Monday, January 7, 2019

2019 Free Motion Quilt Along: Lewe the Ewe

Greetings fellow quilters  --  Happy 2019! 

I hope you had a joyous Holiday Season.

I'm excited to share that I've teamed up with my long time Free Motion Quilting mentor and blogging friend Wendy Sheppard for a 2019 Free Motion Quilt Along.    
It's like a dream come true!  

You see I've stalked followed Wendy for years and years -- getting inspired by and learning from her quilting projects and tutorials -- taking her lead to purchase and use Aurifil thread -- being encouraged to quilt out of my comfort zone...  
Wendy says "put some McTavishing on it Karen"
 -- being tutored to shape up my feathers...    
Yes -- these needed a little help!
Karen Miller -- Feathered Flower Fun Design - 2015
I also helped Wendy promote her early quilting books (still some of my favorites). 

From: Recreating Antique Quilts
Karen's take on "Garden Lattice" by Wendy Sheppard  Recreating Antique Quilts
 And from the same book I made Wendy's Ivory Baltimore Pattern in wool !
Karen's take on "Ivory Baltimore" by Wendy Sheppard - Recreating Antique Quilts
Yes, Yes -- she's truly is an amazing designer, quilter, author, educator, and friend.  
I couldn't be more excited and honored to team up with Wendy for this fun Quilt Along.    
Karen & Wendy - International Quilt Market 2017
Aurifil USA's 10 Year Anniversary Celebration
Sooo you're wondering....
what are we up to?  

Well -- If you know ME
you know MY feelings on this.  

If you'd like to grow your Free Motion Quilting skills on ANY machine the best thing to do is practice, practice, practice.   


I feel that practicing on a panel gives you a stress-free way of learning or improving your FMQ.

First, panels work in your favor -- giving you clues on what to quilt.
Also, the different sections of a panel allow you to practice more than one design.

When using a panel to be gifted to someone young -- you'll never have to worry about your quilting being judged.

Young folks are just happy to have something to call their own.

At All Costs...
Avoid learning to FMQ on a quilt top that you spent a year (or more) piecing!!

Grab a panel -- get it done -- if you're not sure who to gift it to, think about offering it to a local charity, hospice, or children's unit at the hospital. 
They'll LOVE and APPRECIATE it.    

With All This in Mind

Here are the details of the Quilt Along:

It's a Surprise !!

Wendy and I have
- agreed on a schedule
- targeted sections to quilt each week
--  BUT --
I have no idea HOW Wendy will quilt it
She has no idea HOW I will quilt it.

So, in a sense,
 it's a MYSTERY
Free Motion Quilt Along!  

Should be SO MUCH FUN!
Are you in ?

Let's talk Supplies, Schedule and Sponsors:


Here's What You'll Need

The Panel

We'll be using one of our favorite panels from World of Susybee, Lewe the Ewe.  
This panel is a 1 yard cut -- we won't add any extra borders or any piecing to it -- 
Who Has Time?
Product Code: SB20042-710.  
You'll need one panel - one 36" x 42" cut.

The Backing

For the backing Wendy and I both love the Lewe the Ewe in the Meadow.   
Product Code: SB20049-810  
For this fabric you'll need about 42" -- or 1.25 yards. 
My general rule of thumb is that the batting and backing should be a few inches larger than the quilt top -- It gives you something to hold when quilting your edge or border designs.

The Binding

For the binding we choose the Susybee Black and White Dot -- it's really an awesome multipurpose fabric.  
I often use it for small sashings too!! 
Product Code: SB20171-199    
A quarter yard of this fabric is perfect for your binding.

The Batting

  My go-to batting to add amazing loft to any project is Quilters Dream Wool batting.  
It really does "Quilt Like a Dream". 
There's minimal shrinkage and it can be machine washed and dried
 (albeit on cool temps) .  
You can read more about Dream Wool by clicking here.
A Crib size piece of batting is perfect for this project (60" x 46").

The Book !!  

Stitching Pathways by Wendy Sheppard

Most, if not all, of the motifs we plan to quilt 
are from Wendy's book,
Stitching Pathways.  
 In my opinion this is one of the best Free Motion Quilting books on the market. 
Not only does Wendy give you awesome beginner information and tips, she includes a wide variety of quilting motifs and shares -- in great detail -- HOW to quilt them.  

It's with this detail that you'll learn to stitch the motifs.   
Wendy and I will independently choose 
where to use the motifs, 
you'll learn how to stitch your choices from the book.  
You won't be disappointed -- I promise!  
Best Book Ever!

Thread ~ Thread ~ Thread

For my quilting I choose to use threads from my Aurifil Designer Collection, The Subtle Sampler.   If you're not familiar with The Subtle Sampler you can read more about it here ==>  The Subtle Sampler.

The Subtle Sampler contains 4 weights of Aurifil thread and I use all 4!  

 During the Quilt Along I'll explain why I choose one weight over another -- and why I choose the specific color I use.   I'll share as much insight on motif and thread selection as possible. 

Be sure to jump to Wendy's Blog to find out what she's Quilting with.  
I assume she'll be using her Subtle Strings collection by Aurifil.
Which will you choose?

Standard FMQ Supplies...

You'll want to consider having some of these basic FMQ Supplies:

Top Stitch Needles:  My favorite are Superior Titanium Coated Top Stitch Needles.  Because I use a variety of different weights of thread I choose to purchase the Assortment Pack of these needles.   We'll chat a bit about why I love these needles in the next post.   
NOTE:  If you're stitching on a Janome machine consider purchasing the Janome PURPLE Tip needles.  This needle is made specifically for Free Motion on the Janome.   I also keep the RED Tip  needles on hand.    Sometimes that Janome of mine gets a little temperamental.

Machingers Quilting Gloves -- To help you CONTROL your quilt top -- it's key to making awesome looking motifs!     Purchase them in the smallest size possible to comfortably fit your hand -- that way you can still change a needle, re-thread your machine, etc.  

Teflon Slider:  My favorite is the Supreme Slider.  It comes in several sizes.  I started with the standard size and eventually moved up to Queen.   This tool helps the fabric slide easily across your machine bed.   It's worth its weight in gold.

Machine Extension Table:  Ideally, having your machine drop into a table is the best solution -- this way your machine bed is flush with the table top that will hold your fabric while you're stitching.
If you can't do this, the next best solution is a machine extension table.   Your favorite shop can order these for you (I can too if you're not near a shop).   

Check out this blog post from years ago to understand options for machine setup.  I'll talk about this more next post too.

If you're interested in getting a Sew Steady extension table package there are some awesome package deals right now -- chat with your local shop owner or send me an email to learn more.  (

More Information:  You can read more about the quilting area setup and supplies that I love by reading this POST from the 2016 Free Motion Quilt Along.    There are a few images, tips and a video to help you understand why I love the tools I love.  

Quilt Along Lessons:

Jan 7th
Karen's Announcement Post  ✅
Wendy's Announcement Post

Jan 21st
 Karen's Setup, Planning, Basting ✅
Wendy's Setup, Planning, Basting

Jan 28th
Karen's  Stabilization or Catch Up ✅
Wendy's  Stabilization or Catch Up 

Feb 4th
Karen's  Inside Center Panel ✅
Wendy's  Inside Center Panel

Feb 11th
Karen's Progress Pics ✅
Wendy's Random Thoughts 

Feb 25th
Karen's   Top and Bottom Rectangles ✅
Wendy's  Top and Bottom Rectangles

March 4th
Karen's  Top & Bottom Squares  ✅
Wendy's   Top & Bottom Squares  

March 11th
Karen's  Left & Right Panels  ✅
Wendy's Left & Right Panels 

March 18th
Karen's  Narrow Sashing Swirls ✅
Wendy's Narrow Sashing

April 1st
Karen's Fast Feather Border ✅
Wendy's Outside Border

April 8th
Karen's Binding, Sleeve & Label  ✅
Wendy's Binding, Sleeve and Label

Need to Purchase Supplies ?

We'd LOVE YOU to support YOUR favorite shop!!
 So please check with your local shop first, and if you're having trouble finding supplies jump over to this post for other options.

We'll be keeping a working list of shops that have at least 2 of the main items available (fabric, book, or thread collections) for purchase. 

Click "here" for participating shops.  
Check back often -- we're updating this list as we learn of new participating shops. 

Giveaway Items: 

NO QAL is Complete without Prizes!! 
We're working with a few awesome Sponsors to get you some fun prizes.

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

Stay In Touch -- Follow Us!

To get some sneak peeks, learn about new posts on the blog or just see what's happening be sure to follow Redbird Quilt Co on Facebook and/or Instagram 

To save time you can also signup for blog email notifications.  
Scan my blog sidebar to sign up via Feedburner or Bloglovin'.
Each time I make a blog post you'll be notified via email.

Wendy Sheppard

Be sure to follow Wendy Sheppard on Instagram and/or her blog.

Support Our Main Sponsors:  

Follow World of Susybee on Facebook or Instagram - Signup for the "Buzzz"

Follow Aurifil on Facebook or Instagram - Signup for Auribuzz 

Joining in the FUN?


Please leave a comment below 
-- tell us where you are joining from.

Woohoo!  We're on our way!
So exciting to be here... 
 If you have questions drop me an email
leave me a comment below (but be sure to check back for an answer) 
or tag me in a Facebook or Instagram message.   
I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Also -- be sure to share with all your Free Motion friends!  
The more of us the merrier. 
Have a blessed week all -- I'll tie in later.
Keep on Stitchin' 


  1. Woo Hoo! I'm SO HAPPY that you'll be doing another QAL I so enjoyed the first QAL with a Suzy Bee panel (sp?). I learned so much from your discussion of your thought process as you determined how to quilt the panel. I'll definitely be joining in from Long Beach, California. I may not be able to keep-up, but I'll follow along and catch up in time.

    1. Fantastic news Cheryl !! We're pretty excited about the adventure. Thank you for joining us & welcome.

  2. I'm SUPER excited to join this QAL!!! Thank you Karen, I can hear your voice in the excitement of your blog & look forward to spending time together on this. Book's on order, now to go shopping for the panel...oh no...quilt fabric shopping...? :o)

    1. Yippee!! So happy we can hook up and create together! Now, about those burgers and shoreline in Oregon.. HA HA HA -- Hugs to you sister from afar -- welcome!

    2. Hugs back at you my dear! Looking forward to this!

  3. Oh, I thought, NO QAL this year! *gg* and now that pissibility! I think, I will try to join you! I ahev this panel at home for about 4 years or so... So it will have to be quilted. Yes!
    I'm super excited about the Quilt pattern you will use.
    Greetings from Germany

    1. Hi Rike -- oh I'm so excited you can join us. Be sure to grab that book too! And tell me, where in Germany do you purchase Susybee ? I have a member from Russia that would like to join us too. Thanks and welcome <3

  4. Hello from Florida - I am interested, but how do I sign up for the online QAL? I follow Karen's FB page, just want to know how to following the QAL.

    1. Hi Anne and thank you for writing. All QAL training, details and updates will be published on my and Wendy's blogs. So, if you're viewing from a computer, scan the right sidebar on my blog for an option to follow via Bloglovin' or Feedburner. In either case you'll need to enter and subsequently confirm your email address. I will also let my Redbird Quilt Co followers on Facebook -- and the Free Motion Quilting Frenzy group followers know when there are updates to either blog. Does this help ? Thank you and welcome!

  5. Hello from Ohio. This sounds like fun and I happen to have the panel!

    1. Hi Vicki from Ohio (btw, I love Ohio!) I'm so glad you can join us -- thanks for that.

  6. Hi from Wisconsin! I am excited to do my first QAL, I’ve got the materials and book ordered and I already own the Aurifill collection, is it just a follow along in the blog?

    1. Hi Sarah -- welcome and thank you for joining us. The QAL will springboard from our blog entries -- yes. We may also toss in a YouTube video but we'll be sure to put the link to any of those in the blog posts. If you'd like to sign up for email notifications when the blog posts are updated, scan the right sidebar on my blog looking for Blogloving, Google or FEEDBURNER notifications via email and follow the directions to sign up for those. I will also notify via Facebook when updates to the QAL are published. So excited -- take care.

  7. Hello from Texas. I just ordered everything I need on amazon. I already have the aurifill thread. I love Aurifill. I have been fmq on my home machine but just meandering. Cant wait to learn to do real fmq.

    1. Hello to the great state of Texas and thanks for joining us. We're excited to have beginner and intermediate quilters on the journey. Welcome!

  8. Hi Karen, Joining in from Chagrin Falls, the Lewe the Ewe panels. Plus I need the practice, practice, practice...

    1. Hi Suzanne --so happy to have you join us. We'll have a blast ! Welcome <3

  9. Looking forward to doing my first QAL with you from the West Coast of FL. Will order the supplies to today. Bert

    1. Welcome from Florida Bert -- glad you can join us. I'll be heading your say in February -- be sure to stop into Flash Sew and Quilt to say hello -!! Welcome - Welcome !!

  10. I’m joining from Manassas Va! Can’t wait! Dianne

    1. HI Dianne and thanks so much for joining us from VA !!! We're so looking forward to stitching along with everyone. Welcome !

  11. Hello! I am joining the FMQ quilt along from Painted Post, NY! Looking forward to learning new tips and techniques. I’ll be using a Janome 9400!
    Peggy Jo

    1. Welcome Peggy Jo -- So excited that you can join us. Please let me know if you have any questions. We're practically neighbors !!

  12. Hi Karen, joining from Lake County Ohio! Looking forward to expanwhat I learned in your class last year at the Farm Park!

    1. Hi Jane -- thank you for joining us and for reminding me of that great event in Ohio -- I would love to come back one year! Looking forward to getting together with everyone in tomorrow's post. Welcome !

  13. Hi Karen! I am joining from Moyie Springs, Idaho! I am a late commenter because for some reason it wouldn't let me post previously, but I hope I fixed the issue. I am anxious to start our little adventure!

  14. Hi, Joining you from Spring Hill, Florida. I need to bookmark my page so that I can find this! Excited to learn more!

  15. I'm Very New to quilting. And don't know where to start. And I can't find anything in the UK.

  16. Hi Karen and Wendy. I was so excited to find this panel in my LQS after having watched the progress of the Quilt Along. I've followed many of your suggestions and combined them to FMQ the quilt. It's done! Looking fantastic. Thanks.