Free Motion Quilt-a-Long: The Mystery in the Corner

Needle, Free Motion QuiltingGood Morning, Quilters!

How are your Mystery Quilts progressing?

Last week we began adding spools of thread and making comparisons. 

This week we are adding a final clue in the corner.

As a reminder of the how to match needle size to thread size, we’re going to add the 80/50 Rule to the corner square.

The 80/50 rule of thumb…(Read more HERE)

Pair a size 80 needle with a 50 wt thread (Size 80 needle=American size 12)

If your thread is heavier ( 40wt or 35wt) , pair it with a size 90 needle (90=14 American)

If your thread is finer (60wt), pair it with a size 70 needle. (70=10 American)

This is just a rule of thumb…a place to start.


In the corner, add a spool of thread with “50” stitched on to the label.  Then add a needle with “80” stitched into the line of thread.

Needle, Free Motion Quilting

Needle, Free Motion QuiltingBegin by drawing a line 2-1/2 inches long.  Add a small mark 3/4 inch down from the top line.  This will be the eye of the needle.

Needle, Free Motion QuiltingStart at the top of the line and stitch a small oval.

Needle, Free Motion QuiltingStitch a straight line to the tip of the line.

Needle, Free Motion QuiltingStitch back to the top of the oval and add a swirling line of thread.

Needle, Free Motion QuiltingAdd the number “80” to the line of thread (or “14” if you use American size needles.)

Needle, Free Motion QuiltingWhen you use your sampler to choose a thread, refer to this to choose your needle.

Needle, Free Motion QuiltingHope this is helpful!

Next week will finish our Mystery Quilt-a-Long…

and file it away in the….

Mixed up Files of Mrs. Lori E. Frankweiler.

PS…If you have any photos to share, please add them to Flickr or Instagram @theinboxjaunt.

PPS…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 share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

12 thoughts on “Free Motion Quilt-a-Long: The Mystery in the Corner

  1. Cute little needle and thread! I have used your needle and thread tips a lot…important little things make the quilting so much less trouble free and prettier! Thanks. I loved making this little quilt…so useful and going to be cute on my wall. 🙂

    • …so much less trouble free…OR so much more trouble free…it’s too early…I can’t decide….the point is you fixed lots of my troubles…LOL! Stay warm!

  2. The needle is so perfect to go with the thread and I’m thinking I have seen you do a little sewing machine with some quilt blocks. I would love to see scissors and a thimble as I would like to make a vase mat with all the sewing and quilting accessories. Please feel free to create one for us!?! So fun!

  3. You are amazing with those motifs!!!!!!! This ‘rule’ is an excellent starting point when there’s a question!!! Thanks for all your wonderful hints/tips AND rules!!!!!!

  4. This has been a wonderful project. I started and got part way through, but have been unable to take the time necessary right now to complete the project. I so appreciate both the instruction and practice. I hope that the MQA instructions will still be available for at least a while. It’s such a valuable project and you worked so hard to prepare it, that I suggest you leave it for others to discover.

    Ironically, right before the lesson content emerged, but after I began the project, I discovered that I had been machine quilting with thread I had bought for hand quilting. Had I studied this first, I would have understood why the thread seemed thicker. We did get a good laugh at the quilting store when I went to purchase thread to finish my project. The lady gave me a “memory note” that helped. When I was 40, I had to hand quilt with 40 weight thread, but now that I’m more experienced I can move up to 50 weight on my machine. 🙂

  5. I was practicing yesterday using 50 wt and #90 needle. I didn’t like the results. Now I know why! Thanks for all these wonderful lessons.

  6. From a garment-sewist’s perspective, I always based my size of needle on the fabric I was sewing: sheer to lightweight = #9 needle, up to denim and heavier weight = #16 needle. Had not thought of choosing needle size in relationship with THREAD size, but can see why this would be a viable theory because quilting is so much about the thread.

  7. I just bought some needles & thread at the World Quilt Show (but of course everything is available at quilt stores & even JoAnns), What I did to not confuse my little self is to put the thread and corresponding needles in a small zip lock bag and labeled it for free motion quilting.

    Thanks for your reminding us of what weight thread to use with what size needle.

  8. Pingback: The Tomato Pin Cushion-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial | The Inbox Jaunt

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