> ~ Insights by SewCalGal ~

Friday, June 1, 2012

June FMQ Challenge, by Cindy Needham

I am happy to have Cindy Needham, as our June FMQ Expert, for the 2012 Free Motion Quilting challenge.   You may recall a previous post, where I shared insights on Cindy, but today I'm delighted to share a few more insights with you, before you pursue her FMQ tutorial.

Cindy lives in Chico, Ca. (Northern California), with her husband Kent.  She has two amazing daughters and two granddaughters, whom live nearby.  She loves spending time with her family and friends, quilting, and teaching. 

She travels to teach at shows and quilt guilds, all over the world, and also hosts quilting retreats and extended teaching workshops.


Cindy wrote "Wholecloth Linen Quilts",  which was published by AQS in June, 2007.  She has also written many articles for various magazines (e.g. Quilters Newsletter Magazine, American Quilter, Machine Quilting Unlimited, The Quilter, The Quilting Quarterly, etc.) as well as many  self publishing her class handbooks which are available for sale on her website as downloads.

While Cindy is known for her amazing work saving, restoring and creating stunning pieces of art with old linens, she has also created a unique style of blending a variety of free motion quilting designs on one piece.  This creates a beautiful motion that I find captivating to the eye and mind.

The attention to detail in her work is amazing.
I'm also impressed how she has the gift of teaching an unconfident beginner by showing them in simple steps the techniques of free-motion quilting.  The photo below is the work of one of her students produced in her "My Designs" workshop.   

Cindy has provided participants in the 2012 FMQ Challenge an excellent tutorial, but I do hope that many will also have an opportunity to attend a class with Cindy sometime soon!  While I'm thinking about it, I want to share insights with you on a few opportunities for you to take a class with Cindy soon:

Many major Quilt Shows and quilting events offer classes with Cindy.   Here are a few you may want to check out.

Cindy hosts "My Time" quilting retreats that allow quilters to work on their own projects, to be pampered with good food and fun including opportunities to win prizes that have been known to include a free retreat and a framed wholecloth miniature! She is there to help with any and all projects and the bonus is having her huge stencil stash available for designing.  Prices are reasonable and her retreats sell out quickly. Visit her website and click on "Retreats" for a list of dates for both 2012 and 2013.

Cindy also hosts 5-day “My Designs” workshops in Rancho Cordova, California. These workshops are for the “confident beginner” up to experienced free motion quilter. Students are guided through the steps of designing and learn how to make designs their own.  SewCalGal is signed up for the September ’12 retreat and sew looking forward to it! Visit her website and click on “Workshops” for a list of dates for both 2012 and 2013.
For the newbie quilter that want to become the “confident beginner”, Cindy hosts 3-day “My Beginner” workshops in Rancho Cordova, California. These provide quality, uninterrupted teaching and quilting time without being on a clock. Students gain a solid foundation in free motion quilting skills, how to use different threads in their machine, learn the basics of design and learn how to do beautiful feathers and background work. Visit her website and click on “Workshops” for a list of dates for 2013.

Cindy can be found at:


Cindy has provided the following handouts to participants in this challenge:
  1.  "These are a Few of My Favorite Things...."
  2. Tips for "Beginning & Ending Your Quilting Lines"
  3. Cindy's "SewCalGal's 2012 FMQ Challenge" tutorial.  All participants (English and non-English speaking participants) are encouraged to download a copy of this tutorial.  As Google/Translator doesn't work with PDF files, to help our  non-english participants 100% of the text in this tutorial has been copied into this post, but not every photo.  Thus, I want to encourage non-English speaking participants to use this post to translate, but also refer to the additional photos on each  page of Cindy's tutorial in PDF format.  I've tried to tag in red, where you need to refer back to her PDF to view more photos.
note from SewCalGal:

 The above links do work.  The above PDFs are hosted via Google docs.  When you click the link it may take a while to open the file.  Once opened, you can do a save as to save to your desktop and print, or print directly from Google docs.
The Basic Three

I am excited to have been invited to be a part of this special Free Motion Quilting Challenge!  I’ve put a lot of thought into the content of my lesson for you. The lessons that have preceded  mine have provided some great information, tips and techniques by some fabulous teachers.

In my Beginning Machine Quilting workshops I try to provide my students with a solid foundation of information that ranges from setting up your workspace, batting, threads, needles, pin-straight basting, changing your tension, etc. I’ve decided to narrow my lesson down to “The Basic Three”. I also decided to provide you with written text vs. a video. You can keep this handout with you always. I will be adding short videos to my website in the very near future and those will illustrate some of the techniques I am describing here.

We’re going to pretend that you’ve survived the morning portion of my workshop ...all the lecture stuff. Now you get to snug up to your machine and I am going to share how to get your rhythm...how to begin and end your quilting lines...and how to create beautiful quilting designs with my “Basic Three”.

The “Humm~Purr”

I have been a quilter for 42 years now...it seems hard to believe that it has been that long. I was a hand quilter for the first 25 years and then begrudgingly turned to machine quilting in order to keep up with store teaching samples. It was not love at first sight...I hated it. I loved the rhythm of hand quilting...feeling the quilt as I stitched...watching the transformation of fabric into a quilt. I mostly loved the rhythm of the needle.

Unfortunately my first machine quilting class was not a good one. Although the teacher was knowledgeable, very little time was spent on technique. It was more of a teacher show and tell type of class and we were sent on our way at the end of the day to practice and learn.

I left the class very frustrated and disappointed because I was looking for the magic trick that was going to make me an amazing machine quilter very quickly. There was no rabbit jumping out of a hat for me that’s for sure! It took me nearly 3 months of nightly practice to finally get a good rhythm and stitch length. I only stayed with it because I was not going to let the machine beat me!

Once I obtained my rhythm it seemed that things started falling into place. I became more confident.

Several years ago I was invited to do demo quilting for Superior Threads at the Pacific International Quilt Festival and I had to use “Brand So-and-So” machine. It was a machine that I was not familiar with so I got a loaner and practiced with it at home prior to the show so I would appear confident. I had an awful time trying to get my stitches where I wanted them...things were not going well and I was very frustrated. I finally turned the music on in my sewing room way too loud so I couldn’t hear the machine and it worked. I could finally get my stitch length by “feeling” the rhythm of the machine. I never realized just how important the sound of my sewing machine was and it changed the way I teach.

I now fondly call this rhythm my “Hummm~Purrrr” because that is just what it is. It is that nice, comfortable humming and purring of your machine as you are quilting. It’s not slow and clunky...it’s not bat-out-of-hell speed…it’s the comfy one in the middle. I also describe it as Goldilocks and the Three Bears...it’s not the Baby Bear, it’s not the Papa Bear...it’s the Mama Bear in the middle! This will be your medium rhythm and speed. You will slow down for some designs and you will speed up for other designs but you will always start here and work your way up or down. Start off with a practice panel approximately 18” square...this is simply two squares of muslin with a thin batting in the middle. It is important that you use a good quality thread! I can’t stress how important this is.

Start off with a contrasting color 50 wt. thread. The contrast will allow you to easily see your stitches. There are a thousand different opinions on needles and which ones to use, but I use Topstitch needles in three different sizes depending on what thread I’m using. The Topstitch 80/12 is the “one in the middle” and will work well with your 50 wt. thread.

Start by bringing your bobbin thread to the top. Without worrying about quilting any particular  design, start free motion quilting some lines and swirls on your practice panel. Slowly start  bringing your machine up from a slow clunky speed (Baby Bear) to a nice “Humm-  Purr” (Mama Bear). Does it feel comfortable to you? Do you find yourself relaxing a bit just  by hearing the sound? Do you have control of your hands at this speed? Now speed up the machine to a higher speed...more of a higher “whine” sound (Papa Bear). You may feel a bit more tense and out of control at this higher speed. Now slow your machine back down to the Mama Bear “Humm-Purr”. 

Believe it or not you will recognize the rhythm and sound immediately. Once it’s there, completely focus your hands on the rhythm and your ears on the sound of your machine...sew  at this rhythm and sound for at least 10-15 minutes. By sewing at this rhythm and sound for that amount of time you are filing this into your muscle memory bank and it will be there  forever.

I teach my students that if they have a hearing impairment they will obtain their humm-purr strictly by feeling the rhythm of their machine. I taught my first deaf student earlier this year and she got her rhythm faster than the other students!

Once you have your humm-purrr it’s time to get your stitch length right. Your body already has your “humm-purr” in its memory bank so the only thing you have to worry about is how fast or slow you are moving your hands. This is how you get a good stitch length.

Put your practice panel back in your machine. Start quilting some lines at your comfortable humm-purr. Move your hands very slowly while you are quilting...look at how tiny your stitches are! You are aiming for a “piecing stitch length” size of stitch. Keeping the same humm-purr on your machine move your hands a little bit faster...see how the stitch length gets a little longer? Play with your hand movement until you obtain a nice piecing stitch length size of stitch.

Practice quilting at your humm-purrr speed and your newly found hand movement speed while this is filed into your brain’s memory bank. This will be with you forever! No pressure here...in my classroom each of my students obtains their humm-purr and stitch length within about 15 minutes. It is all about the sound and rhythm of your machine.

Just a little side note...I always tell my students that they are aiming for a piecing stitch length size but this will vary depending upon the weight of the thread they are using and the design  they are quilting. If you are using a very thin thread having a smaller stitch length creates a more beautiful stitch. If you are using a heavy thread, increase your stitch length...this will show off the thread more. Use a smaller needle for a thinner thread...use a larger needle for a thicker thread.

Because you missed the morning lecture portion of my class I am including my handout, "My Favorite Things" which lists some of my favorite products.  (note from SewCalGal - this is the same link I referenced above).

note from SewCalGal:

For non-English particpants using the Google/Translator to view this post version of Cindy's tutorial, stop and refer back to the photos in the PDF tutorial on page 4.

I use the Machingers quilting gloves for my free motion quilting. They are made out of nylon so they are able to breathe and don’t make your hands hot. They also have the rubber tips on the ends of your fingers to provide traction while you are manipulating the quilt through your machine. They come in four different sizes so be sure to buy a size that comfortably fits your hands.

Pin Place/Scissor Spot magnet. I love this little magnet that sits on top of a suction cup. I put this on top of my Juki and it holds my Clover Thread Pic and my squeezie side scissors. This is also safe for computerized machines. Your machine doesn’t have a hard drive so the magnet will not harm it. Very handy little tool!

I love using the squeezie side, curved-tip scissors for clipping my threads. It’s a hassle trying to fit my hands thru scissor finger holes when I have my Machingers on...I can just grab these and clip. The curved blades allow me to get right next to the fabric to clip my thread without fear of cutting the fabric.

note from SewCalGal:

For non-English particpants using the Google/Translator to view this post version of Cindy's tutorial, stop and refer back to the photos in the PDF tutorial on page 5
This is the Clover Soft Touch Thread Pic. It has a long flat black handle and a very thin neck with a little hook at the end. I use this to bring up my bobbin thread at the beginning/ending of my quilting lines. Great little tool!

Ecolux LED Light Strip. While teaching in Boise, Idaho a couple of years ago I was amazed at the wonderful lights many of the machines had in my classroom. Kim Stewart, owner of Ecolux Lighting, was in my workshop and she came up with this great idea to provide amazing lighting for all sewing machines.

Our machines come equipped with a small light just above the needle but it doesn’t adequately light up the workspace area. It seems as if we always have this dark shadow.

Kim came up with a LED light that sticks to the arm area. It has a detachable power cord so you don’t have this dangling cord when you are transporting your machine. The pictures alone speak volumes!

Beginning-Ending Quilting Lines

For all the years that I’ve been machine quilting, there has always been a huge discussion on how to begin and end your quilting lines. Never mind the design... students are always in a quandary about what’s at the beginning and what’s at the end! I was one of those people too.

I have quilted on a Juki for a very long time and this machine automatically clips both of my threads underneath and I was happy with that. I would spend days and weeks trimming all the whiskers that were left on the back. It worked, but the backs of my quilts really didn’t look that good. During one particular class a student told me I really needed to learn how to begin-end my lines properly...the backs were a mess...my quilts were in shows and exhibits and I needed to set a better example...she was right.

This particular student was a competitive quilter and she tied off and buried both threads at the beginning and ending of each quilting line. Oie. That’s what competitive quilters do and that’s why they win the beautiful ribbons. I tried it on a small piece and with all the stopping/starting that I do I had hundreds and hundreds of threads to bury. I lost interest, hated the piece, and never finished it. I am not a competitive quilter and never will be. I quilt purely for the love of it so this technique was not for me.

Fortunately another student came along, a long-arm quilter, and she showed me how THEY begin and end their lines and it changed the way I quilt. I am no longer using the thread cutter on my Juki nor am I burying each an I burying each and every thread. I will show you what I was taught and I think it looks perfectly fine!

This particular method does take a little practice to get the rhythm...be patient with it. Once you get it down you will do it so automatically you won’t even think about it.

You may download my handout by clicking HERE. {note from SewCalGal: This is also the same link referenced above for Cindy's handout on starts/stops}.


When I was creating my 5-day Design Workshops I was trying to come up with some basic quilting designs I discovered that there were three basic shapes used consistently~ A repetitive line… a circle… and an S-curve.

I also like to teach my “Peanut Butter Cup” theory. Chocolate and peanut butter are a really good combo...that’s why peanut butter cups are so good! Strong geometrics and soft flowing designs are also a very good combo...they complement each other. By adding geometric lines and soft lines together you will have a beautiful quilt. I encourage you to indulge in a “peanut butter cup” while you are creating your challenge quilt block!

You will be using this lesson to create your quilt block for the challenge.

Repetitive Lines

First of all I want to teach you that the world is a more interesting place because nothing is perfect. Everything is different...things are not necessarily perfectly straight...and I quilt the same way. As I said before I quilt purely for the love of it. I strive to make my quilting as beautiful and perfect as I am able but I’m not stressing over it. We already have way too much stress in our lives and why add more? My quilts are full of beautiful texture and movement and they are imperfect...and I love them.

When I discovered the repetitive line texture I kept trying to keep every single line perfectly straight and have the same reveal between each and every one. I’m sorry, life is just too short, and I became SO frustrated and so tired of ripping things out. I started doing all these little lines free motion and I made sure that they were a bit wiggly, had different reveals, were a little bit off, and you know what? They were more beautiful than the perfectly straight ones.

You can use repetitive lines for background fill in gridwork or just by itself as a large background filler. If you are using it for a large background filler I recommend that you pre-mark straight lines about 1/2” apart. Use these as a guide to keep your lines straight-ish so they don’t start leaning to the right or to the left.

Repetitive lines don’t have to always be straight either...they can be curved to the right or left or wiggly...the most important part of this particular design is that it is repetitive.

note from SewCalGal:

For non-English particpants using the Google/Translator to view this post version of Cindy's tutorial, stop and refer back to the photos in the PDF tutorial on page 8
 Take some grid paper and just start filling in the squares with different types of repetitive lines...draw some basic shapes and fill those in too. You’ll be amazed at what you can do with a few simple lines.

These are the repetitive lines as a background fill. The lines are irregular but it makes a beautiful textured background.


note from SewCalGal:

For non-English particpants using the Google/Translator to view this post version of Cindy's tutorial, stop and refer back to the photos in the PDF tutorial on page 9
Circles are another very basic design and you see them in almost everything.  I love to use them on a smaller scale as background fillers.  Most quilters are familir with the pebble backgrounds which are lots of little circles all snugged up together.  The texture that is created is beautiful. They can be very little circles that I fondly call "sand"...you can graduate up to "dish soap bubbles"... get bigger with "pebbles"...and then go large with "boulders".  I generally do my little sand/bubbles with  a thin thread such as a Bottom Line or Kimono Silk and do my larger pebbles/boulders with a heavier 40-50 wt. thread so I get more texture.

Some students think they can only go around their little circles once...not so!  I think they look better if you go around them 2-3 times. This fills in the circle, adds texture with the stacked threads, and it also hides a multitude of errors.  If your little circle is more oblong or square just go oer it a couple times and it will round out.

In addition to using little circles as an overall background filler, you can use them in a single line in feather spines, ribbons, etc.  I call these a "string of pearls".

When you are free motion quilting I always recommend that you use your hands to tension the fabric and keep it taught while quilting.  When you are quilting little tiny designs such as these circles, use your fingertips only without the hand tension.  This enables you to create fine beautiful designs.

I LOVE the S-curves and you see them in almost everything...beautiful backgrounds, feathers, paisleys, etc. They have wonderful movement and are a very romantic sort of design.
When I was taught how to do an S-curve it was as a background filler design and I had a hard time doing it in a wide open space. So I created a larger s-curve type of design (shown here)...divided and subdivided it...and started filling it in with repetitive s-curve lines. I fell in love. You are given permission to be irregular, not be perfect, and you will end up with a beautiful textured filler design.


I think feathers are one of the best loved quilting designs of all times. You see them everywhere...every shape, form, size...heirloom, traditional, as filler  backgrounds...embellished...plain. It’s like Baskin Robbins gone wild!

I used to quilt “predictable” stencil feathers until I finally learned how to do the free-form feathering and now I’m hooked. I had a very difficult time letting go of my marked stencil lines and trusting myself to create a beautiful feather out of air.

I was going to give a basic lesson on how to draft and quilt free form feathers but I am going to refer you to Diane Gaudynski’s lesson that appeared in the February Free Motion Quilting Challenge instead. She is the Master of feathering and her lesson and photos can’t be topped. It was she who taught me how to make my feathers beautiful.

Take the information you have learned from Diane’s lesson and challenge yourself to fill spaces with feathers. Draw squares, triangles, circles, rectangles and odd shapes. Divide and subdivide your spaces. Now fill them with feathers.
note from SewCalGal:

For non-English particpants using the Google/Translator to view this post version of Cindy's tutorial, stop and refer back to the photos in the PDF tutorial on page 11. This photo is an exercise you need to complete for this tutorial.

It is often much easier to learn a new design if you test it out in a smaller divided space instead of a wide open area, at least it is for me. I get a little intimidated by acres of open fabric. If I can create smaller areas to fill it sort of calms me down. I’m finding that many of my students are the same way.

For your quilt challenge block this month I have sketched out some swirls for reference. I have also copied a blank swirl page. Make several copies of the blank page, grab your pen, and start playing. Take some of the larger spaces and divide them with more lines. Now take the smaller spaces and start filling in with strings of pearls, bubbles, repetitive straight lines, repetitive curved lines, free form feathers, etc.

Remember there is no fear of failure...sketch like nobody is watching. There are no mistakes here...only an opportunity to create another cool design! I highly recommend using the black Micron Pigma Point #005 for sketching...it looks fabulous even if you aren’t! Just a FYI...if you want to learn some serious doodling check out the Zentangle books...they are fantastic!)

Once you are comfortable doodling designs on paper,  take your quilt marking pen and draw your own swirls and curls on your Challenge Quilt Block. You may mark as many guidelines as you need to get you started. I recommend that you use a pretty solid fabric for this particular exercise so that your designs show up. My Design Workshop students use wool batting for all of their practice panels as the wool puffs up and makes their quilted designs look amazing. If you are already comfortable using different types and weights of threads this is a GREAT exercise for that. Challenge yourself...be amazed at what you are going to create...and most of all have FUN!

I can hardly wait to see what you come up with!

note from SewCalGal:
For non-English particpants using the Google/Translator to view this post version of Cindy's tutorial, stop and refer back to the photos in the PDF tutorial on page 12. 

I taught my first 5-day Designs Workshop earlier this year. On day three I noticed that there was a bit of tension in the air...some of my students were getting crabby and testy...many were not in their happy spot. I talked with everyone in hopes of relaxing them and getting things worked out and it helped some, just not enough.

On the last day one of my students, Marti Zenker, approached me to share a special word. She is a teacher for “academically gifted” students. Above the bulletin board in her classroom, in large letters, is the word DISEQUILIBRIUM.

She explained what the word meant and how it applied to the current “testy” atmosphere in my classroom. It made complete sense. I had her talk to the entire group and you could have heard a pin drop. We all realized that this is exactly what had happened that week. Nobody was in their comfort zone...they were way out of their safe little box learning new skills. Once everyone realized what they were going thru was “normal” they relaxed and embraced the process.

This word has changed my life and the way I approach teaching and life in general. I share it in every single class I teach and I am sharing it with you now. Print out the card at the bottom of this page and put it somewhere to remind you. Send it to a friend, share it with your guild, share it with other teachers. I guarantee it will change your life too.

Disequilibrium is a state your brain is in when it is learning something new and different. You may be in a class learning a new technique or a new skill. You may find yourself facing an obstacle head on and trying to overcome it. You may be facing a fear and trying to conquer it.

All of these situations put you in a place that is very uncomfortable. You are not happy there. You may find yourself becoming very agitated, restless and unfocused. More than likely you will find yourself doing other little tasks in order to avoid doing this "new and different" thing like taking a walk, eating, taking a nap, quilting… other tasks that are in your comfort zone and take you away from having to address this new thing.

Disequilibrium is a state your brain is in while it is actively learning...it is how your brain processes new information. Once you realize what is happening you can relax...take a deep breath...allow your mind to process this new thing...and watch the magic happen.

You will break thru that brick wall. You will be given wings and fly. I want to thank my student, Marti Zenker, for sharing this amazing word with me during one of my workshops. It has changed my life and the way I teach and learn.

Take the time to quilt something beautiful. Your work will speak to generations to come about your passion for quilting, and give your quilt a voice to speak to those who choose to listen…

Cindy Needham

note from SewCalGal:
The two images below are from page 14 & 15 of Cindy's tutorial.  You can easily adapt this type of design to a variety of quilts, as well as stitch out on your practice sandwiches.  To clarify, this is a conceptual design not one intended for you to trace.  For those doing the optional FMQ Sampler Quilt, I recommend that you adapt this design technique to one of the 8"x16" blocks.  

Thank you Cindy for providing us with the above tutorial.


While this challenge is focused on learning and/or improving our free-motion quilting skills, you also have the opportunity to win prizes. To be eligible to win a monthly prize, simply complete the current months' tutorial in the month it is released and get your entry submitted via the linky tool, at the bottom of this page, no later than June 31st. But do remember this challenge is more about learning and improving your FMQ skills, so don't rush thru the exercise just to enter. Take time to practice and embed this design to your muscle memory, before you enter.

To clarify, DO NOT just add a link to your blog, but to your post that shows that you have completed this tutorial. You get one link, so keep practicing until you feel you are finished with this tutorial.
For bloggers:
Please post your entry on your blog. To clarify, you can include as many photos of this tutorial exercise in your post, but you can only add one link to the linky tool below. You may also want to include insights in your post about your past FMQ experience and thoughts about this tutorial. Totally, optional, but you may also want to let everyone know that you have taken the Pledge and you did this exercise to enter the the challenge this month, where randomly selected winners will win a prize. You may inspire others to want to join this challenge too!
For non-Bloggers:
1) You will need to have a Flickr account (www.flickr.com).
2) Upload your photos for this month's challenge to Flickr, batch organize, send your photos to groups, select "2012 FMQ Challenge". While Flickr, limits the amount of text you can share in your description, feel free to share your perspective on this exercise and/or your past FMQ experience, if you wish.
3) After your photos have successfully been loaded to the "2012 FMQ Challenge" group, click on your best photo in that group, ideally one that shows the stencil and how you quilted using that stencil. Copy the URL link to your particular photo entry. Add that link to the linky tool above, to officially enter this show.

note: While there was a unique group for the January challenge, based on feedback a Flickr group has been created that will hold all your photos for the remaining monthly challenges, so you will not need to rejoin a group on Flickr every month.

A lucky winner swill be randomly selected and announced on the main page for this event the middle of June.  A monthly prize bundle will be provided with items donated by Aurifil, SewSlip, Sewline, and Quilters Touch.  Remember only one link (entry) per person that has taken the pledge to learn and/or improve their Free Motion Quilting Skills, on a home sewing machine, in 2012.

Cindy is also generously giving two lucky winners a copy of  everyone of her e:books and handouts in a collection that also includes items that can be purchased online, or participants are given when they attend her workshops:
  • Needles & Threads: Mastering Tension ($20 value)
  • Beginners Guide to Feathers  and Backgrounds ($20 value)
  • Beginning Machine Quilting 'Collection" ($40 value)
  • Learning to Design Collection ($40 value)
  • Linen Wholecloth Quilts Collection ($20 value)

And, this wonderful prize will include annual updates, as appropriate ($10 value).

For those that may need help to link up the link to their tutorial project, to the linky for this challenge, Dana (Stormy Days) has also written an excellent tutorial for using linkies, so please take time to read her tutorial if you are not familiar with linkys or have any questions about linkys, in general. Please read the rules above, before you enter by way of adding a link below.   And, Only add one link after you have practiced the tutorial to master the design. No rush, you have all month to practice & enter. Please follow the rules on the tutorial post, before you add a link.

To officially be entered in the 2012 FMQ Challenge please take time to fill out the "
Pledge Form" . Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out an easy way to get the email addresses collected in the Pledge Form to automatically load to my MailChimp mailing list, as originally planned. While I apologies, I do ask, if you want to receive email reminders when new FMQ tutorials are released each month, please also sign up via the special mailing list for this activity. And, don't forget that the page labeled

 "2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge" is the main page for the FMQ challenge and will be updated throughout the year, to provide a summary of current info and appropriate links. There are two "optional" groups that you may also want to join to network with others participating in this challenge:
Those on Facebook, may also want to join the 2012 Free Motion Quilting group.

There is also a free forum hosted by AQS that has been setup for participants in this challenge.   Simply visit My Quilt Place, create an account or log in, click on groups and join the group "Free Motion Quilting on a Domestic Sewing Machine".

If you have not yet completed the previous tutorials, here are the links:

  • The January tutorial, by Frances Moore,  
  • The February tutorial, by Diane Gaudynski was originally planned to be pulled at the end of February, but Diane has approved that her tutorial be left on line for the remainder of the 2012 FMQ Challenge, possibly longer.
  • The March tutorial, by Ann Fahl was only available during the month of March. To clarify, this tutorial will be removed shortly, in keeping with the condition by this FMQ Expert. 
  • The April tutorial, by Don Linn
  • The May tutorial, by Leah Day
  • "Bonus" tutorials will be released, this summer, that will also be options for those needing to complete 12 FMQ tutorials anytime in 2012 to be eligible to enter to win a Grand Prize. The first released bonus tutorial was provided by Linda Moran.

Copyright Reminder:  This site is copyright protected.  You are certainly authorized to print and use this tutorial for your own use. Please DO NOT print and share any part of this tutorial post, nor share electronically, without written permission from Cindy Needham and SewCalGal.


sherry said...

this is going to be so cool...

Jacquelin said...

Este tutorial parece impresionante. Ahora toca estudiarlo y practicar. Gracias por el trabajo "extra" para las que no hablamos inglés.

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

Wow!! This is going to be quite a challenge for me..but it is lovely to see the work and the instructins are so detailed. I will do my very best. Thank you again to Darlene and to Cindy who has put so much thought into this.

Mary Ann said...

I love the term 'disequilibrium'...I'm sure it will give me lots to think about...I'm so ready to 'break through that brick wall'!

Sue Halter said...

I love that term! This explains so many things in my life! LOL This challenge will be just that for me...a big challenge. However, this is the type of free motion filler quilting that I have been wanting to learn. Cindy's relaxing, easy way of explaining these techniques makes it seem so simple! Yeah, right! Thanks for a great tutorial!

Anonymous said...

Great! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

ctobeyk said...

When I clicked on the links, I just got an advertisement for google drive! What happened?

Bente-I like to QuiltBlog said...

Thank you very much, what a great tutorial, can´t wait to try.
Liebe Grüße

Carrie P. said...

Wow! amazing stuff! this is really going to be a challenge this month.

Unknown said...

Did I miss something? Cindy talked about how she now stops and starts like the longarmers but did she explain the proces?

Quilting Babcia said...

Wow, this is going to be so challenging and FUN!! Just finished reading through everything, now to go back and read again, and look at all the handouts. I just love the Zentangle connection and the way these basic three work together to create such amazing designs. Thanks Cindy and SewCalGal!
Pat in Oregon

Misha said...

I haven't had a chance to watch and read it all yet but am super psyched about this month's lesson. I recently became interested in Zentangles and have been pinning different tangle patterns so this is really exciting!

I don't usually buy solid colored fabric but fell in love with a pretty aqua one recently and now I can make something super pretty with it!

SewCalGal said...

The links to the PDF tutorials do work, but take awhile to download. They have been uploaded to Google Docs, which is promoting their new google Drive. If you have problems, try logging out of your google account before you click the link, but be patient as it may take a minute to download (I suspect a google server performance issue).

With respect to questions about starts/stops, please refer to the free handout that Cindy provide on starts/stops. Link is available on the tutorial post. This is also a handout she shares with students who take her classes/workshops.


Heather said...

Hey everyone,

I'm reading the starting and stopping pdf. Does anyone have thoughts on how to take little microstitches if you use a stitch regulator? Do you just turn it off for when you are starting your thread and then turn it on after you've done the microstitches?

Thanks! I am very excited about this month's tutorial :)

Newbie Jen said...

Yippee! This is going to be fun!

teachpany said...

Excellent lesson, Cindy! I enjoyed your similes, too! Great sense of humor. Thanks for the suggestions and recommendations, and also for your time (I thought it was really nice that you checked in with the FB group to see if there were any questions.)
Darlene, again thanks so much for all your hard work!

Larissa said...

Oh, thank you thank you THANKYOU Cindy!! I am SOOO glad someone decided to do a month on this!! From the bottom of my heart - THANKYOU!! SOOO looking forward to getting the machine out and having a go at this! ... Once again, THANKYOU!!!

Silvia said...

Ooooh! This is awesome! I think it will be a very busy FMQ month! Thank you, girls!

Elaine said...

This is just great. Cindy's way of explaining the 'motor sound' somehow helped me more than any other lesson has, and then the 'beginning and ending' trick has revolutionized my work! I start and stop a lot, and this makes it so much simpler. I've already started 'doodling' a piece, and even though it's a brand new machine and very different, I got comfortable right away. My hat is off to Cindy Needham!

MalinisQuilts said...

Thank you, Cindy for the wonderful tutorial. Very inspiring and I love all the feathers and how the geometric shapes and free-form feathers work together to make beautiful quilt design. I really want to try the free-form feathers with the S-curves inside the square and the cathedral window pattern inside a square.

@SewCalGal thank for this challenge again. Its just so much fun. Now I just need to find time to practice.

Karen said...

Great, great, great! Before I even began the meat of the tutorial I was in heaven. I hate nests on the backs of my quilts, but trying to bury all those starts and stops by hand? Not going to happen. This is much better. And the doodling was fun; I've heard of zangles before and this made it happen. I thought of so many fills and patterns and ideas....THANK YOU Cindy!

Sue Halter said...

Thank you Cindy! You gave me the push to try this for myself. I have long loved the look of several background techniques to fill large areas, but was always terrified to try it. I enjoyed this challenge so much.

I will use this in a small quilt I am making to cover the little Juki and frame that I have.

Janet O. said...

Thanks to Cindy for wonderful helps and a great tutorial!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Cindy, this was super fun, I'm in love with zen tangles, and I see these feathers in my next quilt!!

Editfolt said...

I really enjoyed this. For me was very fun.

In stitches and seams said...

Thanks Cindy,for giving us yet another way to play with our quilts and quilting. I am sure I will be playing with this for years to come. thanks again
in stitches

Quilter Kathy said...

A great lesson... I learned a lot even though I've been machine quilting for a while! Thanks so much!

Luz2Quilt said...

Thank you Cindy for an excellent exercise in "Disequilibrium". I am very new to FMQ and this was challenging but exciting. I hope you plan to visit and teach somewhere in Florida, most especially beautiful Southwest Florida (Sanibel, Fort Myers)-we would love to have you.

CaroleM said...

I'm a little late here, but since I could no longer add it to the linky list, I am posting my link to my June challenge. http://mysewrenity.blogspot.ca/2012/07/june-fmq-challenge.html