Welcome to the 2nd Linky Party for the 2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge.  During the February Challenge this month, we have several ways to learn/improve your FMQ skills, have fun, share, inspire, as well as enter to win prizes that will be awarded at the end of this monthly challenge.

While the challenge this year does focus on learning/improving your FMQ skills, where you are asked to create a FMQ pillow, you can also use this challenge to build your skills by stitching on practice quilt sandwiches, table toppers, quilts or your other projects.  There is also a Flickr group that has been created for participants to share any FMQ project that they wish to share with others and inspire.  Of course, you can also share your FMQ in the weekly #CreativeGoodness Linky Parties that I host every Friday.  Lots of opportunities to share and inspire, but this challenge is really all about learning/improving our FMQ skills.

Each of the  FMQ Experts that I showcase each month in 2015 are professionals.  By purchasing their patterns, books, dvds and/or classes you are helping them earn an income that they need to support their families.  While every monthly challenge will have at least one free option to enter to win prizes, there will also be several options to enter for those that may purchase a book, DVD, pattern and/or take an online class by the respective expert.  There is also a good chance that you have already made such a purchase. but ultimately it is up to you to decide to make such an “investment” in your skills.  As QuiltShopGal, I will always encourage you to take classes, purchase books, DVDs or patterns to learn and improve your skills, as well as to create inspirational projects.

I personally, continue to take as many FMQ classes and purchase as many FMQ books and DVDs, as I can.  And I find that each class, book, as well as DVD continues to help me learn/improve my skills.

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 the FMQ pillow (or pillows) that they created, following the respective monthly challenge.  They’ll need to finish that challenge and share via the linky, but the lst day of the month to enter to win prizes.  But everyone is invited to share any FMQ project any time through a Flickr group that has been created:  https://www.flickr.com/groups/2815271@N22/


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


Our expert this month is Leah Day, a Master Free-Motion Quilt Designer and Teacher, who has also published many FMQ books, teaches several online classes at Craftsy, and has create amazing FMQ DVDs, and more Youtube videos on FMQ than anyone else I know.  She has also been published in magazines and currently writes for Quiltmaker Magazine.

Leah Day





Leah is well known for her Free Motion Quilting Project blog, where she shares tips, techniques, designs and inspiration.  And through Leah’s 365 Days of Free-Motion Quilting Project,  she taught many of us how to quilt beautiful designs, while watching her make a stunning FMQ Sampler Quilt.  To my delight, this quilt was recently exhibited at the Road to California Quilt Show.   And, it received a First Place Ribbon too!  It was a special treat to see this quilt up close, as well as to chat with fellow quilters that have learned from Leah, as well as other quilters who enjoyed seeing this quilt on exhibit, but were new to FMQ and to Leah as a teacher, author, designer.  My take away is “If you have learned from Leah, we can all help increase awareness with other quilters and encourage them to purchase Leah’s books, DVDs, patterns and/or online classes, so that they can learn/improve their FMQ skills and have fun while doing so!


I am definitely fond of Leah’s books, DVDs, online classes at Craftsy and happily recommend them to anyone interested in learning/improving their FMQ skills.

You can find Leah 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.



Use the free FMQ tutorial provided by Leah, from the 2012 FMQ Challenge, to create a FMQ Pillow using her Double Stippling design, called Railroad Tracks, available  in her video tutorial which can be found at: http://quiltshopgal.com/may-2012-fmq-challenge-tutorial-by-leah-day/   This is a fun FMQ design that can be used as an overall design, a background design, or in some cases, a filler design. To clarify, the possibilities are endless for how you use this design.  To use this option for this challenge, it is up to you to decide how you want to apply it to create a FMQ Pillow,  but your pillow must contain some percentage of Leah’s Railroad Track design.



Leah has created a fun quilt pattern called the Dancing Butterfly.  When you purchase this design it also gives you comprehensive 60 page pattern you will learn step-by-step how to piece, applique, and free motion quilt each block of the Dancing Butterfly Quilt.  Plus you get access to 49 videos created for this quilt and quilt-along.  Truly an excellent value, which Leah is also offering at 50% off during the month of this challenge!

If you are using a MAC or have problems watching this embedded video, here is a link to watch it directly in Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5Ja7osH1qo

To use this option to claim an entry for the February Challenge, you do need to purchase this pattern from Leah, which also gives you access to watch all the tutorial videos she created for tips, techniques and FMQ designs used to make this beautiful quilt.   Leah has provide these pillow pattern instructions, to help you turn one of your Dancing Butterfly blocks into a complimentary pillow, for your quilt:

Butterfly Pillow Pattern
Sized to fit an 18 inch pillow form

12.5” square for block center
2 – 4.5” x 12.5” strips
2 – 4.5” x 21” strips
10” square for fusible butterfly shape
2 – 9.5” x 19” back fabric
2- 12.5” x 19” back fabric
9.5” x 19” batting
12.5” x 19” batting
21” square batting

Quilt the backing pieces
On the 9.5” piece, stitch 1 inch along the bottom edge, and leave this space unquilted. Stitch 1 button hole in the center of this panel.
Overlap the 9.5” piece and 12.5” piece, pin and baste stitch along sides to hold securely together.
Quilt front to 18.5” (borders are stitched 3.5”)
Layer the front and back right sides together and stitch with a ¼” seam allowance.
Trim and turn right side out.


And Leah created this video especially for those participating in her Dancing Butterfly QAL and want to make this pillow and claim this challenge option:

If you are on a MAC or have problems watching this embedded video, here is a link where you can watch it directly in Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNmO_kV4OUQ

To make a companion pillow, which allows you to claim this option to enter the February Challenge, you can can create a pillow using the block design in the Dancing Butterfly Pattern, pillow design shared by Leah, as well as replicate the two FMQ designs Leah shared in the above video, which are also taught in the videos that are provided to those that purchase this pattern.  Don’t like Butterflies?  No problem, there are many that are taking advantage of this amazing QAL, with private FMQ videos, by using other applique designs.


You can also be creative with this option and use any FMQ design that Leah shares to participants in the Dancing Butterfly QAL, as well as use your own pillow design.  Of course, I hope when you claim this entry you will also share photos of your Dancing Butterfly quilt (to-date), along with your Dancing Butterfly Pillow.  This Dancing Butterfly pattern and QAL is really a great opportunity to learn and improve your FMQ skills and Leah has made it available at a very reasonable price, so I do want to encourage you to take advantage of it.  You need not complete the quilt, nor watch all of the videos this month.  Once you purchase you’ll have plenty of time to watch them again and again, at your leisure.  But you will need to create a Dancing Butterfly Pillow this month, if you want to claim this option to enter to win a prize.


Create a Pillow with FMQ incorporating designs, tips and techniques covered in the online class with Leah “Free-Motion Quilting A Sampler at Craftsy .  Consider using the designs from one of the worksheets for your pillow. They would all make great pillows, especially #11.  To clarify, you decide the layout for your FMQ Pillow Sampler and which of the designs covered in this class you want to use on your FMQ pillow.

While all of the above options will allow you to pick your own FMQ pillow design (e.g. whole cloth, pieced, nine-patch, etc.), as St Patrick’s Day is coming up, you may want to consider a four leaf clover motif.  You could design a pillow that had one, or more clovers, where each clover (or each petal) incorporated a different FMQ design, as detailed in any of the options above.

four leaf clover


To clarify, you can enter the February Challenge by one or all of the three 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 February, 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.

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.


(note: formatting in this table is different in WordPress vs blogger and I’m still trying to learn the tricks for WordPress.  I hope to be able to find a solution for better formatting and update this table shortly).

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 – Can’t Stop Stitching
Martingalemartingale logo Sew Practical

Think Big, by Amy Ellis
Vintage Vibe, by Amber Johnson
note: QuiltShopGal will be shipping these prizes, one each, to three lucky winners, any where in the world.
Prize #2
Sew Practical
Winner: Ray and Jeanne – Loving Retirement

Prize #3
Think Big
Winner: Marjorie’s Busy CornerPrize #4
Vintage Vibe
Winner: Geri Richardson

Clever Craft Tools/Grip & Stitch Quilting DisksGrip & Stitch Quilting Disks Clever Craft Tools/Grip & Stitch Quilting Disks
Estimated Retail value $29.95.
Prize is open to participants living in US.
Prize #5  One lucky winner will receive a pair of Clever Craft Tools/Grip & Stitch Quilting Disks.Winner: Cheryl Ann




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

Winners will be selected randomly

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


Here is a list of previous posts 2015 FMQ Challenge:

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7 comments on “2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge – February Challenge with Leah Day”

  1. I am so excited to see that Leah is the FMQ expert this month. I absolutely love her she makes it so easy for me. Now to think about how I want to do this challenge this month. Her techniques have helped me complete many quilts in the past two years that were loved on by many family members. I might just do some pillows to go along with their quilts. We will see. Thanks for having her this month.

  2. thank you so much Darlene and Leah.. thoroughly enjoyed playing with this one… and I’m finding these challenges are making me use my imagination ….

  3. Ditto! Thanks Darlene, I’m having fun and building free motion skills is a good combination! Also, I am finally watching Craftsy classes I signed up for months ago. All the heart pillow variations in January are inspiring. February’s challenge entries are amazing too.

    • Hi Dena,

      Glad you are enjoying the FMQ Challenge this year. I too find all of the entries inspiring. And I’m delighted you are finally watching your Craftsy classes as they really are a great way to learn/improve our FMQ skills.

  4. Great challenge, beautiful cushions!
    Congratulations to the lucky winner!
    My prize from the january challenge arrived yesterday,
    the great Aurifil Thread Box -Thank you so much Aurifil for the sponsoring
    and thanks to you @quiltshopgal for the 2015 FMQ Challenge, great fun!
    Liebe Grüße

  5. Oh and I forgot to thank Leah for all the great FMQ Tutorials.
    You are a wonderful teatcher.
    My favorite FMQ-Star!

Comments are closed.