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 free motion quilt block 4 – Crow’s Nest. So far, this is by far my favourite block! I made two version – with different fabric placement and they both look different and beautiful in their own way. Following the theme I have set up for these blocks, one of the block is quilted with custom free motion quilting and the other one with allover free motion quilting.

If you are new here, this post is a part of my quilt-as-you-go my Sewcial Bee Sampler, a sewalong hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell. I plan to share along the process with some tips and tutorial.

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 too, 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.

Allover Quilting Motif: Random Loopy Loop

For the allover quilting, I chose the random loops – for fun – I call it Loopy Loop. Essentially, this allover quilting design is very similar to stippling but loops added to the motion.

free motion quilting design loopy loop | tips and video | more on the blog

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. I personally think that loops are much easier than stippling just because you can kind of escape from being “trapped” by simply looping out of the tight area that you get into. I also find that this is one of the quickest way to finish a quilt – I have used this design with a lap-size quilt here and I love how it turned out.

Quilting random loops is one of the fastest way to quilt!

After having the confidence practicing on paper, you can now move onto free motion quilting square loops on scrap fabric basted with leftover battings. 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.

[bctt tweet=”Quilting loops on domestic machine” username=”amira_lilmushroomcap”]

Just before you begin, go through this list to ensure that you don’t get frustrated by the little things.

Checklist prior to free motion quilting _ quilting tips _ quilting on domestic machine
Links to images – Quilting my Swoon Quilt & Hexagon placemat

Here is a video of me looping away! With looping, don’t worry much about repeating direction – it can easily look random with the added loops.

Here is the finished block with loop the loop quilting.

Sewcial Bee Sampler Quilt As You Go with the little mushroom cap loopy loop tips and video

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. I love playing with different quilting design for such quilt and make the quilt block pop out even more.

Custom Free Motion Quilting Quilt As You Go Blocks-4 | moe series on the blog | video and tips

The benefit of using quilt as you block is that it is so much easy to maneuver with small blocks and custom quilting is made easier under the throat of 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 has 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.

Sewcial Bee Sampler Quilt As You Go with the little mushroom cap planning custom quilting |


I then printed the block individually and plan out the quilting with a pen. While doing it with the pen I also plan how will I be moving the needle from one place to another in continuous mode. I even label numbers on it so I remember which move should I make next.

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Marking on the block for free motion quilting for quilt as you go blocks

On the quilt block, make sure custom quilting are done within the finished block size – which means, you have to mark the 1/4″ mark from the block seams. This is to ensure that when joining the blocks together, the quilting does not get buried inside the seams. I didn’t mark mine – just eyeballing here 😛

You can also do marking for the feather spine as this will be a great guidance to free motion quilting feathers. I have been pinning lots of feathers and all kinds of quilting lately over at pinterest. Join me along over at pinterest!

For this block, I figured out a way to do continuous line beginning from the center out before quilting the feather border.

Here is a video snippet of the free motion quilting done for the block. Combining this video with the photo of my quilting with pen sketches – you should be able to get the continuous mode too!

Well, if you decide to join along or have any question, drop me a comment. I will be happy to help where I can! Also, let me know where I can improve to help you better!

In the meantime, you can also check these free motion quilting tips! & Click here to related Archive posts.

Till next time, have fun sewing and quilting!

Quilty Hugs,


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