The Free Motion Quilting Project: FMQ Friday - Questions about Express Your Love

Friday, January 18, 2013

FMQ Friday - Questions about Express Your Love

It's finally Friday and time to link up our Free Motion Quilting! Unfortunately I'm still mostly quilting stuff I can't talk about, so I can't wait to see what you guys are up to!

Recently I noticed a ton of questions coming in about Express Your Love and figure I should address them all right here.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
 The first question comes from Pat:
How do you get your design onto black fabric? 

Personally I transferred the pattern onto my black wholecloth fabric using a lightbox. First tape your pattern to the box, then tape your fabric on top, then mark the surface. I like the Sewline Ceramic Pencil or Fons & Porter Ceramic pencil for marking, but if you have a chalk you like that shows up well on dark fabrics, go for it!

Also remember that there's a lot of alternative methods open to you. You could use tracing paper and a wheel, you could cut the pattern out strategically and mark the outline of each section as you go. Really there's no wrong way to do it!

Do I have to make a black wholecloth?

No! I'm planning to applique a top using No Sewing Until You Quilt It. I'm planning to make a white wholecloth and dye it. I might batik dye a panel. I will likely stitch out a lot of designs on a Spoonflower panel.

Please understand that you will see MANY versions of this quilt this year. Do you need to make them all? No! I'm wanting several versions because I want to play with tons of designs and techniques and no longer have the stress of getting everything perfect the first time around.

The black wholecloth I'm working on right now is just one version, and it is possibly the fastest and cheapest method of getting to the quilting of this project without a lot of trouble.

Will you be painting the entire quilt?

No. I will likely paint a few sections, but not the entire thing. that I think about it...maybe! I might slather the whole surface with paint! It just depends on how I'm feeling the day I sit down to work on it!

Sunshine asked:

Have you ever used crayons (then ironed with wax paper) on a quilt to add color? It would take longer, require more effort but it might be softer? How soft or stiff are the Lumiere paints?

I have never used crayons on anything as big as Express Your Love. It might be something I play with this year!

As for softness, maybe we should form a scale from 1 to 10? I'm always getting questions about stiffness and it's a hard thing to describe.

So let's say a #1 is the softest bed quilt possible - Minimal quilting, big fluffy batting, and softened nicely after being washed 100 times in the washing machine.

That would make a #10 a rock hard, stiff as a board, fused quilt with enough thread stitched over it that it stands up straight on it's own and never droops.

So a quilt painted with Jacquard Lumiere Textile paints I would rate about a #6. It's not soft - the surface is definitely rough after painting and feels noticeably stiffened.  But the quilt itself is still pliable and bendable.

Maybe the rating thing is a bad idea. Really this is so subjective! What is stiff to me might be soft to you and vice versa. Really the best advice I have is to try it.

And no, I would never use this type of paint on a bed quilt. It's too rough, too stiff, and just not suitable for that job.

Lindaanngolzales asked:

Do I need to prewash the yard of the black cloth before working on it?

Yes, I would strongly advise you to prewash your fabric before marking or basting it to form the wholecloth.

The reason here is simple - cotton fabric does shrink. A wholecloth needs to finish flat in order for the design to be maintained. If the quilt shrinks after being quilted, the design will distort.

I personally have had experience with this and it's not pretty. This is a wall hanging / art quilt, and it needs to finish flat and straight, not wrinkled and soft.

Now you might be wondering why this art quilt / wall hanging would ever get wet. Why will it need to be washed?

#1 reason is marking - you want to wash those marks out. #2 is washing out everything else - starch, oils from your hands, etc - all of that does need to come out eventually with a final soak and block of the quilt.

But...if you really wanted to get around, you do not have to prewash if you absolutely swear you will never, ever get your quilt wet.

So that's it for questions on Express Your Love! I apologize if I'm being vague, but I really want you to branch out with this project and experiment and push your boundaries.

There will be many times this year that I cannot answer your questions because I simply don't have the answers. I'm trying new things right along with you, so I'm not going to know the effect of some of these techniques, or if they will even work, or if they will last the test of time and wear and tear.

What I am testing this year is my ability to move without direction, to try something without knowing the answer, and to stitch without fear of the consequences. This is all just thread and fabric and batting after all. What is there to be afraid of?!

Now let's link up and see what you've free motion quilted this week. Here's a few simple rules to this linky party:

1. Link up with a post that features something about Free Motion Quilting (FMQ).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here, or you can just post the FMQF button in your sidebar.
3. Comment on at least a few of the other FMQF links. Share your love of free motion quilting and make this weekly link up a fun way to connect!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. I'm so psyched, I just got notification that my Spoonflower panel just shipped. I'm looking forward to working on "Express Your Love".

  2. I like that you are realistic about washing quilts intended to be wall hangings. I've taken a number of classes where the instructor says "why would you wash an art quilt? A light vacuuming or dusting will do." But what about all the dirt, oils, pet hair, and marks that get on it during the process?

    Not washing is not for me.

  3. Hi Leigh, and everyone.
    I have not done any free motion quilting in a long while. Still working on getting some thing pieced together so I can do so..
    Although I do need to do some practicing, so hopefully by this time next week I can do some of the practicing.

  4. Are you going to be doing more with the Word areas or should we go ahead and fill them in?

  5. I haven't FMQ'd anything this week, had family visiting but....

    I did enroll in somebody's FMQ class yesterday!!! Ha.

    Today I will break my foot, I'm a little scared, but I'm just gonna do it.

  6. QuiltingG - I plan to teach several different ways to stitch words on the quilt, so we're definitely not done learning there. If you want to focus on only one method and like the thread painting, then yes, go on ahead and fill all those areas of the quilt with whatever words or phrases you like!

  7. I am finally ready to get started on my goddess panel and can't wait to outline - I have been collecting quotes to personalize it for me


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