2012 FMQ Challenge: June

8 06 2012

This month’s free motion quilting (FMQ) challenge tutorial was from Cindy Needham. I really enjoyed it, and ended up spending HOURS doing some really fine/close stitching as a result. I’m getting better!

Her tutorial started with a basic geometric shape — a 1 inch square — and checkerboarded it with straight stitches (done free motion though, not with feed dogs). My first attempts were about 6 lines per square, but with practice I was able to stitch closer and closer lines until I ended up doing about 12 lines per square.

Next, she got us to practice going diagonally across the 1 inch squares. I found that starting with the centre diagonal and stitching back to the corner was easier to do as I had more control over the ‘straightness’ of the lines. If I stitched from the corner out to the diagonal, the largest diagonal line ended up wonky!

After that, I did some variations on the diagonal, like stitching from different sides to create the illusion of a diamond. Again, all these spaces are 1″ square.

Once I’d done the straight stitching, I moved on to the curves, S-shapes, paisleys, pebbles/bubbles, and feathers. All these pieces were done on an old piece of plain purple cotton, stitched with an Isocord butter yellow thread (40 wt polyester; colour 0640 ‘Parchment’), on my Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen. I’m loving the Isocord thread — it just flows really nicely in my Sweet Sixteen and doesn’t shred or break like some other threads.

The little pebbles on the left below are about 1/8 to 1/4″ wide — they are quite tiny.

After I’d finished the practice pieces, I was a bit over the purple fabric at this stage, so I switched to an even older piece of dark grey fabric (gabardine?). I marked some basic geometric shapes then free-motioned some feathers within those outlines (Isocord ‘Mountain Dew’, 40 wt, polyester, colour 6010). I then completely filled the backgrounds around the marked shapes with a really close cross-hatching (those stitches are less than 1/8″ apart) in a matching ‘Gun metal gray’ embroidery thread (Floriani, 40wt polyester, colour PF487). I really liked that effect — the feathers ‘popped’ nicely. And I particularly liked the effect of the lime green against the dark grey fabric.

I particularly liked my ‘bird feathers’ — I’ve done these before and just love the feel and sway of creating the S-shapes of the feathers coming off the spine. And I particularly liked the effect of Superior Threads’ King Tut variegated thread for these (color 931).

Next were some zentangles. I’ve drawn a few zentangles — mostly on long flights to/from the US! But I’ve never stitched any before. I tried various threads and colours to see how they went.

I wasn’t as pleased with the multi-coloured free-form zentangle — I think it would’ve worked better had I used a single thread colour — perhaps cream or white against the dark grey, or maybe black thread on cream fabric. Next time. The space was 6.5 inches square.

The last zentangle I tried was based on a zentangle I drew when I was flying back from the US in March. Again, this didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. The background colour fabric had a lot to do with it, but also this design just may not play as well when stitched, as versus drawn. Again, it’s inside a 6.5 in square.

Above is the drawing that inspired the stitching of the last one.

As I said earlier, I really enjoyed this tutorial and can see myself doing more of these sorts of designs. Maybe this weekend?? 😉 [I did some more — pictures etc. here: https://sandgroper14.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/2012-fmq-challenge-june-part-2/]




17 responses

8 06 2012
Linda Moran

Fabulous!!!! You’re inspiring me to get busy this weekend with this month’s FMQ!!

8 06 2012
Mary Ann @ RocknQuilts

You did a great job!

9 06 2012

That rocks!
:-). Toll!

9 06 2012

You did a great job!! I also do Zentangles w/paper and ink – this was my first attempt w/thread. I found it pretty easy since the designs were already in my head from doing them on paper. I loved it also

9 06 2012
2012 FMQ Challenge: June (part 2) « At Random

[…] did three more practice pieces for the June FMQ Challenge. As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to try doing a zentangles in a single colour thread (Madeira rayon embroidery thread, 40 […]

9 06 2012
Kim B.

VERY nice work Rhonda!!!

9 06 2012

I particularly like the rainbow feathers.

9 06 2012
las artes

…whatever you are working on, using a good quality thread is crucial. you know those “5 spools of thread for a dollar” deals? seems like a bargain, but they’re *so* not a bargain-oh no! cheap thread will give you a cheap-looking result; with so-called “bargain” thread, the fibers usually split whilst you’re sewing, the thread knots up and breaks, and you get a really nasty build-up of lint in yout machine’s bobbin area and along the thread line from the spool to the needle…ick!

11 06 2012
Jeanne Massingill

Wow! This all looks wonderful.I love the bird feathers in the variegated thread. ~Jeanne

12 06 2012

Impressive…and inspiring!

12 06 2012
sherry smedley

wow…love your work

17 06 2012
What Comes Next?

beautiful! Great practice pieces you worked on.

20 06 2012

these are all great. I’m lucky if I can find time for one piece let alone all the ones that you have done. Keep up the work.

20 06 2012

Your feathers are absolutely beautiful!

29 06 2012
Joanie Page

All look wonderful! Love the zentangle!

1 07 2012

Love your quilting! Very inspiring.

13 12 2012

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