In the Beginning…

Lollipop Flowers, FMQ

Good Morning, Quilters!

It has been an extremely busy summer for my family-and I feel like I’ve been neglecting my blogging duties…(It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about YOU…)  I just haven’t had much time to stitch and photograph tutorials or projects.  So I thought we would change things up for the next few weeks.


The Plan–We will review some old content, quilts and tutorials.  Think of it as a semester review.  For those of you who have been here for the past five years, you may recognize some of the quilts, but we will look at everything with fresh eyes.

 After all, we’ve all learned a lot in the last few years!

We will look at “The BEST of…”  “YOUR Favorites”  and “New Lessons from Old Quilts”


This little red quilt was what started it all–my obsession with machine doodling and whole cloth quilts.

An idea kept swirling in my head….next it was an absent-minded doodle…. then all of a sudden, I felt compelled to drop what I was doing (probably  dusting) and get it onto fabric, quick!  There was an urgency that this  fleeting thought would vaporize  if I didn’t work fast!


The tension is terrible–the stitches are unbalanced and the center of the flowers puckered because the tension was sotight.

I didn’t iron the fabric–and the wrinkles torment me in these photos.

Look at those zig zags!  egads!


I love the Lillipop Spiral Flower (it’s even included in my book–p.91)

I like the idea of the zig zags (the execution, not so much).

I like the square composition with the flowers pointing into the center.

When I  learned more about thread, tension and composition, I stitched this version:

(Still need to learn about pressing before stitching–argh!)Lori Kennedy, FMQ, Spiral LollipopEvaluating Every Quilt

We learn something from every quilt.  I highly recommend that you evaluate every quilt by asking three simple questions:

What worked?

What didn’t work?

What would I do next time?


What about YOU?  Have YOU ever had a thought or idea that you had to get down on fabric or on paper as quick as a bunny?

Do YOU evaluate your completed quilts?

Have you looked back lately to see your progress?

We’d LOVE to hear!

Feeling nostalgic,


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!

30 thoughts on “In the Beginning…

  1. Thanks for the review. It’s good to see where people begin. It can be easy to see work that comes after years of practice and wonder why we can’t do it like that.

    Do I evaluate my completed quilts? YES. I look at qualities of both design and execution. I look for things I like or don’t like. I try to see what I would do differently. It is NOT about picking at flaws. It’s about learning. I learn so much with this process, and I encourage others to do it, too.

    Thanks for sharing this pretty red quilt.

  2. Thanks for everything you’re doing for us, Lori! I ‘like’ the idea of posts going back to basics and watching the progression with explanations along the way. I’ve only been with you a couple of years, so this lets me catch up.

  3. It’s good for us to see that practice makes perfect. I think some of us think there is something wrong with us because things don’t look like we want them to right away. Practice, practice, practice. Doodle, doodle, doodle.
    And btw, don’t feel you owe it to us to have a blog every day!!! We aren’t paying you! We love what you do and miss you when you are silent but that is okay! Summers are all to short as it is, for those of us living “north”. Enjoy the summer and don’t feel guilty when you don’t have time to blog!

    • Exactly what I was thinking, G. Lori, cut yourself some slack, and another piece of that lovely summer pie. Enjoy your comings and goings, and be assured we’ll be here when you get back. No guilt, no judgement.
      And I also love the red lollipop … sheesh, even the stuff you say is not great is AMAZING!

  4. Great idea to do this review!! I’ve only been following you for a year. Love all your creativity and your helpful tutorials.

  5. No one can be a better critic than self. I think we all are harsher on ourselves than anyone else would be, and this is a good thing, makes us a bit better “next time”.

  6. Already learning a lot about the quilt I’m working on now and what I would do differently. Looking forward to the inspiration and looking back at the past accomplishments and what I could do better. Thank you Lori for everything!

  7. Lori-
    Your first little red quilt looks great to me, even up close; the second aqua version is beautiful. I’ll be very happy to see the reviews. I’ve been with you almost from the start and it will be good to see them again. Of course, we can always look in your book and at your online classes at Etsy.
    Please take some time for yourself and for your family and enjoy getting rested and refreshed!

  8. I love this post on many levels! Of course my quilting never looks as good to me as others does. But, it often looks BETTER (but not what I’m satisfied with) in the morning! Just completed a small wall hanging that my 6 y/o grandson designed and worked on. I had many of the same concerns as you did in this post. But, the biggest one is tension. Maybe you could do (or refresh if you already have) a lesson on how we can obtain the best tension for fmq. TIA!

  9. Thank you, Lori, for this review. I learn so many tips and tricks from you each blog so if one is missed due to your blessedly full life, enjoy and know we’re still here gulping what you’ve already offered us. I appreciate your idea of looking at each project with the 3 questions. I do it but without the structure I could add to a finished piece. This will now be added to my quilt notebook along with the photo and descriptions of techniques used, etc.

  10. I so agree with the others, Lori, about you feeling badly if you take some time off with family activities. I love to read your posts but must admit that I still haven’t really gotten into doing instead of just looking at your offerings. Seems to be too many things to do everything I would like to. However, I do have your book and it is still sitting by my sewing machine so there is hope. Love it that you are going back to your beginnings on doodling as it makes me feel that there is hope even for me.

    I know the practice, practice, practice theory, just need to take the time to do it. You and your stitching is awesome! Keep on doing it so we can all learn from it.

  11. I need to revisit my notebook and get back to making a few notes while they are fresh in my head while working on a project or just finishing. I used to refer to it when I’ve done a particular design before and I’ve gotten away from jotting info down in my rush of keeping up with life. I don’t really evaluate a whole lot I guess…most of my quilts are pieced bed size and I’m usually so happy to get the quilting part done. Doodling is good that it helps my head know the design, to get consistent , to know which direction I’ll be going to make it look how I want…but practicing on the machine, different movement cuz the needle is stationary…that is where I learn and my muscle memory gets a work out…fluid movement up down and side to side…there’s only so much room and I like to go through the motions til I feel comfortable with them before they go on my quilt. having a note of what worked and what didn’t helps me a lot. So guess I evaluate as I go…is the short nonwindy answer. 🙂

  12. Love the red one and the blue one !! I give my quilts away ASAP because I don’t want to see them again.Usually it was an idea and plan I was so excited about. Then all the vicissitudes of the sewing process wear me down ( quilting has caused me to give up perfectionism LOL) and I get really ready to be done. I exult in a finished quilt, take photos, and then kiss it good bye !! Working on the next one brings to mind what I did wrong on the previous one and so I learn by trial and error. This way is completely different to my first 70 years and it is refreshing for me. Started sewing at age 8 but quilting in 2011. So blessed to have found The Inbox Jaunt in 2014. By the way, a lady from Venezuela had written in here several weeks or months ago and asked us to pray for her country. I have had her on my mind lately. I hope she is well and happily quilting. I appreciate the sisterhood of comsideration that lives among quilters.

    • Can totally relate to Marta…..I evaluate during the entire process…..but give the quilt away ASAP, after taking a photo. I’ve learned over the years that being a perfectionist can wear you down. Appreciating my abilities and the love of working with fabric is enough for me, at this point in my life, thus each time I improve on my skills (or lack of skills), is a bonus.

    • Marta….so happy to read your response and knowing your selfless idea of giving the quilts away and getting on to the next one. I know the recipients were very happy. Yes, a photo takes up far less room than a quilt yet still provides a glimpse into what you’ve accomplished. I am in the process of purging my sewing stuff as I am 72 and am trying to downsize before someone else has to do it for me. ha ha Your novel idea of “gifting” these quilts as I go along before it becomes a hoarding situation certainly will be put to use here. I too am saying prayers for the people of Venezuela.

  13. Lori, I have only been following your blog and receiving your emails for a few months, so I am very interested in the “Genesis” of your journey. I look forward to seeing what you have been teaching for the past few years before I discovered your blog. I find your words of encouragement so helpful, as I am just learning to free motion quilt. The combination of your book, Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3, and, team up beautifully to teach me techniques in quilting. Thank you! P.S. Never apologize for putting family first. After all, they are what matters most. ❤️

  14. Yes, I always makes notes in my sketchbook/quilt diary about what I learned, what I would do differently, what I didn’t like and maybe some idea that popped into my head while working on the current quilt. If I don’t write it down, I will remember I had an Idea/thought but not remeber what it was! I like to go back and read what I had written. As the saying goes, “It’s the jouney, not the destination.”

  15. I love the idea of a review! I learn something new on every quilt, and sometimes even remember it for the next one.😝

    And I’ve learned so much from you, Lori. Like IRONING the batting!!!!!!! What a revelation. Also testing quarter inch seam allowances. Those quarter inch feet aren’t always. I’m glad I’m learning, but I could have used this knowledge over the years. Thanks for all your sharing.

  16. Great idea! In fact, since I have only found you a couple years ago, I didn’t know how long you had been blogging; so I am looking forward to the review and critique. It promises to help those of us who are still FMQ-ing “in our dreams” think about some of the BEST PRACTICES to follow when we actually get ready to assemble that quilt sandwich, sit down at the sewing machine and put needle to fabric. Now relax and enjoy some more summer 😘.

  17. Dear Lori, Thank you for everything you do! Your posts are so generous, thoughtful, clear, and encouraging! So let’s review that, especially as it relates to our own work!

    I have a question about pressing, though. Do you press each time/day as you begin to machine quilt. Please explain what you think is the ‘best press process’ as we review.

    Blessings and thanks!

    • I press the top and the backing well. If I am using cotton and it has a fold or wrinkle I will iron the quilt sandwich. If I spray baste I press the quilt sandwich from the back and again from the top. I do not press once I begin quilting.

  18. I thought the red flowers were beautiful. I even pinterest them. When you pointed out the flaws I could see some but, to me they were beautiful.

  19. Thanks for showing us “where it all began” for you. I don’t see all the problems you see but your critique sounds so much like the thoughts running through my brain when I try to FMQ.

  20. The Lollipop Spiral is my favorite tutorial! I think both of your lollipop quilts are wonderful! I’m excited to revisit your awesome designs!!

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