FMQ Fun: New Fabric, New Thread


Free motion quilting: Leaves on LinenHave you been slaving away trying to get everything done for Christmas?  Have you been burning the midnight oil trying to finish the Hedgehog pin cushion for Aunt Sally and the vase quilt for Aunt Jane, mug rugs for all your office mates?


Keep your creative juices flowing by taking a short break—one hour away from the deadline projects.

Play a little -try something new. Experiment…. Answer the “What If Question”…

What if I used heavier thread?

What if I used linen instead of solid cotton?

What if I used a non-traditional leaf for Christmas?

Free motion quilting:  Leaves on LinenI  try to experiment like this regularly.

Most of the ideas are dead ends that end up in the trash.

I chalk it up to “Lessons Learned”… as in… “Things NOT to do”…

But occasionally I stumble onto something worth pursuing…

Free motion quilting:  Leaves on LinenRecently, I experimented stitching colored thread on to a light background with the Sailboat.

This week I took that idea a bit farther (or is it further?)…

  • Linen fabric
  • Sulky 12 wt (very heavy) cotton thread for the decorative leaves and spirals
  • Size 100 Denim needle (sharp)
  • King Tut cotton thread for the background.  NOTE–I used a size 90 Topstitch needle for the background.  The subtle variations of this soft, lovely thread stitched up beautifully against the linen.

(See The Basic Leaf tutorial….and the Spiral and Reverse Spiral tutorials.)

Free motion quilting:  Leaves on Linen


Free motion quilting:  Leaves on LinenThis is one  of the few experiments that shows real promise.

I have ordered several spools of Sulky’s 12 wt cotton   (I already have a tub of linen from my home dec sewing days.)

I can’t wait to play some more.

What about YOU?

 If you had a couple of hours to play—What new ideas, materials or techniques would YOU try?

We’d love to hear!

Staying creative by playing hooky,


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





33 thoughts on “FMQ Fun: New Fabric, New Thread

    • Hi Gail,
      I have had this for so long–decades (isn’t that pathetic!)…I would like to find a source for the fine weave linen. I know it wasn’t very expensive, but it drapes beautifully.
      Can anyone help us with a source they’ve used and recommend that would be great!

  1. I really like this ‘experiment’. I appreciate your prompting others to think in new directions. I enjoy trying your suggestions. This is one of the most unique. It takes the idea of ‘thread play’ in a new direction-one that I really like. I used to make home fabrications of all kinds as a business. I have a significant amount of left over fabric of various fiber content. You have encouraged me to try some of these ideas on ‘new backgrounds’. Can’t wait for the New Year when there will be more time to sew, quilt and play with new ideas.

    • Laroletta, please let us know which of these fabric/thread combos work the best for you. I have a lot of wool and linen –and who knows what else in the tubs in my basement. I may have to go exploring one of these days. I think the trick is to use heavier thread?

  2. I really see tons of spots for this one…….those narrow borders that need “something” would be excellent candidates for pieces & parts of this. Your posts are “driving me crazy” cuz I have so many other projects in process!!! Off to LaCrosse for a bit of shopping (and quilting thread…..ran out of a fave color!-( ) BUT (LIGHT BULB MOMENT!!!!!!), I just may have 1 idea that could utilize this!!!!!! Later……………..

  3. Love this.

    I need a wider variety of thread. I’ve been caught up in using what I have and not buying new, so I’m getting low. Although – any new thread I’ve purchased lately has been cheap poly for my serger.

  4. Rosemary B here:
    Lori, this is beautiful. I have not been fiddling with fmq lately but I have been reading and soaking it in.
    The old standard, Denim, and corduroy are always interesting, say for pillows.
    4 years ago, I found some medium pink corduroy and machine stitched five petal flowers in yellow red and medium green, kind of like the echo effect, Then I found some thread with no label in a box of my sisters stuff. I used that too. I made a pillow cover. It turned out “cute”. This was when I was experimenting with machine designs and made myself a template to trace, and used my regular sewing foot because I was just fiddling around with old fabric (must have been left over fabric from a jumper for Lizzie when she was in elementary school)
    Merry Blessed Preparations for Christmas celebration,Lori.

    • Hi Rosemary,
      Good to hear from you today…I have never thought of corduroy…that could be really cool-though it does present some challenges…HMMM now you have me thinking….

  5. Ohhh, luscious! This is so very beautiful – I love the King Tut in the background pattern. Most of my experimenting these days is with vintage quilt patterns with new twists.

  6. I don’t comment on blogs often but wanted you to know I read yours religiously and forward them all the time to my sister. We are new to machine quilting and your tutorials are so helpful.

  7. Oh! Oh! Oh! This is beauuuutiful! There goes another idea, without the time (for me) to try it out!
    How do you manage? What if I don’t “waste” the time reading blogs? Then I would have missed this beauty, and I wouldn’t have the inspiration to go on quilting!…

  8. Your work is so beautiful! I am still experimenting. In fact, I just made a new stack of 10 x 10 sandwiches to practice with!

  9. Use farther when talking about measurable distance and further for ideas, and non measurable things. In your case, further is correct. And I continue to be amazed with your talent. Merry Christmas.

  10. I’m playing right now with machine quilting and my Inktense pencils. I transferred a design on white fabric and machine quilting on those transferred lines. Then I use the pencils to color in and add some depth – they can be used dry or with water. Then I can machine quilt some more. Very fun, except my machine is having an issue….

  11. I have always enojoyed the look of silk and think it might be beautiful when quilted. A small piece for the holidays would be lovely. If I have time…..

  12. Thanks for the link Rebecca.

    Lori what should I use with a 12wt thread in the bobbin? My Brother seems very prone to tension problems so a heads up would save loads of time experimenting and getting no where!

    Many thanks for lovely ideas…

    • I would start with whatever works best for you when you are doing regular FMQ. For me that is Aurifil 50 wt cotton. It always works for me. I have tried other bobbin threads but always come back to Aurifil.

  13. I love it and so glad to read this… I am always afraid of trying new things especially that thicker thread….

  14. Boy, all the comments posted so early in the day! Here I am just reading your blog at 8:00PM! But Deonn said the right words – Luscious – at 8:21AM! Haha. Your work takes my breath away. Do you FMQ for hire? I’ll be moving to Montana within the next 6 months so my studio is packed away. (We have to show it as another bedroom, boohoo!) I have a quilt top to finish when I get my new studio running. I’ll need a quilter. Any suggestions? It’s too large for me to handle.

  15. “Most of the ideas are dead ends that end up in the trash.”
    Hi Lori, so glad to hear, or” read”…you had dead ends. I tried to use some heavy card stock to stitch on, to make a Christmas card. I used colored thread, it was…um…okay til I over stitched some of the pattern…didn’t look so hot. I know there is potential there, I just need to work with it some more. Remember the “sewing cards” we all got as little kids, with the pre-punched holes and then you had to “sew” by hand the shoe laces through the cards….maybe that is just what I was trying to do…lol. only on my machine! Anyway, it may be just a dead end too… your designs are beautiful, I have been trying some of them out on random blocks, not to bad…just like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time…lol. It takes practice!

  16. Imenslow….I am from Montana…living in Az in the winter…what part of Montana are you moving to? Aren’t Lori’s designs great!!!

  17. I tried that thicker thread. Had problems because I hadn’t yet mastered my new-to-me sewing machine. Too confusing. (Husqvarna) but it still looks good. I need lots of practice. Lol.

  18. This is definitely a successful experiment! I haven’t had good results yet with 12 wt thread in my machine. Not sure if it’s just me, or if the machine just won’t do it nicely. If I had a play day – I’d try out work on silks and satins. I want to do something spectacular some day with my wedding dress, which was my mother’s before me. I want something really remarkable to hang on the wall. 🙂

  19. I will try the 12 wt thread with a heavier needle, I have several reels of top stitch thread which should work. Getting the tension right could be a bit of a challenge with various bobbin threads.

  20. Hi, Lori…absolutely beautiful! Your creativity seems limitless. Not being a quilter, I have little to offer regarding the quilting, but being the daughter of Jane Cahill, I can tell you that when you are speaking of ACTUAL distance, you use “farther”. My mother reminded me that farther has the word “far” nestled right inside for an instant reminder. Further is used for ideas that are more, well, ideas. Unless you wrote the notion or idea on a piece of paper and sling shot it a distance in competition with a sibling and then, you would see which idea went farther. Otherwise, you would follow a notion or idea “further”. Take care, dear friend. I always love to read about what you are doing.

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