Monday, March 4, 2019

2019 Free Motion QAL: Part 7 - Simple is Good!

Greetings all - Welcome to Part 7 of the
2019 Free Motion Quilt Along
featuring Lewe the Ewe
fabric panel by World of Susybee..

My dear friend and mentor Wendy Sheppard of Ivory Spring and I have teamed up to bring you this fun stitching event!

We have amazing sponsors including World of Susybee, Aurifil, Quilters Dream Batting, Hobbs Batting and Creekside Fabrics Quilts and Yarns.

Many thanks to our sponsors!!

Do checkout our Giveaway Post
here ==> QAL Giveaway
If you're just tuning into the QAL it's not too late to join in the fun...

Catch up with these Lessons: 

Jan 7:  Announcement Post  ✅
Feb 4:  Inside Center Panel ✅
Feb 11: Progress Pics ✅
Feb 25:  Top and Bottom Rectangles ✅

I'll share a few highlights:

This is how I stitched my center panel.
Learn more here>  Inside Center Panel

Last week we stitched those beautiful top and bottom rectangles.

Learn more
here > Top and Bottom Rectangles
Be sure to watch the YouTube video too!!
Fun with feathers!

Today we'll cover:

March 4:  Top and Bottom Squares

Over the years I've stitched a few Lewe blocks and this go-round I decided
 ...Simple is Better.

There really is no right or wrong -- and the key for our quilt along is to try different things.  So, although I quilted all my blocks similarly -- feel free to try new things in yours.

You can see a variety of stitching ideas for Lewe panels clicking this hashtag #longlivelewe from most any social media platform.    You can also try #worldofsusybee 

Here's a post I shared on Instagram from 2016 -- when we were in the middle of our 2016 Free Motion Quilt Along. 

Be sure to use Instagram and Facebook to your advantage.  Searching by hashtag is fast and easy and it doesn't limit results to the people you follow.

So... for the corner squares on this years panel I loaded thread that matched the background fabric and did some simple pebbles (Page 50), echo quilting and outlining (Page 30).

A few tips...

1. I generally start by outlining the subjects.

Using a heavy weight thread (28 or 12) helps the subjects POP off the fabric -- but note -- those threads also build-up quickly if you're doing a lot of dense quilting and/or backtracking.
In this case you may hear a few groans from your machine and have a little trouble on your hands.

For ease and simplicity -- I decided to go with a 40wt Aurifil color #2024.

If you're unsure what color of Aurifil to use -- check out my last post about weight and color options.

When stitching panels...

2.  Don't worry about stitching on the line -- stitch just inside or just outside the line.  It's so much easier to NOT have to stress over staying on the line.
I prefer to outline the head and ears to give them definition.

 If you like, stitch on his pretty lambs wool swirls too! 
I chose to NOT Stitch the swirls this time because I didn't want to flatten them.

3.  I love to use pebbles (Page 50) and echo quilting (Page 30) to make the bee look like he is flying.
(Meandering loops Page 31 work too!)

In each corner square I made a buzz trail with pebbles and then echoed the bee a few times to make him look like he's moving.

There are so many different ways to quilt these panels -- that is what makes it fun!

Although I used a thread color that matches the background fabric, it would also look beautiful quilted with one of Wendy's subtle colors -- or in #2600 Dove -- another favorite !
In the image below NOTICE how I drew the BUZZ trail of the bee with a purple pen before I started stitching 

This allowed me to start stitching in the lower right corner, going around the ewe and the flowers and working my way to the top left of the panel.

At the top left of the added the pebbles - the purple dots gave me a target area to quilt the pebble trail. From the pebbles on the left I worked to the right to finish stitching the bee and the echoes on the bee.
Here are the remaining corner squares.
You can see I followed the same format for each block.

1. Outline the Ewe body, head, ears
2. Outline the flowers
3. Outline the bee and add a pebble trail.
Optionally -- you can echo quilt to the outside edge of the block
AND you can quit those beautiful wooly swirls on the ewe if you so choose.

There are many choices -- do what looks good to your eye and know that with each area we quilt our skills improve.
Don't be afraid to backtrack.
Stitching in a continuous line without stops and starts is kinda freeing!
Challenge yourself to find a stitching path that will allow you to stitch end to end without cutting your threads.    This is where the backtracking or "sneaking around" on a previously stitched line comes in handy.

Stitching with thread that matches the background fabric allows you to quilt just outside of the line.   Do you see how, around the face, stitching off the black area allows it to POP a bit.
When you're learning, don't worry so about your stitch lengths.   You can see that mine vary -- but as long as the stitch is solid I just go with it.    

I tend to lean toward stitch lengths that are shorter (more stitches per inch aka SPI) so that the curves can be rounded and not choppy.  
That's it for this week... 
Yay - We tackled one more section of the panel!!

I can't wait to see what Wendy quilted.
You can jump over to Wendy's Blog <== here.

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

Future Posts...

March 11:  Left and Right Panels
March 18: Narrow Sashing
March 25:  Outside Border
April 1:  Binding, Labeling, Hanging if applicable

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. Karen,
    Thank you so very much for these FMQ tutorials. I have kept up and am so excited about the outcome so far. Never thought I could do this!! Reflections,Pebbles, LoopdaLoops, Swirls and FEATHERS!!! Who knew. In addition love love love quilting with the Aurifil 12 and 28 wt thread, never did that or the wool batting. My confidence has soared and I can't wait to use my new skills on other projects. You are a great inspiration and a fabulous instructor.
    Thank you,