horizontal bar, then return to the vertical line to complete the letter.
The letter x
When stitching the letter x, complete the angled line before returning to the bottom line.
How to Connect Words
To connect words in a sentence, return to the bottom line of the text and add a wavy line between words.
At the end of a line you have two choices. You can knot off between lines or stitch under the words to connect to the next row.
Stitching “Print” Letters
You don’t have to write in cursive. With a little practice, print letters work too!
The key to print letters is to return to the bottom line between each letter to make it easier to read.
How’s YOUR Handwriting?
My grandmother taught me the Palmer Method of Handwriting–her penmanship was beautiful! Depending on your age, you might recognize the formal posture, position of the paper and the drills.
But don’t worry if your handwriting is not perfect–your handwriting is YOUR personality –and your friends and family wouldn’t have it any other way!!!!
Loribe-the (quilted) Scrivener
PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy Quilts and are intended for personal use only. Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to Lori Kennedy Quilts. For all other purposes, please contact me at Lori@LoriKennedyQuilts.com. Thanks!
For more step-by-step tutorials and skill building exercises, check out my books:
28 responses to “How To Add Handwriting to Quilts”
Perfect timing as I start my “just start” quilt! I love having this connection with you after meeting you in our class last week. Hoping for future guidance in how to quilt around handwriting with fillers.
I used the “Hope is the thing with feathers….” quote from Emily Dickinson around the border of a quilt I made for my friend who was recovering from a traumatic brain injury… I didn’t think to connect the words, though. I just stopped and started each word, knotting off as I went along.
I’ve also just used “pick a little, talk a little, pick a little talk a little (etc)” on a chicken wall hanging I’m finishing.
I’m going to have to try connecting them next time!
Lori, thanks for sharing your creativity! Love your ideas.
Great tutorial, I use to love those cursive workbooks so I just went to AMAZON and sent one to my granddaughter :0) She complains that she is not being taught “how to write” in school. Thanks for the memory jog.
Good for you Kimberly! I saved my cursive books from my kids and have them ready to teach my grandson some day..sad that many are not being taught this beautiful art! Cursive thank you notes…..such a basic skill. Kids want to learn it!
Schools have sooooo much to do, and so little time to do it in these days. Our generation (at least mine) didn’t have to learn anything about computers or modern research techniques, or the complex social studies the kids need now.
Nice that you are filling in for your granddaughter!
Yep, this generation has to do security drills in case a gunman appears. Soooo Sad!! My daughter is a teacher. She finds it funny that she’ll teach a segment on dental health, then give a lollipop as a reward for some good behavior or extra credit. I don’t remember dental health or sex ed or anything like that. It was “Readin’ and “Ritin’ and “Rithmatic.” PS I was taught by nuns and never got spanked or the ole’ “Hickory Stick”
I sign all my quilts with my name and the date somewhere on the quilt. Sometimes it’s hidden in my quilting and sometimes it’s on the border. It’s fun to watch my grandchildren search to find it. I also put other hidden objects that are quilted on the quilt. So much fun!
You are a fun grandma, Eve!
I have done the same thing for quite a few years. I made an ‘espresso’ quilt a few years back and wrote out all the different kinds of coffee drinks. What I noticed sewing machine writing looked just like my handwriting. Recently I made a ‘grandma’ quilt for my hairdresser who became a grandma for the first time, and wrote Little sayings all along the border like “Grandma Rocks” and so on… she LOVED it
Yes, in re; sewing looks just like your own handwriting. I embroidered some Christmas stockings some years ago, and I wanted them to be lovely cursive writing. Well, surprise, surprise it looked just like my handwriting. Just a little neater.
Thanks for the reminder on how to stitch those letters with the circle at the top. I try to quilt their name or a character.
Thank you, Lori. Can you give us some tips on quilting numbers?
After traveling to the Big Island with friends, I made them a turtle quilt in batiks for their sofa. For the border quilting I wrote who it was for, our location and date we traveled and my signature. What fun!
Since you have taught me how to do this in previous tutorials through the years I have free motion quilted my “labels” out in cursive instead of separately attaching an ink label.
I have taught myself how to write on quilts, sometimes in cursive and sometimes printed (for little kiddos) but hadn’t figured out how to dot the i’s and j’s. Thank you.
I love this! For many years I have ‘written’ on my quilts with thread. ‘Mom-isms’ for my son in the army, nursery rhymes for baby quilts, etc. Always struggled with the I’s and j’s. Also love the suggestions of hidden objects and writing the label info in thread. I think I may borrow these great ideas! Thank you!
Lori Kennedy, thank you so much for this! I’m now quilting for my little grandsons, and I will surely include some fun words for them as I finish their quilts.
I made a wedding quilt for my son and his wife. I was sorely tempted to write the lyrics of the song Adam and I danced to at his wedding (“My Wish” by Rascal Flatts) in the border of the quilt but I chickened out at the last minute when time became critical. I should grab it back and add them!! In any case, song lyrics can work well (if you actually get around to quilting them!).
Thanks for all your GREAT advice, Lori!
I had the Lord of the Rings trilogy DVDs playing in the background while making a wedding quilt for my oldest daughter. Among the messages I hid in the quilt I wrote “one quilt to rule them all” 😂
I’ve been doing handwriting on quilts for years. Strangely enough my handwriting on quilts looks like my everyday handwriting.
I just quilted marching band words into the top of my son’s t shirt quilt for his college graduation. I love personalizing quilts with words or phrases that relate to the quilt or the occasion! It’s easier than most people believe because it is a pattern that your brain already knows!
It is sad but true that today’s children are not being taught cursive and may not be able to read what we would write on a quilt.
When a young wife and mother lost her husband to cancer, my daughter made pillows for the little boys out of their father’s shirts. I had the privilege of “handwriting” with thread on each pillow top a quote from the father to the children taken from a video he had made for them.
Wonderful quotes from the classics! The Alice stories alone are a treasure trove.
Here in Denver, I heard that cursive is making a comeback. YAY! I had an aunt who wrote so beautifully. If you looked at the page it was lovely, full of curls and swirls, but when you read it, it was difficult to decipher. Pretty, but not legible.
Thanks, Lori, for this tutorial. Have been adding scripture, names & dates, to all my baby quilts for a while. Calligraphy was my first love. Nice to know I am not alone in wanting to “say” something to the recipient.
I actually started to practice fmq by writing my name and the names of family members. My own handwriting is terrible, but my quilt writing is beautiful! Lol. Go figure. Also, I didn’t know any motifs to try for quilting, so I pulled out my cookie cutters and drew around them to practice quilting. It worked like a charm! Thanks for the lessons in free motion writing Lori.