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Adventures in Free Motion Quilting

Adventures in Free Motion Quilting

I make LOTS of quilts.  Or perhaps I should say that I make lots of quilt tops and backs that I send off to my friend Heidi at Rocky Mountain Quilting for her long arm quilt service.  The idea of quilting the quilts myself has been very intimidating.  I have done a few with my walking foot and straight lines but free motion quilting has eluded me to this point for the most part.

I have taken a couple of free motion quilting workshops and am slowly becoming more confident.  One of my resolutions for the new year is to really learn to do this! I found two blogs that have presented me with just the right mix of instruction and challenge to accomplish it.  The first is Sew Cal Gal. She is sponsoring a Free Motion Quilting challenge which offers video instruction on a monthly basis.  Follow the link to check out her site with all the details.  And the second is renowned free motion quilter, Leah Day.  She operates the Free Motion Quilting Project.  Leah is doing weekly video lessons and is a very patient, disciplined instructor.  I’m looking forward to her classes.

Over the weekend I decided to get to that FMQ practice.  I had committeed to finish quilting a charity baby quilt. I listed this project on Amy’s Creative Side for her One Thing One Week Challenge. I picked up the top at a garage sale and only needed to add batting and a flannel back and quilt it.  Good place to practice! Before checking out the blogs I noted above, I started quilting using a loop pattern.  Not too bad if I do say so myself. Elementary, I know, but I’m learning!


The next step was to do the project for Sew Cal Gal.  The first video instructor is Frances Moore.  More information on her on the Sew Cal Gal blog and her own personal blog.  She taught a leaf pattern which I completed.  Front and back shown here.  It’s a fun pattern and with a little more practice I might be willing to try it on a real quilt.


Now that I am getting the feel for this, I decided to get more practice in.  Our guild is making placemats for a local meal delivery service for seniors and housebound adults.  The deadline for turning in the placemats is February so I pulled some fabric out of my stash and made four simple whole cloth placemats.  They were a nice small project to practice that free motion quilting.

I started with stippling after watching Leah Day’s video on the Free Motion Quilting Project blog.

I got brave and moved on to swirls.  This pattern was taught in one of the workshops I took.

The next pattern I tried was hearts.  I decided it was very similar to the leaf pattern that I did earlier without the stem.  It wasn’t as successful as I would have liked – lots of wonky hearts but I only took a photo of the good ones :)

And finally another leaf pattern.  This one was fun and turned out great.  I think I’m beginning to like this!

Am I ready to try this on a BIG quilt?  Maybe not – still scary.  I have a couple of charity quilts that are generous lap size that need to be quilted so I have the perfect place to practice without too much pressure.  I’ll keep you posted as to my progress and my continued lessons through the blogs.

Thanks for checking in.




  1. How fantastic! You are going to master FMQ in no time! Good for you!!! I am still learning too and was very intimidated until I just tried it and it isn’t that bad. Best thing is that it is so forgiving. If you mess up, NO ONE will EVER know! That adds confidence to the whole thing! Good job!!

  2. Nicole Gendy says:

    What you have done so far looks great! It does get easier with practice, and once you just start it doesn’t seem so bad. I need to remind myself of this too. I am putting of some quilting at the moment…

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