Free Motion Quilting on Block Clay’s Choice | Sewcial Bee Sampler

I am sharing with you today how I quilted block 8 – Clay’s Choice.

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!

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.

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.

For more ideas how to quilt a large quilt on a domestic sewing machine, check out this class.

Allover Quilting Motif: Echoed SS

For the allover quilting, I chose to do the Echoed SS.

Echoed SS can easily be mixed together with other motifs and design to create more textures and movement. I love mixing it together with pebbles and swirls. However, to keep this block in uniform with the other blocks, I stick to a single motif for the block with an allover Echoed SS design.

Here is the basic how to make Echoed SS allover quilting.

How to free motion quilt Echoed SS

You will need:

How to free motion quilt echoed SS motif

  1. Start with an S shape line
  2. Echo back about a quarter inch from the first S line meeting up at the beginning point.
  3. Echo as much as you feel like
  4. You can also echo on the other side to make it more balanced or to fill in suitable spaces
  5. Track down the last echo line and begin another s in another direction
  6. repeat echoes. Echoes doesn’t have to end in an S shape
  7. Make another S filling in the unquilted space as you go.
  8. Continue making echoed SS in various direction. In some area, you might end up with a small triangle in between the echoed ss. Make sure these triangles are not too big, rather a size similar to the space between each echo line.
  9. Continue to fill up the unquilted areas with repeated pattern

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.

After having the confidence practicing on paper, you can move onto free motion quilting on scrap fabric basted with leftover batting. 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. Then you can move onto quilting your block.

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!

I planned the custom quilting using Sharon Holland’s colouring page which  Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell have 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.

Then, I 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:

On the quilt block, make sure custom quilting are made within the finished block size – which means, you have to mark a 1/4″  frame line from the block seams. This is to ensure that when joining the blocks together, the quilting does not get covered by the seams. If I don’t mark, I just simply eyeball the 1/4″ frame line away from the seams.

You can mark using a hera marker or an erasable pen.

To create a uniform overall look with the other previous blocks, I include a feather border again and some light feather motifs in each of the pinwheel fan.

At first, I did not mark the feather border, and I ended up having to undo the stitches due to weird shape of the feathers.

After I remove the mistake, I use the top of this seam ripper to easily remove the threads and to fluff back the fabric. I personally love Clover Seam Ripper and Seam Fix.

I decided to mark some of the feathers plume-just as a guidance.

It turns out not so bad in the end.

I also put a string of pearls to create another version of feathered border as compared to my previous blocks.

After the block is done, I give it a little heat with the iron, and voila, the marking from the Frixion Marker is gone.

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!

How to Quilt As You Go A Sampler Quilt

Click here to related Archive posts.
until next time, have fun sewing and quilting!


For more dot-to-dot quilting ideas, I highly recommend this Craftsy Class!



One Comment

  1. M C

    Hello Amira, beautiful quilting.
    I have a question, do you pin or baste each block before you quilt each of them?
    I couldn’t see on any pictures…

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