Here is a good tip for beginning to intermediate freehand machine quilters: Look for creative ways to fill blocks and spaces evenly by expanding the motif or fabric design into the blank space.
I was thinking about this today as I was quilting a Japanese theme quilt. I had a kimono block to design, and I was pondering all the options I had to quilt the space: 1) I could quilt a unique fill in the space, 2) I could use bits and parts of a stencil, 3) borrow a texture quilting used elsewhere in the quilt, or 4) quilt the space by quilting along the fabric design.
Since this is a special memory quilt and the antique kimono fabric was fussy cut, I decided to go with #4 and quilt along with the fabric design. Here is the first block:
Notice how I quilted in faux branches to fill the space more evenly? This next block uses different fabric, so I needed to custom fill the blank spaces with a different quilting lines and design:
Look closely to see that I quilted in faux cherry blossoms and branches, also a butterfly. By quilting it this way, it makes the blocks more interesting- in addition to filling the space more evenly.
For uniformity, I designed and quilted the green and orange parts of the blocks the same throughout the quilt. This design frames the block nicely and provide interesting texture.
Note that I still need to SID around both the square block and the kimono to finish and polish the block. I do this as a last step.
Thanks to Barb (and Sally) for letting me use their quilt to illustrate this tip. I do hope I have described it adequately for you. Be sure to post a question if you have one. Regards, Carla