Welcome to the April Linky Party for the 2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge.  It is great fun to see all the inspirational entries, as well as hear feedback from participants on how much they are learning and/or improving their FMQ skills, as well as from those that may come and enjoy viewing the entries, or not enter the challenge, but apply the designs to other quilting projects and share in our FMQ Flickr group.

2015 fmq challenge badge



Open to quilters of all levels that want to learn/improve their FMQ skills, regardless if you are using a domestic, mid-arm, or long machine, everyone is welcome. There will be a big emphasis, throughout the year, to ~Create ~ Share ~ Inspire ~ #FreeMotionQuiltingGoodness, aka #FMQGoodness.

Each month there will be a linky party where bloggers and non-bloggers can share what they created, for one or more of the options set for the respective month.  This challenge is actually more flexible than many realize, but it does ask that you turn your FMQ Sandwich into a pillow of any size.  Those that view they are not pillow people may want to make FMQ pillows for gives, or make a larger “pillow bed” for a pet, or donation to an animal shelter.  But the intent is to be proud of your FMQ and turn it into a finished project.  It is up to you to decide if you complete stitch out on a practice sandwich and later stitch out on your quilt sandwich that you will turn into a pillow or apply to another project.  Still, as the options to enter will be flexible, you are encouraged to sketch out your design on paper before you attempt to stitch it out using your machine.

While “Sneak Peaks” were shared in late 2014, as well as throughout the 2015 FMQ Challenge, participants will need to finish their project and enter (link up) in the month that the respective challenge is released.

Those that want to apply the challenge to projects other than pillows, or those that complete the challenge after the given month, as well as those that may wish to share other FMQ projects are encouraged to share in a Flirk group that has been created specifically for group sharing and inspiration:     https://www.flickr.com/groups/2815271@N22/   To clarify, this group is open to anyone that wishes to share any FMQ project that they created.


Aurifil, Clever Craft Tools/Grip & Stitch Disks, Fabrics N Quilts, Fat Quarter Shop, Martingale, The Stencil Company, Udderly Smooth, Landauer Publishing and CT Publishing.

Prizes will be awarded monthly, where specific prizes will be showcased, as well as recognition of the monthly sponsors.  To clarify, prizes will vary every month.  Also, many will be shipped directly to the winner from Sponsors, but QuiltShopGal will be shipping some of the prizes using funds earned from Affiliate programs, thanks to Postage Angels who kindly click thru links on this blog when they sign up for an online class, or make a purchase.  Your price remains the same, as if you had purchased elsewhere, but I receive a few pennies from some sales and those funds are used to supplement my shipping expenses.  Some prizes will be identified as only being eligible to participants in the US or US/Canada, but many will be open to WW participants.  Either way, I hope participants join this challenge to learn and have fun and not just to win a prize.

For fun, while this challenge is not intended to be about winning prizes, I do realize that sometimes someone that lives in the US may be drawn to win a prize that is only open to those in the US.  Combined with those that are following along with this challenge, but may opt to create something besides a pillow (which technically disqualifies them from winning monthly prizes), I am working on a special prize that I’m not yet able to disclose.  But if all goes well, which I think it will, I will be able to give a special prize out to ALL participants that enter in the monthly challenges and/or those that share in the Flickr group, as appropriate.  This special prize will be awarded at the end of this challenge!


Our expert this month is Christina Cameli,  an author, a teacher, and an Expert Free-Motion Quilter!


Christina also has so much enthusiasm that she just makes learning to free-motion quilt super fun!  And her approach to learning FMQ is to create lovely projects to showcase your quilting.

She is also a midwife and lives in Portland, Oregon.  As Christina is willing to travel, you may want to suggest to your Quilt Guild or local Quilt Shop that you’d like to have her come teach a free-motion quilting class in your area.

QuiltShopGal highly recommends both of Christina’s books.  If you do not see these books in your local quilt shops, you may want to let them know you are interested in having them make it available.  Of course you can find these books online at CT Publishing, as well as Amazon.com

First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting: 24 Projects for Fearless Stitching

BTW – I’m currently using the instructions in this book to for some thread play on a skirt, to create a scissors motif.  Great fun and I’m sure this design would look great on jackets, sweatshirts, totes and more.  While this book is designed for beginners, I think quilters of all levels of experience would enjoy it.

scissor motif by Christina Cameli

 Step by Step Free-Motion Quilting


I also highly recommend Christina’s class with  Craftsy,  “The Secrets of Free-Motion Quilting“.



You can find Christina Cameli at:


  1.  a sketchbook, which is a great place to start whether you are brand new to FMQ, or wanting to plan FMQ on a pillow, quilt or other project.  Sketching a FMQ motif on paper is a great way to embed a design in your muscle memory.
  2. practice quilt  sandwiches are really important.  Even FMQ Experts using practice sandwiches before they stitch any design on a project, even if they have stitched that design previously.  Practice helps you master a design, as well as ensure your machine is stitching properly.
  3. pillow form that is purchased or handmade, of any size, but I personally prefer a 18″x18″ or 16″x16″ pillow for these challenges.
  4. fabric marking pen that will wash out
  5. Quilting Gloves or Grip & Stitch Quilting Disks
  6. Supreme Slider
  7. Free-Motion Quilting foot for your sewing machine (aka open toe foot)
  8.  40 or 50wt cotton thread that compliments your fabric.  Aurifil is an excellent choice!
  9. Fabric for your quilt sandwich:
    • Pillow front: minimum of 20″ x 20″ (or larger) of neutral fabric that will show your stitching, but it is up to you to pick your fabric.
    • Pillow front backing: 20″ x 20″  (or larger) of any fabric.   As this fabric will be on the inside of your pillow and not visible, this is a great time to pick a fabric from your stash that is your least favorite.
    • Pillow backing: 20″ x 20″ (or larger) of a fabric that compliments the front of your pillow. Note, the size of your pillow backing should align with the size of the quilt sandwich for your front if you wish to do any FMQ on your back, which is totally optional.
    • Pillow back side – backing: totally optional, if you wish to add FMQ to the back side of your pillow.  Size should match your pillow backing sandwich (see above).


You can use any Pillow Pattern or tutorial that you wish to use to make your own pillow form and/or pillow, but I have also written a couple of free patterns that will be released shortly.  In the meantime, if you have questions on how to create a pillow form or pillow and don’t want to wait for me to release my free pattern, email me with your questions and I will try to help you.  My email is Darlene AT  quilt shop gal  DOT com

But while you can make a FMQ pillow for this challenge, of any size, I recommend you start with a quilt sandwich that is at least 20″x20″.  You can mark a square in the center of your sandwich to reflect your ultimate pillow size (eg. 16″x16″, 18″x18″, etc), and use the extra size for room for your hand placement when stitching near the edge of your pillow shape.



 Attendees of “The Secrets of Free-Motion Quilting”  with Christina on Craftsy can use any of the designs that Christina teaches in this class, and showcase on a pillow.



 For those that have a copy of “First Steps in Free-Motion Quilting“, and follow the instructions in this book to create a beautiful pillow that shows off your free-motion quilting.

Make this beautiful pillow, following the pattern instructions and FMQ tutorial within this book, and share as an entry for this challenge!




Those that have a copy of the newest book by Christina, Step by Step Free-Motion Quilting, can use one or more of the beautiful designs that Christina teaches in this wonderful new book.


There are many inspirational posts and great tutorials and tips on Christina’s blog (A Few Scraps).  Her free tutorial for Peas in a Pod is a great overall design, or would work well combined with other designs.  Her tutorial also includes a Youtube video showing this technique.  And here are two pillows that Christina made using this lovely design.

finished green

 Christina also shared a step-by-step tutorial to make these pillows on Sew Mama Sew.

Other than Option #2, how you apply Christina’s designs are up to you. This challenge is meant to be a personal challenge, to let yourself decide how to select FMQ designs and to combine them. So push yourself.  Here are some ideas you may want to consider:

  • Sketch out a shape such as the letter of your first or last name, a large flower or other item.  Fill the inside of your shape with one design and the outside with another design (all designs listed in the options above).
  • Partition your quilt pillow sandwich to create a sampler of your favorite designs by Christina (all designs listed in the options above).  Any shapes for partitioning areas that you want to would be great, but if you need ideas consider a 4-patch 9-patch, or pre-draw various circles, triangles, squares, rectangles and fill each shape, as appropriate.


Don’t forget, you can enter the April Challenge by one or all of the four of the options above.  With each option you complete during this monthly challenge, you can “link up” and claim the respective option for your entry.  Those that take on this challenge, after this particular monthly challenge is over, or opt to use this challenge on a different project than a pillow, can share photos in the Flickr Group, but those entries do not count as entries to win prizes.  But don’t overlook that while it is fun to win a prize, this challenge is really all about  learning and improving our FMQ skills, as well as sharing and inspiring others to do the same.



1) Entries need to be completed pillows that show free-motion quilting that aligns with the options defined in this monthly challenge. Note:  Other projects that you wish to share can be added to the Flickr group, but do not share them via the link tool.

2) You can enter one completed pillow for any, or all of the options.  Bloggers can do so in one blog post, but to help with the entries, their post needs to show photos and clarify which options they are entering for this monthly challenge.  Non-bloggers need to reflect the same as bloggers, in the comments for the photo they upload to the flickr group for this challenge. Both bloggers and non-bloggers can add one link to the linky tool, for each of the options they wish to enter.  Note, to help with administration, please be sure the photo in the linky tool reflects which of the challenge options you are claiming when you enter/add the link.

3.   In keeping with the spirit of this challenge, I hope in you encourage others to enter this challenge as well as check out all the entries to get inspired.

4.  In the spirit of ~Create ~ Share ~ Inspire ~ #CreativeGoodness, those that wish to share tips and tutorials during any of these monthly challenges will be appreciated.  And, as always, QuiltShopGal will try to do her best to help increase awareness of such.  Collectively, we can create great fun and help others learn/improve their FMQ Skills.


This linky party will be open thru the last day of the month.  You need to have your project completed and linked to enter to win prizes.  Those that may complete this challenge at a different time, as well as those that want to share any FMQ related project, are encouraged to share photos in the Flickr group created for this challenge: https://www.flickr.com/groups/2815271@N22/

If you are not familiar with how to use a linky  click here for a tutorial.


For blogger participants that are interested in posting a badge, the badge code is now on the right hand column of this blog.  Thank you for posting the badge.  The more quilters we have participating, the more fun and inspiration we will all have.  But I need your help to spread the word and encourage others to join, or at least come look and visit all the blogs (and non-bloggers) that share their FMQ projects with us via the Monthly linky parties and the Flicker Group sharing.



Sponsor Prize Winners
Udderly Smooth, by RedEx 65668_10151884614025894_331473606_n  A gift pack of Udderly Smooth products.  Product bundle shipped may not be exactly like what QuiltShopGal is showing.Estimated Retail value $25.  Prize is open to participants living in US/Canada.  Prize #1  winner – Wendy Watts
Clever Craft ToolsGrip & Stitch one pair of Grip and Stitch Quilting Disks.  This prize will be shipped directly from the sponsor to a US only resident.Grip & Stitch Quilting Disks Prize #2 – – Elizabeth Hemming
Fat Quarter ShopFatQuarterShop-Circle-275x275 One lucky winner will receive a $25 Gift Certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop open to WW participants  Prize #3 – Kearstie / KB’s Quilting Quest
CT Publishing Step-by-Step Free-Motion Quilting, by Christina CameliThis prize will be shipped directly by the sponsor and will be given to a US Only Prize #4 – Julie / Pink Doxies




 If you have questions for this Challenge, please read the FAQ:  http://quiltshopgal.com/faq-for-challenges-and-shows/

Winners will be selected randomly and this post will be updated accordingly, after I send an email to notify the winners.

email QuiltShopGal if you still have questions at Darlene @ quiltshopgal dot com and I will try to respond as fast as I can.


email address for quiltshopgal

Here is a list of previous posts 2015 FMQ Challenge:

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