FMQ – samples

Now my new sewing room is finally functional, I couldn’t resist the urge to “get my fix” of some Free Motion Quilting. For all off these next samples I used an 1 inch grid. As you can see, I marked the grid with a blue Frixion pen. I love these pens for practice material, samplers and for drawing around templates. I have stopped using them on actual quilts as the ink actually stays in the quilt even if you have heated it with an iron. The supposedly disappearing ink actually still is there. And on SOLID fabrics the ghost lines are NOT INVISBLE at all! The pen leaves a white line, so beware!


Playing with the letter e and some loops.


Double up those loops!


This next cute pattern is actually pretty easy to do as long as you have the grid marks! You stitch out this pattern horizontal lines and later the vertical lines (or vise versa).


And this one works the same; with the grid makes, you can”t go wrong!


I absolutely adore this next orange peel pattern. It is one of the first patterns I learned to stitch out.


See? This is a baby quilt from April 2013. Just 4 months after starting my blog.


I used a fleece as backing. I love working with fleece. I should do that more.


Okay, back to the FMQ samplers!

Here is another orange peel pattern. BUT… once the basic pattern was stitched out, I gave it another pass. I stitched a new line on the INSIDE of each peel.


And this last sample shows the orange peel again, but now with an extra pass on the OUTSIDE of each peel. What a small change can do to a pattern, right?


I hope to be using these samples in one of the FMQ workshops I teach.




26 thoughts on “FMQ – samples

  1. I use the Frixion pens too and find the felt tip versions do leave a sort of shiny transparent mark on the fabric but haven’t had problems with the others. Some people say the marks come back below a certain temperature though so best to stay warm!
    I would so love to come to one of your workshops – your quilting always looks so fabulous. I might try to set up one of those little grids and have a practice but I still don’t think I’d be able to do such concentrated quilting on anything larger than a baby quilt.

    • I only have experience with the Frixion fineliners and they leave the white line too. Most of the times when I do see a line it is on a solid fabric.

      I will only attempt this tiny FMQ on a very special quilt, not on every project. Things would’t get done otherwise, ha ha… it takes forever!!!

      Anything based on the baptist fan or orange peel can easily be stitched on a larger grid. Personally I try stick to a maximum of 4 inches for a freehand curve. Larger is just too difficult as I can’t see the ‘mark’ as it is obscured by the sewing machine itself. Using a sitdown midarm machine should solve that problem as those machines are higher and you can see your quilt much better. But… I don’t have one of those,…yet! I have trouble making up my mind on what machine to get.
      Would love to see your samples!

  2. I love seeing your samples! They’re such fun shapes to try out …and I’m definitely going to try some of them this afternoon. Thank you for sharing them!

  3. How interesting that is! It really takes the mystery out of those designs. So how would you mark a quilt that isn’t pieced in one-inch squares, if you aren’t using the Frixion pen? I still use them in all my embroidery.

    I did the experiment with putting in the freezer and saw that the marks come back, though lighter, but they pressed out again, so I figure my work isn’t going to be in the cold. Maybe the ink would weaken the fabric over a long time, but I won’t be around to worry abut it then. =)

    • I have been using several markers, but I am not knowledgeable on all the once out there. If the quilt doesn’t provide me with the marks (for instance the corners of the blocks), I will use a chalk pen if the fabric is dark. If the fabric is very light I would try one of those blue water erasable pens. On a fabric that doesn’t work well with the blue pen, I would try the purple air erasable pens.

      I have seen a video online of a longarm quilter using painters tape with premarked lines. She had put it along to the border or sashing and used the marks on the tape as a reference. If the sashing or border was wide and you would need marks in the inside, I would be tempted to use a marker of some sort.
      I like the tape idea, but on large quilts I have noticed that the tape comes loose from the quilt. It doesn’t stick to well. And I don’t want to accidentally sew through the tape. It is a pain to get rid off if you have sewn through it: all those little remnants are hard to pick out from underneath the thread.


    • Hello June,
      Thank you for leaving a comment! It is amazing what the difference it makes to put one line in a different position. It is actually addictive to think about it; I feel like I have to try out all the variations, ha ha!
      Bye bye

    • I am using a Janome 8900, a large but normal domestic sewing machine made for quilters. The ‘harp’ is 11 inches. On a regular machine that is about 8 inches. The 3 extra inches give you so much more room to move your quilt. Wouldn’t want to piece or quilt with out this machine.\

  4. I’ve read too many things about Frixion pen marks coming back to want to try them. At the moment, I use the Sewline ceramic markers in white or pink for dark fabrics, and with these, the marks come off easily if you rub them with fabric or an eraser. Trouble is, sometimes they rub off before I’m finished with them! For lighter colours I use a very fine lead pencil, which has never failed yet to wash out. I’m told there’s a new range of Crayola felt tip pens which are completely washable, which are fine if you’re working with lighter colours, but they wouldn’t show up on dark ones… No ideal solution yet, but I keep trying!
    Your quilting is lovely, and the variations you can achieve with a 1 inch grid is impressive. I like quilting a bit less dense, but I may give a larger grid a go!

    • I will go to the local quilt shop this afternoon and buy that Sewline marker and test it out. The air erasable purple pen only gives me about a day to work on something. That is just not enough. I need to read bit about that Crayola marker. Don’t know if I could get them here. Maybe there are other brands that also have markers that wash out, maybe by Edding? I will look into it in the coming months.

      I have quilted this densely before on samples and small pillows but never on an actual quilt. It just takes forever to finish a project with this type of FMQ, right?

      Stitches out the samples is a lot of fun. At the moment I am working on another sampler with even more dense quilting. It is mostly based on entangle patterns found on Pinterest. It is addictive, I tell you!


      • If you can’t find the Crayola washable markers, let me know and I’ll send you a pack. They’re not expensive. I haven’t seen any other brands that offer the same claim to wash out completely.

        • Thank you! I will let you know.
          I have bought the Sewline marker and I worked with it a little bit this morning. So far it is perfect, but I haven’t tried it on larger areas, just a small square.

  5. Have you tried using a skinny scrap of bar soap to mark a grid? It rubs off if you handle it a lot but I’ve tried marking a small space with it and like it. Lines can be kinda thick but if you’re just marking intersections or a grid, it works fine. I haven’t done much FMQ but would like to find a good solution for marking.

    • I”ve been using soap slivers for a long time. They stay on and can be rubbed off with a slightly damp cloth. If the sliver gets too thick, I use an old potatoe peeler to sharpen the edges.

  6. About marking.. I still use a friction pen, mark sparingly and where my fmq will cover most of the marks. I use the ceramic pencils for light fabrics. I would like to try Patsy Thompson’s method of marking ~ she uses a soap sliver and sharpens an edge with a potato peeler:)
    Thanks for the tuts, I’m going to make a sampler with your ideas soon. I agree with you that it really is addictive.

  7. I saw your pictures on Pinterest and am so glad that I read your blog. I am do glad I did not use that ink. I have that pen but have not yet graduated to quilting tops.

    • Hello Jacqueline,
      The pen has its place in the quilting world, just not on a quilt top! I love using it for tracing around templates and drawing grid on practice pieces. I have now started using the Sewline Ceramic Pencil on darker fabrics and I am really happy with it so far. For the lighter fabrics I use those purple air erasable pens. I hardly ever use the blue water soluble pens anymore. If I would need the line to stay visible for longer than a day, I would use the blue pens, though. The purple lines disappear quickly.
      Please, please please give freemotion quilting a try. Please don’t be afraid to jump in and start learning. We weren’t born with the ability to read and write too! We had to practice that over and over.
      Get a stack of quilt sandwiches ready (that is your “notebook”) and some pretty threads (your “pens” )that stand out a bit on the fabric, but not too much. Uou don’t want to be confronted with every little wobbly you make. A little lighter or a little darker thread is fine. You need to see where you are going. So tray away from matching thread to your fabric for now. Then, fill those sandwiches… just with scribbles or handwriting. Maybe start with your own name. Try out the letter as I did in the examples. It is a great starting point. And draw, draw and draw on notepads, envelops, the newspaper… anything you can get your hands on!
      Good luck… and good FUN!

    • Goodmorning!

      I personally like using the Sewline mechanical pencil with the white leads. For a light fabric, the offer pink and blue leads, but I have no experience with those.

      Depending on the accuracy of the marked lines needed I also use thicker chalks, like a normal sewing chalk pencil.
      I just bought a pounce pad to use on practice pieces. I have been using the templates for the pounce pads with the thin sewline pencil, but it takes a long time to mark a quilt that way.

      I also use Frixion pens but on practice pieces ONLY ( or for marking a piece I need to cut for fussy cutting). The pens are not meant for use on fabric and they can leave bad marks. Be careful with these.

      Very rarely I use the purple pens as the lines disappear way to quickly compared with my work pace.


  8. As a beginner machine quilter, these are great to start stretching my skills. I have bookmarked several of your blog posts. Now to go back and start sketching them while we remodel.

  9. I am brand new to fmq. I have practiced and quilted 4 quilts. I want to try stencils and markings to go by. How do you do that on a quilt? Once it is in the long arm? Help

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s