The Sunflower Sampler Quilt-a-Long-Day 2

Sunflower Sampler QAL, FMQ

Good Morning, Quilters! (and Pooches and Kitties…)

Today is Day Two of our Sunflower Sampler Quilt-a-Long.  (See Day One HERE)

Our quilt sandwich is pressed and marked with an oval and divided into eighths.


I recommend using a heavy weight thread so you can really see the stitches.  40wt, 30wt, 28wt in cotton, rayon, polyester or silk are all great choices.

I decided to use cotton–it has less sheen than the other fibers and I think it will look more casual for this project.  I had two choices in my  collection:

Sulky 30wt cotton Sulky 30 Wt Cotton Thread


And Aurifil 28wt cotton (gray spool).

I chose a light peach color.  It looks great with the fabric and will provide enough contrast to be able to see the stitches.

Sunflower Sampler QAL, FMQ

Begin in the center of the oval and stitch a spiral.
Sunflower Sampler QAL, FMQ

Then begin adding scallops around the center.

Sunflower Sampler QAL, FMQ

Whenever you get to the top and the bottom–stitch longer scallops to stretch the shape into an oval.

Sunflower Sampler QAL, FMQ

Sunflower Sampler QAL, FMQ

Continue adding rows of scallops to roughly fit the drawn oval.

Sunflower Sampler QAL, FMQ

Next (and without knotting off) add a wavy line around the oval, and echo stitch the oval one or two times.

Sunflower Sampler QAL, FMQ

When you are finished, it should look roughly like this:

Sunflower Sampler QAL, FMQ


When I stitched my first Sunflower, I started with the wavy oval line and stitched in toward the center.

Notice the scallops go in-not out.

Choose whichever is easier or looks better to you.

Sunflower Sampler, FMQ, Lori Kennedy


Next week we’ll add the petals.

Let me know if you have any questions…

Sunny Stitching!


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!


24 thoughts on “The Sunflower Sampler Quilt-a-Long-Day 2

  1. Lori, what do you use in the bobbin when you use the 28 weight thread for quilting?
    Thanks! I’m enjoying this tutorial!

    • Great question–I always use Aurifil 50 wt in the bobbin. It is long staple and low lint and always works well in my machine. Other threads-like polyester work well, too, but stick with a lighter weight thread-50 wt or finer–it goes farther and helps the bobbin win the tension “tug-of-war”.

  2. Your inspiration helps me with the day!! I may not always get it done as life gets in the way, but I really appreciate it!! Thank You. I have sunflowers in my kitchen as well as chickens so I will try to do this one.

  3. Wow! Yesterday when I saw the center of the sunflower, I thought that must be difficult but again, you have broken it down to doable steps. I am a newbie to free motion quilting and your blog is so helpful and it encourages me to get better.

  4. I don’t know which would be easier for me to do, but I actually like the “scallops in not out” version. It looks more like the seed centers of sunflowers to me. I’m still grappling with thread issues, though. Many of the threads in my box don’t include the weight anywhere on the spool labels, so far as I can tell. I’ve yet to develop the familiarity to know how the various options will perform.

      • Where I live, the most available brand is Coats, so I have more of that than any other brand. I have found the Coats thread chart online, which provides weights, but none of them are 50 wt. – the “machine quilting 100% cotton” is 30 wt. One local shop carries Guttermann, so I have some of those, but those spools also do not provide the weight. I have one or two Sulky spools that I bought for a particular project, but had to travel to get those, and that’s not always feasible, as it forces me to use what little time I can take for quilting. I’d like to be able to expand my thread horizons before I retire!

  5. I have thread problems, too! It is difficult to find any variety of thread in my town, and I have a really hard time buying thread, sight unseen, off the internet. Not to mention that I have to wait for it to arrive! I am also figuring out that my machine, a Viking Opal 650, doesn’t “like” polyester thread, which is what is easiest to find here in a variety of colors.

    • Yes, lack of access to a variety of manufacturers and thread types is the primary impediment for me, too. I’d have to drive over an hour one-way to reach stores with larger inventories, and I rarely have the time. And, I also can’t choose color, etc., well from online sources – the color on the computer screen may not show the true color well.

  6. I’m having trouble finding heavier weight threads. Can you shive uggestions. I looked on Craftsy and directly to and there was only black & white thread.
    Thanks for any other suggestions.

  7. I like the light peach idea you showed and might see if I have any…. First thought was to use a medium gray/grey (never can remember which one is right) to be sure the stitches would show…. Decisions, decisions! Looking forward to doing the flower center this week. Thanks as always for creative, learning ideas.

  8. Actually, the way you stitched your first oval would be more like the center of a sunflower–if you are one of those people (I’m guilty).

  9. Yes, I also really like the look of the outside-in stitching, but think it would be easier to do the spiral and then work outwards. Guess I’ll try a doodle!

  10. For those struggling with thread and what to use, may I suggest that you should use what ever you have on hand. This exercise is for practice and for learning. If you use what you have on hand you are 1) more likely to practice and 2) learn what YOU like.
    Try it once with grey thread. If you don’t like it, try it again with yellow thread, or black thread, or white thread. Whatever color you use, you will learn from it!

    I’d purchased thread online when I find it on sale and I didn’t care what color it was because I simply wanted to try out the brand/weight of thread, not the color.
    There’s tons of great thread out there. From my own experience, I have found that thread does get old and its more prone to breakage when it’s older. I inherited a lot of my grandmother’s old threads and many of them just aren’t worth the frustration of thread breakage.

    Gutterman is great thread, as is isacord, Aurifil, Sulky, etc. Coats and Clarks is what I inherited from grandma and it’s not a favorite of mine, but use what you have and find out for yourself what you like.

  11. I very much agree with Susan’s comments just above. Try to use quality thread, batting and fabric, but just do it and don’t get halted by details. If you are serious about learning fmq, every type of thread and batting you practice will teach you something. The idea is to practice your fmq not just with this wonderful sampler but on other ones also. These aren’t going to be master-pieces but practice-pieces.

    I found a doeskin colored bit of fabric and some Maderia rayon embroidery thread in a variegated gold which has made me very excited for the project. I have never used this thread before so I will learn something. I finished this week’s lesson and while the flower center is not perfect, it is done and I am that much closer to achieving my goal of being more proficient at fmq!

    Just dive in!!! Thanks Lori!!

  12. I’m always worried when marking the tops of quilts. What brand of marking pen/pencil do you use ? How is it removed ? I must try this design . . . so beautiful. Thank you !

  13. Pingback: Sunflower Sampler-Week 4-Linear Fills | The Inbox Jaunt

Comments are closed.