Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1,2,3! January 2015 FMQ Challenge with Quilt Shop Gal

If you've been following these posts, you know I started this blog to enter the Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) Challenge form Sew Cal Gal, first offered in 2012.  I had just started learning FMQ, and that Challenge provided so many ideas and opportunities for practice, that it has made it possible for me to quilt my own quilts on my domestic sewing machine and do much better quilting than ever before.

It's now 2015, Sew Cal Gal has become Darlene at Quilt Shop Gal, she has a new FMQ Challenge, and this one is really going to be fun! If you are a beginner like I was in 2012, this is a great opportunity to learn FMQ. For me, I'm not an expert yet, so I really look forward to learning more techniques and new patterns and getting lots more practice! There will be a new challenge each month with guest instructors/experts to guide the challenges, just as there were in 2012. Hooray!

Let the Challenge Begin!

For the January challenge, we are making a heart-themed pillow with  three options:
1. Using patterns from Molly Hanson's book "Free Motion Quilting for Beginners", make a pillow using her FMQ motifs.
2. Make and quilt a pillow using Francis Moore's swirl in a heart motif.
3. Make and quilt a pillow using Lu Ann Kessi's heart motif filled with feathers.

I tried to combine all three options in my entry.
January Entry

I began by sketching the design ideas on paper, then making a freezer paper template of a heart, which I traced on my fabric. I added the curves for the feather spines at this point as well, which I drew in freehand. I wanted to use an idea from a Cindy Needham Craftsy class - divide and conquer - for the background, so I used a ruler to put in some radiating lines on and around the diagonals. Because I really wanted those feathers to pop, I cut an extra layer of wool batting into a heart shape using my template, and stuck that to the back of the top fabric with gluestick right under the central heart motif so that it would give a trapunto effect. Then I sandwiched it with more wool batting and a backing.

Ready to quilt.
I started in the middle with the feathered heart, then quilted the radiating lines. Next I added a paisley design from Molly Hanson's book down the middle of each of the background sections, then filled in with a combination of Molly Hanson's loop and words and Francis Moore's heart and swirl motif. Of course I practiced all of these on paper for several days before even trying to stitch them. I have found that sketching and doodling is the best thing for getting that muscle memory developed.

Cenral Heart - Lu Ann Kessi's motif
Option 3
Radiating lines - Cindy Needham Craftsy Class

Paisley motif - Molly Hanson's motif
Option 1
Combination: Loop with words Molly Hanson's
 & heart with swirl - Francis Moore's motif
Options 1&2

Once the pillow top was quilted, I needed to make a pillow of it. I used the directions in Molly Hanson's book to make my black and white heart themed pillow form with black binding.
Pillow back.

I'm linking this up at Quilt Shop Gal's 2015 FMQ Challenge for January. Be sure to check the other entries - they are great! And enter yourself - there are some great prizes offered, and they are awarded by the luck of the draw form entries, so you don't have to be an expert to win - beginners have an equal chance!


  1. Your heart pillow design is lovely!

  2. What a beautiful pillow after all your planning and designing. It is gorgeous.

  3. Gorgeous creation. Those radiating lines really enhance the whole design. Perfect!

  4. Your feathers look very good and what a good idea to add the radiating lines to divide the quilting space!

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.