Tag Archives: sewcalgal

Free Motion Quilt Project – November

The November Free Motion Quilt Challenge at SewCalGal is a tutorial from the very talented designer and teacher, Sarah Vedeler. 

Sarah had us practicing spirals this month.  She made it easy by establishing a grid on paper.  The boundaries really helped me to  establish a rhythm in drawing the spirals.

For my practice piece, I used hand-dyed fabric scraps, an almost empty spool of Coats & Clark for the top thread, and an assortment of almost empty bobbins with Aurifil 50 weight threads.  I loosened my top tension a bit.  And, yes, I use practice pieces to use up odd bits and pieces unless I have an end result in mind and I really need to know how the materials are going to play together. 

I drew a grid on the fabric with a blue washout marker.

Close Up

The back:

For some practical application, I grabbed another piece of hand-dyed fabric (I wish I had the foresight to see that it would be a lousy choice for photography, as you will soon see.)

On this piece, I free-motion stitched a tree with 30 weight variegated cotton thread.  I should have chosen a different color; then maybe the stitching would have shown better.

I’m calling it “The Ghost Tree” since you can’t see it.  Sigh.

It will help if you click on the photos for a closer look.

The background is filled with free-motion swirls made from 100 weight polyester.  No grid.  Funny…after stitching all of those swirls on a grid, I had a hard time deliberately stitching swirls that are not evenly sized and spaced.  I didn’t want the swirls the same in my background.

Showing Texture

The tree is not flat, but that’s hard to photograph too.

A look at the back:

Free Motion Quilt Challenge – October

The October Free Motion Quilt Challenge at SewCalGal is a tutorial from the guest expert, Teri Lucas.  

Terri is very encouraging, and had us begin this month’s tutorial by drawing on paper.  She had us practice with our names and then add designs.


I chose Aurifil 50 weight thread and muslin to free motion quilt with.  This is because it is fall, and I didn’t want shiny materials.  I felt artsy and country bumpkin. 

This copyright free coloring page is my inspiration:

And this is what I came up with:

Thread sketching and free-motion quilting.  I need practice with blending/shading for sure!

Want to see the back?

I like it!

Free Motion Quilt Challenge – September

The September Free Motion Quilt Challenge at SewCalGal is a tutorial from the guest expert, Paula Reid.   I feel a bit of an affinity for Paula since she lives in Palmdale, CA.  Hubby and I have family living in this area, and we both graduated from Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, CA.

Paula’s tutorial has us practicing our free motion quilting with a stencil.  I drew the design onto my fabric with a blue marker and the use of a light table.

I used a 12 weight Aurifil to quilt the stencil.  I needed a larger needle and couldn’t find a Schmetz denim sharp (my needle of choice) in the size I wanted.  So…I used a Schmetz leather 100/18.  I know!  But I was desperate!

I could hear Tim Gunn, “Make it work!”

I think this might look nicer if the the thread colors were reversed, but, in any case, this will make a lovely pillow someday.

Free Motion Quilt Challenge – August

The August Free Motion Quilt Challenge at SewCalGal is a tutorial from the very talented Wendy Sheppard.   Wendy is a pattern designer, teaches free motion quilting, and has been published in several quilting magazines.  She generously shares projects, tips and techniques on her blog,  Ivory Spring.

Wendy shares her “Jester” free motion quilting design for this challenge.  I’ve been following her blog for some time, so I’ve had opportunity to practice this design already.  In fact, I used it in June’s challenge.

I decided to use this design in an art quilt that I am working on.  You can find that quilt here.

I’ll be practicing this design more, as I still must concentrate to change directions.  For some reason, I have a mental block changing directions.  I also want to try Wendy’s variation of her design.

This photo is the back.  You can see it better, I think.  I am using Wonderfil Invisfil 100 weight polyester thread in the bobbin and Mettler 60 weight cotton embroidery thread in the top.  My tension is set on 0.

Free Motion Quilt Challenge – July

The July Free Motion Quilt Challenge at SewCalGal is a tutorial from the very talented Angela Walters.   Angela is a professional quilter and successful long arm quilter, as well as teacher and author.  She loves modern quilts and quilting.  Check out her website, Quilting Is My Therapy, for her wonderful books, blogs and tips!

Angela taught how to section off the work and then fill in the sections.  She calls this quilting design Tiles.

Now, I can stipple, pebble and meander, but straight line quilting, without a guide, and swirls are the bane of my free motion existence.  Angela didn’t say I had to practice swirls, but I need to. 

So I drew my tiles and swirls on paper.  I did not take a photo.  You don’t want to see it.  Really, you don’t.  I don’t either.

My fabric sample isn’t much better, but I am starting to relax and feel more confident with the swirls.  Not so much straight lines.

I like the tiling, and its possibilities, so I will keep practicing, and one day, I just might be passably good at it.

Thank you Angela!