Learning from the pros. 2

Hello again!

I wrote yesterday that I was using the Frixion pen for drawing lines on my fabrics. There is a lot to do about these pens in the quilting world. Please do a google search on them as many people have experimented with them on fabrics. There were positive outcomes and not so positive outcomes. Please make an informed decision on using these pens on your fabric. I am not using the pens on a real quilt, just cheap fabric that is learning material or me, like a notebook is for a high school student.

Still obsessed with the feathers as I am,  I focussed on more complicated free-flowing designs. My teacher for this exercise was Diane Gaudynski’s book  “Quilt Savvy”. Of all my FMQ books this is the best one! If you are not sure about which book to get, my advice would be to get this one! (I am not being paid or rewarded in any way for saying this. This is my own opinion!)

So I flipped through the little book and wanted to try out her own designs instead of following the steps in the tutorial-like pages. In the book there are very pretty examples of her work. I recreated her work by looking at the pictures very closely. As the pictures in the book are her work I will not be showing them. I have not had time to ask permission to post them here.

The Frixion pen was used to sketch on the fabric. Everything was done freehand.

My aims for this exercise were to understand how to build up a pattern like this and to get my echo quilting more even.

I took photos of the different steps in the FMQ. (Oops some of them are a bit blurry!)

I hit it with an iron… black lines are gone!

The echo quilting looked alright but it needed to be more closely together… So I quilted in between the lines to get to this…

I can totally understand how gorgeous something like this would look with colours closely related to the background fabric. In het book there are many examples were there are multiple thread colours used.

Some detail shots:

The echo quilting is really closely together and it creates a bit on a ripple effect like matchstick quilting also does.


Here is my second sample.

Lots of echos to add!

Do you see that the echos are not just echoing the shapes but sometimes go into a curve? (for example in the left bottom corner) This makes it more dynamic. I really liked this in Diane’s designs. If I remember correctly she does mention it in the book but only briefly. I will play around with this idea again.

What I learned:

– Start with quilting the spine of the feather and the of shoots.

– Watch out that your end petal on the spine is not too curved. It needs to be a gentle curve.

– Different size petals create interest, but they need to have the same basic shape.

– I prefered to start on the side of the petal where there was the most room to stitch elaborate petals.

– When you have an offshoot of your spine start with a petal between the new and old spine. Each side of that petal (wedged in between the old and new spine) will give you a curve to build new petals on.

– Echo quilting so incredibly dense is very hard. I have to find a middle ground between by regular echos and the ones that are just too closely together. So more experiments are needed!

– When echo quilting this fine your less quilted areas really stand out. Gorgeous poof!

– Sometimes when you are echo quilting your can not get out/in a shape anymore. You would have to constantly break thread to continue the echos inside that shape. In the book you can see that Diane sometimes uses different fillers in those areas like a stipple. As long as the density of the FMQ is the same as the echos it will look good. At first I did not understand why Diane had used the different filler, but now I do! 🙂 I will have to try it out in another experiment.

Technical info:

– In the first sample I used the bump back feather technique. In the second sample the style of the feathers called “longarm feathers”, I believe. There is an bit of open space between each feather petal. No backtracking there! I like both styles but the bump back appeals more to my taste for curvy shapes.

– Both the two samples are 10×10 inches.

– I used a Auripoly thread in pink and a very fine bobbin thread by Serafil in off white.

– The fabric I am using is a cheap unbleached cotton from IKEA that was prewashed. It costs 2 euros per meter! Great for experiments. The batting was a 100% cotton.

– The samples will be placed in a reference book for my own quilting. I do hope to be able to use them on a real quilt in the future.


In my next post (or the one after that) I will show you how to quilt a feather in a circle, like a wreath.

Now I am off to clean my room and “prepair” for this evening’s “The Great British Bake Off”… Love that show!



p.s. Linking up with:

Freshly Pieced for W.I.P.Wednesday
My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday
Amy’s Free Motion Quilting Adventures for Free Motion Mondays


33 thoughts on “Learning from the pros. 2

  1. Beautiful quilting! I love the different fillers and echo lines you used. I just marked up a quilt using a Frixion pen (the pink pen on Kona Oyster) and forgot to iron it before washing. I washed it in hot water though, and dried on medium and there is absolutely no sign of the pen. Very happy with it!

    • WOW that is good news!
      I have not seen the pink pens here, just black and blue. That is way I am so hesitant to use them on quilts. If the lines did not come out I would be left with black lines on the fabric. I will ask in the store if they can get their hands on the lighter colours. I do not think so as they will have to buy a box full.
      Next time I am in the USA I will have to get some of those lighter colours!
      Thanks for the tip!

  2. Wow! These designs are beautiful, Esther. Your skill is amazing. Thank your for visiting and leaving the sweet comment on Emma’s Quilt. Much appreciated. xxx ~ Nancy

  3. WOW! your stitching and design work is amazing! I’m not hardly at this point>LOL! I’ve been FMQing for about a year and I love doing it and have done many many baby quilts for charity. I’d like to go beyond leaves+hearts. I do not have a machine with a BSR, do you think that would help for my uneven stitches? I don’t like my stitches to vary so much. Do I just need more practice? Are you quilting on a domestic machine? Thanks for any advice, Linda

    • Hi Linda!
      I quilt on a Janome 7700 Horizon, domestic machine with a bigger harp space and fancy stiches for quilting. I hardly use the latter, but the bigger harp space is essential! I also use a supreme slider for a slippery surface. I have practised a lot these last 16 months, really a lot! I got a heads start on “drawing” and fine motor skills because I am an art teacher so it may take you a bit longer to get there! Do not give up!!!
      This last month I have taken some internet classes on craftsy that were helpful too, but I should have taken them earlier. Some parts I already knew, but that is okay. You always pick up new things.
      Very recently I have had the chance to try out a longarm machine which had a Stitch Regulator. I do NOT recommend getting one for your domestic machine if they indeed are similar ( which I can not say! I do not know that for sure).the SR on the longarm seriously hampered my movements, especially in curves. I turned it off and the curves were so much better! Yes the stitches looked better with the SR turned on, but the overall work was better with the SR turned off.
      I suggest that you slow down your movements and maybe go a bit faster in the speed ( push the pedal! ) Practise smaller patterns where your movements need to be controlled, like pebbles and smaller stippling. The fine motorskills will be so useful for the bigger patterns. I do believe your stitches will get more even with just more “doing” and not fancy equipment.
      If you have any more questions, please do ask!

    • Hello Lucy!
      Yes it is so gorgeous! When I saw the picture of Diane Gaudynski’s work I was so in AWE! I think she is inspired by old floral designs like from the 17th and 18th century.
      It was great to try to get close to her work!

  4. You have some amazing skills!!! Wowza! Thanks for sharing your process with us!!! I’m going to put your emails in a separate folder to refer back to later!!! 🙂

  5. Thank you so much for sharing the process you used in quilting these examples! Gorgeous quilting. I am saving to refer to later on.

  6. These are awesome! When you wrote you needed to add more echos I was ‘NO! Don’t do it!” But WOW!! I can’t believe I thought that (more is always better IMHO LOL). Love these posts!!

    • Ha ha, I totally get what you mean! I was hesitant too at first but I just gave it a go! It was a sample anyway, so harm done if it did not looked good! 🙂
      Have a great weekend!

  7. Hi Esther, You certainly are a feather girl! They look fab particularly with the more dense echoing. Have you considered trying two layers of wadding? it will make those less quilted areas pop even more, next to the dense filler. Love Suzy

    • Yes I have considered using two layers, but I was running out of it! I will go the shop tormorrow to get some wool and more cotton batting. I will be making a quilt with wool batting soon. Do you recommend doubling wool batting?
      Thank you for your advice!

      • Hi Esther, I’ve never tried doubling wool up, it will either make it even better or not show up enough of a difference to make the cost worth it! How’s that for a sit on the fence kind of answer!!!! Let me know if you go for two wool or one of each and I look forward to learning from you which is better! take care. Love Suzy

  8. I am a new FMQer and really appreciate your passion to learn as much as you can, to step back and reflect, then give it another go! I started keeping a journal to help me think it all through. Your work is exquisite. I think I need to follow your blog!

  9. Those are some great feathers! I definitely need to check out Diane’s book, thanks for the recommendation. I took Angela Walter’s feather class in craftsy and that really helped me. I, too, prefer the bump back feathers. I can’t seem to get the curves right for the longarm feathers. I love the frixion pens and have always had good results with it but I also try to do a test swatch first, just in case.

  10. Esther- Gee, I’m such a slacker, having just noticed that folks linked up this week. I really must fix my settings so I get notified when somebody’s linked up on my blog.

    Your samples are absolutely fabulous (especially after the echoing was made denser!)! You are learning from the master indeed with Diane.

  11. Pingback: Blogger Quilt Festival – Home Machine quilted | ipatchandquilt

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