FMQ Knots – The LCK Way-The Flourish Knot

FMQ Knots the LCK Way



As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, The Correct Way to Tie Knots for Free Motion Quilting, I rarely tie knots the “correct” way.  The correct way requires the quilter to stop, pop the bobbin thread, tie a knot, thread a hand sewing needle and bury the knot before continuing.  The “Correct Knot”  is nice because it never unravels and it hides the thread without any buildup.   The problem is-this method is slow and it makes it harder for a quilter to develop a rhythm necessary for even stitching.  That is why I’ve developed my  LCK knots.

While they are not technically correct, and I don’t know how they would be judged in a competition, these knots are quicker, they never come loose, and by making them look as if they are part of the design, they look great.  So how can anyone complain?  Judges???


FMQ Knots the LCK Way

The knot begins just like the “correct knot”:  Lower the presser foot.

FMQ Knots the LCK Way

Lower the needle by hand wheeling forward, heel-tapping the foot pedal (on Berninas) or pressing the needle down button on many Berninas.

FMQ Knots the LCK Way

Next, bring the needle to the UP position and “pop” the bobbin thread, by continuing to hand wheel forward -while holding the top thread taut.  The needle can be brought to the UP position by hand wheeling, heel-tapping the foot pedal or by pressing the needle up button on many Berninas.

FMQ Knots the LCK Way

Once the bobbin thread is “popped” to the surface, remove your foot from the foot pedal, and use a pair of tweezers to pull the thread so that it is long enough to grab hold.

FMQ Knots the LCK Way

Hold both the bobbin and top threads and stitch a small “curl” to the left.  Stitch very small stitches.

FMQ Knots the LCK Way

Next, stitch right back over the original stitches-again using a very small stitch length (as determined by the speed with which you move the quilt–as the feed dogs are disengaged for FMQ, right?)

FMQ Knots the LCK Way

Stitch a short distance away from the “tail”.  Stop and cut off the threads as close to the fabric as possible.  (Curved scissors may be helpful here.)

FMQ Knots the LCK Way

Now proceed on your merry way…The stitches will hold very well and look like a little flourish in your design.  Bonus!

FMQ Knots the LCK Way

When you come to the end of your quilting.  Do the same thing.  Stitch  a small spiral using tiny stitches.  Stitch back over the stitches with more tiny stitches.

FMQ Knots the LCK Way

Raise your presser foot.

FMQ Knots the LCK Way

Cut off the thread from the top.

FMQ Knots the LCK Way

Then flip it over and cut the bobbin thread. ( Or, you can cut all the bobbin threads at the very end of your sewing session.)  That’s it!  The Flourish Knot!


The “Correct Knot”

  • Slow and tedious
  • Requires hand sewing
  • Secure
  • Hidden knot, does not change the design

The LCK Flourish Knot:

  • Fast
  • No hand sewing
  • Secure
  • Lovely–looks like a design element

Your choice may depend on your mood, the quilt you on which you are working, and your “philosophy”.  (Read yesterday’s post.)

Knowing the rules and knowing when to break the rules frees one up to concentrate on other things.  I suggest you try both methods, then decide for each quilt and each design which is the best method.  Works for me!

With a flourish,

Lazy Lori

PS…All information, tutorials and images are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Please feel free to Pin and Re-blog with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other uses, please contact me at  Thanks!

29 thoughts on “FMQ Knots – The LCK Way-The Flourish Knot

  1. Your method is nice and quick and very neat. The little swirl looks, as you said, part of the FMQ pattern. I will be trying it out when I next FMQ. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. There are plenty of long arm quilters that begin and end their stitching exactly as you do. Some will add Fray Check to the area where the thread is cut off. Thanks for your great tutorials. Your creativity is endless!

  3. This makes total sense, why should the other way be the ‘correct’ way, the function of the knot is to fasten the thread and your way does just that. These are just two different ways of doing it and in my opinion your way is quicker and less fiddly which gives us more time to practice your fabulous FMQ patterns. Thank you so much for teaching us so much.

  4. I’ve always made my knots “the correct way”, but I’ll certainly give your ingenious idea a try on my next quilt! Thank you for being such a constant inspiration!!!

  5. If I had to stop every time and use a needle, I would give up. I have got to think that when the stitches are stitched over, it has be be stronger than a little knot. The only thing I add is at the end of the locked stitching, is I pull the fabric a little ways away to get some longer thread, put the needle back in at the last stitch, and pull on the slack thread to pull up the bobbin thread, then I cut both threads.

  6. I don’t like the idea of there being only one “correct” way to secure the threads. That’s silly. There used to be only one “correct” way to paint a landscape, but if Claude Monet had worried about what the judges at the Paris Salon were saying, the world would have lost out on Impressionism!

    I think it depends on the style of the quilt and the particular thread you’re using. If a swirly Lori-Knot enhances the design, and it’s a fine thread like you’re using, then it looks great. However, IMO the heavier weight quilting threads look wretched when you backtrack and get any thread buildup, especially something like a 40 wt variegated machine quilting thread where the color changes in the backtracked area, making it even more obvious. In that situation, it might be worthwhile to hand knot and bury the tails, or if the quilter is doing a very geometric, angular quilting design and does not want to alter it by adding a swirly element. As with most things in quilting, I think it’s useful to learn multiple methods so you can choose the best method for each individual project.

  7. I’ve not tried FMQ yet but it seems to me you should be able to pull up the bobbin thread at the end of your stitch line as will, after backtracking, and clip both from the top rather than flipping. No?

  8. I’ve always made my knots the “traditional” way, but what a lovely, signature stitch. I will certainly give it a try. Thanks so much for helping us all to “think out of the box!”

  9. Lori, I do both types, depending on thread, fabric, design and how well I am quilting that day! (HA!). I clip the end the same way you clip your start.(bringing the bobbin thread up from the bottom to trim w/o having to turn the piece over.) If I can get a decent picture, I will email you and also post it on my blog.

  10. I do like to bury my knots. But usually I just let the thread tails hang until I am done stitching and then I bury them all at once. I will have to try your method also

  11. What happens when you run out of thread in the middle of FMQ. I like your way.But if I run out of bobbin thread in the middle of a design, what is your method/ solution for this?

  12. Pingback: Tommy the Turtle – A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial | The Inbox Jaunt

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