For my current work in progress, I decided I wanted to do something different with the quilting and stretch myself beyond basic free-motion quilting styles such as stippling. I had several long conferences with Adam and my very creative mother, and ended up practicing quilting sneakers on some scrap quilt sandwiches. The WIP features a few sneaker prints (as you can see in the bottom left-hand corner in the photo above), so it seemed a fitting quilting pattern. I googled "sneaker outline", printed off two appropriate pictures, cut them out and then made cardboard stencils.
I've found two ways to quilt the sneakers (or any other shape your heart desires). The first is simply to trace the shape with a quilters' pencil, and then free-motion quilt over the pencil line. The second is even simpler: place the cardboard shape on the quilt, and hold it in place while free-motion quilting around it (being sure, of course, not to stitch on the cardboard). Easy peasy.
I am in love with the results - I go around each sneaker shape twice, so they are a little sketchy looking (and also to provide a little more stability to the quilt). The shapes I am using are about five inches long by three inches tall. On the actual quilt, I am placing them a few inches apart as opposed to being right next to each other, as they are on my black practice sandwiches.
So far, this technique seems to go pretty fast - although each sneaker shape takes a little bit of time to do precisely, the fact that I'm quilting so loosely makes the process go more quickly than any of the other quilting styles I've tried.