I’m busy moving SewCalGal to QuiltShopGal this week, as well as getting ready for the 2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge that kicks off on January lst, with monthly challenges.  It will take me awhile to understand the “basics” of using WordPress, after years of using Google/Blogger, but bags are packed and there is no going back.  While this is my official week to move, I wanted to share some sneak peeks with you today:

sewcalgal moves to quilt shop gal january lst

I hope you are getting excited about learning/improving your free-motion quilting (FMQ) skills in 2015 and will join the one, or all, of the monthly events planned in the 2015 Free Motion Quilting Challenge.  Each month, participants will be challenged to create one or more pillows that incorporate various FMQ designs and you’ll be able to decide if you want to complete one or all of the monthly challenges.  Of course, the more you complete, the more chances you get to win prizes, but you also get more FMQ practice and fun!  Plus, these pillows could be great to decorate your home, or to give away as gifts.

2015 fmq challenge badge

With Valentine’s Day soon approach, as well as many who will be celebrating marriages, I thought this was a perfect time to use your skills to create a pillow with a heart on it.


While you could fill this heart with one or more motifs and have a different background motif, I love hearts filled with Feathers.  And, to my delight, the very talented LuAnn Kessi offered to sketch out a feathered heart design and allow me to share this inspirational design with you today.  Plus, she photographed her steps along the way, which provides a visual tutorial that may help you sketch out and ultimately quilt such a heart on your future projects.  Of course, I’m hoping you may consider making this your own FMQ Pillow project and enter it in the January Challenge (details to be released on the lst).

LuAnn Kessi Heart FMQ Step 1

LuAnn shared “If I were working on fabric (instead of paper) I would chalk out the heart shape, then chalk out the question mark shapes on the inside of the heart motif.  The chalk lines give me something to follow as I stitch out the feathered design.”


LuAnn Kessi Heart FMQ Step 2

LuAnn shared “I stitch up the right side of the heart…”

LuAnn Kessi Heart FMQ Step 3
LuAnn shared “Then I begin to stitch up the left side of the design…”

LuAnn Kessi Heart FMQ Step 5


LuAnn shared ” At this point, both the right and left sides of the heart are filled in with feathers…

LuAnn Kessi Heart FMQ Step 6

LuAnn shared “I begin to stitch into the center area of the heart shape…”

LuAnn Kessi Heart FMQ Step 7

LuAnn shared “Almost done….”

 LuAnn Kessi Heart FMQ Step 8


Feathered Heart Design by: LuAnn Kessi

If you are not already familiar with LuAnn, I want to encourage you to visit her blog and/or pinterest boards.  She is very creative and an amazing quilter, who shares tips, tutorials, inspiration and more on her blog.  She is also great at sharing her sketchbook, which I always find to be inspirational.

You can find LuAnn at:


UPDATE:  LuAnn shared a photo tutorial how she stitched out this design: http://luannkessi.blogspot.com/2015/01/feathered-heartmachine-quilting.html

I hope this encourages you to pull out some paper and pen to sketch out this beautiful feathered heart motif, or your version of a heart filled with feathers.  And yes, this is a sneak peak to the 2015 FMQ Challenge as one of the options in the January Challenge will be to create a pillow which has a heart filled with feathers and a background design of your choice.

For those wanting to get a jump start, the 2015 FMQ Challenge will be quite flexible, but you will be creating a pillow to show off your FMQ.  While the pillow can be any size, I personally prefer a 16 or 18″ pillow.  You can create your own pillow form, or use purchased pillows.  For now, think about what size of pillow you may want to create.  Create quilt sandwiches that are not smaller than 22″x22″ and use a fabric marking pencil (that can be removed by water) to mark a square in the center of this sandwich that reflects the size of your pillow.  This center square will be where you will focus your FMQ on.  The extra is to help for hand placement and will later be cut off.  Of course you can use these scraps to fill other pillows, stuffies, dog beds, etc.  You do not need to follow my recommendations, but I do prefer to have a sandwich that is larger than my project, to help my hands comfortably move the quilt around my domestic machine.  I think longarmers like an extra 4-6″, but for any longarmer participating I hope you’ll apply your own preferences for creating a quilt sandwich with enough buffer area for you to quilt.


Supplies you may want to think about:

– thread

– quilting gloves, for those quilting on a domestic machine

– fabric marking pens that will wash out, or you can iron out (I prefer wash-away)

– fabrics: – I’m recommending neutrals, solids, fabrics that will show off your quilting, but it is up to you to decide what fabrics you wish to use.

– pillow forms or polyester filler to make your own pillow form (I’ll be providing a tutorial shortly, but for now focus on your FMQ sandwiches vs assembly of the pillow.


I’ve also created a Flickr Group for “Free-Motion Quilting” and I’d love to have everyone share any photo for free-motion quilting, as well as sketching of FMQ designs, that they may wish to share and inspire others with.  Throughout the 2015 FMQ Challenge, I will periodically try to share a photo from this group and recognize the person that shared with the intent of inspiring FMQ Creativity.  Of course, you can always view this Flickr Group to view all of the photos shared to-date.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone for their patience and support while I make the change to a new blog platform.  I still have a lot of work to do.  Links may end up going to SewCalGal for awhile, but I’m hoping to get this all cleaned up shortly. And, my cleanup will also focus on FMQ posts first.

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13 comments on “Sneak Peek – 2015 Free Motion Quilting Challenge – Feathered Heart Design by LuAnn Kessi”

  1. Did you find a way to migrate all of your old Blogspot posts to WordPress? I’m thinking of switching, too, but I’d hate to lose all of my older stuff.

    • Yes, that step was pretty easy. I still have a lot to learn, but later I’ll share insights on how to move from blogger to wordpress. Currently trying to figure out the comments and reply to comments feature in wordpress. I’m not certain if this reply only shows up on the comment thread of the post, or if it is like blogger where an email copy goes out to the person who left the comment????

  2. Would love to join this for 2015 🙂
    Have my machine for a reparasjon so hopefully I will get it back soon – miss my machine….

    • I’m happy to have you join this 2015 FMQ Challenge. You always share such beautiful FMQ, I look forward to seeing what you create.

    • This is a reply via the wordpress comments tool, which I think only leaves a message on this thread. (still investigating, as maybe there is a settings feature to get this to send out an email reply copy. On the other hand, I don’t want every reply to be visible on the blog.

  3. Oh goodness, I can’t wait to post pictures after I’m finished. It doesn’t look perfect put I am so excited about what I created based on this challenge. 🙂
    Hopefully I will have the quilting finished tomorrow.

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