20 January, 2012

FMQ Challenge - progress for January

The key, it would seem, is practice, practice, practice. So, I watched the video, thought about it for a while, made up a quilt sandwich, and got going.

I elected to use dark blue thread on calico so that I could get a proper 'warts and all' look at how I managed. The whole point of the challenge is to improve, and I felt that I needed a good harsh look at my efforts to see what was going on. And here is my practice piece.

I started in the centre and moved in an anticlockwise direction. Looking at this picture I can see that my leaf shapes are not ideal - they are too elongated - and there are irregular gaps in the fill. However, I know where I went wrong, and they are simple things to fix.

As I was doing the central portion, it became clear that this pattern would lend itself very nicely to becoming a linear design for borders, so I had a stab at that too, at the top and bottom. Although they are not ideal, it was proof enough in my mind that it would work!!

My next project was one of my favourite things that I make - a square LOVE wall hanging. Normally I would use 4 layer cake squares and add a binding to the edge. I would topstitch around the letters then quilt the '+' and around the letters. And that would be it. Very nice result though - I have one hanging on my pantry door. In light of this months challenge I decided to add a narrow border around the egde, then binding, and I would FMQ the leaf design in the border. No further practice, no marking, just lots of concentration and focus. I like a bit of pressure! I also like the result! See for yourself.

A detail from the rear of the bottom left hand corner

The whole of the rear (I hadn't stitched the hanging sleeve down at this stage!)

 Detail from the bottom right hand corner

Detail from the top left hand corner

And the whole wall hanging. The quilting isn't so clear.

So, a definite improvement between the two pieces. For sure, the leaf shapes aren't regular, the stitch length is definitely quite random, but for me those two things are part of the appeal of FMQ. You can definitely see the human involvement! I started stitching, it all flowed, my needle moved where I felt it should. It was wonderful.

I do quite a lot of work with narrow borders, so this style of quilting fill will be something that features quite heavily.

I can hardly wait for February's challenge.


  1. Wow, wonderful improvement quickly. I'm still working on this leaf pattern and its a challenge but its fun. You give me hope that I will improve with practice.
    Really great work, you must be so proud of yourself.

    1. Marianne, Thank you for that. I did concentrate quite hard with the wall hanging. After the first few leaves I relaxed and went with it and really enjoyed it. It probably helped having only a narrow band to fill which gave very definited boundaries rather than a big expanse. I am keen to try another practice piece to see whether my confidence has improved with a bigger fill area. And it is definitely fun!!

  2. I love your leaves! Mine look like hearts but I'm still practicing! Looks like we're all in this together! It'll be fun to see how we do over the next 12 months of this challenge!!

    1. Rosemary, Thank you! I wanted these to look more 'hearty' thank my practice piece as it was a LOVE theme, and they turned out okay in that respect. I definitely feel as though there is a good support network out there with lots of sharing going on which is making the whole experience more enjoyable. After this fantastic month I am definitely looking forward to the next 11 months. What an interesting year it will be.

  3. These look really nice! Great job!

  4. You did a great job on your FMQ. And I love how you applied it to your wallhanging. Very cute LOVE quilt too!


    1. Thank you SewCalGal! I am loving January and can't wait to see what else you have store for us throughout the year. thank you for your time and effort in organising it all.

  5. Well done to you - it looks great, and can see your imporvement.

    1. Not as fantastic as your feathers Joan! They are really beautiful.

  6. I love your wall hanging. I think your quilting is great. Won't this be something to look back on once you become a quilting expert!!!

    1. Thank you Colleen! It is nice to have been able to apply the pattern to something in a couple of different ways. Looking at all the fantastic quilts out there the 'quilting expert' bit will be a long time coming!!

  7. A nice quilt - a fun challenge to join :-)

  8. Thank you! I have already got more out of this challenge in the first month than I expected to in the whole year. I am also enjoying all the sharing and commenting that is going on. Definitely a fun thing to be part of.

  9. Ohhhhh que bien te ha salido las hojas!!!!!!

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