Category Archives: Free Motion Quilting

Book review: First Steps to free-motion quilting by Christine Cameli

I have just read a new book on Free Motion Quilting.  This book, “First Steps to free-motion quilting” by Christine Cameli and published by Stashbooks, is intended to be just what the title says:  a beginning free motion instruction book.  As a bonus, it includes 24 simple projects that are designed to be quick to make so that you can spend a minimum of time making the project and most of your time practicing your free motion quilting.

The instruction section is short but complete.   The photos are good and the writing clear.  Extensive use is made of bulletized lists so that you can quickly see the important ideas without wading through lots of text.  In fact, as I read the instructions I found the author making all the same points I tell my students in my free motion classes.

Following the instructions, a thoughtfully organized section shows about 65 different free motion designs, all very suitable for beginners.  This section is a wonderful resource for quilting ideas.

The remainder of the book – in fact more than half of it – is devoted to the 24 projects.  There is a wide variety – bags, bowls, placemats, tablerunners, clothing, and quilts.    The last part of the section discusses embroidery – or using the free motion designs on plain cloth or readymade clothing.  Many of the projects have a “modern quilt” feel.  They are young and fresh and are likely to appeal to younger quilters (Judging by her photo, the author  fits in this category!)

In short, I heartily recommend this book.  I will be telling my free motion students that this is the one book they should buy as a reference.  You can  purchase this book at Amazon through the following link: First steps to free-motion quilting

Free Motion Quilting Patterns for Modern Quilts

Often students in my quilting classes ask about how to decide what quilting patterns to use for a particular quilt.  I have been thinking about how I decide to use particular patterns and how I can better answer the question.  I don’t have any great answers yet, but I’m still working on it!

Recently I visited Pacific Fabrics in East Bremerton.  It happened that my visit coincided with their (free) monthly craft presentation presented by Chris Groce.  I have seen a couple of her presentations before – they are always fast paced and packed with ideas using the latest products and patterns Pacific Fabrics has in their stores.  I decided to stay and listen.  A number of the products and patterns she featured were related to “Modern Quilting”.  The presentation made me think of the need for free motion quilting patterns that fit well with modern quilts.  I quickly sketched a few ideas on one of the handouts.  I can’t remember if these ideas came from actual quilting on some of the projects she showed, or if they came from the prints on the fabrics.  I just remember wanting to draw the basic forms so I wouldn’t forget.  Here are my initial sketches:

Jotting down ideas so i wouldn't forget!

Jotting down ideas so i wouldn’t forget!

I sketched bigger versions of these in my sketchbook and then stitched some of them out this morning.  I think I will be able to make these even better with more practice, but they aren’t bad for first tries.

Here is a double loop pattern, as sketched out and then stitched out.

Double Loops

Double Loops

Double loops stitched out

Double loops stitched out

And now the rounded squares.

rounded squares

rounded squares

Rounded squares stitched out

Rounded squares stitched out

And finally, triangles.  I sketched several versions of these before I finally stitched out the large double triangles.

Single triangles

Single triangles

Open double triangles

Open double triangles

Larger double triangles - fills the space better

Larger double triangles – fills the space better

Larger double triangles stitched out

Larger double triangles stitched out


These patterns were pretty quick to stitch and add nicely to my “library” of free motion patterns.  Do try them out!

New Free Motion Quilting Design

Last week I taught two sessions of my free motion quilting class at the Silverdale Quality Sewing and Vacuum store.  Both sessions were full and the students were great, so enthusiastic and all made great progress with their free motion work.  We have scheduled another session in October for anyone closeby who missed these two.

One of my students came up with a great modification for one of the designs I was teaching.  The pattern I was teaching is called “Headbands” and I learned it and many other designs from Diane Gaudynski’s Machine Quilting Guidebook.  As an aside, Diane’s book is excellent and well worth the small investment.  The close-up photos really show you how the patterns look when done properly, and the text is excellent.  If you get inspired and want to buy the book, here is a link to the book at Amazon where it can be purchased: Quilt Savvy: Gaudynski’s Machine Quilting Guidebook

And now on to the new design.  First, let’s look at “Headbands”:

Quilting pattern "headbands" from Diane Gaudynski's book

Quilting pattern “headbands”

The new design is very similar but ends up with leaf shapes instead of headbands!  Here I have sketched out the two different basic patterns to show the comparison.  They are both made the same way, and the overall space is filled up the same way, but the leaf shape has a point at the top of the curve.

Drawing of headband and leaves pattern

Drawing of headband and leaves pattern

And here is the stitched out result of what I am going to call “Kathy’s Leaves” in honor of my student Kathy who invented it:

Kathy's Leaves

Kathy’s Leaves

Isn’t it a great design?  It would be a wonderful background filler pattern on many quilts, and I expect to use it in the future.  It could be modified by changing the shape of the leaves, making them larger or smaller, and could probably also be opened up somewhat (leaving some gaps between the leaves) although I haven’t tried that yet.

“Meet the Author” event at Silverdale Quality Sew and Vac

I am pleased to announce that the Quality Sewing and Vacuum store in Silverdale, in addition to offering several of my classes this fall, has asked me to present a “Meet the Author” event at the store August 7, 2013 from 10:00 am to 12 noon.   I will present a trunk show of quilts and talk about the inspiration behind the quilts, plus briefly demonstrate some binding and quilting techniques that are included in my classes.  If you are curious about the classes but not sure they are right for you, this is a good opportunity to get more information.

There will be lots of time to ask questions, and to sign books for those who are interested.  I will be offering several books and patterns as door prizes, and the store will offer refreshments.  Contact the store directly to reserve a spot or ask any questions about the event.

Quality Sewing and Vacuum  10876 Myhre Place NW, Silverdale 98383

Phone: 360-692-2992.  web site:

Floating Mode for Free Motion on some sewing machines

Several times recently when I have taught my free motion quilting class, I have had students arrive with what (to me) was the wrong presser foot for their machines. I finally went to Quality Sew and Vac and started asking questions, since these students all said they were told by Quality that the foot they brought to class was the right one for free motion.

Lynn Cassidy at Silverdale Quality S&V solved the mystery. Certain models of Viking and Pfaff have a “floating” free motion mode in addition to a “spring action” free motion mode. The machines must be set to operate in one mode or the other, depending upon which presser foot you use. So it is possible to do free motion without a foot with a spring in it, which is the only way I have ever done it.

Here is a link to an explanation by Viking of the Floating Mode:

and a similar link for Spring Action:

Thanks to Lynn for her great explanation of this option available on some sewing machines. Now I will be better able to help my quilting students in the future.

Free Motion Quilting Class Update

After I taught my last free motion quilting class, I decided I needed to rework the class a little bit to improve its effectiveness. I also needed new shop samples. The photo below shows my first new shop sample, which includes thirteen different free motion designs (twelve blocks plus one in the sashing). By focusing the class so that each student tries these thirteen designs, I am hoping students will have a clear goal and feel they have enough designs to use on their quilts until they gain the confidence to create their own. You can click on the photo and enlarge it to see the designs. On my computer I can then zoom in even further so the quilting patterns really show.

Free Motion Quilting Class Sampler

Free Motion Quilting Class Sampler