I am sharing with you today how I quilted block 23 – Friendship Star. You’ll learn how to free motion quilt allover star strokes motif and how to create a dynamic look with custom free motion quilting using simple free motion curves.
If you are new here, this post is a part of my quilt-as-you-go my Sewcial Bee Sampler, a sew-along hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell. I plan to share along the process with some tips and tutorial.
As usual, 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, so let’s do this together!
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Before we go into the design for this block, here are some of my favorite must-have tools for Free Motion Quilting:
1. I literally changed my mind about threads, when I started using this thread. Just read what other people has to say about it too HERE. 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 colored gold as these needles are. Try out different sizes with this pack.
3. My trusty sticky Glove. Any brand works for me, but I personally love the one that is breathable cotton like this one. If I don’t feel like wearing gloves, I make sure I have my Supreme Slider on the machine. Works like a charm and reduce tiring my shoulder.
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 really bother 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.
Spray Basting Quilt Sandwiches
In order to quilt-as-you-go block-by-block, I first made each block into a quilt sandwich, basting with spray baste adhesive. I love spray basting as it removes the need to undo pins as you quilt especially for small blocks like these.
You can choose to use the same fabrics for the backing, however, I decided to do mine scrappy solid for the allover quilting quilt and scrappy printed for the custom quilt. The scrappy solid backing will look something like this one I made earlier.
I recommend having about 2-3″ wider batting and backing to make it easier to quilt the area around the edges of the block. I made mine kind of tight, and I find that it is hard to move the quilt with so little to hold on to when the quilting gets so close to the edge. Well, lesson learned.
Allover Quilting Motif: Star Strokes
Taking inspiration from the block itself, this time I opt to make an allover star with lightning strokes as pathways.
With the plain white backgrounds, this block did seem a little bland. I do think a custom quilting would definitely suit this block better. However, to keep up with the theme for this particular quilt, I braced myself and keep it as an allover quilting design.
This motif requires a little more practice especially to keep all those corners sharp. I still needed more practice for sure. A lot of patience and more stopping and slowing down as oppose to the normal smooth meandering curves.
You’ll also need to think ahead on how to cover an area and when to start making the stars. Otherwise you’ll end up with weird pathway and mess up the density of the quilting.
I would definitely try this again and practice more.
Here are the practice drills:
make sure you pin this to try them later!
Custom free motion quilting on quilt-as-you-go blocks
For the other quilt, each block is going to be custom quilted, which means each will be designed accordingly with the block pattern.
The benefit of using quilt-as-you-go block is that it is so much easy to maneuver with small blocks and custom quilting is made easier under the throat of a domestic machine. Plus, your shoulder should thank you too!
Custom Free Motion Quilting Block Friendship Star of Sewcial Bee Sampler
With the star as the center of attention, I decided to use the custom quilting to enhance it even more. This time I added free motion curves from each inside corner of the star radiating out. This creates a swirly motif around the star making it more dynamic and seems like it is twirling.
Form one corner to the other, I simply stitch within the ditch going around the star.
The star itself is quilted with simple orange peels motif.
If you have been following the updates on this version of my Sewcial Bee Sampler, you’ll notice the feather motif quilting theme that I try to implement in each block.
For this block,I have incorporated another feather border. To avoid boring straight feathers around the grey border, I opt to create the feathers with a scalloped spines coming from the white frame within the block.
The feathers were made with various petals sizes to create more flow and were made with no backtracking.
To finalise the look, I echo once around the whole feather borders.
It turns out quite different to the other feather borders I have on the previous blocks, but the theme still suits it well.
If you want to try free motion quilt feather motifs yourself, I have a free course that you can sign up right here to get started.
Well, if you decide to join along or have any questions, drop me a comment. I will be happy to help where I can! In the meantime, you can also check these free motion quilting tips!
Click here to related Archive posts.
until next time, have fun sewing and quilting!