The Free Motion Quilting Project: Recent Posts

Recent Posts

 Here's a list of the most recent posts to the Free Motion Quilting Project:



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New Designs for December 15th

Day 348: Spiral Knots - Needing an easy way to practice stitching spirals, but without the stress of making them perfect?  Here's an awesome design that swirls into a spiral, then allows you to loop out of the shape to make a cute knot. It's easy, it's simple, and it's a great way to learn a tricky design.

Day 349: Pebble Hearts
- This design starts the same way as Pebble Paisley, only now you branch out with echoes from two sides to create a simple heart shape that can work anywhere on your quilts.

Day 350: Tornadoes - Pointy Paisley has long been one of my favorite designs from the project.  Now let's literally stitch that design up a notch and start with a thread painted triangle in the center to create a very showy triangle design.

Day 351: Cyber Echo - This science fiction inspired design came to me after watching the movie Tron Legacy last winter. Rings of echoing expand a simple circle shape that would be at home on any futuristic space ship.

Day 352: Woven Flower - There aren't many flowers out during this time of the year, but here's a pretty, simple flower you can stitch on your quilts and brighten up your day.

Day 353: Cube Storm
- We're on a role with graphic, sci-fi designs! This Cube Storm would be the perfect design to illustrate a foreboding landscape or a stormy scene. Even if you don't want to stitch an art quilt, this design will make a funky design to stitch all over your next quilt.

Day 354: Railroad Tracks - All Aboard! If you have a little train enthusiast in your family, here's the design for you!  Wiggle this easy foundational design all over the quilt, then follow with the tracks, making it as big or as small as you like!

Day 355: Meditation Medallion - This design is based on a simple question: what happens if you start in the center of your quilt, and stitch ring after ring of different designs?  The answer is you will create a pretty awesome texture, no matter which designs you use!

Day 356: Feather Band - Can we easily stitch feathers into the sashing of our quilts? Yes! This design is not only a great way to fill your sashing with feathers, it's also a terrific way to practice this shape, which many quilters find tricky.

Day 357: Deco Leaves - Looking at the photo of this design, it's hard to see how it will actually work in a real quilt, so I've included a sketch of the design with four possible corners. Once you see the sketch, I'm sure you'll love this funky, art deco inspired design.

Day 358: Lollipop Echo - We just learned Cyber Echo, but that doesn't mean we can't immediately create a variation of that design! This lollipop echo starts instead with a big, bold lollipop shape, making it a super sweet design to stitch anywhere on your quilts!


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New Designs for November 18th

Oxtail - This might sound a bit weird, but Josh made an AMAZING soup from oxtail last week. Check out this recipe if you're in the mood for something a little different, but very good.

Day 341: Cracked Paisley - This is what happens when you smash Paisley with a hammer! This beautiful, intricate design combines sharp jagged lines with curvy tear drops to create a really neat texture.

Day 342: Sawblades - Needing a design for a big burly guy fond of power tools and carpentry? Look no further than these spinning Sawblades which create a gorgeous circular texture anywhere you put them on your quilts.

Day 343: Pebble Daisy - Let's soften things up a bit with a pretty flower design. Simply stitch a handful of petal shapes, then travel inside to fill the space with Pebbles. Definitely try this one in a small circle to create a pretty ornament for your tree.

Day 344: Feather Loops - This pretty floral design would look really nice with Pebble Daisy. Simple loops are filled with pretty feathers creating an intricate pattern perfect for the borders of your next quilt.

Trying my hand at Modern Quilting
- I've finally tried my hand at piecing a modern quilt and guess what - I LOVED IT! Learn more about this fun experiment and see the beautiful, simple quilt top I made in around 3 hours!



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Week of November 9th
Day 329: Hearts & Spirals - What happens when you combine two awesome shapes: hearts and spirals together?  You end up with a fun, funky design that will work great in all areas of your quilts, expecially on a big scale!

Day 330: Superstar - Stars are excellent designs for free motion quilting because the straight lines and sharp angles really get your hands moving. Try this Superstar design in the center of a quilt block or cornerstone for a nice punch of celestial texture.

Day 331: Light Bulb Leaf - If you remember Hosta Leaves, we simply combined a leaf shape and a tear drop shape to create that design. Now let's switch the arrangement to see what happens and how this changes the texture into an entirely new design.

Day 332: Pea Gravel Path - This has to be one of my favorite textures! Large swirling spirals fill your quilting space first, then the background is entirely filled with large ovals.

Day 333: Stone Portals - If you can remember WAY back in the project on Day 200, we learned a cool design named Microscopic World. Now let's try that design again, only this time switch out all the curves with straight lines and sharp angles.

Day 334: Channels & Paths - This is a simple combination of wiggly lines and gentle curving shapes, but if placed in the sashing or borders of a quilt, it's sure to provide a knock out texture that can't be beat!

Day 335: Spike Paisley - If you enjoyed Swirling Petals, you'll love Spike Paisley which is an easier version of that design. It also seems to look a bit more masculine (at least to me), so it'll be a great choice for any guy quilts you're finishing up this month!

Day 336: Square Spiral Flow - Looking at this texture, it's hard to see how it's stitched. It might look really complex, but the truth is it all starts with just a curvy lines and squares.

Day 337: Shell Fan - This design has been a popular favorite from the new book From Feathers to Flames! Check out this simple feathered texture and give it a try in the sashing of your next quilt.

Day 338: Fiddlehead Fern - Not all ferns are leafy - some curl up with spirals instead! Give this Fiddlehead Fern a try to add a beautiful swirling, curling texture over your quilts!

Day 339: Crazy Weave - When you see this texture, chances are it will remind you of Matrix's wiggly grid, but it's actually stitched with 2 layers of Flowing Lines to create an intricate woven design.

Day 340: Wiggly Tentacles - We might be past Halloween, but you'll love this creepy, sea monster inspired design! Use it in the borders or sashing of your next quilt for a funky finish!

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Week of October 12th

Day 326: Hosta Leaves - This is a super simple combination of tear drop shapes and leaves.  Stitch the two together and you have a quick and easy to stitch design that will work in any area of your quilt.

Day 327: Topographic Map - Ever notice how the lines on a map kind of look like filler designs?  After a bit of playing, I've managed to turn those wiggly lines into a cool foundational design.

Day 328: Triangle Universe - Triangles, triangles, and more triangles come together with this geometric design.  If you find yourself struggling, make sure to mark the first triangle and the entire design will be easier to stitch.

Dyeing Fabric and a Quick Finish - Despite being busy with the usual fall craziness, I've managed to get into the studio and finish a small wall hanging for a fabric challenge and play with dyeing fabric.

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Week of October 5th

Danger! Chemicals and Quilts - Have you ever made a list of all the chemicals that go into your quilts while constructing them? Make sure to read this article for an eye opening look into some of the products we use every day.

Pico de Gallo - I was busy dealing with car repairs so Josh filled in with his awesome recipe for fresh salsa. No matter what time of the year, this is always a big hit in our house.

Transformation Challenge Winners - The results are in and 8 beautiful quilts have won the Transformation Challenge!  Check out this post to learn more about the quilts and the designs used in each one.

Day 324 - Echo Feather Flower - Echo Feathers was such an awesome design, let's see what happens when we put several together to create a free form flower design.

Day 325 - Wind Stitch - Is it possible to combine spirals and straight lines? Of course!  Check out this beautiful edge to edge design that will work wonderfully in the borders or sashing of your next quilt.

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Week of September 28th

Empowering Women: Days for Girls - I've recently been introduced to an awesome organization helping girls in impoverished countries stay in school by staying clean during their cycle.

Quilt too big? Hang it up! - If you're struggling to quilt large quilts on your domestic machine, chances are the weight and drag of your quilt is the biggest problem.  Learn how I've solved this problem in my studio by suspending my quilt from the ceiling while I quilt it!

Emergence: New Quilting Fillers - Emergence is coming along very nicely and in this post I share photos of several new designs being used in the background.

Day 320: Echo Feathers
- Traditional quilt feathers are gorgeous, so let's stitch it up a notch with lines of echo quilting to create a truly knock out texture!

Day 321: Double Sharp Stippling - What happens when you stitch Sharp Stippling on top of itself? You'll have to check out this design to see the intricate, overlapping texture you can get from layering designs on top of themselves.

StudioE Fabric Challenge - I've taken up a challenge to create a quilt using only 2 lines of fabric.  Check out the simple landscape quilt I've created using techniques learned from a recent quilt seminar with Ricky Tims.

7 Reasons why I don't want or need a longarm
- My post on hanging quilts from the ceiling to make quilting easier stirred up some questions and comments about why I just don't go and buy a longarm already?! So I've answered those questions with 7 reasons why I'm perfectly
content to stick with my domestic sewing machine!

Day 322: Spiral Mess - Spirals stitched on spirals stitched on spirals can create a real mess, but it's also a great way to practice stitching that tricky spiral shape.

Day 323: Wavy Hair - Are you looking for the perfect design to stitch over water, sky, or wild hair? If so then this is the design for you! Flowing lines and soft curves create a flowing texture that will look gorgeous no matter where you put it!

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Week of September 14th

Day 313: Feather Snail - What happens when you turn Butterfly Feather Flower into a spiral? You end up with an amazing swirling texture that kind of looks like the inside of a snail shell.

Day 314: Cubic Ripples - Pebble Ripples was such a popular design, I decided to try it again, this time using squares and a sharp angled echo.

Day 315: Jellyfish
- If you find yourself struggling to echo stitch or quilt feathers, this is a good design for you!

Day 316: Star Flower Bands
- Simple lines of quilting flow across the quilting space, occasionally gathered by a small star flower. So far everyone agrees that this looks like a great design for a holiday quilt.

Day 317: Munch Munch Munch - After quilting this design, I couldn't help but laugh because it looked like Pac Man! It will make a great design to use on quilts for any video game addict.

Day 318: Paint Squirt Flower - Here's a funky flower inspired by the idea of paint squirting out of a tube to create swirly, flowing flower petals.

Day 319: Moon Feathers
- Still struggling to quilt beautiful feathers? Try this simpler version using arch shapes instead. I have to admit - I almost like this texture better than traditional

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Week of August 24th

Day 312: Channel Weave - Here's a really cool design that combines a straight lined woven design with simple curving arch shapes.  The combination of these two simple textures creates a beautiful, eye catching design that will look great in the sashing or borders of your next quilt.

Transformation Challenge Finalists - The finalists are in and what an amazing bunch of beautiful quilts! Make sure to check out this post and click on the links to learn more about the quilters that made the quilts, and click on the quilts for a closer view.

Day 313: Feather Snail
- Feathers swirl from the center of the block in a spiral pattern that almost seems to be moving as you look at it!  Definitely don't miss this beautiful new texture just added to the project.

Awesome Article - Have you heard of Generation Q Magazine? Make sure to check it out and don't miss the article Megan Dougherty recently posted about yours truly!

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Week of August 18th

Self Publishing Process - Have you ever wanted to write a book about quilting or teach your favorite technique?  In this article I share my personal experience about self publishing my second book this summer.

Day 309: Creative Flames - Swirling flames and spirals combine to create a really neat design!  Unleash your creativity and have fun quilting this all over your next quilt.

Happy Anniversary! - Two years and 309 designs later, I'm taking stock of the free motion quilting project, looking back and looking forward to all the new designs to come.

Day 310: Flaming Sun
- Let's add a little sunshine to your quilts! This big bold sun is a lot easier to stitch than Sun Medallion because the wiggly flame rays are much more forgiving.

Day 311: Pebble Ripples
- I really should have named this design Soap Bubbles because it looks like small clusters of bubbles surrounded by rings of water.

Money and the Joy of Quilting
- Do you make money with quilting? I do, but I've fallen out of balance and sunk into a funk of Quilter's Block.




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Week of  August 10th

Playing with Trapplique - This is a fun technique that combines trapunto with applique! So far I've tried it out with a small sample that worked pretty good, but will this hold up on a big
quilt?

Day 306: Ebbing Tide - This beautiful foundational design starts with a single line of circles, then is filled with a combination of connecting and non-connecting echoes that entirely change the texture on either side of the circles.

No Sewing Applique - Here's another fun technique that will allow you to applique without tears!  Learn how to put your quilt tops together quickly and easily without taking a single stitch.

Day 307: Jagged Lines - This is a simple variation of Flowing Lines, only this time with straight lines and sharp angles.  The effect is a jagged matrix of electric texture perfect for a quilt with a funkier feel.

Day 308: Pom Pom Parade - Give me a Y!  Give me a E! Give me an S! What does it spell? YES! Yes, you can quilt this design in your sashing and give it a punch of cheerleading cheer!

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New Designs for  August 3

I Will NEVER Finish This... - The state of my studio has finally gotten intolerable and it's time to do a massive UFO cleanout!

Beginner Free motion Quilting Fillers - Looking for some fun beginner level designs to try out?  Definitely check out this video to see some of the 30 you will learn from the Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers DVD.

Day 304: Spiral Paisley - Paisley and Spirals work together beautifully to create a large, swirling texture on the surface of your quilts. Definitely try this design on a larger scale on your next bed quilt for a dramatic effect.

Day 305: Line Fern - Here's an easy variation of Fern & Stem, one of the oldest designs in the project. Simply add more wiggly lines to the stem and leaves to create a more complex texture that is still super easy to stitch.

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New Designs for  July 27th


Cover Art Drama - Every good book must have a great cover, and, despite a few set backs and design complications, I've finally settled on the cover for From Feather to Flames!  Check it out and news about this upcoming book launch in August and September.

Day 301: Root Pockets - This is a super simple combination of Tree Roots stitched into a soft leaf shape that creates a gorgeous texture many quilters have already fallen in love with.

Make Free Motion Quilting Easier with the Supreme Slider - Learn a bit more about the Supreme Slider and how it makes your quilts easier to move over the surface of your table top and therefore less of a pain to quilt on your home sewing machine.

Day 302: Barrier Reef - So far we've played with many foundational designs that are based on a single line of stitching. Now it's time to try a line of circles as a foundation to see what kind of interesting textures can be created with these shapes instead.

Day 303: Tropical Flower - Root Pockets was so popular, why not try it again, only this time stitched from the center to create a beautiful flower design!

Ricki Tims Coming to NC - I'm planning to attend Ricki Tims' seminar in September. From what I hear this is one event you just can't miss!

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Week of July 20th

Whoo Hoo for Winter Wonderland - To my absolute delight, Winter Wonderland won Best Machine Quilting at AQS Knoxville! Make sure to check out this post and learn a bit about how this quilt was constructed.


Enjoying the Show - Traveling is really not my forte, but we all still managed to have a great time traveling to Knoxville this weekend.

Back Home with a haul - I stocked up on many goodies at the show and shared links so you can learn more about some of the amazing vendors that were there.


Day 299: Delicate Petal Flower - Here's a fun flower variation of Granddaddy Long Legs, only this time those creepy legs turn into the delicate petals of a beautiful flower.

Day 300: Edge of Reality - Yay! We now have 300 designs on the project! Definitely don't miss this awesome design that combines two funky textures to make an amazing effect on your quilts.

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Week of July 12th

5 Tips on Travel Stitching - This is one of the most fundamental techniques of free motion quilting - the ability to stitch right on top of another line of stitching. Learn how to master this skill and be able to tackle more designs from the project.


Awesome Finish - I've been working on a new DVD quilt that showcases 33 different filler designs.  Definitely check it out to see how all the different fillers look when put together in one quilt.

What Thread for Free Motion Quilting? - I received many replies to my last newsletter question about thread and put together a short article summing it all up.

Signs of Strength and Stability - What signs, symbols, objects, or designs to you associate with strength or stability? I'm working on a new quilt design that needs something strong and stable to finish off the bottom section.

Knoxville Here We Come! - Josh, James, and I will be traveling to Knoxville, TN on Friday to view the AQS show. If you're planning to attend, make sure to reply to this email and let me know.  Maybe we can meet up in person at the show!

Day 298: Star Flower Flow - It's the middle of July and you know what that means - time to get started on your Christmas presents! Definitely check out this design for the perfect filler to put in the borders of your holiday quilts.

Forged & Welded: Part 1 - I've started designing a new goddess quilt (the 6th in the series). If you're interested in learning how I design these large art quilts, make sure to read through this post and see what pencil, paper, and basic symmetry can do.

Five Tips for Echo Stitching - The second most fundamental technique to free motion quilting is Echoing or the ability to stitch a set distance away from something on your quilt. Learn about a simple practice exercise that will help you master echoing and produce a simple baby quilt at the same time.


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Week of July 7th

Quilting Around an Applique or Motif - I received two questions about the same thing last week - how to quilt around appliques!  I decided to write an article answering this question and demonstrating how this works.  Just don't make fun of my terrible illustrations!

Studio tour and Dream Remembered - Last week a sweet quilter named Kathy came over for a visit on her way through NC.  It was fun giving her a studio tour, and remembering a dream I've had since I was a little girl: owning a storefront shop.

Interested in Classes? - I received so many supportive comments on the quilt shop post that I've created a special newsletter just for people interested in taking a class!  Definitely sign up on this list if you would like to travel to Shelby, NC to take a free motion quilting class with me in person.

Day 296: Dandelion Puff - Summer is in full swing and pesky dandelions are blooming all over my yard.  Here's a fun, flowing design that makes these annoying weeds look quite beautiful on the surface of your quilts.

Day 297: Sharp Swirling Water - Here's a funky variation of Swirling Water, only this time with straight lines and sharp angles!  I think this version would make for a really cool background to soft, curvy applique shapes.

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Week of June 29nd

Day 294 - Spiral Curtain - Here's a funky sashing design! Sharp angled spirals run across the quilting space, with all the background area filled with straight lines of quilting. The end result is a dense, curtain like texture perfect for the narrow sashing or border of your next quilt.

Perfect Recipe for a Saturday - Josh took over on Saturday so I could pack and posted two of our favorite drink recipes. Don't miss out learning how to make a Bloody Beer or White Russian cocktail.

Potato Boats
- Here's another fun recipe that would be perfect for a July 4th grill out! Hollowed out potatoe skins are filled with a mixture of mashed potatoes and cauliflower. Yummy!

Estate Junk Clean Up - I'm back in town and still trying to process the sad, overwhelming, and angry emotions left by my grandmothers estate. Helping my dad has caused me to take a harder look at what I'm bringing into my own home and a drive to make sure I don't leave a huge mess behind for my loved ones to clean up.

Day 295: Escalator Spiral - Remember Deco Planks? Let's see how we can use that same design in a slightly different way to come up with a huge spiral design!

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Week of June 22nd
Day Off in the Garden - Last week I took a day off to finish an outdoor patio project.  Check out the beautiful colors of coleus and my son, James, hamming it up for the camera as usual.

Day 291: Monster Teeth - Here's a super simple design, perfect for the sashing of your next quilt.  Easy rectangles are stitched from the edges into the center of your quilting space where they match up and look just like Frankenstein teeth!

A Thread Story - One of the #1 questions I'm asked is "What thread do you use?"  You might already know that I use Isacord Polyester thread for free motion quilting, but how I came to use this thread is an interesting story, full of thread breaks.  Definitely read this article if you've had it with your cotton thread breaking or skipping stitches as you quilt your quilts.

Learning this Business...One Mistake at a Time - I honestly admit that I really didn't know what I was doing when I started the free motion project, but I've learned this business, one mistake (or experiment) at a time.  Read this article to learn how I've finally come to realize that fewer projects makes for a happier, less stressful life.


Day 292: Deco Planks - Monster Teeth was a pretty simple design, so what if you wanted to stitch it up a notch and add something to it? Try filling that design with triangles to create this Art Deco style design.

Day 293: Pointy Maze - Let's try a new variation of Pointy Paisley! This time I started with a sharp angled spiral as a base, then echoed it many times to create a very neat design.  Definitely play with this design to practice stitching straight lines and sharp angles.
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