Friday, February 19, 2016

More FMQ Practice

butterfly appliqué and embroiderly
Still flitting like a butterfly
Here I am, flitting again! Oh well, there could be worse things than flying around from project to project like a butterfly.

I've discovered a great way to practice my free motion quilting (FMQ) while doing something creative and fun. What more can a quilting gal ask for?

It's a weekly Journal Challenge called Colour Me Positive, sponsored by Lulu Art store in Australia. It's mostly for artists who create art in their art journals, but any medium is welcome.

Every week they have a positive theme or quote to encourage creativity and art. Just my kind of positive, loving space. The weekly post includes the latest weekly prompt as well as a link to ideas and examples of art and techniques related to it. It really is lovely and wonderful.

Week 3 of Colour Me Positive
All participants are encouraged to post a picture of their work, and write a few words on Facebook. There is absolutely no stress about participating every week. If your art work is ready by the end of the week, you post it and are included in a draw. Otherwise, everyone is encouraged to post whenever they are ready. The participants are very encouraging in their comments and "likes".

This was my first post for Week 3. The prompt was: “Make today so awesome that yesterday gets jealous.” For me, this means that if I want to make today awesome, then I have to be present. I have to enjoy each moment of today, because there is only today. I remind myself to do this with the statement "Be here now".

FMQ the sun
It took me a while to figure out how I wanted to interpret this. I chose the sun because it symbolizes life (and I can draw it!) For the writing, I used stencils, outlined the letters with thicker thread and then FMQ inside of them with finer thread.

I drew the sun's outline with iron-off marker and then quilted feathers within the sun shape and its rays. This gave me an outline to follow but left space between the sun and the rays. I like the open look of it.

After I added the wording, I didn't know if I should leave it as is, or keep FMQ. You may notice in the right hand corner, the word "Today". I was thinking of including some key words, but I didn't really like the look of it. That's why it's just there, not connected to anything.

As you can see, I decided to stitch close lines in the background (they are called match sticks). To make sure I didn't get totally off track, I drew the odd line with a ruler with my iron-off marker.

My latest creation is for Week 6. It's based on a quote by His Holiness the Dali Lama, "Be kind wherever possible. It is always possible.” I wasn't going to write all that, so as you see I abbreviated it!
Week 6 - Colour Me Positive (11 ½" x  9 ¼")
Since kindness includes many concepts, I used the outline of my hand (I can trace that!). I also wanted to include a representative from the plant, animal and people world - since kindness extends to all. I am very partial to the Buddhist concept of "Do no harm" - which for me can be translated into kindness to all.
Drawing the flower

I drew the bird from an image and created the heart-shaped flower. Here is a picture that I drew of the flower, before quilting it. I had a template of people that I outlined and quilted around.

The background quilting is made up of small swirls. I tried to use muted colours to go with the pink. That wasn't an easy thing for me to do!

What I learned:

  • Writing on fabric using FMQ is not easy, and there's no spell check. Oops!
  • I used one of my previous lessons learned by applying painter's tape around the project so that I would know where to stop quilting. It worked out well, but I need to be a little more accurate in the placing of the tape.
  • It's taking me about 2 weeks to create one of these. The hardest part is figuring out what to draw and the most tedious part is finishing it off (binding etc.)
  • I'm hoping to use more than free motion quilting in my next one. Will it be appliqué, beading, or paint? I don't know yet - it'll depend on which week I decide to interpret. I really want these fun pieces to help me learn, try and practice new things.

I've linked these to awesome linky parties: Free Motion Mavericks, Needle and Thread ThursdayLinky TuesdayLet's Bee Social, Fabric Tuesday


  1. Hello Andree,

    These are such lovely projects! I really love your sun, the way it radiates warmth and energy, and that it just evolved as you went along. The infilled writing has worked really well.

    For your next project I suggest FMQ with beading to finish.
    It is always such fun adding the sparkle at the end.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

  2. What a fun way to stretch yourself and practice your free motion quilting. I love you work :)


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