Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Attempting FMQ Spirals

Other than a muslin sandwich, this month's pillow cover panel is my first attempt at quilting FMQ spirals. Lots of spirals, lots of bobbles and wobbles. I filled the panel with spirals. 

What I learned: 

- Try to go slower, and steady and smooth. I get going too fast around some of the curves and my machine beeps at me that I'm going faster than the stitch regulator can keep up. 

- Make a plan. I just filled the space with spirals and had to make various sizes to fill gaps.

- Practice, Practice, Practice! I need to choose one direction and size of spiral and practice that motif to become more consistent at it. 

Obviously these spirals are inconsistent. After all, this was a learning exercise. 

I also learned that quilting spirals this size, this close together, uses a lot of thread. I went through 2 big Bernina bobbins on this 22 x 30" panel. 

Here's the back. No one will ever see it; it'll be inside the pillow cover. I used the same variegated thread on the front as on the other pillow covers, and a medium sage in the bobbin.

For a first attempt I'm certainly not proud of how it looks, but for its utilitarian purpose it will do. Maybe with more practice and planning I can use judiciously placed spirals on an actual quilt. I'll definitely have to plan where to place them and how to enter and exit the spiral to harmonize with the rest of the quilting. 


  1. I give you a lot of credit for doing these free motion. I'd have to have a design to trace.

  2. A pillow cover is a great place to practice.

  3. I don't know how or if changing the settings on a Bernina might work, but I get a fat quarter out before doing a FMQing motif and find the right speed setting for my machine where I can put the foot pedal down to the floor. I find it a lot less tiring if I can get the speed set slow enough to match what I can comfortably keep up with with my hands. And I err on the side of setting it slower than not, because a quilt is harder to manipulate than a fat quarter and like you found, I am smoother when it's a bit slower. That's what works for me, anyway. I think the spirals look great and you are so right that FMQing can be bobbin thirsty work!

  4. You are so right about slowing down - I tend to go too fast near the centers and my bobbin thread doesn't behave so well when I do that. I like the free flowing nature of your first spiral piece.

  5. Have you tried the spirals where you echo your way back out of them, of course when you first make the spiral you need to plan your spacing so you can get back out without making them to tight.

  6. Spirals still give me fits and I'm sure more practice would help, but I find myself avoiding them which certainly doesn't help. I think I should doodle them first before trying them on fabric.

  7. Looks like you are getting the hang of it! You have figured out what steps you need to take to improve. You are definitely on your way. Don’t be too hard on yourself! We are always our worst critic!