NOTE : I no longer promote Craftsy/Bluprint as I used to due to the way the subscription is currently being carried out. I had the issue of cancelling my subscription when the company changed hand and I find that cancelling through calls is inconvenient. However, I do still stand behind these classes I promote and if you are subscribed, you can surely check these classes I recommend on the platform. If you are looking for another online platform to learn craft such as quilting, do check out CreativeBug. It is much cheaper in subscription (subscribe now 3 months for only $5). Thank you.

If you are new here, this post is a part of my quilt-as-you-go my Sewcial Bee Sampler which I plan to share along the process along with some tips and tutorial. Click here to related Archive posts.

I am sharing with you today how I quilted block 2 – A Dandy. I have two blocks made for two quilts, one with custom quilting and one with allover quilting.

Both would be a great practice if you are looking towards improving your free-motion skill. I am still practicing myself, especially with the custom quilting. I am learning as I go too, so let’s do this together!


There are affiliate links in this post for your convenience. Please refer to my full disclosure here.


Before we go into the design for this block, here are some of my favorite must-have tools for Free Motion Quilting:

  1. Superior Threads. I literally changed my minds about threads, when I started using this thread. And they come in big cones. which means they last longer before I have to change thread. I use an embroidery thread stand for it. You can get cheap thread stand like this one here.

2. Superior Threads Top Stitch Needles. I use this for all my sewing and FMQ. Really. In fact, I kind of find it a bit off when I have to use a needle that is not coloured gold as these needles are.

3. My trusty sticky Glove. Any brand works for me, but I personally love the one that is breathable cotton like this one.

4. Spray Baste. I am not a fan of taking off safety pins. This makes it so much quicker and allows me to cruise without fear of getting onto a pin. I personally love 505 Spray baste.

5.  My large throat Janome Horizon machine of course!

However, you won’t need all of these tools to start. Just a reminder, I started with the very basic sewing machine and just a regular free motion quilting foot. And still managed to quilt a queen-size quilt. Just upgrade as you feel more confident and want to ease a couple of things that bothers you.

Quilt as you go

Quilt as you go block-by-block, is one method you could opt for when you want to make quilting large quilts on your domestic machine feasible. It is one of my go-to methods especially if I want to skip the heavy work pushing through large quilts within my machine throat space.

Besides, I love the fact that I can easily finish blocks by blocks and even have a fancy backing like this one I made earlier. If you are interested to learn how I piece the block together, here is one way how to do it – using small sashing strips.

Allover quilting design: Lightning rod free-motion quilting

For the allover quilting, I chose the lightning rod motifs for this second block.

I do suggest you try this pattern with pen and paper first. This will give you the idea on how the final look will be, how you are to navigate from one place to another, and how the motion is. With the previous block, we did stippling where the motion is smooth and rounded. this time the lightning bolt design requires more stop and go motion as we try and achieve those sharp points.

Think of those long lightning bolt that we see in cartoons or superhero movies. They sort of radiates and bend as they go.


After having the confidence practicing on paper, you can now move onto free motion quilting thunder bolts on scrap fabric basted with leftover battings. This is to ensure you have good tension and have a good sense of moving your quilt in the direction you want it to go.

Here is the finished block. Textures…

Free Motion Quilting Lightning Bolts Tutorial

Custom free motion quilting on quilt as you go blocks

For the other quilt, each blocks are going to be custom quilted, which means each will be designed accordingly with the block pattern. I love playing with different quilting design for such quilt and make the quilt block pop out even more.

The benefit of using quilt as you block is that it is so much easy to maneuver with small blocks and custom quilting is made easier under the throat of domestic machine. Plus, your shoulder should thank you too!

I planned the custom quilting using Sharon Holland’s colouring page which  Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell has available for download in the Intro section. I simply view them in magnified mode on my screen and crop each block into JPG on its own (You can use (shift+command+4 on Mac) or use snips in Microsoft.

I then printed the block individually and plan out the quilting with pencils. While doing it with the pencil I also plan how will I be moving the needle from one place to another.


Marking on the block for free motion quilting for quilt as you go blocks

You will need:

  • Hera marker
  • Water erasable pen
  • Quarter inch ruler

On the quilt block, make sure custom quilting are done within the finished block size – which means, you have to mark the 1/4″ mark from the block seams. This is to ensure that when joining the blocks together, the quilting does not get buried inside the seams.

You can also do marking for the feather spine as this will be a great guidance to free motion quilting feathers. I have been pinning lots of feathers and all kinds of quilting lately over at pinterest. Join me along over at pinterest!

I marked the centre quarter circle using a cup and the feather spine. I am using air-dry pen which is annoying as it goes away every five seconds, but that was the only one I had in hand at the moment.

I did a big mistake prior to this video where you can see feather block traces around the border. I mistakenly did the border first and that messed everything up so I had to undo all the stitches which was hard work and you do not want to go there….

Anyway, here are some snippets of the free motion quilting done for the block.

I am still practicing my feather quilting. What free motion quilting design are you planning to practice more this year? Do you love feathers?

Well, if you decide to join along or have any question, drop me a comment. I will be happy to help where I can!

Till next time, have fun sewing and quilting!


3 Comments on Free Motion Quilting on Block A Dandy | Sewcial Bee Sampler

  1. I am looking forward to seeing more blocks- tackling it one block at a time is much less intimidating!

  2. When you are working do you use a STITCH REGULATOR? If a person does not have one what is the best way to insure nice even stitches?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.