Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Embroidered Botany Workshop at Free Motion Mavericks

A few weeks ago I took a wonderful weekend virtual workshop with Amanda McCavour - Embroidered Botany and Water Soluble Stabilizer. It was offered through the Quilt Surface Design Symposium (QSDS), which is usually held in Ohio. 

Sculptured flower 

Amanda is a great teacher and we got to play and make many samples using FMQ on Sulky Solvy and Fabri-Solvy. Both are water soluble stabilizers that you can free motion quilt on. When you are finished, you simply rinse or soak your piece to dissolve the background, leaving your FMQ design. If you're not familiar with the product, it does sound weird but it's really awesome. I'll give you a highlight of how it's done.

Sculptured flower made of variegated King Tut thread on Sulky Solvy 

This is actually our second day project but it really shows you what can be done with FMQ on Sulky Solvy. It really isn't that difficult, especially if you've done a bit of free motion quilting.

I drew the template directly on the Sulky Solvy and put it in a regular embroidery hoop. I then slid the hoop under the free motion foot and started painting with the thread. The tricky part is to ensure that all threads are connected somehow, otherwise once the water soluble stabilizer disintegrates, you'll end up with a lot of loose threads!

Using the free motion foot to thread paint on the Sulky Solvy

Sewing around to flower to connect the threads

Once the petals have been FMQ, the stabilizer can be dissolved. To give the petals a 3-dimentional look, I placed them to dry over a couple of small bowls. Below you see the two petals as well as the centre piece.

Drying the thread pieces

Once the petals have dried, the extra thread can be trimmed off and the pieces are hand-sewn together to form the flower.

What I learned

  • As I've mentioned before, I love working with translucent fabrics. As well as using tulle or organza, this is another way of creating translucent, lace-like pieces.
  • This is the result of the second day of our workshop. In a future post, I'll show you the mixed media botanicals that we created on day 1.
  • I didn't think that I would like using the embroidery hoop to FMQ but it really helped keep the Solvy neat when FMQ.
  • Can you imagine a whole room of these sculptured flowers hanging from the ceiling? It's really stunning 😊 I saw Amanda's installation at the Canadian Textile Museum in Toronto many years ago. It's amazing but I can barely imagine making a few of these, let alone hundreds! In Related links you will find the link to Amanda's website. Check out her poppies - it's really special! 
  • I actually took a course with Amanda at Quilt Canada, when it was held in Ottawa in 2019. In that class we were supposed to make Landscape Scarves. Since I really don't wear scarves, I made a few samples to explore different ways of using the Fabri-Solvy and Sulky Solvy.
  • When I searched for Solvy in my blog, I found that I had used Sulky Solvy even before I took Amanda's class at Quilt Canada. I made a small piece that looked like lichen to attach to a piece of lava when I made my Islas Canarias art quilt.

Attaching a piece of lava rock with lichen made of Sulky Solvy

Last year I made small lace-type pieces
with white thread on Sulky Solvy
Related links

Linking parties

I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Check them out, after you've linked up to Free Motion Mavericks below! Monday Making, Midweek Makers, Put Your Foot Down!, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Off the Wall Friday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Beauties Pageant, Peacock Party, Patchwork & Quilts

Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 339 of Free Motion Mavericks' linking party. Last time we had some lovely quilts and quilting 😊 Rebecca Grace got a brand new snazzy quilt beast and played with some FMQ designs. I'm thrilled that it went well and that she remembered how much fun it is to just zoom along! 

Love those wonderful colours and FMQ by Rebecca Grace!

We also want to encourage Lea Anne of Podunk Pretties with her FMQ. She doesn't particularly like FMQ but she's persevering and finishing up some UFOs. Congrats on your finishes!

Lea Anne is FMQ this lovely blue and yellow leaders and enders quilt.

It's your turn now!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. Les oeuvres d'Amanda sont absolument fabuleuses ! Merci pour le lien. Les tiennes sont pas mal non plus !! J'aime beaucoup tes fleurs bleues.

    1. Merci beaucoup Frédérique. C'est pas mal impressionnant de voir une centaine de ses fleurs suspendues dans une salle :-) Ça va être impressionant si j'en fait plus qu'une! Merci et bonne fin de semaine!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Alycia, it really was fun. I do hope to make more eventually. Take care.

  3. Oh no, I missed out on the linky party. I've tried the Solvy and it does rinse cleanly it just did not work for my purpose. Your flower and the white lace is amazing though. I'll have to keep this project in mind when I am bored and looking to play with something. Thank you for linking up last week.

    1. Hi Denise, thanks! It is a good project to play with, as long as you don't get addicted! You can still link up at Muv's website She's hosting this week. I'm going to go by and visit. Take care.


Hi! I would love to hear from you and I will try to answer you. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a message. :-)