Thread Talk From My Sewing Machine #70


Happy Friday, Friends!  I feel like this week has gone by so quickly.  I promised you I would share with you a secret or two about my way of machine quilting earlier this week based on my recently completed Thread Journey quilt. Click here if you would like to see more pictures of the quilted finished product.


So, you know how sometimes chefs keep things simple by using simple ingredients in their cooking, but they learn to use those ingredients well?  My quilting philosophy is kind of like that too.  I generally do not use more than three quilting elements within a section when I quilt.  Hopefully you will see what I mean by the pictures I am showing you…

In the quilt center – feathers + pebbles for background (2 elements):



… and very occasionally, a bean sprout or two (so 2 1/2 elements) – you can see the bean sprouts sticking out amongst the pebbles in the top portion of the picture below.


Next, we have feathers + pebbles + sprouts in the Ohio Star inner border (3 elements):



Gray Sashing: feathers + pebbles (2 elements):



Outer border: feathers (with occasional variations of sprout or pebbled spines) + echoing (2 elements):




I keep my motifs simple and few in dense quilting because:

#1.  It is easier for the viewers to concentrate on certain elements of the quilting, then a whole bunch of motifs.

#2.  It affords me the opportunity to keep quilting the same thing, and thus able to work in the practice I need to master different motifs.  I don’t ever do practice pieces – because I always practice better on the real deal.

#3.  When a large expanse of quilting area is limited to 2-3 motifs, that also allows me to slip in trying out new ideas without being too noticeable.  That way, I can decide whether I like those new motifs or not. :)  There are quite a few moments of trying out new things in Thread Journey that I can’t even tell existed because how the major motifs I have selected have dominated the quilting area.

So basically,  I have quilted the entire Thread Journey quilt with feathers, echoing and pebbles, and nothing else that’s fancy. :)  See what I mean? Keep it simple, and use the simple to your advantage!!

I hope my sharing has helped you… it’s not just using the simple motifs, but rather it is a matter of using the simple well.

Have a great weekend – till next time!


15 thoughts on “Thread Talk From My Sewing Machine #70

  1. Thank you, Wendy, for your wise quilting advice. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Busy-ness actually detracts, it doesn’t give the eye a place to rest. A photographer friend has said the same thing about photography. Simplify, focus on the simple beauty, the single subject, get rid of the busy distractions around. I had not thought of my quilting in that same manner, but it sure makes sense. Your quilting always enhances the piecing….. Wow! Lots of food for thought! 😉

  2. I don’t know of anyone but you who would call feathers a “simple” motif. While I am satisfied with my (much) simpler FMQ, I remain in awe of yours.

  3. Yes, your sharing is MOST helpful! Thank you! I hope you’ll keep on doing that. I can’t help but notice you did a lot of echoing too and very consistent spacing. Now THAT takes practice! :D Very nicely done. I’m not there yet.

  4. Thank you so much for your tips, but I don’t which part you are calling Sprouts. Did I miss something there? Probably Thanks again!

  5. Awwww, Wendy, everytime you post a article like this, I almost drool!! Your quilting is just wonderful, love the different color areas!! I want to grow up to be just like you–of course I’m twice as old as you are!! LOL!

  6. Thank you so much for all of your tips and advice. I will (hopefully) be able to put it in practice in my next thread projects. My quilting is definitely a journey with ups, downs, detours and even disasters along the way, but I am finding more scenic routes and less traffic jams along the way with your amazing tutorials. Thank you!
    I like your subtle reminder to “KISS” instead of trying to include everything at once.

  7. Wendy,
    I love this! I’ve shared it via FaceBook with one of the groups I quilt with. You have been a real source of inspiration to me…both in the quilting world, and spiritually! God bless you!

    Laura Watson

  8. This is stunning. I am just starting fmq and I this is perfect timing, because I now understand your advice. I’ve been studying and buying books, and watching you tube to wrap my head around fmq and finally just bit the bullet and decided that I was going to jump into it and fmq each of my little 56- 7″ heart blocks a different fmq design and it was really the best practice I could have done. So I totally agree on #2. I’m one who tried just practice pieces and for me I find I have to do it on the real deal to get going 😆

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