Monday, February 4, 2019

2019 Free Motion QAL: Part 3 - Loops - Reflection - Stars - Pebbles

Welcome to Part 3 of the 2019 Free Motion Quilt Along featuring Lewe the Ewe fabric panel by World of Susybee!

 Wendy Sheppard of Ivory Spring and I are thrilled that you've joined us!

This week we're finally ready to free motion quilt.

If you're just tuning in to the QAL it's not too late to get caught up -- we have 2 weeks set aside to stitch the center of the panel!  Grab your fabric, book, and some thread and get ready to have some fun!!

2019 FMQAL Schedule:    

Jan 7:  Announcement Post  ✅
   Jan 21:  Setup, Planning, Basting  
==> Feb 4 & Feb 11:  Inside Center Panel <==
Feb 25:  Top and Bottom Rectangles
March 4:  Top and Bottom Squares
March 11:  Left and Right Panels
March 18: Narrow Sashing
March 25:  Outside Border
April 1:  Binding, Labeling, Hanging if applicable

These posts outline Fabric & Notion Supplies necessary for the QAL.

As mentioned in the announcement we'll be referencing Wendy's awesome book, Stitching Pathways, to help create our motifs and get accustomed to the process of Free Motion Quilting.
Additionally, I'll be using my thread collection, The Subtle Sampler, for most of my stitching.

Looking for more details about the supplies necessary to quilt along, click here. 

Need to purchase supplies ? 
Check with your favorite local shop or 
visit our Participating Shops link == > here.

Did someone mention Giveaway?
Click "here" to learn about our sponsors & available prizes.  
Be sure to visit regularly to see updates to the Prize Packages.  


Here's how things looked at the end of last weeks stabilization stitching.
How did you do with that ?

I love my Daylight Slimline Lamp - these old eyes of mine need more and more light each year!
One thing I failed to cover last week...
I highly recommend practicing or "test driving" new techniques or motifs on a sample swatch or quilt sandwich.  It allows you an opportunity to work out the details before you're working on the actual quilt top.   In the case of the 12wt top stitching you can get accustomed to the starting, stopping and tension setting changes.
I normally have to decrease my top tension when stitching with Aurifil 12wt .

Did you all love working with that thread ?
It's one of my favorites for top stitching, wool applique and even free motion quilting.

Here's a little sampling of using 12wt for free motion quilting...
You've gotta love how the 12wt thread takes center stage.
Oh so Yummy!

Enough of last week now -- let's get started on that Center Panel.

Lewe the Ewe - Center Panel

Before you get stated you may want to review these previous shares:

Also -- be sure you are using a clean and well serviced machine.

Use a darning foot for free motion quilting -- and drop or cover those feed dogs.

Don't forget your Gloves -- Machingers are my favorite!

As I mention above, consider "warming-up" on a practice sandwich with similar weight fabrics, threads and batting.   

This allows you to practice a new motif as well as fool with your tension settings.   I'll change weights of thread several times on this center panel.

Between each thread change I test my tension top and bottom for satisfactory settings.   

If the motif is new to you -- consider drawing it on paper a few times to begin to build muscle memory before stitching it out.

 The motif I used this week are nearly all straight from Wendy's Book, Stitching Pathways.

Here's our focus area:
I chose to stitch from the bottom of the center panel toward the top.

If you watch theYouTube video below you'll get a feel for my thought process when trying to decide what motif to quilt and what color and weight thread I might select.

Many of these things come with time as you begin to find YOUR style.

Remember, there is no right or wrong.

I love to let the fabric speak to me -- to help me decide what to quilt. 

In the case of the bottom of the center panel it was reading yellow and I felt the entire scene was calming. 

I choose to quit out Wendy's "Reflections" design (Page 32 in Stitching Pathways)
using Aurifil 28wt thread color # 2310 Butter on top and Aurifil 50Wt color #2312 in the bobbin.

Again I adore using heavier weight threads -- they make a statement.
The thread and the motif combined are just beautiful.

I would choose a Superior Titanium Coated Top Stitch Needle size 90/14 when stitching with 28wt thread.  That elongated eye and groove in the shaft give your thread a boost when stitching.
In the video above I talk in detail about where I start, how to outline the ewe and the flowers and how to find your way around the bottom of the panel.    

What I don't share is exactly how to stitch out Reflections.  You'll find this on page 32 in Wendy's book.

Before you begin to stitch Reflections let's talk starts and stops.

Unlike Wendy I choose to start and stop my stitching by doing "Lock" stitches.

Basically, after pulling my bobbin to the top of the sandwich I take 4-5 teeny tiny stitches to lock or knot the beginning  -- after stitching away I'll go back and trim those threads flush.

At the end of your stitching you'll to the same to "Lock" the stitches.  Take 4-5 teeny tiny stitches to end and trim the top and bobbin threads. 

Wendy shows you an alternative way to start and stop in her book on Page 18.

Next Section.... 

When I was examining the panel I noticed that there were at least 3 different sections of the meadow.  The section above where I stitched Reflections had dots printed in the fabric.

Those dots read "Pebbles" to me -- so pebbles was my choice.

You'll find "Pebble Power" in Wendy's book on Page 50.

But first -- not only did the fabric design change but the color of the fabric changes too.

So I chose to go with Aurifil 28Wt thread color #2880 in this section.  

The 28wt takes a bit of center stage yet the pale green color blends nicely into the fabric.  

I continue to use Aurifil 50Wt color #2312 in the bobbin.

I started stitching Pebbles just above the Reflections area -- and when I hit up against a Ewe or a Flower I made a point to echo quilt them while I was in the vicinity.   

Echo quilting around a subject (ewe or flower) allows it to POP off the fabric.
I intentionally avoid stitching on the line of the ewe or flower because it's difficult to follow a line.  
Stitch just to the inside or the outside of those subjects and you'll have much better luck with the echo.

As Wendy points out in the book be sure to make some pebbles large and some small...  It adds interest to the design. 
Another thing:  Wendy shows you a figure 8 type pebble in the book on page 50 -- but when I first learning pebbles I choose to stitch each pebble in the same direction.  For example, if I started out stitching clockwise I would continue clockwise (rather than changing direction which is what happens when you follow a figure 8 design).  

If you're having trouble getting rounded pebbles give this method a try.  It may just "click" for you.

In the attached video you'll notice I stitch a few pebbles counter clockwise and a few clockwise.   
There is no right or wrong -- find what works best for you.

Note:  When stitching on a LongArm Quilting Machine the Figure 8 pebbles seem to be easier to create than the method I've shown you above.   The machine head is difficult to stop after each pebble -- the figure 8 allows you to keep the LongArm moving.

Next UP -- Those Bees!!

As you approach the top of the "pebble" section of the meadow you'll notice a few bees buzzing around.   

In this area I decided to lessen the number of pebbles I stitch and add in a "loop" type motif to mimic the path that the bees are flying.  

You can see this in more detail in the video at the end of this lesson.

I used a water soluble purple pen to draw a proposed stitching path on the fabric. 
Be sure you're comfortable with your making tools before using them on fabric.
I've been safely using the purple air soluble marking pen for years.   Never any trouble.

You can see the stitching path for Wendy's Loops motif on Page 31 in her book.

You can see below that I stitched the bee flight path twice to make it stand out more.

The image below is adding in a new motif  -- Grass
(or as I refer to it below -- crabgrass -- LOL)

I made-up this motif based on the design printed in the fabric.

I added meandering crabgrass to the left of the black sheep (below).

You cans see more of this design in the full length "Completed" video below.

Here's another view of the crabgrass.

Basically you're stitching 3 or 4 pieces of grass standing upright
and then meandering away to stitch another 3 of 4 pieces of grass.

There is a lot of backtracking in the process.

Try it on paper a few times so you can get the hang of it before stitching it out on your panel.

OK -- In the last section of meadow I decided to try a lighter weight thread, 40wt Aurifil Color # 5017 for a combination of pebbles, crabgrass and loops.

I continue to use Aurifil 50Wt color #2312 in the bobbin.

I love reusing designs I've already stitched on a quilt top -- it brings a bit of cohesiveness.

Again I used my purple pen to jot down some stitching path ideas.

Meandering Loops (P31) for the bee flight path.

A few strands of crabgrass here and there

And every now and then a small cluster of Pebbles (P50).

I just love the way it all comes together!

And here we are -- on the last section of the Center Panel...

What to do, what to do...

After taking a good look at the fabric I decided to utilize the stars printed on the fabric to stitch out a meandering 5 point star pattern, echoing the cloud formations as you come to them AND adding a few extra "ghost" stars in the mix.

I pulled out my handy purple pen and marked some ideas on the fabric.

When you mark on the quilt top DO NOT feel the need to follow the marks exactly.
Allow them to Guide you -- Not RULE you.

I  changed my thread once again to use a lighter Wt thread..

From The Subtle Sampler you could use 50Wt Color #2000 -- Although it has a bit of a beige tint to it it would still work beautifully.   

I had another white'ish based 50wt in my stash so I went with that.

If you want to try to FMQ with the 12wt thread, color 6722 that you used for top stitching would work beautifully.   Be sure to change your needle to a size 100/16 for that 12wt thread.  You'll need to decrease your top tension 

Check out the detail of the sky area in this YouTube video.

And there we have it -- We've completed the center panel of Lewe the Ewe with a variety of motif and thread color and weights.

Be sure to watch the stitching recap in this YouTube Video:

Here's a still image.... 

And here's our Part 3 closeout image:

Well -- that's a wrap for me this week -- I can't wait to see what Wendy has in store for you.  
Isn't it fun to get 2 sets of input (and motifs?) for the price of 1 ?  
I love it! 

You can jump over to Wendy's Blog <== here.

If you have any questions, please leave them below -- I'll be sure to respond as soon as I can.

Happy Stitching!


Learn more about how to use various thread weights in these Facebook Live Sessions
hosted by Aurifil at International Quilt Market: 

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  1. So precious! Absolutely love you quilting choices!

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  3. My panel arrived today, the book is coming next week. So excited to try this. I sure hope my pebbles don't look like square cubes. Now to pick the backing and get it layered.


Thank you for your Sweet comments!