Free-Motion Quilting Valentines Style!

Valentine Table TopperHappy St. Valentine’s Day!

I found a fat quarter of this gorgeous fabric in my stash. I thought it was too beautiful to cut into smaller pieces, so I made 2 table toppers out of it. The large one I made as a rectangle, but decided to cut off the corners to make it a little more interesting.

I useValentine Table Topper close upd the design to practice my free-motion quilting. By stitching on the lines, the design of the fabric is really shown off instead of broken up by thread criss-crossing over the pattern. This fabric provided the perfect opportunity to get some practice while not wasting precious time or fabric.
small Valentine runner

I also made a small table runner for a little table as well.

I used a shiny, polyester, magenta, machine embroidery thread for the quilting. I don’t follow the supposed “cotton thread only” rule. When I started quilting over 15 years ago my first teacher taught that cotton thread was the only way to go if you were using cotton fabric. Since then, I’ve seen quilts done using many types of thread. I do like cotton thread best when I am quilting a bed sized quilt, but if I want a high sheen, I reach for the embroidery thread, which is rarely cotton.

Leah Day, on her 365 Days of Free-Motion Quilting blog and website talks about how the only way to get better doing free-motion quilting is to free-motion quilt. She doesn’t say we should “practice”. She says we should quilt. You may be thinking, well, isn’t that what you’d be doing, practicing your quilting? On the one hand yes, on the other hand, practice implies that we are not making anything. Leah wants to inspire us to keep creating even though we may not have the designs down perfectly. Table toppers, table runners, place mats, and other small items are great because you get experience and have a finished project in a relatively short amount of time.

By following the lines in the design printed on the fabric, you don’t even have to draw a design. You can even do this with a backing! If you want to stitch an all over design on a quilt, but are tired of the basic meandering stipple, stitch along some (or all) of the lines in your backing fabric. People will think that you marked a whole complicated pattern on the top when you really just stitched on the lines. And remember, any time you stitch off the lines, no one looking at the front will know unless they look at the back.

This project gave me plenty of practice “travel stitching” too. That’s when you have to stitch over an area that you already stitched in order to get back to an area that needs stitching.There are lots of flaws in both of these pieces, but they gave me much needed experience and dressed up my home for the upcoming St. Valentine’s Day.

Things that make me smile:

  • Any time I spend free-motion quilting
  • Sponge candy (I’m still trying to finish the Christmas present candy. I had to pace myself).
  • Buying a beautiful locally hand-made piece of artwork at a local school fundraiser

Seyler's tray

This is actually a serving tray, but it is too beautiful to set food on. The design is woodburned. The picture just doesn’t do it justice (especially since I couldn’t bear to take it out of the cellophone for fear of getting it dirty.) There are 2 holes in the back so that it can be hung on a wall to display. It’s made by Seyler’s Rustic Furniture in North Tonawanda, NY. He also does charcoal artwork on moose antlers and makes furniture out of wood and antlers.

Let’s go spread some sunshine!

– Melanie

4 thoughts on “Free-Motion Quilting Valentines Style!

  1. Hi Melanie. Your friend, Susan, gave me your website address today. We live in the same RV park here in Florida. Yes, we’re both quilters too! Now here’s another similarity…I also have a website about quilting and such. I gave that address to Susan and she will share with you or you can see it in this “required fields”.

    I love this heart fabric and haven’t seen it anywhere before. Great find!

    I love free-motion quilting and am practicing with Lori Kennedy. I recommend if you love FMQ designs. She’s a great teacher too.


    • Hi Marsha,
      Thanks for checking out my blog and commenting! Your website is great! It’s got great ideas and is really well organized. Lori Kennedy looks like a great teacher too. I definitely want to do her thread sampler.

    • Ironic that you mention silent auctions. Although this would be a great auction piece, I’m going to keep it because I’m so in love with the fabric. I’m generally not drawn to hearts, but this fabric really speaks to me. I grew up thinking red and pink should not be worn together because they clashed. So, I would never put them in the same quilt. But this fabric breaks the “rule” and the swirls are the icing on the cake for me! I have, however, been working on a set of silent auction items on for the past week. And interestingly enough, you are one of the people who gave me the fabric….

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