Monday, July 3, 2017

#MachineQuiltingBlogHop Week 10 - Swirling Butterflies

machine quilting blog hop

Welcome to our grand finale, Week 10 of the Machine Quilting Blog Hop!

Today we are finishing up the hop and working on Chapter 3 of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson, Swirling Butterflies

I'm going to apologize right now for the quality of the pictures. It has been raining here for days and days, and the whole cloth is already tricky to capture. I did my best.

We saved this chapter for last thinking that it was the most challenging, and that making a whole cloth quilt would be the magnum opus of our machine quilting hop. In some ways this is true, but there are definitely other designs that were much more difficult for me. I find the free motion "doodling" to be very relaxing and freeing, versus the specific lines required when doing a pattern. 

I broke from the book in that I didn't trace a design like Christa and Angela did. I started out by cutting a 13" square of this pale gray fabric that I picked up at City Square Quilts. I pressed guidelines into it so I would have something to aim for.

Then I used a Crayola washable marker to draw some circles. In retrospect, I wish I had done two things differently: first, I should have used a compass to be a little more precise. You can see that I just eyeballed it and traced around some plastic bowls. Second, I wish I had drawn more circles because they really were helpful.

Then I just started playing with thread. I used this gorgeous pale blue Aurifil thread called Mint Ice (2800) in the 50 weight that I originally used in Royal Squares. I stitched the center flower design first, using my pressed guidelines to help make the petals all about the same size and evenly spaced. 

I then stitched some scalloped edges. I did microstippling inside the first scallop, and went around the outside scallop a second time to give it a little more depth. I think these are so pretty, and gives the finished product a lacy look.

Here's where I wish I'd had at least one more circle drawn. These spirals got a little out of control, but I do love the pebbling that fills in the gaps between the spirals and the scallops.

I added a leaf design between the spirals. I regret these because they are not on the guidelines but also not evenly spaced between the guidelines. They're also not all the same size. Again, this is where more circles would have helped. 

I finished up with some of the cursive L designs to fill the area around the spirals and leaves. Last I went around the edges with switchbacks to finish it off. 

These small quilt sandwiches are so great for this purpose. I was able to practice and see what works. I learn which things are worth taking the extra time that it takes for precision and which things can be left imperfect. 

Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter drawing for your own copy of the book, and be sure to visit Vicki, Kristin, and HollyAnne to enter their drawings. That's right - Martingale gave us 4 books to raffle! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you been quilting along with us? What have you learned? Do you think a weekly or monthly link up would be motivating and inspiring? How should we keep this good momentum going? Let us know what you think, either in the comments or on your favorite social media channel using the hashtag #machinequiltingbloghop. 

This has been so much fun for me, and my stitching has improved already. It's true what they say - practice makes progress! This hop has kept me sewing and pushing some boundaries. I really do hope to keep it up and continue to improve my skills.

Thanks for playing along. Check back later this week to see who won the raffles!


  1. Thanks for sharing your fmq journey!! I love the fun scallops you do around the circle!

  2. I am quilting along and so appreciate seeing the work you guys do. It is encouraging to hear that even seasoned quilters are challenged with a new skill.


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