April 23, 2021

Featured Image above - Jade Floral Wonderland from Happy Day by Michael Miller
When you start learning free-motion quilting (FMQ), one of the best things to do is start with a large print fabric and simply outline the design. When you choose this large-print fabric, look for these characteristics:

Size:Choose fabrics with motifs between half and full size of your hand. Smaller than this, and the details will be too small for a beginning quilter to stitch comfortably. Larger than this, quilter's hands may bump up against the body of the machine.

Style:Since beginning quilters are often worried about their stitches being wobbly and imperfect, the perfect fabric is one that already has a wobbly, imperfect design. Any design that looks hand-drawn or hand-painted is great. Objects with soft edges can work well. Also, I like fabrics that have about 50% design and 50% empty background space. The open space provides an opportunity later on to practice fill patterns. But denser fabrics will work as well. 

This is Love Always by Stephanie Ryan for Three Wishes Fabric. I love the size, the hand-painted style and the spacing for learning fill patterns in the background.

Kaffe Fassett's large florals such as this one are good choices for a denser textured fabric. Stitch in as little or as much detail as you are comfortable with.

Block Panels: In Free-Motion Mastery in a Month, you quilt one 12" block each day. These are trimmed down to 10" square after quilting. So, I love panels where the individual blocks fit this size. As a bonus, they usually have the perfect combination of figures and empty background space.

I LOVE this Dinosaur Friends panel from Jason Yenter for In the Beginning Fabrics!

What fabrics should you avoid for learning FMQ?

Avoid very structured or symmetrical designs that would make any imperfections in the quilting glaringly obvious. These types of designs can activate your inner perfectionist. We want you to be comfortable, not critical!

Happy Quilting!
RaNae :)

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