Thursday, January 26, 2023

Going somewhere is Finished on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 417 of Free Motion Mavericks! I hope that you've had a chance to play since I last posted. When I began this piece, I had no idea that it would end up being free motion quilted (FMQ). I think that the FMQ added a lot to it. I'll let you judge this for yourself.

"Going somewhere..."

This piece began, as many of them do, with a workshop on I haven't had time to do as many workshops as I would like, but this one grabbed my attention. It took me a while to start, but once I did, I couldn't leave it! 😊

Going somewhere... original orientation

Going somewhere... is upside down better?

It all started with a fat quarter of Kona "School Bus" and some lovely hand-dyed orange-pink fabrics by Elaine Quehl. I also took out my stash of translucent fabric scraps. The workshop, Stitching in the Round, was created by April Sproule. She provided a template of a spiral, but of course, I had to make my own! 😁 

Following April Sproule's Further Development video, I created my own template of two connected spirals. To work, the spirals needed obvious negative and positive spaces. I coloured in the negative space and added a couple of extra starting and finishing points to create some interest and clear paths to follow. 

Creating my own spiral template

I transferred the template to my fabric and started playing. I asked April how she decided where to put the extra fabrics onto her background. She mentioned focal point and colour, but since I was just starting, I wasn't sure what I was doing, so I just added different sheer fabrics in 5 areas, mostly below and to the side, but with one stripe in the middle. Connecting some of that background fabric with the spiral creates unity, so that's what I did on the left side. I had lots of empty space under the smaller spiral, so just create an interesting block underneath it. 

Starting to put it together.

That interesting block is one of my favourites and I stitched it early on.

An interesting block

At the beginning, I spent most of my time on the left side spiral and background. There was a lot of hand stitching! 

Very slowly stitching things up

I used some beautiful scraps of hand-dyed fabrics as well as sheer fabrics. I also varied my thread, although I tried to use each element a few times in the piece so that it would add consistency. This is what my final stitched piece looked like. I knew that I would have to do something with it - either add a lot of hand stitching around everything, or do some FMQ.

Finished attaching the appliqué

Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)

As  you can guess, FMQ won out! 😊It was soooo much fun 😁

FMQ finished - so how do I finish the actual piece?

You may have noticed in some of the pictures that at the top right corner and the bottom left corner, there were small chunks of fabric missing. My original intention was to trim the fabric, but of course I waited too long and wanted to keep the whole area. I covered these holes with matching fabric and all is good!

I didn't have any more Kona "School bus" fabric for the binding so I came up with (it turned out) a great idea! I used strips of one of the sheer fabrics (it's curtain fabric) to add interest at the top of the piece. Why not ruffles at the top? I based this down and then machine stitched it so that it would stay upright. I worked in sections to make sure that I liked it before continuing.

Making ruffles for the top

Adding ruffles was a lot of work and probably would have been too much all around the piece, so I used 1½" strips and attached these like regular binding. I am really happy with the result.😊 I thought that I was finished, but this morning I decided that it needed just a little more stitching. I added a chain stitch in a #12 perle cotton over the machine stitching of the ruffles. I also coiled up the bottom of that hanging sari yarn. 

Going somewhere.... when I thought that it was finished

Here are some of the details.

Embroidery and FMQ over very shiny sheer
with silk and hand-dyed cotton

Fancy tissue paper swirl
over silk

Spiral with embroidered hand-dyed
fabric pieces and snippets

Sari yarn coil, appliquéd triangles and circles
 with embroidery

Interesting block of sheer fabric (overlapped to makes it darker),
silk and hand-dyed cotton square with simple embroidery

What I learned
  • There was a lot of learning in the last couple of weeks as I worked on this piece.
  • The bottom, shiny sheer fabric had a very loose weave so I was glad to FMQ around and into it to add stability. My overcast appliqué stitch was shredding away.
  • I worked with some beautiful printed tissue paper that came in a lovely box of chocolates. I added the spiral on the left and used it in some of the triangles. It stitched up really well. I do want to experiment more with stitching on paper.
  • The circles of fabric on the smaller spiral were stitched down with blanket stitch circles. They came out very well.
  • It's not always easy to figure out when to stitch fabric down before you embroider it, or just to let the embroidery stitch it down. There was only one piece, near the centre of the small spiral that I could have stitched down before I edged it with chain stitches. The chain stitch didn't catch everything, but once it was embroidered, it was easy to stitch a few sections down with thread. This didn't show, so I'm not sure that stitching it down before the embroidery was necessary. 
  • I loved using sheer fabric for the binding. I will do this again!
  • April suggested that we use silk organza (not washed) as a stabilizer behind the piece. I usually use a very lightweight cotton but since I had some silk organza I tried it. It was really lovely to stitch on and did give it a nice stability to the piece. I'm not sure that it's better than my lightweight cotton but it's a great option.
  • I curled up the other end of the sari yarn because without it, it looked too much like sperm (not the effect that I was going for) 😲
  • In the end I'm happy with the sheer fabric that I added to the background. It's hard when you don't really have a plan, but I thought that the focal point would be the spirals.
  • Did I change the focal point when I added the coiled sari yarn, or the darker interesting block? I may have, but I hope that since everything is connected, either physically or though colour and fabric, that it's ok. 
  • I did want lots of movement, which I think I was successful in doing.
  • When I showed my daughter the finished piece, she suggested that I turn it around. I like it but it does change the focus. Do you have a preference? Let me know😊
Related links
Linking parties

Project details

Going somewhere....
Made based on a workshop with April Sproule
17¼" x 12½"
Materials: Kona cotton, sheer fabrics, sari yarn, hand-dyed fabrics, tissue paper, perle cotton and embroidery floss
Techniques: embroidery, FMQ, ruffles 
April Sproule

Free Motion Mavericks

Gail from Quilting Gail finished her lovely "Quilt More Worry Less" hanging. If you didn't see it, you may want to check it out! She has also picked a centre block for her SAHRR quilt (Stitch at home round robin). You can see it here.  

"Quilt More Worry Less" hanging by Quilting Gail

It's now your turn 😊

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. I love all the movement in this piece! I also love that the colours are all similar, so the many different parts blend beautifully, rather than competing.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Leanne. That's exactly what I was going for :-)

  2. I LoVe this's different and so interesting.
    Lovely addition to TGIFF... so THANKS for joining in xox

    1. Thanks so much Cheryll for your kind words and the party!

  3. Thanks for the insight into your process-- fascinating! I prefer your piece with the ruffle on top. It feels more balance with the spiral climbing up and the other blocks grounded. The ruffle also looks more interesting to me when it is pushing up.

    1. Thanks Barbara, those are pretty much my thoughts. I did however make two hanging sleeves so that it can go both ways.

  4. Wow what an interesting piece, and thank you for walking us through the process. I like it with the ruffle at the bottom because I feel the opening up of the spiral can symbolize the opening of a person, from withdrawn, closed, to more free.

    1. Thanks Sandra. I really enjoyed making it. The hanging sleeves will make it hang either way. I like that the big spirals flow into each other - energy getting cleared and filling up again, which was my intention. Take care.

  5. Dans un sens ou dans l'autre, je le trouve superbe. J'adore les couleurs ensemble, et les ajouts de matières différentes, c'est très harmonieux. Tu es douée !

    1. Merci beaucoup Frédérique. Tu es très gentille :-)

  6. This is great. So colorful and artistic and moving. Love all the different techniques you used on it.

    1. Thanks so much Shasta. I love being able to through all of these techniques together to see what comes out. I do the same with food but my quilts seem to be more successful lol!

  7. What a FABULOUS piece!!! I love the way you used the colors to create movement

    1. Thanks so much Alycia. It has everything I love - colour, mouvement and texture :-)


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