Thursday, December 08, 2022

Sun flames, swirls and rail fence blocks

Hello and welcome to Week 410 of Free Motion Mavericks. I'm glad that you stopped by. I free motion quilted (FMQ) some flames and swirls to the sun in the middle of the Version 2.0 quilt.

Flames and Swirls

Last week I finished the Free Motion Mavericks post by showing you the Sun that I stitched with the walking foot in the middle blue section of the quilt. The section is not quite finished but I did add flames extending between the sun's points and then swirls in the middle of the sun.

This first picture isn't as pretty but does show the FMQ well. Between each point in the sun is a flame. I was very nervous about stitching in such a large area so I drew a few flames on the paper template that I had created. It only took a few to figure out that I wanted the flame to start outside of where the Sun's points intersected.

Sun with flames and swirls

After finishing the flames, I FMQ just inside the circle of the sun. It was much more wobbly than the original Sun stitched with the walking foot but I just wanted to highlight the circle. I then started stitching the swirls. That went fairly well since each swirl wasn't that large. The design also allowed me to stop often to get my barring. 

Another look at the Sun, the flames and the swirls

When I finished the FMQ, I started cleaning up the threads in the back. I discovered that when I had used the walking foot and had jumped to the next flame, the stitching was starting to come undone😲. I thought that I had added a few stitches in place but obviously not enough. The easiest thing to do was to FMQ over the original circle and take a detour over the small triangles where the sun's points intersected. This helped to highlight the Sun's circle as well as stitch over those threads that would have undone.😊

Making Rail Fence Blocks

This week I also made rail fence blocks for Cynthia's (Cynthia Brunz Designs) charity quilts . At the end of November, she asked if quilters could send her some dark blue and brown or tan rail fence blocks. You know how I'm accuracy challenged, so I thought that making blocks would be easier than making a whole quilt.  

I might have been mistaken in my assumptions 😊! Getting those rail fence blocks to finish at 5½" x 5½" took a lot of hard work but was probably a very good exercise for me. Of the 14 blocks that I made, 12 are good enough to send to Cynthia. Two were a whole ½" smaller, so I kept those and made two mug rugs. I did learn a lot and I'm including that below. 

First mug rug

Second mug rug

Two lovely mug rugs

I quilted them differently, with the walking foot, to see the effect. The top mug rug was stitched more or less in-the-ditch, while the mug rug below was stitched perpendicular to the piecing. It really gives a different effect. 

What I learned

  • Drawing the sun flames on the large paper template was a great idea. It helped me understand the scale of the flames and figure out where to start and finish them relative to the points.
  • I used a Frixion pen to draw the first flame on the quilt. After that I was confident that I could do it without the marking.
  • I was a bit upset when I saw that the thread at the beginning of the Sun's points were unravelling. I just ignored it while I finished up the swirls and then realised that FMQ over them would solve the problem. That is what I do when I come to the end of my bobbin thread. I just stitch over a part that is already stitched and then keep going - so that's essentially what I did. I checked the back of the quilt, and it's going to be fine 😊.
  • As for the rail fence blocks, I was very careful in the sewing and pressing of the blocks, so the problem has to be in the initial cutting of the fabric. 
  • I did as Cynthia suggested and made the block length longer so that I could trim them, but my problem was with the width. After trimming a couple of blocks, that's when I realised that I had a potential problem. From then on, I was very accurate in my sewing. I'm really happy that only two blocks didn't make it.

Related links

Linking parties

I'll be linking up to many fun link ups. You may want to check them out...after you have linked your blog below :-) Needle & Thread Thursday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Put your foot downPeacock Party, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Oh Scrap!, Patchwork & Quilts, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2022.  

Free Motion Mavericks

We are starting to have a real party with FMQ and other posts. Remember, you don't have to do FMQ to link up! 

Karen made a lovely personalized ballerina quilt for her granddaughter Livia. She did some lovely FMQ flower swirls. It's really lovely.

Karen's lovely quilt for Livia, her granddaughter 

Melva finished her Pieces in the Garden Row Quilt by FMQ 5" clam shells. The quilt is based on the story of a "Bride's Quilt" and was her November OMG. Find out the significance of the various blocks by visiting her post. It's really lovely in front of the small chapel/shed. 

Melva's Pieces in the Garden Row Quilt

Rebecca is wowing us all with her mixture of digital quilting, FMQ and ruler work on her Jingle quilt. Here is the border that she is FMQ. Amazingly enough, it turns out that FMQ is faster than both the ruler work and the individual digital quilting!

The borders are FMQ on Rebecca's Jingle quilt

We also got to check out Raewyn's finished big Boxer floor cushion cover. The kids are going to love playing with this cushion! 

What a great big Boxer floor cushion cover!

It's now your turn 😎

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. I love the sun and flames, this quilt is definitely a labor of love. And yay! I was finally able to catch up to your linky party, thank you so much.

    1. Hi Denise, I'm glad that you were able to link up! I don't always make the various parties either. I'm trying to work on my blog on Friday since it lets me link up to most parties :-) Love your Christmas stockings!

  2. Your quilting on the quilt is growing really nicely! Good idea to fill in the sun with the swirls etc. A bonus for you - getting some mugrugs while making the charity blocks! Just haven't got to my machine this week :-(

    1. Thanks Raewyn! I finally figured out what to do around the sun - some clouds, stars and a rainbow! I am glad that I got some mug rugs since you can never have enough of those! I hope that you get some time to play this week and during the holidays :-)

  3. That sun is terrific! Too bad about the stitches coming undone, but going back over them should be the ticket. I usually stitch in place and do a microscopic few stitches after that to lock it. I giggled at your rail fence 'accuracy' -- they all look great!

    1. Thanks Sandra. When I'm doing FMQ, I usually do these but I hadn't thought about it with the walking foot. Oh well, another lesson learned and hopefully remembered! Thanks for dropping by and linking up to Free Motion Mavericks. Love your new pattern!

  4. Oh your flames are prefect around the circle!! Nicely done!
    and your rail blocks - go you!!!

    1. Thanks so much Alycia. Although I've been quilting for ages, I feel like a novice when I sew real blocks! It's not the knowledge that's missing but the practice and confidence! Thanks as always for your great linking party!

  5. You did a great job on the sun!

    1. Thanks so much Kate. It really is my favourite part. I've just added clouds around it - it was the perfect addition. It'll be in my Free Motion Mavericks post.

  6. It's NOT just you! My rail fence blocks for Cynthia turned out somewhat less than perfect, too.

    1. Good to know! No wonder I love improv piecing where it doesn't matter what size things are :-) I'm sure that Cynthia will be able to work with them.

  7. Le soleil est magnifique, et les blocs aussi. Tant mieux pour les 2 qui n'ont pas les bonnes dimensions, ce sont de beaux mini tapis ;))

    1. Merci Frédérique - oui, tant mieux puisque j'aime bien mes mini tapis!


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