Skillful Sunday: Free Motion Quilting


I just finished this simple top for a baby quilt and I was wondering if it might be a good candidate for free motion quilting. I am pretty much a straight-line quilter, and my go-to pattern is a grid of two-inch spaced diagonal lines. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of its clean and simple geometry, but I thought that this quilt’s design might need something a little more free form. I read a brief tutorial about free motion quilting on Oh, Fransson! with just enough information to make me think, hey, I can probably do this. (I am a little bit “less is more” when it comes to tutorials.) I made a test scrap, and tried my hand at some loops.

My first attempt was not so good. It didn’t look horrible from the top, but the back looked like cartoon eyes with long lashes. Slight problem with the tension! The only plus was that my first attempt was very easy to unpick.







My next attempt went much better. I increased my tension to 2, even though the tutorial suggested setting the tension to 0; this worked better for me. And I got more used to moving the fabric at an even rhythm.



Even the back was not too shabby–no more creepy eyes peering out from the back of the quilt!

I am pretty sure that my free motion quilting is not ready for prime time, and I don’t think I’m ready to give up my neat and tidy grids. But, it was great to try something new, and I’ll definitely practice some more on little projects. So, one day when I’m feeling a little loopy, I’ll be ready for it!




Simple stripes quilt


All the ladies in my family have a thing for stripes. Chances are one of us, if not all, will be wearing stripes on any given day. So when my daughter wanted a new quilt for her bedroom, I was pretty sure her design would include stripes. We had a great time designing this quilt–Betty chose the colors, selected the fabrics, and sketched her plan. The quilt is made of strips that I made longer than needed so we could play around with the lengths and order of the colored stripes. A process declared to be surprisingly fun!

I really like how the simplicity of the design showcases the prints, and the balance of bold and subtle patterns makes the quilt lively without being too busy. Nice work, Betty!


Betty may not have an interest in sewing (yet!) but she so far she is my favorite client.

Here is a peek at the Icy Peach backing and the Melon binding. I especially love that Melon, and am very glad I got some extra.


Pattern winner!


Thanks to everyone who participated in my very first give away! I really enjoyed hearing about all the wonderful ideas for background colors. I am sure they would all look fantastic.

The winner is Quilting Jet Girl, who said she would use Kona Jade Green. I’d love to see that finished quilt. I am just venturing out of my blue and red comfort zone and starting to use greens and yellows in my quilts. I’m not quite ready for purple–but who knows!

If you would like to have your very own copy, I am offering a discount of 20% in my Etsy shop until Friday, August 15. Just enter GIVEAWAY in the coupon field before checkout. Thanks again for participating!

Also, the pattern was not available in my Etsy shop for a day or two because I did not realize I needed to renew the listing for a digital item each time a copy sells. I am sure there is a fix for this, but in the meantime I’ll be sure to keep the “shelves” stocked.

Three flocks quilt pattern give away


Three flocks quilt, finished July 2014

I am really excited to have completed my first pattern! I think the Three Flocks Quilt pattern would be great for an adventurous beginner. It definitely gives plenty of practice in making flying geese blocks! I can see this looking great with a dark background–I have in mind to make a navy crib size (maybe that will be pattern #2).

Please leave a comment and let me know what color you would use for the background and I’ll pick a winner to receive the PDF pattern. The give away will close on Monday, August 11, at 5:00 pm. Thanks for participating!

The pattern is available for instant download in my Etsy shop.

Three flocks quilt


I set out to make a colorful quilt with plenty of white space for my bedroom. I knew I wanted to include triangles in the design, but wanted to keep it fairly simple. Originally, my thought was to have three rectangular blocks of triangles. I liked the idea of having one column of triangles in each block with the background and foreground reversed. But, what seemed great in my head and looked promising on sketch paper felt sort of heavy and static when I laid out the fabric triangles. A little playing around and I came up with the big triangles.

IMG_0476Because this quilt was intended for a specific space, I tested out different layouts on my bed. It was really helpful to see how the design would work on the surface of the bed–by eliminating the sides of the quilt from the visual field. I think this technique is especially useful for larger quilts. (Plus I don’t have space for a design wall, so my bed makes a pretty great surface for experimenting with layouts.)

IMG_0272This design has the right balance of white and color that I was looking for. The colors are unusual for me, but I love how cheerful they are. I used a print from Leah Duncan’s Meadow collection for the backing, with a little bit of orange at the top. The binding is from Carolyn Friedlander’s Architextures collection. I like how the gray adds a dash of sophistication to the palette.

IMG_0484I quilted using the diagonal edges of the triangles as guides to create a grid. I was really pleased how the quilting lines create a sort of argyle effect. The lines are spaced two inches apart, which gives the quilt a really soft and cozy feel.


Daybed quilt – free pattern


This daybed quilt is very easy to make and can be customized to fit any size daybed. The design is essentially an off-center housetop. The main solid color is the only part that shows when your daybed is made up–plain and simple by day with some hidden quilty loveliness.

Make Your Own!


  • Quit top: Three solid colors (approximately two yards of your main color, and one yard each of your two accent colors.) Small amounts of print and contrast color if you want to add some pizzazz.
  • Binding: About one yard quilting cotton.
  • Backing: About three yards for a twin size quilt. More for a larger quilt.,
  • Cotton batting and thread.

First, measure the area of the mattress top. Cut a large rectangle of your main color (I used Kona smoke) the same dimensions are the mattress top plus one or two inches all around.

Next, determine how much overhand you want. I added about 12 inches to three sides–to allow the quilt to tuck neatly into the mattress. Cut enough three or four inch strips in your second color to frame your main rectangle.

Add the rest of the length and width to the bottom and edges. I added two thin strips of orange and a floral Liberty print to one side to add some interest. I also chose to use the main color as the outside edge on one side, and my third color (Kone bone) to the bottom and other side.

I also added a tiny patch of the Liberty print to the right side and a patch to one corner, which was the result of changing the design midstream and rearranging some sections. These little details make a big difference in such a simple design. So, I highly recommend sloppy measuring and haphazard piecing.

IMG_2658I used a mix of wavy line prints for the backing and quilted on my home machine in a loose straight line pattern. I finished with a bright orange solid for the binding.

IMG_2751I hope this not very specific pattern gives you an idea of how the quilt was made. There is plenty of room for improvising! The cushion below is another adaptation of a simple housetop design. This time I used more colors and was very precise with my measurements. It gives a totally different feel.




Finished day bed quilt


This quilt turned out perfectly for our daybed. The quilting lines are slightly wavy and unevenly spaced, which was a somewhat intentional effect but also partly expedience. But, the backing fabrics are two wavy lined prints that echo the quilting lines very nicely–so my laziness paid off!


I really love the orange binding.