Build A Rock Solid Routine-Be Ready

Free Motion Quilted pumpkinWhen inspiration strikes are YOU ready?

You may have only 20 minutes….

If everything is ready, 20 minutes is enough...but ONLY if you are organized…

Free Motion Quilted pumpkinDo you have a quilt sandwich ready?

Today’s assignment in Building a Rock Solid Routine for Free Motion Quilting is to make 10 quilt sandwiches.

A nice quilt sandwich size is 18 x 20–a fat quarter.

12 x 12 is the smallest I would recommend.

Free Motion Quilted pumpkinYOUR ASSIGNMENT

Choose a size that works for you.  This is YOUR SIZE.  Write it down somewhere!  If you have a lot of fat quarters-go with 18 x 20″.

1.   Cut 10 -12 batting pieces.

Either use what you have or buy a twin size batting and cut it up into pieces slightly larger than YOUR SIZE.

2.  Cut 10-12 pieces of quilt top fabric in YOUR SIZE.

Make sure some of the fabrics are solids.  Choose seasonal colors.  Skip the muslin and  ugly colors -you won’t feel inspired by these fabrics and when your stitching looks fabulous you will be disappointed by the fabric.(NOTE:  If you have any “orphan blocks” they make great little projects for free motion quilt practice.  Use them “as is” or add a border.)

Fold the top fabrics neatly.

3.  Cut 10-12 backing pieces slightly larger than YOUR SIZE.

Again, this is no time to use up your “dogs”.  It is okay to use fabrics you don’t love anymore, but don’t use fabric you HATE...there is a difference.

Avoid white on white fabrics -they don’t slide well as backings.  Also, avoid very tightly woven fabrics like hand dyed and batiks.

Fold the backing fabrics neatly.


You should have three neatly folded piles:

  • Batting
  • Tops
  • Backing

All mix and match (the sizes are all the same)…

Free Motion Quilted pumpkinNOW you are READY TO GO!

Pick one from each pile and iron all three layers… (I don’t recommend ironing all the fabrics at once–they stitch best when ironed just before stitching…)

You only have 20 minutes to quilt you say?

I can’t wait to see what YOU do in 20 minutes!

(For  ideas and inspiration…check out the entire library of free motion quilt tutorials…)

Happy Stitches,


You might also like other posts in this series:

Build a Rock Solid Routine for FMQ

Build a Rock Solid Routine Supply List for FMQ

Build a Rock Solid Routine:  Machine Set up for FMQ

PS…All images, information and tutorials are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

Free Motion Quilted pumpkin



36 thoughts on “Build A Rock Solid Routine-Be Ready

  1. You’re absolutely right. If you don’t like the fabric to begin with you won’t be inspired. Thanks for all the little details (like not ironing all at one time, etc.). I’m saving all your hints. Measuring, cutting and otherwise preparing your sandwiches takes time. When inspiration hits you want to be able to run with the idea & the preparation already being done – whala.

    Tavette – S. Fla.

  2. Lori, Your work is amazing and even more so if you do it on a domestic machine! Hats off to you. I love your blog and the very consistent inspiration and instruction. Thanks and Happy Pumpkin Quilting! Beautiful.

  3. This is so exciting! What a great idea and you’re inspirational free motion patters have got me stoked! Thanks, again, Lori for all that you do to encourage my beginning FM skills!

  4. This pumpkin is amazing! I love to see multiple patterns of yours in one project. Love, love, love it! So inspiring! I think choosing which pattens to use is so challenging.

  5. Hi Lori, I just discovered your blog and am so glad I did! Wonderful tutorials with clear instructions and great pictures. Thanks so much! I will be a faithful follower. Love your whole cloth pumpkin mini! Diana

  6. I really do like the suggestions you have made in these posts. This one, particularly, would be soooo beneficial. Now, I just need to do it! Thanks for all you do for us.

  7. What do you do with all those small quilts? They are beautiful. I like to make smaller than bed size quilts and use them as table toppers or display them on top of my neutral bed comforter. I quilted one whole cloth (small but larger than you describe) that I put on my buffet. I would like to do the small quilts but don’t know what I would do with them. Would love to hear all your ideas.

    • Hi Helen,
      I rotate them seasonally on my tables and I give many away. They are easier to store, use and give away than large quilts–and those of us who have been quilting a long time have lots of those too!

  8. Lori,
    Thank you! I am finally going for it! Is there an order (or certain designs that are easier than others) you’d suggest for those of us who are beginning?

  9. Lori, you just keep coming up with great ideas, and making it easier for all of us to STOP putting off getting busy with the free motion quilting!! Thanks :)R P.S. Have you tried the silk thread yet?

  10. Here’s another idea for practicing free motion quilting – I belong to a quilting guild and we make service quilts. The committee cut the fabric and members do all the other phases of putting it together and finishing. They need members to tie the quilts. I took a baby sized one and rather than tying, I’m going to practice free motion to finish it. I think I’m going to do the bugs that you did for a recent tutorial.

  11. I love the comment about not using fabrics you hate. I never really thought about it b/c of course these are the fabrics I keep just for practice. But I don’t get excited about practicing on them. Thanks!

  12. Awesome stitching!! Fat quarter size is definitely the perfect size. For testing my thread tensions (on my Sweet 16) that’s the size I find the best and then I serge the edges and make placemats out of them.

  13. What a fantastic idea, Lori! Actually, I have so many FQs in my stash that I could just cut up batting and a few solids that “play nice with others” as backings. You’re right — getting set up and started is the hardest part for me (with just about anything). I procrastinated an entire TWO WEEKS switching my serger back from coverstitch to overlock and putting it away, two weeks of accomplishing nothing in my sewing room because the serger was in the way and I didn’t want to put it away like that and forget what needed to be switched around before I used it next. I agree with you about the importance of using fabric you like for FMQ even when it’s just practice, too. Although I did use some hideous leftover Bob the Builder fabric for feather practice once. There was a nice solid blue background in between the Bobs. 🙂

    • Rebecca, I laughed out loud about the serger. My serger is in a box in the basement for that reason. It took forever to change it–because I really didn’t know the steps. Isn’t it funny how a thing like that can take away all your inspiration?

    • That’s why I haven’t tampered with my serger settings…….I am positive I would totally forget how to reverse it!!! It sets, covered, in a corner ready for those (rare) moments of need…….I think I hear whimpering!!!! LOL!!!!!!!!

  14. OMG you are so good. I simply love the pumpkin free motion with the block on it. Wow, I would be so happy if I could do this. It is a work of art, the star shapes, etc. Thanks so very much for sharing your talents with us. I look forward to your posts every day.

  15. This is great! Gives me an excuse to buy fabrics. I don’t have solid colors. When i do use muslin to practice, i usually use multi color thread. Thanks for the tips.

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  17. Complete novice here, I had no idea that you had to iron the batting. Lori, I have learned so much since coming here in the last year, now I have to put everything into practice! Multiple casts are finally off and I am raring to go. Thank you so much!!

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