Free Motion Quilting on Block Flock | Sewcial Bee Sampler

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.

I am sharing with you today how I quilted block 3 – Flock. 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 too, so let’s do this together!

f 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.

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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 domestic sewing machine, check out this class.

Allover Quilting Motif: Square Loop Mendearing

For the allover quilting, I chose the square loops motifs for this block.

Free Motion Quilting Sampler Blocks square loop tutorial

How to Free Motion Quilt Square Loops

You will need:

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. With the previous block, we did lightning bolt design which requires a stop and go motion to achieve that sharp points. Here in the square loop, we implement the same technique to achieve that sharp pointy corners. Now, it doesn’t have to be square either! It can be rectangles too.

Echo straight lines until you find space to fill, and make square loops to fill in the space. Make sure you have in plan where to navigate after that too.

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.

Free Motion Quilting requires you to think ahead, so your brain will move your hand automatically in the direction you set in your mind

Here is the finished block.

Free motion Quilting quilt as you go block sewcial bee sampler quilt

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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.s

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.

sampler quilt Free motion Quilting quilt as you go block


I then 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.

Free Motion Quilting Sampler Blocks sewcial bee sampler quilt

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.

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!

As for the curves and the leaf motif on the block, I free-hand with no markings. I used this technique of dot-to-dot quilting to guide me through quilting this block.

For the small HSTs – “the flocks”, I figured out a way to move from one corner to another using pen and paper first. While I am at it, here it is for you for your guidance and for future reference, so make sure you pin it!

How to quilt Hst quilt direction

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Here are some video snippets of the free motion quilting done for the block.

I am still practicing my feather quilting. This quilt as you go block gives me the opportunity to practice without worrying about the weight of the quilt.  All feather for the frame so far!

Free motion Quilting quilt as you go block sampler quilt

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!

Click here to related Archive posts.

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




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