Ann Fahl was the FMQ Expert for the March tutorial of the 2012 Challenge. Her tutorial was made available during the month of March, for the individual use by participants.  Per the original agreement, this post has now been updated to remove Ann’s tutorial.  But, you can still find Ann at:

blog:  Ann Fahl’s Color & Quiltsand on 
Facebook (,


If you have not yet completed the previous tutorials:

  • The January tutorial, by Frances Moore, will be available for you to complete anytime.
  • The February tutorial, by Diane Gaudynski was originally planned to be pulled at the end of February, but Diane has approved that her tutorial be left on line for an extended period.  To clarify, a date to remove Diane’s tutorial has not yet been determined.  But, if you have not yet had time to complete the February tutorial I want to encourage you to take time to take advantage of having her excellent tutorial being currently available.   
  • “Bonus” tutorials will be released, this summer, that will also be options for those needing to complete 12 FMQ tutorials anytime in 2012 to be eligible to enter to win a Grand Prize.
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45 comments on “March 2012 FMQ Challenge Tutorial, by Ann Fahl”

  1. • • • How Cool, two of those venues are in my area. I’ll get to see her quilts in person. Thanks for posting the show info too.

  2. Ann, your work is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your experience and talents with us!

    I do have a question for this month, though. I’m not clear on where to quilt on the optional sampler quilt. If I missed it, I apologize. The January challenge said to quilt in one of the 8″ squares at the top of the quilt. I just want to make sure I’m quilting in the right size blocks so that it all works out in the end. If you could please clarify which block to use on the sampler quilt for March (and February; I didn’t see which block to use, but already did mine. I want to be prepared if I need to move a few things around) and if we should quilt all the motifs Ann outlined into the sampler or just pick one, I would appreciate it!

    Thank you for hosting this fun challenge. I’m enjoying learning new things.

    xo -E

  3. Well, this will be an interesting challenge for me. I’ll have to figure out how to create my own doodles from her examples! And get ’em on a plain block like my previous months blocks! Yep, a good challenge for me….Thanks, Ann!!

  4. SewCal Gal, Under the “March Challenge” paragraph you say to link it up by February 29. Might want to change that 😉 I can’t wait to get started on March’s challenge… and to continue practicing what I’ve already learned. Thank you for all the time and effort you’ve put into this!

  5. Ann does this on a regular machine? It is beautiful! I wish I could join, but my machine has to stay in hiding until the reno is done. Will the tutorials be available in the future for me to do in a couple of months?
    This was a great ideat Darlene! Have fun stitching.

  6. Another great challenge….this is really testing my faith in myself; which is wonderful. Thank you have given us a very nice variety of work to practice. Hope I live up to it…

  7. What a fantastic read … And thank you Ann for the great advice you have provided us in this PDF!!! … One question, quite similar to Elizabeth’s … Do we practise one or more of the four designs in the last two pages, or do we design our own? A little confused … Also, should we just focus on one design, or try out all four?

  8. Thank you very much, Ann for the wonderful pdf tutorial. Its great!

    My idea is at first creating a “multimedia” scetchbook, – by the way, I have that, but “forget” it to use ;-)…. Means not only scetches with pencil, but also make little fabric-pictures. That pattern I love most at the end of march is my choice for the sampler.

  9. What a wonderful tutorial, open your mind and let the creativity flow. Thank you Ann, I love the tips and advice (especially the ones I already do ;).

  10. Thanks, Elizabeth & Larissa. The tutorial is wonderful but I too am confused as to our assignment. Would appreciate some more clarification. I am guessing that we create our own patterns and put them on a block as we desire?

  11. Thank you Ann for the great tutorial! I have your book “Dancing With Thread”. I highly recommend Ann’s book. I has wonderful insights on Free Motion Quilting and the pictures are certainly inspiring!

  12. Thanks for this tutorial Ann! It’s so wonderful to have completely different styles, ideas and insights presented each month – I love the way your designs flow together in the backgrounds of your quilts. Just got “Dancing with Thread” this week and already trying some of those background flowing designs on a quilt I’m working on right now. Am thinking of some sort of ‘zentangle’ type practice piece for this month’s challenge entry – haven’t tried to quilt anything like that before so it should be fun!
    Pat in OR

  13. Hi Ann, I so like the idea of shiny threads, and now I know how to place them when they unwind different ways. This month, do we doodle/ meander/pattern?? With variegated threads? Do we do just a block, or a small block that has to be like a mini quilt with wadding and a backing? and binding? or do just what we think is another practise area for each one of us? Do we do applique? or is it to be on one fabric?Or am I a bit dim about all this? Still trying to get the feathers good enough to put on my blog!!! From Jean(even though my blog says Nancy J)

  14. Этот учебный материал не доступен без перевода.Просьба разместить в блоге задание, где имеется возможность перевода.

  15. I love the information and doodle type patterns given this month. It’s going to be fun. Thank you!

    I also have a question. I noticed that many of the ladies have their machine sewing surface level with the table top. What type of table are they using to drop the machine down? My machine has a small extension “table” but it causes drag with anything more than a wall hanging.

    • The little bed extender that comes with your machine isn’t large enough to machine quilt. You need to invest in a table where your machine fits down inside a well, then there is an additional plexi piece, cut to fit, that covers the space between the table and your machine. A table that has leaves to make the flat space even larger are worth every penny you spend.

      When your quilt is laid out on one level, you don’t have to work as hard fighting gravity!

      If cost is an issue, there are some inexpensive sewing tables out there, perhaps you can get a used one, or at last resort, have someone make you a huge bed extender out of plywood or plexiglass to give you as large a level surface as possible. One can be made cheaply out of rigid styrofoam. Stack up the layers until it is as tall as the machine bed. cover it with duct tape or contact paper.

  16. Great info in this tutorial – thanks! I was encouraged to start with some motifs in a basic FMQ book that I won as a door prize last summer. My next task is to practice the cute spiral-flower motif shown in the tutorial.

  17. Thank you Ann. Great tutorial and bonus that it is a pdf file easily printable to put in my growing folder of FMQ information.

    Just picked up my sewing machine today after 2 1/2 weeks in the shop and the first thing I did was practice your loop & star assignment. All went smoothly – probably because of the work on my dry erase board each night in front of the TV! Plan to use the pattern on a small quilt tomorrow to lock in the technique.

    Thanks again!

  18. This was a fun challenge. I surprised myself at how I relaxed and simply enjoyed doodling! I have posted pics on my blog and did the linky link. Thanks so much Ann for opening my eyes to so many new options. Doodling…who’d a thunk?? LOL

  19. I just took some time and looked through everyone’s linki link of this month’s challenge. What wonderful work! Thanks for sharing…I got even more great doodle ideas from many photos.

  20. I saw Ann Fahl’s work on exhibit here locally in WI a couple years ago. I found her online and bought one of her quilt kits (water lilies). It took me 18 months (my own procrastination), but I finally finished the wall hanging and love it. How nice to have her FMQ insight and guidance this month!

    PS – When I linked this evening, I’m not sure it got my email address right (it may say just “t”). Let me know if there’s a problem and how I can fix it, if necessary.

  21. Thank you so much for this great tutorial. I own the DVD – Coloring with Thread- I think its a awesome DVD with a lot of inspiration.

    I enjoyed this very much. I just been to several blog to see what eveyone else came up with and I was amazed at all the work.

  22. Question….I found when doing the spirals that I had ‘eyelash’ problems periodically on the back (picture on my blog – ).

    I was using King Tut thread (which I don’t think I like and have never used before) so I wondered if the tension problem could be caused by that (it didn’t happen on my samples with Isacord thread)? My other thought was if the eyelash problem had to do with spiraling too fast and small – as it seemed to happen more often on the inside of the spirals rather than the outside?

    I plan to do another small quilt with this pattern and Isacord thread in the next week or so – or perhaps do a spiral with flower.

    Thanks Ann! This is my kind of FMQ!

    • You are probably moving the quilt, as you sew the spiral, too fast. Remember to move in the spiral direction, at the same speed as you do everything else.

      Or…. you should increase the speed of the machine, to keep up with the speed of your hands.

  23. WOW, Thanks Ann for all the helpful tips. I t is interesting to me, a brand new FM quilter how different teachers have different thoughts about techniques, and makes me appreciate your providing the reason behind you technique. Starting my notebook now. KH

  24. There was some great information here from Ann! I read through it all many times. Thanks for all the hard work you all are doing to put this together it is helping me tremendously!

  25. Thank you Ann for the tutorial. Learn a lot of tips. I really need to get serious and organized on my journal. I have lots of doddles here and there but not in a organized fashion. Ty for the encouragement in quilting.

  26. Este mes he ido un poco atareada pero finalmente he conseguido poner mis avances en acolchado. Gracias Ann por el tutorial. Aún nos quedan unos meses más para practicar y divertirnos acolchando.

  27. Thank you @Ann for inspiring us to come up with our own designs. Your tutorial was very helpful. And I did came up with quite a few designs. Its so funny that
    if you hadn’t asked us to stir things up, I would never thought of coming up with my design this soon.

    I just entered my link today. I hope I’m still considered for the March month’s challenge.


  28. Many thanks to Ann for this wonderful tutorial. I had the pleasure of taking a workshop from her when she visited the Tucson Quilters Guild. If you can take a class from her I strongly encourage you to do so!

  29. Nuts. I’m just getting to the one for March, and I didn’t see the tutorial on Ann’s site or Facebook page. I only saw links on her site and Facebook page back to SewCalGal. Is there a more specific URL on her site where I can find the tutorial? Thanks!

    • Claire,

      Per this agreement with this particular FMQ Expert, the link to her tutorial was removed April lst (e.g. her tutorial was to only be available during her month as FMQ Expert.

      But, for those that want to complete 12 FMQ tutorials in 2012, to be eligible to enter to win a Grand Prize, there will be “bonus tutorials” that will be released throughout the challenge.


  30. I’m so glad to hear that most of you are trying something a little different in your machine quilting. As you make little discoveries like this, be sure to make a pencil sketch of your ideas or take of photo, you can use it again for future projects.


  31. I too did not see the Challenge until after Ann’s tutorial was removed. I would really like to see it! Perhaps Ann could be persuaded to allow it to stay up for the duration of the Challenge?

  32. I too only discovered the Challenge after Ann’s tutorial was removed. I’d really like to see it! Perhaps Ann could put it back up for the duration of the Challenge?

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