Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Free Motion Quilting

At February's modern quilt guild meeting last week I brought home a charity quilt top that needed quilting. Members can take home blocks to be pieced, quilt tops to be quilted, and/or quilts to be bound. The finished quilts will be donated to a local charity. I'm in need of some serious free motion quilting practice so I chose a quilt top that needed quilting.

This charity quilt is made up of 15 large squares in different shades of grey with pops of bright colors. I selected an Aurifil thread in a very light blue/grey which goes well with all of the blocks. I'm planning to quilt it using motifs that I've never put on a quilt before. It was just me and Angela Walters Free Motion for Beginners this weekend. So far I have practiced concentric circles (the type that are supposed to touch), pebbles, flowers, loopys, and paisleys. I have to say that some of these seem to look much better in photos than in person! So far the most difficult for me is the paisley. My thread kept breaking on this fmq design, likely because of my inconsistent speed and/or wild changing of direction while quilting. It's also easy to get trapped in a place that you can't get out of with this pattern. I ended up missing a few big areas and had to go back fill in later too. That said, I can see using this in small spaces again because it does look pretty good.

I started with the pebbles in one of the wonky star blocks. Pebbles take forever! I can't imagine doing pebbles in that scale all over on a large quilt - if I decide to do that on an entire quilt its going to be stones or large rocks for me! On the plus side they look good and were pretty easy to do for a beginner. The one motif that I really want to perfect is the concentric circle. For me it isn't easy to get those circles to touch... and I never quite get close enough to the edge so I have big gaps that I end up filling in later... and usually in a strange way. I also have several enormous circles... how'd that happen?! I'm thinking each row will need a few circles because I'd like to add that to my list of 'go to' free motion quilting patterns.

I think I perfected the flower pattern. I could see using this design on a large quilt. It's easily the most fun pattern so far. 

And the current 'easiest' free motion quilting pattern so far is loopys. I've seen this fmq pattern on many full size quilts and wanted to use it for awhile but never had just the right quilt top for it. I would use this pattern again, its quick and effective. I imagine it will be even better once its washed and crinkly.  

I have eight blocks finished so far. One of the things I noticed after an afternoon of quilting my muscles started to fatigue, once that happened most of my control went out the window... my lines were shaky, I couldn't stay within the boundaries, round things were square, square things were round, you get the idea... even though I had more energy mentally, my muscles were done and I had to take a break. 

Link Parti's 

Take a look at the linki parti's I get down with here or by clicking on the Linki Parti's link above. Linking up to Show and Tell Tuesday Freshly Pieced Sew Fresh Quilts My Quilt Infatuation Whoop Whoop Friday Richard and Tanya Quilts and Sew Cute Tuesday 


  1. very nice fmqing practice. what a great opportunity to share your talents while you're practicing your skills, and all for someone to enjoy.

  2. Good for you for trying so many designs! FMQing scares the tar out of me.

  3. Wow, all that FMQ is really looking good, especially the paisleys. What a great way to get some practice, on a donation quilt for your MQG's charity.

  4. What a great quilt for getting some fmq practice in! Love your paisley and flower quilting the best. Looks like you had a fun time quilting!

  5. Love all the quilting! Adds nice texture and added interest to the quilt

  6. You did great! FMQ isn't easy and as they say practice, practice, practice! I struggle with it all the time! This quilt is going to look great...especially after it is washed and crinkled!

  7. Hello Heather, Such a great way to try out all the different patterns. I especially like the spirals.

    Would you like to link up with Free Motion Mavericks on my blog? It would be great to see you there.

    Love, Muv

  8. Your quilting looks great to me!

  9. Your FMQ looks beautiful. Whoever gets this quilt will love it, I'm sure. it seems like the perfect quilt design for FMQ practice, and I think you are lucky that it was available for you to quilt and make more beautiful.