Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Free Motion Motif Tutorial

As promised, here is a quick tutorial for a fast, fun and easy all-over meander. It's easy to do on either a domestic or a longarm. I first saw it in a long-ago issue of American Patchwork & Quilting on a quilt, back when "Quilt as desired" was all you'd get for quilting suggestions, and maybe, just maybe, you could figure out some of the motif from photos.

As Angela says, "Let's get started!" (btw did you see her new QAL, 'Glorious Dawn'? So pretty in any one of the three colourways... on bluprint? (affiliate link) You can watch for free during their 'Get Started With Bluprint' Event, on now through Oct. 12. I'm finding I watch more because I signed up for the year subscription, and I'm not worrying so much if I'm sewing while 'watching', something I never do because I can't do both of those things well at the same time. However, now I listen and look up once in awhile, and if it's something I'm really interested in, right within the app it remembers where you'd left off, just like Netflix, so, when I am not sewing, I can go back, rewind a bit and pay proper attention!

Okay, tutorial for this FMQ meander which I used on my Throwback Thursday quilt post, Sunny Days:

As always, practise this motif by drawing it a few times or lots of times before trying it on fabric. Doodle whenever and wherever you can! It truly helps with FMQ. I was never a doodler, but I sure am now.
1. Start along the edge somewhere and make a gently curving line with an 'e' right side up or down, as I did.
2. Go the opposite way to your 'e', making three (or two if you like) petals, trying but not obsessing about, landing at the curving line. I've found curving away from the direction of your 'e', which is the flower centre right, gives me a better-shaped flower, but really, if you go the same way it's no biggie.

3. Make the other half of the flower petals, and do not feel the need to be symmetrical; Nature isn't always either! End back at the curving line where you started the first petal.
4. Quilt away from your flower with a curving line, doing a loop if you like (they go well with the flowers) and a leaf. Quilt one side ending at a point, quilt the other side, and then cruise up the centre of your leaf to continue on. Many things are done in 3's in FMQ so you can continue on.😉
Ha! The sun was glinting off something in the next shots.
5. Do a curving line with a loop again that is the start of your next flower.
6. Quilt your flower as you did the first one. You can make them varying sizes, as I did. That one looks a tad boxy, but who cares; it will sink into your quilt and look lovely.
7. Quilt another curving line with a loop or two and make another leaf.
8. Make another flower! Here I am showing you that it's okay to 'miss' hitting the curving centre line, and even make your petals loopy ones, not exact 'v's' like the first two. I also quilted/drew myself into a corner...what to do? Was I going to recycle this and start over so it's perfectly spaced around the paper? Nope. Real life problems. I am not perfect, not an expert.
9. I did a little loop out of the flower in the corner, and quilted under, no big deal that I touched the one petal with my curving line, crossed over that original line. (I was taught do NOT cross lines when meandering, but seriously, is it something I should stress about? Uh no?) As you can see, I continued on with loop (you can do a couple of loops too between and omit leaves or do two, no rules!) and another flower to fill the space, and off the page.

Hope you give this a try! If you analyze each of my flowers, there are some that a kindergartener would laugh at and could do a better job, but look at the quilt at the beginning of the post and.... well, pretty wonderful, no?

Here's a recent finish where I used this motif, with mostly 5-petal flowers, echoed them, and also echoed the loop-dee-loops giving a lovely ribbon-like effect.

Remember to check out bluprint for free watching until Friday!
Bluprint Get Started Event: Watch All Classes + Shows For Free at myBluprint.com 10/5-10/12/18. No coupon code needed.

Also, for 24 hours starting from noon EST, today, Oct. 9, Craftsy (affiliate link) is blowing out supplies again at up to 70% off for a flash sale. I get about 4% commission which does not cost you any extra if you purchase through my links here or on the sidebar. Thank you so very much for the support as that is what I use to pay for linky parties like TBT and DrEAMi!. This is a great time to pick up Hobbs Batting, and Craftsy's own Boundless Blenders Botanical, both products which I've bought myself from them and been very happy with. I'm using a Blenders Botanical in my Fireburst mystery quilt with Tish at The Madd Quilter. I still have to do October's step. And, I am hosting her UFO Busting party this Saturday while she is partying away--I mean at a quilting retreat!
It's the pink!

Connecting Threads (no affiliation) also has some great items on clearance. So much temptation out there!

Linking up
Free Motion by the River
Sew Fresh Quilts (Lorna has been rockin' the quilt designs lately!)
Cooking Up Quilts
Quilt Fabrication


  1. I love this! Thanks for drawing it out. Now I want to go doodle it.

  2. Oooh, I always love seeing the quilting path for a new-to-me motif. I can't wait to go doodle practice. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Pen on paper will be flying today. Thanks for the great motif.

  4. Truly love this little design and the way you've explained it. It takes me practise to let go of the perfection in each spot, even though I know the overall effect is what matters and it's always wonderful. Thanks for the lovely post.

  5. This motif is sweet - and your explanation makes it very doable. A win in my book. Thanks for being so low key about things like perfection and 'crossing the line' - it is much appreciated!!!

  6. I like this one. I think it's really time for me to start a notebook in which I doodle this ideas so I can retrieve them when I'm looking for a new motif. Thanks.


  7. Thank you. Your pictures and description make this look quite doable.

  8. Thank you for the tutorial. It makes free motion seem less scary.

  9. Thanks for sharing, Sandra. I need to try this one. I think I can actually wrap my head around it. Now to see if my fingers agree :-)

  10. What a beautiful quilt and the quilting is fun too. Happy stitching this week.

  11. I have just the quilt to practice this overall pattern on. Thank you!

  12. Thank you for sharing your design, your tutorial is very clear. It’s so pretty.

  13. So glad you shared the process. Very helpful. Thank You, Sandra!


  14. Hi Sandra! I saved this post to read when I had more time . . . which was today! What a great tutorial. I am so going to PIN this for later . . . I have never been a doodler but I need to pick up that habit. Now I need a meeting or something similar to attend so I have a reason to just sit and doodle! Happy Sunday to you. ~smile~ Roseanne

  15. However did I miss this post? What a great tutorial, Sandra! I’m definitely saving this to a special place! Thank you so very much for taking the time to put it together! XO

  16. Easy but effective design, love it. Thanks for sharing.

  17. That's a great fmq motif, Sandra! Thanks for the tutorial. I think I'll do some doodling later while the littles are drawing :)


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