NOTE : I no longer promote Craftsy/Bluprint as I used to due to the way the subscription is currently being carried out. I had the issue of cancelling my subscription when the company changed hand and I find that cancelling through calls is inconvenient. However, I do still stand behind these classes I promote and if you are subscribed, you can surely check these classes I recommend on the platform. If you are looking for another online platform to learn craft such as quilting, do check out CreativeBug. It is much cheaper in subscription (subscribe now 3 months for only $5). Thank you.

I am sharing with you today how I quilted block 19 – Circle of Friends. In this post, you’ll learn how to free motion quilt city terraces motif and how feathers can be incorporated in slanted bars.

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!

Some links provided here are affiliate links for your convenience. Please find 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. 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.


free motion quilting block by block

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.

Spray Basting quilt as you go Block by Block

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: City Terraces



For the allover quilting, I opt for the row by row motion of city terraces.

I called this city terraces as each row of quilting is basically like a shadow cast of a city with tall and short buildings.

Since this was free motion without the use of a quilting ruler, there are bumps and curves spotted here and there and that really doesn’t bothers me much as I love the organic look of that.

Overall, this motif was easy to do and although I don’t usually do allover quilt row by row as it will create lots of distortion and folds – I think this motif will suit smaller quilts or blocks like this.

[related: this is how I usually quilt my large quilts]

How to free motion quilt City Terraces Motif

Here are the practice drills:


make sure you pin this to try it later!

How to free motion quilt city terrace motif - step by step practice


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 Circle of Friends

Getting to quilt this block was pretty exciting. I love the block itself without the quilting.

But I love it more when I can enhance the look by custom quilting it.

For the center, I opt for another simple orange peel. I am loving this orange peel even more that these days I am quilting it a lot on my double wedding ring quilt and these Sewcial Bee Sampler blocks.

Since I have a feather motif as the theme for all the blocks, I know that I will use feather motif on this block too.  This block in particular, doesn’t have a border, so, I decided to incorporate the feathers into the ring frame instead.

I love the final look. 

Again proving how versatile feathers can be. 

I did better spacing when I was going in the round with the feather petals.The one on the left corner was the first part I started with. Those little feathers are out of proportion, but still, it wasn’t too bad right? Hehe.

For this block, it was a continuous motion all the way, traveling down the ditch line to get to one point and another. It was definitely fun.

I used my quilting ruler a lot to make sure I was traveling in the ditch neatly. Using a quilting ruler is great for that purpose.

Anyway, hope you have fun popping in here to see the progress of my blocks!


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!

How to Quilt As You Go A Sampler Quilt

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



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