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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge - August - Wendy Sheppard

I am happy to have Wendy Sheppard, as our August FMQ Expert, for the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge. And, delighted to share insights with you today about this very talented woman.

Wendy is originally from Southeast Asia and now resides with her husband and little girl,  in northern Virginia.   She came to the US when she was 19, where she attended the University of Arkansas. Upon graduating with  degrees in Chemical Engineering, she worked as a researcher at the world's largest ultra-low velocity wind tunnel in the world.

In her early 30's, Wendy learned to sew with the mentorship of her friend Barbara who was teaching others to quilt.  Here is a picture of her very first quilt.

 It's been about seven years now since Wendy learned to quilt. She shared with me that she always spends time thinking about how to quilt her quilts, thus views that her passion about free-motion quilting is a natural extension of her focus on the entire quilting process.

Here are a few photos of her beautiful quilts with inspirational free-motion quilting:

Wendy now  teaches a variety of classes  for free-motion quilting (on a domestic sewing machine), piecing and machine applique.  Here are a few photos of previous class projects:


There are also times when Wendy is able to travel to teach and/or give a give presentations at Quilt Stores, Quilt Guilds, or even Quilt Shows.  Event Coordinators can email Wendy directly, to see if her schedule has an opening.

Wendy has been published in a variety of magazines, of which there is a good chance you have seen one of her quilts on the cover, or within the magazine.  And, I'm confident you'll see her designs published in magazines in the future.  When you do see them, I highly recommend you purchase such an issue as her design alone is always worth the cost of the magazine!

Here is a list of magazines that Wendy has been published in:
  • The Quilter Magazine  

  • Quilting & Embroidery  
  • Creative Machine Embroidery Magazine
  •  Quilter’s World 

[Quilter's World Feb 2011]

 [Quilter's World Feb 2011]

  • Bernina’s “Through the Needle"
  •  Quiltmaker 
  • Popular Patchwork (UK)
  • Fons & Porter Love of Quilting
  • Fons & Porter Easy Quilting

  • Fabric Trends
  • Quilt Trends
  • Quilts and More
  • The Quilter
[The Quilter Dec Jan 2012]

Click here to view a complete list of Wendy's publications.

Wendy has also designed many patterns for fabric manufacturers and magazines, which are available for free.    Here are links to a few of them:

Wendy also shared that "Quilting is not all I do.  I do have a 3 year old daughter.  In my spare time, I love exploring around where we live with my family and see if I couldn't find inspiration for MORE quilting projects (really, quilting is not all I do!), smocking, doing heirloom needlework, and read any history-related material.   I used to really enjoy cleaning house until our little one came along.  One-step-forward two-step-back best describes the way my cleaning goes with my little one tagging right behind.  Oh, and I am addicted to china!"

Wendy's blog "Ivory Spring" is also an excellent blog, where Wendy chronicles many of her quilt projects, and features articles, tips and tricks on free-motion quilting.  She also shares insights about her free-motion quilting articles that appear in magazines.  Needless to say, SewCalGal is an avid follower of her blog and hopes that you'll also enjoy following it too!

Wendy has provided participants in the 2012 FMQ Challenge an excellent tutorial that could easily be done on a longarm or domestic sewing machine.  For those using this tutorial with plans on entering the challenge, you need to complete this tutorial on a domestic sewing machine.  For those doing the optional FMQ Sampler Quilt, this is a great design to do in either an 8"x8" block or an 8"x16" block, but my recommendation would be to apply it to the smaller block for this sampler quilt.

When Wendy shared insights on her "Jester's Hat" design, I was fearful I'd be able to master those crisp points.  It took me awhile, but when I started thinking of a dance movement with my hips "snapping" side to side (left hip, right hip - left jesters curve/point, right jesters curve/point)  vs a rolling "hula" movement, I was able to easily quilt this design. I love it and enjoy using it on my quilted projects.

Thank you Wendy!


Hello, my name is Wendy Sheppard!  I am honored to be able to share with you a simple but fun quilting motif that I have come to love!  I call the motif "Jester's Hat".  The reason I love the "Jester's Hat" motif is because the motif gives my pieced quilts such a fun textured look.  Let's take a look, and then I will show you the schematic of the motif.

You can see in the following what inspired the motif.

And here you can follow the schematic of the stitching part.  The one thing to remember about this motif is that when you always stitch another "hat" in order to move from one spot to the next instead of the more conventional "echoing" to get from spot to spot on a quilt.

This motif is absolutely versatile in its size - you can stitch it as small or as large as you wish.  Here you can see it being stitched a little larger than the one you saw when I first introduced the motif.

And here you see the Jesters Hats being quilted quilt large to fill a 3" wide border.

The Jesters Hat motif can also take on a slightly more "cultured" look in that with a little bit of bling, it can take on a mock Fleur de Lis look.  The extra bling is denoted by the different colors.   So, you can see, just adding a little something between the hats make the hats more sophisticated!

And here you get to see the cultured Jester Hat motif stitched out on a real quilt.

I hope you will have loads of fun trying and stitching out Jester Hat on your sampler block as well as your future quilts!  Do drop me a line at wendy2@wendysheppard.net.  I would love to hear from you.

Quiltingly yours,


Thank you Wendy 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 August 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 each monthlychallenge, based on feedback the generic 2012 FMQ Challenge  group was 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.
There will be TWO  lucky winners that will be randomly selected and announced on the main page for this event the middle of September.  One lucky winner will receive the monthly prize bundle will be provided with items donated by Aurifil, SewSlip, Sewline, and Quilters Touch.   And, another lucky winner will receive a prize that Wendy has coordinated, compliments of Hobbs.  This special prize is a 60"x60" Hobbs Tuscany Silk Batting!

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.

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 and enter. Please follow the rules on this tutorial post, before you add a link.

Participants of SewCalGal's 2012 FMQ Challenge can link here, during August, to enter to win a monthly prize bundle!

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 visitMy 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:

"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.
  • Susuan Brubaker Knapp's bonus tutorial should be released middle of August
  • Diane Loomis will provide a bonus tutorial this Fall (Late Sept/October).

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 Wendy Sheppard and SewCalGal.

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Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

Good morning to Darlene and Wendy...I follow both of you and am delighted to have Wendy with us this month. I hope I can get this one, Wendy!! lol.

I saw it earlier in one of your posts and loved it. We'll see what I can do now; won't we?????
Thanks for this challenge.

Carrie P. said...

I love reading Wendy's blog and she is so talented. I am a little nervous about the challenge for this month. I hope I can get those sharp points.

Quilter Kathy said...

So much fun...thanks for this challenge...all the posts have been excellent and I look forward to the new skill each month. I will be so sad when the year is over!

Needled Mom said...

I, too, am an avid follower of Wendy's blog and her spectacular work. She is amazing and her smocking is just as beautiful.

Linda E in NM said...

If we are making up a missed monthly challenge, how do we post it since the linky list is closed at the end of the month??

Frances Moore said...

What a great motif! I can't wait to use it. Thanks Wendy.

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

I already follow Wendy's fantastic blog and love all the different tips she shares on quilting. It is amazing how many beautiful quilts she makes and how many quilt magazines she is in! This should be a fun month!

Barb said...

I have been following Wendy's blog for some time now and I find her work totally amazing. Truly inspiring.

Quilting Babcia said...

I too have followed Wendy's blog for quite awhile and highly recommend all of her "Thread Talk" posts where she shares many of her design ideas as well as "how-to-do-it" tips. Have already doodled the Jester's Hat design over a couple sheets of paper and hope to try it on my machine over the weekend - looks like a perfect motif for the young boy's quilt I'm currently working on. Thanks Wendy and SewCalGal for a great challenge!

Anonymous said...

I love this stitch design! I hope that I can get the hang of it and do it justice, as I would love to use this one in my quilts!

Quiltsmiles said...

Thanks for hosting this Darlene and thanks Wendy for sharing this design. It seems quite doable and my skills are improving each month.
I enjoy both of your blogs and am a fan. Kudos to you both.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a really handy and useful pattern, can't wait to try it - thanks a lot! =D

Mary Ann said...

I've been following "Ivory Spring" for quite a while and have admired the Jester's Hats design. What a very nice surprise that this is the exact design for this month! I can't wait to begin - thank you!!

Angie in SoCal said...

Looks like a really useful pattern. Currently I'm practicing it on paper because my sewing room is too hot to sew in. Yesterday when it was 108 outside, it was 90 in my sewing room. I so miss sewing and quilting, but as soon as this heat wave ends I'm going to work on it.

Andrea R said...

I haven't blogged this, but I did upload a picture here:


Sue Halter said...

Great designs and a wonderful lesson, Wendy. Thanks so much! I have already used the jester hat in a small carrier for a curling iron and plan to use the cultered jester hat on a quilt top that I've completed.

And many, many thanks to Darlene for this challenge. It's working..I'm getting better! LOL

Editfolt said...

very exciting and very difficult task!