25 Free Motion Quilting Ideas: Part 2


25 FMQ Ideas

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you  love FMQ as much as I do. Thanks for stopping by! While you are here, check out my book, Vintage Quilt Revival, consider subscribing to new posts by email (in the side bar to the right), or Follow on Bloglovin


Welcome to Part 2 of 25 Free Motion Quilting Ideas. Make sure to check out Part One and Part Three as well.

Most free motion quilting patterns fall into one of the following categories: Circles, Lines, & Curves. Today is all about lines–straight lines, wavy lines, echoing lines, lines with sharp corners, lines with fluid corners, lines that intersect and lines that don’t–you get the point!

A few quick tips when you are free motion quilting (fmq) lines–sketch out the fmq before you start stitching. Sometimes, I print out a photo of my quilt, and actually try to sketch the quilting to scale. Trust me, it is much easier to erase pencil marks than unpick stitches for a quilting pattern that just doesn’t “work” with your quilt top.

It’s important to realize that your stitching won’t be perfect–don’t stress about that! Practice might not make perfect, but practice will definitely make it better. If there is a quilt you absolutely want to be perfect, then send it to be longarmed :)  My motto lately is this: Done is Better Than Perfect. (Thanks,  Di, for reminding me of this!)

If you are stitching straight lines with 90 degree (ish) angles, stitch a straight line, then hesitate just a bit in one place before turning the corner. Don’t hesitate too long, or your thread might break, but hesitating just a second helps you to get 90 degree angles instead of curved corners.

And most importantly, have some fun with your quilting!










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  1. Judy Balek
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much. I want to learn to do this but have not had the ability to let go and go with the machine. I am signed up for a class on Craftsy, but haven’t taken the time yet to set down and watch it. When you say practice, is it best to do small pieces like you are showing or to do a small quilt? Or do I save the small quilt for when I have more confidence which I am not sure will come?

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      I think both are helpful–practice on batting scraps if you have some that are about 15” square, and then also practice on small quilts. I like to make wholecloth or simply pieced baby quilts to practice fmq. Those are also great for donating.

  2. Ruthann
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Just another tip for Judy, start doodling on paper a design that interests you. As you doodle pretend you are sewing it. Try hard not to lift your pen or pencil off the paper and move it to a new spot. Continue along the paper so you have to work around the whole piece of paper making your design without getting ‘trapped’. I also try to avoid too much over stitching (retracing a line when you are doodling). It will help you learn how the design flows and train your muscle memory so that when you are practicing with your machine there will be less fretting and more flow. I’m working on learning swirls and I think I’ve filled my house with doodles!

    • Judy Balek
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. That is a great idea.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      This is a great tip–I especially agree that you need to not lift your pen or pencil. It’s good to get stuck in a corner, you are right, it trains your mind/body how to get yourself unstuck!

  3. Posted October 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for these great ideas… 2014 is going to be my year to conquer my fear of FMQ and so your series is perfect timing!

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Definitely conquer the fear of FMQ. I think it is kind of like zippers–it seems hard and different, but after you do it a few times (or someone shows you how) you say, “really? I was afraid of that?” Another nice thing about FMQ is that you can actually see yourself get better and better with each project!

  4. Posted October 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    These are great – hey we share the same motto – Finished IS Better Than Perfect, especially when it comes to FMQ :-)

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      It’s so true, right? And the more you finish, the better you get. And it usually looks better when it’s washed :)

  5. Posted October 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    More great ideas – thank you. I’m sharing on Facebook and pinning on my FMQ board. Done is better than perfect, you bet.

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