Sunday 18 January 2015

January 2015 FMQ Challenge

As you may have read, QuiltShopgal (formerly SewCalgal) is hosting the 2015 FMQ Challenge. Several design options are given each month to chose from and the task is to make a pillow featuring your design.
This is going to be a long post!

I chose LuAnn Kessi's feather filled heart version for the challenge. Just loved the look of that. I made my pillow 14 inches as I have two pillows of that size that need replacing. For the fabric I used a shot cotton of my favourite colour and my favourite thread, Aurifil 50/2 (No 2460 (red), 2445 (pink), 2134 (gold).

Here is my drawing

I then traced the image onto the fabric using a light box. I am glad that I did spent a bit of time on the drawing because I did not find it that simple to fill the whole heart and had to find my own way of drawing the feathers to fill out the spaces (particularly on the left side) so that I could be sure that the stitching would flow smoothly for me.

Starting the process
Loved stitching the feathers
 As you can see I also marked a grid on either side before I basted the piece.

I have been doing a fair bit of reading and learning lately...if you followed my blog you would have read that I purchased two of Cindy Needham's classes over at Craftsy during one of their Blitz sales. I am going through her class on Wholecloth quilts and was inspired to do one of her grids. This is a simple grid that gives the most amazing texture. While I had learned the cathedral window filler before I have not really used it much and was intrigued by Cindy Needham's way of doing this. She actually stitches the gridlines out first which slightly alters the overall appearance and texture. So, I gave this a go...a bit labour intensive but so worth it.

Here is the cathedral windows design with the gridlines stitched out beforehand

Love this texture

and here is the grid of the cathedral window without the gridlines stitched. The difference in texture is slight, but noticeable.
Cathedral window design
And may I mention one of the things that Cindy Needham had been stressing in her class...not to sweat over the background fillers in terms of the stitches...its the texture that will be noticed, not the stitching. That really stuck in my head and was very stress, just very relaxing to follow those lines.

Continued with my pillow yesterday and finished it today.  Put a simple swirl in one corner and then tried another filler that I had seen on Cindy Needham's class: the feather filler. This is a filler that is credited to Leah Day (Freemotion Quilting Project) and I had seen it before but again, never tried it. Was in the mood for experimenting yesterday and just did it to see how easy it is to fill up an awkward shape. Started with just lightly drawing in a spine line and did my feathers on either side keeping them a smallish type size. Then I backtracked and came out with another spine line to fill the next space. If you go fairly slowly and deliberate, stopping to think about where you might want the next spine line and the space that you have to fill, this is actually not very difficult and fills in the space beautifully. Even if you were to make a mistake and have some space left over, you can always backtrack and fill that space in with some additional feathers. Given that this is a tight feather design I don't think you would see this. I must say, I am hooked. Thoroughly enjoyed this filler. Definitely will use this again.

Finished front

So much texture...I love it!
And here is my pillow...had to read up on inserting a zipper yesterday night idea. Managed somehow but definitely need more practice.
Add caption
And another one. I am thoroughly impressed and took lots of photos. This one comes closest to the actual colour.

Can't wait for the next challenge! Have a look at the January linky of the 2015 Freemotion Quilting Challenge over at QuiltSphopgal...some beautiful pillows on display.

Until next time



  1. Karen, oh it is sooooo pretty!
    Your stitches look perfect and the feathers are fabulous!

  2. Liebe Karin,
    dein Kissen und dein Freequilting sieht einfach klasse aus...Wunderschöne Arbeit!

    LG Klaudia

  3. Beautiful... I love the different fillers and what a great way to keep sharping your skills.

  4. Absolutely gorgeous Karin. I love the color you chose, the design and the quilting. Perfect for upcoming Valentines Day! I hope I can get my act together and start mine this week.

  5. WOW!!! Your work is so beautful. I love the way you divided the background and stitched different designs!!! AWESOME :^)

  6. Oh Karin you did an amazing job. What a beautiful pillow that shows off your lovely free-motion quilting. Gorgeous heart filled with feathers and lovely background. Great job.


  7. Love the heart, and was very interested to read about the fillers you did, too. Beautiful stuff! :D

  8. Oh wow, what a wonderful pillow you have made. I would love to be able to free motion like that - you are very talented. I am going to take a look at the challenge and try and learn a little from everyone and then one day, I might even attempt it myself. Thanks fr sharing

  9. I love the grids! Your quilting is gorgeous.

  10. beautiful pillow.. the dense background shows off your lovely feathered hearts so well...

  11. is fantastic!!!! You really went all out with your challenge, and did a beautiful job.

  12. This is beautiful! The background is also gorgeous! ~Jeanne

  13. Lovely work looks beautiful

  14. Your pillow is beautiful! I admire you for marking, I'm too lazy to mark. Thanks for your nice comment on my blog!

  15. Karin this is beautiful. I love the pearls you put around the heart, and those 4 different backgrounds outside the heart look wonderful. Real pretty pillow.

  16. Liebe karin,
    ich freue mich so, dass du einen Kommentar in mein Blog hinterlassen hast, denn dadurch habe ich hierher gefunden ☺
    Ich folge jetzt und dein Blog ist auch in meiner Bloglist!
    Dein Freihandquilting ist fantastisch, das Kissen so-so schön!!!
    Dagegen ist meins furchtbar, ich muss es unbedingt noch mal machen!
    Spannend was als Nächstes kommt, ich habe jetzt richtig Lust bekommen
    weiter zu üben.
    Liebe Grüße


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