Tag Archives: FMQ

Flower bouquet quilt

February UFO

UnFinished Objects: UFOs

My goal this year is to get rid of some of the 20+ years of UFOs in my sewing room. It would be fine if they would stay quietly in my sewing room, but the problem with UFOs is that they can get in your head. At least they get into my head and they become a huge distraction.

So I have an assassination mission.

I’m going to kill them off one by one. Done is better than perfect! This my new motto for 2013.

All my UFOs are at least 10 yrs old!

Newer than that I call them WIPs (works in progress)

So, this is my February UFO. I haven’t posted the January one yet, but I will soon.

Flower bouquet quilt

See my free motion quilting skills?

And a close up…


a closeup of the flowers and quilting.

In case you are curious these flowers are all just raw edged applique. I used Steam-A-Seam 2 and fused it to fabric, cut it up into tiny shapes and arranged them exactly where I wanted them and then fused them permanently in place.

Such a little quilt. Why did it take me so long to finish it?

Learning Free Motion Quilting has been a huge push to finish things.

That’s all for today. Have a wonderful Quilty Day!



November FMQ challenge

I have to be honest with you. I didn’t think I would be able to finish up the year-long challenge. This time of year gets so busy.

I’ve been doodling in my little book, reading quilt magazines, doing some handwork, and cyber quilting (this means Pinterest, EQ, and Craftsy) but I haven’t been at my sewing machine for weeks.

I finally just grabbed some fabric and batting and followed Sarah Vedeler’s directions for swirls. It was easier than I anticipated. I truly believe this is because of the months and months of practice. The first time I saw swirls I was scared to death, scratching my head and sure I would never be able to do them.

I made this cute little purse out of my challenge piece. It went together in a snap.

One more Christmas present done and a challenge to boot. I’m thrilled!

Swirls are so much fun!

If swirls scare you I highly recommend you follow the tutorials at Sew Cal Gal’s FMQ challenge or if you are a visual learner like me try Craftsy.

It is an excellent platform for learning something new.

  • The classes are very affordable
  • You get to use them FOREVER!
  • You can watch them over and over
  • You can ask the teacher for help if anything is unclear, but they are so packed with information, that everything is very clear
  • You can share with others in your class
  • It is really cool and all accessible from your own home
  • They are on sale now.

I highly recommend the Quilting Negative Space with Angela Waters or the Free Motion Quilt Along with Leah Day.  They are both jam-packed with wonderful free motion quilting tips and techniques. I have taken both and enjoyed them so much. I will watch them again and again.

Online Quilting Class



Can you hear me squeaking in just under the deadline?

Today a friend of mine was commenting on how she was working on a project last week that wasn’t due until this week. Her dear hubby asked her why she was even trying because she knew she would get it done the day before it was due. She told me that, of course, he was right. She finished it last night.

A lot of people work best under pressure.

Maybe I’m in denial, but I don’t think I work that way. At least I try to get things done early….but not this month.

The Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) Challenge for September was quite fun.The host was Paula Reid. She had us follow a stencil.  I think that I am actually beginning to to get the hang of this a bit.

I decided since the pattern was given to us by PDF to just print it out on a tear away quilting sheet. I bought a whole stack of these a while ago.

It worked wonderful, until I went to remove it. This was very time consuming. I think I will use this technique sparingly.

I used 2 layer of batting in this quilt because I wanted the design to pop up and look full.

I had seen someone else in this challenge surround her design with pebbling to help it stand out. I haven’t done much pebbling so I decided to give it a try.

If I thought removing the paper was time consuming I was in for an eye  opener.

Pebbling is beautiful, but it is Very time consuming!!!!!!

From now on when I see pebbling on a quilt, I will have more appreciation for the quilter. This just goes to prove that not all machine quilting is faster!



Are you beginning to settle into a fall routine? Does it include any time for sewing, crafting or just any old “me” time? I would love to read or see what you are doing!

Prize Package

August Fun

I won!

I was on my way to Tennessee to bring my DD#3 to college. We were in a hotel room and, of course, I couldn’t sleep. I was scrolling through my emails when I noticed the words “You are a winner.” It’s 3:00 in the morning so I thought it was just spam. It turns out it wasn’t. The next morning when I looked at the email a little closer I discovered that I truly had won something.

I was the July FMQing (Free Motion Quilting) Challenge winner.


I have learned so much through this Free challenge that SewCalGal has hosted. 


Prize Package

A spectacular collection of goodies!


There was

I wanted one of those SewSlip mats, but I hadn’t been able to find one locally. I love it! It makes a huge difference.

I already love Aurafil threads, but I am excited to try the thicker weights and the wool!

I haven’t tried the marking pencil yet, but it looks really cool.

I’m also supposed to be getting a pair of FMQing gloves and a DVD about binding.


I know this will sound cliche, but I feel that everyone who participates in this or any challenge is a winner. A challenge forces us out of our comfort zone, it stretches us as quilters, artists, people. It is really good for you. I had such little skill with FMQing before I joined in challenge and now my skills have really developed (and I really don’t spend very much time on them. I have kids, a garden, a job or two, a husband, a farm…. You get the picture.) After just a few short months I actually feel like I can confidently quilt something on my own machine and not be ashamed of it. None of us have the time to spend on the things we love, but if we don’t make some time, it is not going to magically appear.

Take some time for you today. Go do some quiltystuff or whatever you need to grow and recharge your batteries.

Thank you SewCalGal!



Double Stippling

May FMQ update

Double Stippling

May Free Motion Quilting Challenge

Hi everyone,

I have been MIA (missing in action) lately. I have so much to share that I feel like I am fairly bursting. I just can’t get in front of the computer for long enough to do it. Thankfully the end of the month is coming and therefore a deadline. I love deadlines, I get so productive.

The Girls!

All the girls!

The first weekend in May my DD #2 graduated from Asbury University. I hope to post more about that wonderful trip soon. I was able to not only see my daughter graduate with high honors, but also get to see my DD #1 and Dearest grandbaby, Emma.

We flew down and while I was stuck on the runway I took out a piece of paper and found the time quickly pass as I doodled free motion quilting designs. What fun!

I couldn’t wait to get home and try out Leah Day’s tutorial with actual needle, thread, and sewing machine.

When summer passes and the leisurely days of winter come upon me again I will definitely be spending some time at Leah’s website. I may find that I am soon parting with some precious greenbacks at her site very soon. I would have already parted with them, but summer allows me very little time to quilt.

Leah’s tutorial is a foundational design: (I am unfamiliar with this term, but I think it has to do with the fact that you stitch one line throughout the area and then go back and stitch more on that line.)

Leah’s very talented and her tutorial is full of helpful information for beginners and I’m sure more experienced quilters would glean many helpful hints also.

I loved the designs this month.

The first was very curvy and fun. It is called Double Stippling.

Double Stippling

Double Stippling



The second design was a little harder for me. It looks like railroad tracks, and in fact (after going to look it up) it is called Railroad Tracks. 🙂 Perhaps if my DD has a little boy, I will put this design to good use on a little boy quilt. You can see that I got bored with it and did some more random practicing.

Railroad Tracks

Railroad Tracks

I used variegated thread in these samples. I have hording it for when I work on “real” quilts, but I have found that I sometimes have trouble seeing what I am doing. The variegated thread makes it so easy to see. It is so exciting to see the next color coming down the needle and for the design to evolve. It adds so much to the design by using the variegated threads. I wanted to see what feathers would look like in many colors, then flowers, then leaves…..

I got a little carried away.


I am definitely bitten by the free motion quilting bug. (You would laugh if you knew me any better.)

I have always been such a traditionalist. Hand Quilting, Embroidery, Crazy Quilting.

I sense a change in the winds…….

Happy Quilting!



What are you afraid of?

Imagine being 11 years old and sitting in a movie theater to enjoy the last of an epic film trilogy. That was my DD #3. We stood in line forever to see the last of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. She was so excited to be going to the movies with her older sisters (and mom), little did she know that this would be the beginning of a life long fear. (She is only 19 years old now, but to them it seems like forever.)


Her new found fear?




Up to this point in her life I was convinced I had a budding entomologist on my hands. My daughter loved bugs, but everything changed that December evening. When Shelob’s hairy legs made an appearance and the grown man next to her spilled his soda all over himself and probably her too a great dislike of those little creatures was born.

Don’t worry, her fear of spiders is under control and hasn’t ruined her life or anything like that.


My Shelob….


I don’t know when my fear began. I know that I signed up for the Free Motion Quilting Challenge (FMQ challenge) this year because I wanted to master this facet of quilting.


It all began in January with leaves. It was wonderful. I was practicing my self imposed 30 minutes a day. I was making great progress.


Next came February. I could hardly wait for the new tutorial to post. The exciting day came when Sew Cal Gal made the announcement that the next tutorial was up and ready to view.  I clicked the link and when the page loaded my heart fell into my shoes. Diane Gaudynski was sharing how to make feathers.




I read the introduction to the tutorial and said “How nice, I can’t wait to get started.”  Then I found every excuse not to finish reading the tutorial.

  • I had taxes to do
  • I needed to clean the cellar
  • I needed to work on my seed order for our garden
  • I had so much to do

I was doing everything and anything to stay out of my sewing room.

Today is February 12, 2012. I haven’t sat down to sew for 12 days! Okay, I admit it I am a little afraid of feathers. They are so advanced!  I am just a beginner.


Well today I decided to finish reading the tutorial. I have to tell you that Diane does a wonderful job of explaining how to make feathers. I actually feel like maybe I can make feathers now.


Is there something that you are afraid of that is keeping you from doing what you love?  Just do it. You already fail if you don’t try. So try!!!


I lost 6 hours of practice by procrastinating about these stupid feathers. ( 1/2 hour a day for 12 days.) What am I afraid of? I don’t have to show anyone my first efforts. I’m sure after 6 hours I could possibly, maybe, stitch a pretty decent feather.


How about you? Come on let’s go ruffle some feathers and slay some spiders……


Happy Quilting,


Free Motion Quilting Update

Okay, so I have been free motion quilting (FMQ). This is setting a quilt, or in my case, a practice sandwich under your sewing machine needle and without marking anything, just sew.


Sounds scary! Well it is, I won’t lie.


Sew Cal Gal is sponsoring this challenge. She has organized a whole bunch of experts in the field of FMQing to give us little tutorials. This months tutorial was from Frances Moore


You can even watch it here yourself. It is free!  Frances Moore Video

or if that doesn’t work. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=A9GiSm7iHDI


I don’t know if you have never heard of this technique or if you are a seasoned pro, but I am going to share a few of my insights as a pure beginner.


1. Relax. This is hard for me. I hate ripping out anything, so if this goes wrong and looks bad, I will be stuck with it.

2. Practice on paper first. I have none to very little natural drawing talent. My brother is an awesome drawer and almost all of my children are great at art, but it seems to have gone all around me. I have never been able to work with a pencil and paper, that is why I stick to a needle and thread. I have never nurtured that side of me and I can barely draw a straight line.

3. Ready to quilt something?


  • Always start with a good needle. There are lots of recommendations on this and everyone has a favorite. I am using a titanium size 80 by Superior Threads, but I have heard good things about Schmdtz Quilting size 70 or 80.
  • Lower your feed dogs.
  • Relax.
  • Always pull your bobbin thread up to the top, otherwise you get bird nests underneath.


What not to do.

Thread Nest


  • Adjust your tension slowly (I’m still working on this.) As you can see by the above photo that I do have issues here.
  • Use the same weight thread in the top and bobbin.
  • Try to keep your feet and hands in sync.
  • Relax.


  • Practice #1

    It doesn't look so bad from the front.


    Close up

    Here is a close-up!


    I have been a good girl and I have practiced quite a bit. (okay, probably not as much as I should.)


    But I have other fun things I am working on too. Here is a sneak peek at another project that has kept me busy.


    Sneak Peek

    Here is a Sneak Peek


    Until next time, Happy Quilting!