Friday, July 9, 2021


When a quilt tells you how it wants to be quilted, do you listen or do you go with your original plan? 

Let's back up a bit here. You remember I'm making this big batik panel. The original purpose was to make placemats for practicing new to me FMQ skills. Because I cut way too many strips, the panel turned out much bigger than anticipated. 

Placemats changed to pillow covers for on my patio chaises, with the pillow covers still to be used for FMQ practice. Here are the four pillow panels, each about 21 x 32" here. They'll end up standard bed pillow size. 

The plan was to sandwich these and use them for FMQ practice. The size of the panels is easy to handle on my domestic sewing machine, and whatever bobbles occur in my quilting, they'll hardly show anyway and it won't matter. 

But these panels are telling me how they want to be quilted. Should I listen or proceed with plan A? 

The panels are crying out for wavy channel quilting. Using a walking foot I can easily create channels about 3/4" wide in parallel wavy rows across the strips. 

But that means no FMQ practice on these. And one of my buddies that's going on retreat next week is pushing me to improve my FMQ skills and wants to coach me while we're there. 

So back to my original question: When a quilt tells you how it wants to be quilted, do you listen or do you go with your original plan? 

I consulted with friends yesterday and they agree they pay attention when a quilt tells them how it wants to be quilted. But they also reminded me that all four of these panels don't have to be alike. What I've decided to do is quilt two of the panels with wavy lines walking foot quilting and use the other two panels for FMQ practice. The pillows will have an A side and a B side but they'll be similar. I get to see how well the wavy channel concept works and I get to practice FMQ. Win-win. 

PS - my friends helped select the thread, too. We chose a Valdani variegated thread called Moose Lodge from my thread stash. Perfect! 

So even though I don't have a finish today I do have a plan. I'm linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finished (or Not) Friday at Alycia Quilts


  1. Great colors! When a quilt tells you how it wants to be quilted, you have to listen or else you'll never be happy with it. You can always practice on something else. Have a great retreat!

  2. I try to listen to what the quilt wants, and I think the compromise of 50/50 is a perfect solution in this case!

  3. Listen to what the quilt wants - ALWAYS!!! You can buy solid fabrics for less per yard than prints and use them for FMQ sandwiches - your threads will show which is actually helpful at the beginning so you can see where your issues are. You can always make more scrappy strata to use for advanced FMQ practice . . .

  4. Oh a finished plan.... I like it.
    I do let the quilts talk to me, and sometimes I am surprised at how they turn out

  5. When a project I'm working on (quilting or otherwise) speaks to me, I always listen. They seem to know better than any plans that have been made. I'm looking forward to seeing your finished pillows. It all looks fantabulous so far! Happy stitching! -Andrea

  6. I listen to my LAQ when it comes to the quilting. But I do listen to the fabric when it comes to choosing its partners. I want my fabrics to be "singing the same song."

  7. Excellent solution, Jan. Smart friends, too!! :o))

  8. It’s good to have quilt friends to give feedback! A win all around!

  9. Of course you should listen to the quilt. Find or buy a panel and use that for your FMQ practice. Then you'll have anther donation quilt at the ready. No matter, have fun with it and enjoy your retreat.

  10. Good plan! Now that I mostly FMQ, when a quilt says it wants the walking foot, I definitely listen. And then I remember why I switched to FMQ after I'm done, ha! FMQ is sooooo much faster once you get the hang of it :)

  11. It's so nice that you are making new quilty friends in your new location! I think you did the right thing by doing two as planned and two as 'what they wanted you to do'!

  12. Great idea Jan. I love the colors if your batiks. Looking forward to seeing the finished pillows. Are you going to use pillow forms or stuff then with batting scraps. What kind of closings will they have? Have fun at retreat.