Thursday, May 5, 2016

More FMQ in Tampa

Today I worked on the yellow and orange blocks of Charming Cupcakes, and tried six more FMQ motifs from Angela Walter's Shape by Shape book. In no particular order:

This four lobed shape is a definite keeper. It was super easy for me, which is surprising because it is so similar to the loop-de-loops in the navy blue block that I just hated. I think it's because on this one, the diagonal stitching is done first and that makes clear lines to guide the rest of the shape. It reminds me of leaves, and since leaves are an organic shape, I don't mind if the lobes aren't completely symmetric. It starts in one corner and ends at either adjacent corner, good for moving between blocks.

How about a little onion? Or is it garlic? A flame? Either way, this one was also really fun and easy. I chose it for the yellow striped blocks to try mixing the curvy shape and geometric fabric. The stripes made it really simple to line up the pointy tops of each, uh, thing. It starts and stops in the same place along the middle of one side. It looks odd in this photo because this is a corner block and I left a quarter inch allowance along the sides for the quilt binding. The rest of them sit right along the block edge.

OK, this is a terrible photo. But it doesn't matter, because I won't be doing this motif again and I'm glad it completely disappears in this tonal orange block. If you squint and have an active imagination, you can see that there are three (!) diagonal lines bisecting the block, with tight parallel lines filling one half and a curvy stipple filling the other. Fiddly, busy and time consuming. I think this one started in one corner and ended in the opposite, but I'm already blotting it out of my memory, la la la...

In this orange block, the motif is gentle arcs between each corner, then the outside edged filled in with ribbon candy. I like it OK and might use it again, maybe with a different filler than ribbons. (My ribbon candy looks like it might be an unappetizing flavor. Durian fruit, perhaps.) Even though I did six of these blocks, I never got them to look symmetric. My gentle curves really vary depending on whether I'm going left, right, up or down in the block. But I do like the contrast between the poofy open center of the block and the more densely quilted edges. Same point start and stop.

This one is very similar to a shape I learned in Angela's Dot-to-Dot quilting class and used in Polar Bears With Old Man Hairs. The idea is that very little marking is needed to create the shapes. After a few really blobby ones, I started putting in crease marks from corner to corner and that helped. This is one of the better ones I stitched, and it's still pretty wonky. Wonkiness in a straight line geometric shape like this is more obvious than in the curvy organic ones. However, the whole quilt is busy enough that I'm happy with it. Same point start and stop.

And finally, another block that was hard to photograph. This shape is curly brackets from corner to corner. It's a bit easier to see on the back.

See the shape on the giraffe butt? This one was very, very fast: just four lines. The curves make a bit of organic asymmetry fade away, and it was a good choice on a super busy fabric. The pointy part of the bracket shape extends well into the block, so it fills the space nicely. My only complaint is that I had to wrap my brain around making brackets going up and down, after so many years of drawing them left and right. Practice, practice, practice. Same point start and stop.

Three definite keepers in this batch, two maybes and one never again. I'm learning a lot about what works for me. After the final batch of blocks, I'll try to summarize.


  1. You sound as if you are having great fun quilting, I'm still laughing at all the food references. Your quilting looks great.

  2. Love reading about your approach to trying FMQ. I need to do more practicing.

  3. Great fabrics! Do not worry at all about some wonky; I never saw it until you pointed it out; Angela says you see the design, only the quilter sees her own mistakes.

  4. Hello Louise,

    Such a fun quilt! I especially love the onion design. I can't believe you worry about wonky stitching when you live on a boat. The sea is wavy.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

  5. Hi Louise. This is a great idea. I can't do those brakets for some reason. It's really fun to practice drawing and then quilting. Thanks sor sharing.


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