Thursday, July 13, 2023

A Hare with Jo Hill on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 439 of Free Motion Mavericks. I started a new free motion quilting (FMQ) project - just for you, so that I would have something interesting to share. I hope that you'll like it!

Taking Jo Hill's "Hare" Class

I took a course with Jo Hill through's Stitch Club last July. I love her work so much that I purchased the "Hare" online class and I'm finally getting around to doing it a year later! I hope that you'll love Harry the hare as much as I do 😍

Harry the Hare is almost done

Jo Hill is a great teacher - her videos are clear and instructional. What I learned had more to do with my fabric and thread choices. I'm happy that I keep learning but sometimes it would be nice to skip those hard lessons!😊

The previous project that I did based on Jo Hill's class was FMQ on the back of a denim vest - you may remember it, my Wildflower vest. It was a great project. I now understand that the free motion quilting went extremally well because it was on denim, a very sturdy fabric. 

Wildflower vest made last year

This time, I decided to make the project on a light denim shirt that is lined with flannel. I thought that it would be perfect....but, I'm afraid that it wasn't. There is unfortunately a lot of puckering. It's easy to forget how FMQ draws in fabric because we usually do it on a quilt, which consists of two layers of fabric and batting.

I've tried to reduce the puckering on my photos, but you can see it clearly on the back on the shirt. 

FMQ has created a lot of puckering on the shirt

I also learned about the colour value of my thread. Jo was quilting her project on an off-white canvas, so her thread colours showed up well. Quilting on a blue shirt, the light gray thread that was supposed to be of medium value, really didn't show up. I'm not sure why I thought that it would....oh well, at least it's fairly simple to stitch over it with a darker brown. 

My original stitching of the hare

Hare over-stitched with brown thread

The body of the hare still isn't as strong as it could be, but I'll wait to see how it looks when I'm done. 

So enough about learning through my mistakes - here are some other things that I learned!

Using my machines' cording foot as a couching foot

I wanted to couch some yarn for the flower stems but since this piece will be washed, it really needed to be sturdy. Hand couching just wouldn't have done it. So I watched Jo's video on various couching feet and then started reading my manual. It turns out that I do have a cording foot and it worked perfectly as a couching foot. 

I'm very proud of myself - I even stitched a couple of samples! I'll be sticking those into my manual for further reference. For single cording, the yarn is attached in the middle slot of the foot and then a zig-zag is used. Very cool 😎

Using my machine's cording foot to couch yarn for the stems

I also used a hoop for doing some of the FMQ on the hare. It wasn't the first time, and I'm not convinced that it made a huge difference, except that I didn't have to hold down the fabric so tightly. 

Using a hoop

I'm not quite finished working on Harry. He still needs whiskers, which I will probably FMQ. I wouldn't want to hand-stitch them since they could get damaged in the washing.

Harry in his garden

I still have work to do in the garden. I love the plants but they are a little bare. I'll need to add a bit of filler, without making the puckering worse. 

Update - July 14

I found a way to minimize some of the puckering by using a light interfacing on the inside of the shirt. It didn't solve the problem but did minimize it.

Harry the Hare is done ✔

More plants in the garden

Light stabilizer on the back

Harry would be ready to wear,
if it wasn't so hot!

What I learned
  • FMQ is so much fun, but it can draw up your fabric if you're not FMQ on a quilt. 
  • It turns out that a flannel backing is perfect for meditation stitching blocks, but not for FMQ.
  • I need to be more aware of my thread colour choices. Light gray is not of medium value, especially on a light blue fabric!!!
  • Using a cording foot to do couching by machine was a great discovery. I'm more likely to use it for couching than cording!
  • Despite the challenges, I love Harry my hare. I would love to make another one some day.
  • Jo Hill also has a River Birds course, a Wading Birds course available as well as templates of birds. One or both of these are in my future courses list! 
  • Update
    • I added a light stabilizer behind the stitching. It did set some of the puckering but then minimized them on the new stitching.
    • I free motion quilted Harry's whiskers. He's even more handsome!😊
    • I may have added too many plants - it's hard to know when there's enough (just like in my real garden)!

Related links

Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Why not check them out and consider linking up below also! Design Wall Monday, Sew & Tell, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off The Wall Friday, Finished (or Not) FridayPut your foot downPeacock PartyTGIFF, Patchwork & Quilts, Tips and Tutorials on the 22nd

Free Motion Mavericks

It was a very quiet week for free motion quilting and the linking party, so here is what Margo Yang of MY Quilts and Crafts is working on now. Have you ever had an idea, not have it work out the way you want, and then start over to find what was missing? This is how Margo's denim quilt is going. I think that her new blocks have lots of potential. Good luck Margo!

Margo's new denim blocks

It's now your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. Love Harry the Hare! So creative!

    1. Thanks Gail, he was a lot of fun to make - and I learned so much. I'm looking forward to making another one.

  2. What an adorable pattern. I can see why it was calling your name. Adding a stabilizer was a good choice. I wonder if something like Terial Magic would work.

    1. Thanks Gwyned, he really is cute! Thanks for the suggestion about Terial Magic. I didn't know about it but it sounds like it could work.

  3. Harry is wonderful! I love that you continue to take classes and learn and experiment. The stabilizer does help a little, for sure. It will be ready for you when it is a little less hot to wear! Many thanks for linking up to Tips and Tutorials.

    1. Thanks Kathleen. If I didn't continue to learn, I would be bored, so I have no choice :-) I love being able to put a skill with another where that union is not obvious. That's about the most excitement that I want in my life. LOL

  4. Wow, ta chemise est magnifique ! Tiens, je vais regarder si j'ai un pied pareil sur ma machine ;))

    1. Merci beaucoup Frédérique. J'ai bien hâte à l'automne pour la porter! J'espère que tu as un pied pareil :-)

  5. Your shirt looks amazing. I love your hare embroidery :)


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