Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along – Part 6

Jan 7: Announcement post
Jan 21:  Planning, basting, batting, etc
Jan 28:  Stabilization quilting or just to catch up
Feb 4, Feb 11: Inside center panel
***Feb 25: Top and Bottom Rectangles
March 4: Top and Bottom Squares
March 11: Left and Right Side panels
Mach 18: Narrow Sashing
March 25: Outside (wider) Border
April 1: Binding & Hanging


Hello Friends, Happy Monday, and we are back at it with our very mysterious machine quilting quilt-along.  I hope you have enjoyed it as much as Karen and I have hosting it.  And before I move further, let me just say I am SO proud of the progress some of you have made.  Some have written to tell me they just need to get over the fear… and to be honest, that’s half of the battle!  Good job, ladies!


Now, some of you might still be gathering your supplies.  That’s okay — jump in when you are able to. Click HERE where Karen keeps a list of shops where you can purchase the supplies.


I have heard positive responses from many regarding my book.  THANK YOU!

You may order my book from:

Connecting Threads

Fox Chapel Publishing


or email me for signed copies!

I will be using Aurifli 50 wt threads from my Subtle Strings collection.  You may read more about the collection here, and here.  You may order your collection here for $99.99 (regularly selling for $140)!  The collection is IN STOCK again as of this morning!!!

Meanwhile, you may also order the collection HERE and HERE.

My Subtle Strings colors are specially selected to achieve a subtle contrast effect in the quilting.  That is to say, we get to quilt with pretty colors on our quilts, but the colors aren’t really visible from afar and are not competing with the overall look of the quilt, until one looks at the quilting close up.  These colors are also perfect for piecing, machine or hand applique — definitely my go-to!  Why limit yourself to using only beige and light brown, or white?!




Today, I will be focusing on using household items as marking tools for guidelines for quilting these top and bottom rectangles we will be tackling in this round of the quilt-along (page 17 in my book Stitching Pathways).  The motifs we will be using are covered in pages 50-51, 60-63 and 66.

And we will give the sheep in the top and bottom rectangles their Kodak moments!



I started off with the bottom rectangle for no significant reason.  I guess it’s because I walk by it everyday.  But here I was,  using an old 5 1/2″ x 7″ tray to frame the sheep on the rectangle.  I could either have a leveled rectangular frame or a slanted frame drawn around the sheep.

I chose the latter because it looks like the Kodak moment cards people send out.  And I used these colors from my Subtle Strings thread collection for this bottom rectangle.

So, I was all ready to quilt!  My quilt sandwich was already in the throat of the machine, and I started quilting… and I realized the outline of the sheep wasn’t visible enough.  So, I broke out my marking pen right there and then to draw the outline so that I don’t have to guess where I am supposed to go.

It’s reported that famous famous violinist Heifitz once said violin playing is all about keeping everything clear and certain in the head regarding the music.

True words — quilting is like that too… even if it’s unmarked quilting, it’s about keeping things clear in the head.  The skill comes from actually quilting in real life to train the muscle memory in your hands, and in your brain.

So when things aren’t clear to me, I am definitely not too proud to mark! Hehe!  All that to say, on the job marking is perfectly OKAY!

You can see here the sheep is being quilted, and I actually echo-quilted around the outline.

I then moved on to quilting the “frame”.  I actually eye-balled and marked a slightly larger frame around the one I had marked with the tray because I wanted the frame to look more prominent.  Pretty much just more outline quilting.

After the frame is quilted, I added pebbles in the background.  These pebbles are just slightly different than the pebbles I used to quilt the panel center.  I actually quilted around the each pebble several times,, and not really following the previously stitch lines, to give it that poofy effect.  This is a nice exercise for beginners to use just to get use to moving the quilt sandwich, and not necessarily following the lines closely.


I continued with the concept using plate or household items to mark the guides for quilting.  This time, I used a salad (8″) and a dinner (10″) plate.  Here you see the result  of my salad plate is traced around the sheep.  You can see that the boundary actually goes a little beyond the rectangular boundary on the top and bottom.  It’s okay.  It actually adds to the final look, I think.

I am sorry I don’t have a picture of the larger dinner traced outside of the salad plate boundary.  Basically the dinner place boundary is traced only within the rectangle, and not beyond.  Hopefully you can see what I mean by that in the final quilted picture below.

I also eyeballed and marked 1/4″ outside of the salad plate boundary for a guide to quilt my pearl necklace.  You can see that I am using the yellow from my Subtle Strings collection to quilt the necklace.

Then I continued with my feather wreath.  The last time I checked, there wasn’t a rule that scowl at disjointed feather wreath.  I quilted the feather wreath within the confines of the rectangle to show you another option to use the feather wreath.  All that to say have fun with customizing your quilting.  In my world, there are no quilt police!  You can also quilt psedo feathers shown in my book on page 66.

The sheep looked so sweet I couldn’t resist quilting a sun in the sky for them.

SO THERE WE HAVE IT — the sheep getting their Kodak moments, domestic machine quilting flavor!  Same rectangles, different looks!

Today, we covered:

#1.  using household items to mark and frame around a scene.

#2.  outline quilting, with a variation of pebbles for background quilting in the bottom rectangle.

#3.  a disjointed feather wreath works just a well to frame scene.

I can’t wait to see how you are quilting your panel.  Email me and/or Karen your progress pictures so we can celebrate with you!

Remember, the more you quilt, the better you will be at it!  I hope you are having the time of your life working on this piece.  I know I have!  See you again next Monday, but not before you check out Karen’s post for today!  Click HERE to go to Karen’s blog.

3 thoughts on “Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along – Part 6

  1. I’m so excited to try feathers! They are beautiful but I’ve always been nervous about them. Could you share what you used to “mark” your quilt above with? I have your book aka The FMQ Bible! Can’t imagine tackling FMQ without it. Thank you so much!

    • I normally use the Frixion Pen — they are easily removed by heat from the iron. But look up online to see what the reviews are from different quilters. Some like the pens, some don’t. I have never had any problems with them, and so obviously I like them.

      Hope this helps!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s