Open Line Friday-Best Posts for Beginners

Green Quilt Squares, LKennedyGood Morning, Quilters!

Welcome to Open Line Friday–Everyone Asks, Everyone Answers!

I recently received a note from a new follower of The Inbox Jaunt.  She said she was enjoying poking around but wondered which were the best posts for beginners...

It was one of those lightbulb moments for me…something that has been percolating in the back of my head…a project for fall–

I need to read my blog as if I was new to it and as if I was a beginner…
Green Quilt Squares, LKennedy

Needless to say, blogging is not linear.  I didn’t start at the beginning and discuss the ins and outs of free motion quilting…those posts are randomly spiced over the last three (yes, three years!)

Starting in September, I will be remodeling The Inbox Jaunt to make it more navigation-friendly and more Beginner-friendly

That is a lot of back story for today’s question:


Which posts have been most helpful to you as a quilter?

(Which ones did you Pin to Pinterest or share with friends or write down in a notebook?)

What would you like to see more of going forward?Green Quilt Squares, LKennedyYOUR QUESTIONS

And of course, we always have time for YOUR questions!

Thanking you in advance for YOUR help on my back-to-school organizational quest!

May your bobbin always be full!


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

61 thoughts on “Open Line Friday-Best Posts for Beginners

  1. I especially enjoy the quilting tutorials. If you do re-do your Blog, it would be nice to be easily able to find past blogs and not just the various quilting or doodling tutorials.

  2. Hello Lori!
    I found your site through Pinterest and I think your 7 steps to Free Motion Quilting is an excellent place to start for a beginner along with the Essential Skills post.

  3. My favorite post was the one where you asked our favorite motifs. You said very few picked the Greek Key, but it is one of your favorites. That inspired me to try it, even though I had previously avoided it as too difficult. So, I tried and found I could do it. Then I put it in every quilt in 2014. That gave me confidence in free motion quilting.

  4. As my FMQ adventure has progressed, the things I’m interested in/search for have been varied but your post convinced me that one thing is paramount for all of us who have blogs……….ease/clarity of accessibility!!!! I will be reviewing my blog lay-out for such hurdles very soon. I know it’s frustrating to follow a link to a site, only to be met with the current blog post rather than the content originally alluded to. Subject tabs that clearly define (in simple, non-technical terms) their content, cuz not everyone is understanding such things as FMQ, SID, etc. Great post, as always!!!!!!

  5. I’ve enjoyed the doodle tutorials although I dropped out of them a while ago due to other business taking over. I’m glad they are kept together so I can go back.

  6. Love your blog, your tutorials are awesome!!!
    Love your Crafty class, great inspiration and a lot of small helpful tips.
    It would be very helpful to have the Blog archive (year/month) tab or option to search by key words (tags).

  7. I love your blog and your tutorials. Craftsy class is great too. I would like to see simple ideas for quilting in large traditional blocks like star blocks, half square triangle, Jacob ladder, etc. where one all over design won’t look as nice as something quilted in each section

  8. I had been jumping around several Web sites to learn to FMQ. I’d read & bookmark your posts for “after I learn how to FMQ”… THEN, you started the Doodle days. All clicked for me. Just drawing shapes in their most simple origin then adding to them was the light bulb I needed. I wanted to go from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ (me to expert longarmer, all on a domestic machine!!!) I’m not there yet (Z), but I’m more patient with developing this skill set. Doodles did it!

  9. I really like how you show the step by step on how to make the sewing machine come to life in FMQ, the recent circles doddle is inspiring and I also like the simple loops you demonstrate……..takes a lot of the fear of tying away :0)
    Happy Sewing and good luck with the reorg.

  10. I love the doodling part as it helps to get you feeling the pattern. I would like to see more FMQing on patterned fabrics. I never know what to use when there is a pattern already on the fabric. Sometimes I just follow the pattern but sometimes that doesn’t look all that great.

    • I agree witth Barb. I love the tutorials and quilting on solids is great for tutorials for easy viewing, but I get all messed up when there are different prints and colors and don’t know how to proceed with thread color choice or motif selection on prints. Should we avoid doing a Nora’s rose if there is already a rose pattern on the fabric, for example?

      I love the tutorials and the doodling exercises. My very first exposure to your blog was last Dec with the Poinsettia motif. It looked complex but I tried it and was delighted when it came out beautifully. I was hooked on your blog from that point!

      The Craftsy lessons are an added bonus! Well done!

      • I love the idea of putting “Nora’s Rose” motif on rose fabric. You will have to do some samples with different threads and motifs to see what will show up the best. I will do more posts on working with prints and pieced quilts going forward.

  11. Two of my favorite posts, 7 Steps to Free Motion Quilting, and the Quilting Journal. But honestly, Lori, I just love your blog and find something in every post you’ve put up. I loved it when you were having trouble with the site, and it accidentally took me to some of your older archived posts. I found some articles you had written that I had never seen before. Even in those, it was like another little gold mine. There is so much you’ve shared with all of us that is very helpful. Thank you!

    • Yes!!!! Lori you are a master at teaching us what we want to learn. Thank you for the million ways you help us. Please keep inspiring us in the great venture of free motion quilting. Everything you do is helpful and your Crafty class is perfect. Cam Morgan

  12. Yea, I am glad you are doing some rearranging. It is fun to just surf your blog and I have learned a lot, but it would be nice if you had folders or something titled-Fabric and thread info, then others depending on skill levels like circles, lines, motifs, border motifs, fill in motifs. Your doodling folder is wonderful. I can go back and take up were I left off easily. That way people that are more experienced can just search for the type of folder that interests them for the project they are doing at the moment. Or us beginners can start at our comfort level.

    I imagine this will be a daunting job but I can’t wait to be able to get your step by step tutorials in some sort of order. I haven’t finished your Crafty Video yet (life happens) but look forward to all your techniques I can bookmark.

  13. I’ve had a longarm sitting in my home for a year now, and haven’t touched it. My biggest “blocker” is that I can’t find anything that discusses the ACTUAL MECHANICS of quilting the quilt: Where do I start sewing on the quilt? If I want to try some of your fabulous doodles do I unroll the quilt and start in the middle? What about sashing? Do I do it first or last? Do I need to outline shapes first and then fill in with doodles? It’s silly, I know, but I’m stuck because I don’t know where to start! I would LOVE a series of blog posts that starts with step one: “Getting Your Quilt on the Frame”, step two: “Making a Quilting Plan”, step three: “WHERE to Drop the Needle First”. I just bought your new Craftsy class – I’m hoping to find answers!

    • Load that baby up and start at the top and quilt down to the bottom as in how you have it loaded. I consider the top being what is under the machine once loaded. I have never done anything beyond an all over quilt design but letting mine sit for nearly a year due to not being able to get it adjusted really put me in a bad mood every time I went to the sewing room. Use some muslin or fabric you wish you had left in the store and practice a run through and see how it turned out then jump in.
      Best of fun to you.

      • Thanks for your help here–as I stitch on a domestic sewing machine.

        I laughed and laughed when you described fabric as “Fabric you wish you had left in the store!” Hit my funny bone!

      • I was terrified when I first purchased my LA – there are several really good YouTube Videos specifically for LAers. Not sure if I’m allowed to mention them here? One suggestion is to load 2 solids (one top, one backing, and a decent loft of batting, like Hobbs 80/20). If you have a channel lock feature, every 12″ or so, go all the way across. The size of the stitch doesn’t really matter, as you’re just making boxes. Or mark them with a permanent marker or a chalk marker. Then do some vertical lines, too. Now you’ll have spaces to try designs.

        I find drawing any design on cheap paper first will really help ‘set’ the idea in your brain – Yes, Lori and all the good teachers call it “Muscle Memory” (if you have a Dollar store nearby, they have great blank ‘books’ in the school/teaching area for – well, a dollar. Buy a few.)

        The reason I suggest solids is it will make it easier to see your tension issues. Do not be afraid of that nasty word – TENSION. We all have problems in the beginning. Again, YouTube has great suggestions on how to address it. By using a contrast color thread and different color bobbin – and not matching the fabric – you will be able to see problems. Once you get some practice in, then use those ‘ug’ fabrics that don’t work with anything..

        Lori’s explanations are excellent. You probably won’t find a better teacher. There are lots of great teachers out there, but few I’ve found that guide you step by step – by having each one broken down, it will be easier to get started. Do not expect to be perfect – or even good – for quite a while. The other dreaded word to learn is PRACTICE. It does get easier. I only wish I had found Lori’s blog sooner. She’s got great ideas.

        I don’t know if I’m typical, but it took me about 4-6 months before I felt comfortable and did what I’d call a good job. Many charities would be happy to have you practice on their quilts. Even now, 4 years later, I still love to learn and still am improving. I hope it never stops. Don’t be afraid – Just do it.

    • If you’d like some help, just email me at wild_blue_farm at yahoo dot com and I’ll be happy to help you out if I can!! We could chat via phone if you’d like – longarms can be intimidating, but they are so much fun!!!

  14. I love your Apple tutorials. Just wish there was an index with a link to that design. Takes a while to page through when I’m looking for a specific design and don’t always know the name. Thanks for your generous nature. You have helped my FMQ tremendously

  15. On my journey of FMQ, One of your earliest recommendations was to have lots of small sandwiches available to practice on. I’ve learned… that there is a lot of planning and designing involved, ( the mystery project taught me that). I really liked the post about practicing on “good” fabric, you try harder. However, I make many of my practice pieces on cheap muslin, and turn them into dog beds stuffed with the small bits from other projects!
    Another valuable recommendation was to buy fabric with large patterns on them. I’ve echoed many flowers, then used the fabric in bags and placemats!
    This week I used the poinsettia pattern on the back of some Christmas oven mits!
    I’m working up to quilting a full size quilt, so info on how to manage a large project, (although perhaps you have done this) I’ve never needed to investigate before.
    Thanks for everything!

    • How to manage a real quilt. Some hints on how to move that big lump of pretty cloth….achieving graceful patterns when the quilt seems to sit on itself on the back of the table…i’ve learned how to draw some really nice designs, but how can i get the quilt to move with me?

  16. Lori I absolutely need your detailed photos of each step of a motif. That’s what drew me to your blog in the first place. I just never feel confident about a design until I see HOW you draw/stitch it, step by tiny step. I constantly tell my quilty friends about your blog and they, too, respond so well to your instructions. Gratefully yours, Stoney

  17. I make mostly queen size quilts on a sit-down 18 inch Tin Lizzie. Your motifs look great on small quilts. Do you have suggestions for quilting the large quilts?
    I love your blog!!

  18. How about making a master list of all the patterns/designs with clickable links to the tutorial or a description/photo of the pattern. I didn’t know what the Greek Key looked like but did find a photo of it quite easily. What I’d like to know is where do you begin using this particular pattern? Do you always start at the center of a quilt to quilt it? Do you baste or pin your quilts before quilting?

  19. Hi Lori,
    I get these by email and the ones that I saved are:

    9/17/14 The Best Way to Improve Your Free Motion Quilting
    10/1/14 Building a Rock Solid Routine (BRSR) – FMQ
    10/8/14 BRSR – FMQ Supplies
    10/15/14 BRSR – Machine set up
    10/29/14 BRSR – Be Ready
    11/5/14 BRSR – Motif
    11/6/14 The 80/50 Rule
    11/7/14 Choosing Quilt Batting
    11/12/14 How to choose thread
    12/11/14 New Fabric, new thread
    1/22/15 Tackling Tension
    1/29/15 9 Factors, Tension
    4/21/15 Beginner Loops
    4/23/15 Doodling Leaves
    5/5/15 Lines and Spirals

    I am a complete newb. I’ve only stuck my toe in the FMQ pool. I’m working my way up to diving in, once I finish some other projects.

  20. Hi Lori, Perhaps you could arrange your tutorials by difficulty level? I can’t tell from just the pictures how hard they are. I used Flower Power on a quilt and I was pleased by how nice I could make it look. Some of the other flower ones (Dizzy Daisy?) are a lot harder, even though they didn’t look that hard.

  21. I have thoroughly enjoyed the blog since I joined. Indexing the patterns would be great. When I have a quilt to do, I look back through the samples to see if I can see a good idea to fit the style of the quilt I am doing. I like to add the pictures and motifs that build more interest into the quilts.
    (I would say that this requires a good source of quality thread which am always running out of.)
    I have developed more skills as I played with the patterns that you post. I never have an abundance of background on my quilts but I am trying to plan that better so I can incorporate the wonderful patterns in your blog. The FMQ is my favorite part of making the quilt, so I have been quilting like crazy.
    I am planning to spend some time with your class this weekend. Keep on blogging. It a highlight of my day.

  22. I found myself doodling the daisy chain motif in a meeting this morning, acctually filled two pages. I love your step by step tutorials and I come back frequently to look at them and the journal blog posts helped me immensely get more familiar with FMQ. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and inspring me with new doodles.

  23. Is there a way to sort the motifs alphabetically? Or by themes? Currently if the motif is at the end of the list, it is a lot of scrolling to find it. Love all your motifs and quilts.

  24. I took a quilting class this summer and learned about your blog. I love the range of ideas that you present, bought the Craftsy class, and will retire next summer so I can enjoy learning from your offerings. However you re-organize, I am sure the content will continue to be fabulous. Thanks!

  25. Lori, I am so happy to have found your very helpful site. I am working on 4 projects from different workshop”. You explain things so well that I as a big inner understand what your’re talking about.

  26. Your blog (which I get by daily emails) is definitely one of my favorite FMQ blogs…I love your tutorials and your Craftsy class is terrific!!! I saved the same posts as Barbara and refer back to them fairly often. I LOVE your step-by-step directions and photos for learning a new motif. I find, however, that I’m always on the hunt for SIMPLE motifs that can easily be done on a large quilt.

    I am a real beginner when it comes to quilting. I, too, have a longarm sitting – all set up, and haven’t used it. I’ve had it for 2 years, but only loaded a quilt on it once and did 2 lines. Haven’t been able to get the stitch regulator set up so that I have much room to “quilt” 🙁 I’m going to sell that set up, and I’ve purchased a used HQ Sixteen (sit down)…like it much better, but still having the dreaded tension issues – so I’m STILL FMQing on my domestic machine!! LOL!

    My BIGGEST hurdle as a newbie, is deciding HOW to quilt a quilt – and I make large quilts as opposed to the small quilts you do on your blog/Craftsy class. I try to let the quilt tell me how it should be quilted – it will sometimes hang on the design wall for a week while I work on other things, waiting for it to “speak” to me – LOL! But sometimes they just don’t….like the quilt I sent you a picture of. I do understand that you are busy and can’t always answer private emails, so would it be OK to post a pic here and see if any of your other readers can give me a suggestion??? As an alternative, I could set up my blog on QCA and post a link…

    If you prefer to reply privately, my email is…..this quilt really has me stumped and I REALLY want to get it off the UFO pile. It’s going to the Infusion Center for chemo patients, and I will be in that building next week, so it would be wonderful to be able to get it done and delivered.

    Thanks for all you do, Lori….you are a real inspiration to those of us struggling with this passion 🙂

  27. Lori, I just went back to one of my original blog sites and read a very sad note about all her hard work doing quilter’s blog hops and all the bad and ugly she received has out weighed the good and it has emotionally done her a lot of harm. As I cried over the hurt she is feeling and the fact that a lot of gifts she sent out a thank you was never received. So I just want you to know how much I appreciate how you have inspired me to do Free Motion Quilting. I want to thank you for all your hard work to help make me and others better quilters. Thanks

  28. What’s missing is the links to specific places on your menu, with cornerstone content. 🙂 I also second the suggestion about an “ease of use” level for each one . Could be just an additional tag on the post – easy, intermediate, advanced. Then those tag archive links in the menus.

    Since things are spread out all over, your cornerstone pages could be just Pages made in the admin with manual links you’ve curated for people to get the best start.

    Feel free to email me as well – this stuff is part of my day job! 😀

  29. I love being able to find quilt ideas, whether blocks, hints, stitches. I find it crazy that the simplest thing like adding SASHING totally stumps me now. I need a reference book to quickly kick-start my brain. Happy Bobbins to all.

  30. If the main topics could be organized on the side for easy access it would be great. Right now I have to find a topic I like then scroll through the links at the bottom. If not through the first link, some of these older topics are buried. For example one section on free motion quilting….items needed, helpful beginning suggestions for threads, fabric, tension and these type of things. Another section on the doodle ideas with sub areas to click past posts. Possibly another section showing your gorgeous completed quilts. Or maybe organize all the Open Line Fridays together , etc. I am new to this and have been searching all your posts, but it is difficult because you have to find links within links sometimes. I haven’t have time to try most of the topics and I don’t want to lose them. I think I’ve linked at least 50 to Pinterest already. I also love your Craftsy class. Soon my cat will look like a cat. 🙂

  31. You have such fabulous content on your blog, but I only found you about a year ago. It would be wonderful to be able to look at your posts as lessons in a category. I have categories on my blog, listed on the sidebar so people can read posts dealing with just one subject. I have also separate pages listing all the tutorials in a category with pictures so again, they can be browsed. I want to add my appreciation for all you do!

  32. I also love your blog as it inspired me to try FMQ. I have pinned the following posts, although for random reasons: 12 Essential Skills Every Quilter Must Know, Dots and Daisies, Crapapple Blossom, Grid Pop, and Nikki’s Puzzle. I love the idea of gving a difficulty level for your designs as most of them seem too difficult for a newbie but maybe some aren’t. I’d also love more info on deciding which FMQ pattern to use on which quilt. You have some great suggestions from these comments. Looking forward to seeing what you do with them! Thanks for the daily inspiration!

  33. I especially like tutorials on motifs that can be adapted to “spaces”, like sashings or borders or half square triangles. I bought your craftsy class and liked what you taught on composition. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and thank you for sharing so much of your creativity.

  34. I need help in making these work on an actual quilt. For example, when stitching the dots and lines, do you stitch an entire row from top to bottom, then return to top and repeat (like in a border area?). It just seems you are pulling the quilt through a lot of times. I wanted to do the Daisy border, but just don’t understand how to make it work on a queen. I am stitching on a bernina 750. Thanks!

    • Hi Cheri,
      This is a tough question to answer because there are so many variables. I would probably work in sections–the upper right quadrant, the lower right quadrant, etc. This is a motif that would be easy to “reconnect” in each quadrant. When you get to the bottom of each row, you can stitch from the bottom to the top for the next row. Keep the spacing between the circles short–probably not more than five inches–that way you can control the quilt. If you try to do a longer line, it is very difficult to pull the quilt under the needle.
      I will be doing more posts this fall on working with a large quilt. It is challenging! Also, I would encourage you to just try things out. Sometimes learning (and making mistakes) is the only way!

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