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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Entry Quilt Shop Gal FMQ Challenge

It's March (the bitter end - and it's been bitter here... brrr!); time for an entry in Darlene at Quilt Shop Gal's FMQ Challenge.

This month Patsy Thompson was the expert. I love Patsy's beautiful and colorful hyperquilting, so I really didn't want to miss this one. Since I had already bought her Craftsy class and watched it all, I decided to go for Option 2, which was to use the techniques from that class in a quilted pillow.

It has been really cold and dreary here. Spring hasn't really arrived yet, and somehow I just couldn't bring myself to use those bright, beautiful colors. I had done January's challenge in black and white, so I thought I would use a similar color scheme, but this time I'd use a black background and white and gray and metallic gold threads for the high contrast look of hyperquilting. Here is the result.

Finished March Pillow

The center feathered wreath was trapunto done with a thread that dissolves in water, which was new for me, but not too difficult. I simply sewed the extra layer of batting to the quilt top, cut away the excess batting in the back, then layered my usual quilt sandwich. Here are a few photos to illustrate.
The Vanish Lite (soluble thread) goes in the top thread, then sew the outline of the trapunto area.

From the back; trimming away the extra batting. After this, I added the regular layer of batting and a plain muslin backing.
Once I had the complete quilt sandwich, I could quilt as usual, sort of. I haven't been quilting much lately - overstretched my hand and it hurts, but I remembered something I had won in an earlier version of Darlene's FMQ Challenge, a set of Grip and Stitch Disks from Clever Craft Tools. You see, when I used my gloves, I tended to aggravate the sore hand, but resting my hands on the disks kept them in a neutral position that didn't hurt. I need more practice with them to get better control, but they do really grip the fabric, making it slide easily.
Grip and Stitch disks ready for quilting.
I quilted the wreath as usual. I then set about quilting the straight lines in the background. For this, I tried another Patsy Thompson suggestion, a short ruler made for FMQ. It kept my lines pretty straight, until I had to move the ruler. Again, a little practice should improve that. I think I could learn to really like using a ruler as a guide. (Note, this isn't the ruler you use for cutting fabric. It's much thicker so the presser foot can ride up against it as you quilt. See Patsy's website and You Tube videos for more details.)
The clear acrylic tool in the lower left corner is the quilting ruler. This one has handles to make it easier to use.
After I finished the usual quilting, I went back to add the hyperquilting, in my case, extra quilting in the feathers of the wreath. This is just some embellishment to add detail and complexity.
Adding Hyperquilting to the wreath.
After that, I turned it into a pillow, just as I did in January.

I'm going to link this up to the Quilt Shop Gal FMQ March Challenge site. Check it out; so many beautiful pillows this month! Thanks, Darlene and Patsy for the great inspiration. I used a lot of new things this time around that I wouldn't even have known about if it hadn't been for the two of you! You're both the greatest!


  1. Wow! I love your pillow design. I especially like the spirals in the center.

  2. Impressive, Kearstie! The pattern looks amazing! Such a detailed work. I hope you weren't tired to make it. When I write, I never get tired, because I love the whole process, and I'm certain you too. When you create something, you don't think about time or money or conditions, but you just melt into the process and that's it.
    xo, Jennifer