Free Motion Quilting-The Quilt Back on my Work in Progress


Free Motion Quilting, Back of Quilt

Good Morning, Quilters!

Quilting proceeds slowly on my Boxes and Vines quilt.

How do you quilt a big quilt on a small domestic machine?

Little by little. One block at a time.

Sometimes it seems that I spend as much time shuffling the quilt as I do stitching!

Still, I enjoy the process. I love seeing the slow and steady progress.

Last week, a reader asked to see the back of the quilt.

What Fabric Is Best for the Back of a Quilt?

Normally, I do not recommend using hand dyed fabrics or batiks on the back of the quilt. These fabrics are very tightly woven and the sewing machine needle has a little more trouble penetrating the fabric. The small needle deflections can lead to a less than perfect stitch.

However, I decided to use hand dyed fabric this time because I had  it on hand and I didn’t want to spend time shopping.

Free Motion Quilting, Back of Quilt

This back is made of several large pieces of fabric.  I pieced it in an improvisational style–using scraps on hand.

If you are interested in creating a beautiful quilt back, check out Elizabeth Hartman’s FREE Craftsy class HERE:  Creative Quilt Backs

The video offers basic information on how to create a quilt back and how to design a creative backing.

Slowing Down Before the Holidays

As Christmas approaches, I know I will be a challenge to quilt every day…

But then again, there are a lot of other creative projects…

Wrapping, baking, decorating…

What about YOU?

How is YOUR work in progress?

Have you been working at least fifteen minutes every day?

What other creative projects do you have in the works?

We’d LOVE to hear!



PS…If you like these motifs and tips, be sure to check out my book, Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 or any of my Craftsy Videos!

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









31 thoughts on “Free Motion Quilting-The Quilt Back on my Work in Progress

  1. Lori – loved your comment about spending as much shifting as sewing. Spot on! I have only made baby quilts and lap quilts for that reason. I do want to sew a “twin” size bed quilt one day, perhaps 2018? Liked this blog post a lot. Over the last two years, I started paying more attention to the back of my quilts and have no regrets. One of my quilts was also appliqued to match the front. That was kind of tricky but I liked the results. Too busy baking cookies, wrapping presents, post office runs, the tree and attending events to be FMQing, LOL. But looking forward to christmas week when I start planning for next year already. It’s a great time to be creative because I have a year to get er done and there’s no limit to my inspiration. I also whip out my projects notebook and update it. Thank you for continuing to think of us with this posts – I’m sure you are just as busy as we are!! Vivian

  2. Sometimes my time is finding something I know I have but can’t seem to find it. I was looking for some chalkboard fabric I knew I had to make for my Grandson. After 3 hours I found it and many other things. Did a bit of organizing as I went. The fabric needs to rest a bit to get the wrinkles out. So I started a Moda Christmas 🎄 Block. One for my quilting buddy and of course one for me. Like you, using what fabric I have on hand.

  3. I’m with you on the shuffling. It’s a lot of heaving around! Do you get the aches and pains with your shoulders or do you make a big effort to have a break before you feel any twinges?

    Well I have finished my 2 quilts that I did for the challenge (and thanks for that – it is a good one) so mostly tidying up at the moment. Finished my secret Santas and they are posted (and received – phew). Just knocking up a quick premmie baby quilt for a friend who’s requested some. Then I’m making some more gifts for relations and somewhere in between I will do the Bonnie Hunter mystery (start it at least) and then back to the UFO challenge for 2 more quilts to finish. I really, really, really want those done and dusted – then no more tops until I’ve finished and that way I hope I can get more control over my chaos! 😉

  4. I am finishing up the binding on my last quilt of the season. I took on the challenge of the Square in a Square from a buddy in California (I am in TX). This was a great way for me to learn the system and the ruler…I may use it again. I prefer more of the bright light fabrics and would be interested in trying those out with the S in a S system.
    I have so much baking and cooking that I will not be able to have any therapy time until after Christmas!
    I hope that your life, family and activities are all joyous and loving during the end of this year.
    Thank you for this blog and your steady encouragement and education.

  5. Because my sewing machine is in my dining room, I have had to close it up until after Christmas day. I am looking forward to getting back to practicing my free motion quilting skills. I still have a long way to go! Lori, I so enjoy your blog. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  6. May the peace and joy of the holiday season be with you and your family as well as your devoted readers. Easier now to grab a few minutes to practice doodling than anything else. After Christmas the machine will hum again.

  7. Will not discuss UFO, too many. But I am almost finished quilting a wall hanging that a friend pieced. Just love FMQ still learning. Daughter will be visiting forChristmas and I will need to move all the overflow fabrics and UFOs to my sewing room. Then I will not be able to finf anything for months afterwards. But until then, a little quilting anf then some binding.

  8. Working on a large quilt myself. I have to pace myself because I get burned out trying to shove the huge quilt around all day long. I break the project into small daily sections and set a date by which to complete the quilt. If I stay on schedule, I can slip smaller projects in, too. A section a day keeps anxiety away!

  9. Sometimes it seems that I spend as much time shuffling the quilt as I do stitching!

    Still, I enjoy the process. I love seeing the slow and steady progress

    THANK YOU! LOL I was feeling lonely and this was encouraging. I am not the only one that sighs and shifts the quilt again.

  10. Just finished a Christmas quilt top. I’m not sure it will be quilted by Christmas, but I’m definitely not putting it away until it’s quilted. I want to start 2018 with a clean slate (sort of).

  11. Almost done quilting my Christmas quilt (quilt top finished almost 2 years ago)! Just have the 4 triangle corners to quilt, and then I’m binding!

    I read “shuffling the quilt” and definitely could relate. This quilt is the largest I’ve quilted with FMQ, and that part is feeling a bit like an upper body workout. 😉

  12. I am trying to finish up an art quilt that is a portrait of our Samoyed, Boris, as a Christmas present for my husband. I’m doing thread painting and am concerned because I started on the right side of the body and as I move to the left, the quilt seems to be buckling (for a lack of a better word). I am praying I don’t completely ruin this because it’s a wonderful portrayal of our cherished pup. This is the first quilt I’ve done thread painting on, so I’m quite nervous, but certainly enjoying the process!

  13. Yesterday I completed a queen size quilt on my Bernina 710. It felt like a fight to the finish, but it is done with a nice flanged binding! I broke it up into 4 sections which make it easier to manage. I kept at it as I did not want to interrupt the momentum and I won’t let myself start anything else in the meantime (now that is hard). Feels great to have it done and out of my sewing room…it took up lots of space. Today I will clean the room and then finish up something else or reward myself with a new project!
    Christmas is all set. Husband and I are alone for the holiday. Family was all together at Thanksgiving for the first time in 3 years!

  14. I was sso happy to hear about quilting 15 minutes a day. Seems most often that is about all I can get too and it is frustrating because it is so much fun but it takes so long to complete a project all the while so many other ideas are stacking up!

    Is it true that you seem to avoid “traveling”. back on a row of stitches. So many problems with my traveling, maybe I should see how to avoid it?

  15. Go to and check out her quilt suspension systems #1 and #2. For just about $100 your quilt can be weightless as you quilt it, either on a sit down long arm (like Pfaff Powerquilter 16.0), or domestic sewing machine. I got system 2…You just have to see which system works for you. I have seen other systems for closer to $500! This one is brilliant!

  16. If you can buy a wool batt, they are wonderful to move through your machine. So much lighter and pliable. Also if you are able to have your machine set into a table that to me makes so much difference. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays.

  17. After quilting a queen-size quilt on my home machine last spring, I made a commitment to quilting one area completely before moving to another; I got that tired of quilting long sections and constantly rerolling the quilt for the next one. I guess it’s an overreaction, but for now I’m purposely limiting how much getting up and rerolling I have to do. It’s so time consuming, and I don’t get enough quilting time as it is.

    Merry Christmas to you, Lori, and thanks for so generously sharing your expertise on this blog, in your books, etc.

  18. Hi Lori,
    I agree with you whole heartily that shuffling a quilt is pain in the rear, especially a queen size quilt. I did quilt mine “block by block”, spent lots of time thinking of designs till my head hurt. My current work-in-progress is a baby quilt for my niece’s baby, she is due in Feb. 2018, I work slow so I give myself plenty of time to work on it.

    Do you send your quilt(s) out to a long arm quilter?

    Wish you and your family have a wonderful holidays! Merry Christmas!

  19. Slowly is surely the operative word! I am currently quilting a 99″ square quilt. While researching for quilting ideas, I found you! Currently doing sashing, then I will get to the blocks. Taking your Craftsy doodling class and ordered your book. I try to quilt a bit every day, but want to get this done for Christmas, so working more than a bit.

  20. I took the challenge to quilt every day and finish some UFOs. I got three done that were Christmas gifts with one more to go, the binding is the only thing that remains to be done. These represent an entire years of work. I think I’ll take a break for a while🤗. I’m happy to be done, and I’m happy with the work. Up close they leave a lot to be desired but if you stand across the room they look pretty darn good. Merry Christmas, and thanks for all you do for us!

  21. I love that the back of your quilt will be lovely too. I personally can’t see the point in putting lots of work into a quilt top to have just plain fabric on the back (unless it looks like a wholecloth of course), so all my quilts are double sided. The back is generally a fairly modern design with large pieces of fabric – just looks less boring.

    I was all motivated to do lots more blocks on my current quilt to try to get it finished, but then comes my daughter with “Mum, can you make these tops for me?” She only wants about 4 or 5 – having to cut them from old tops of hers. I think she forgets that I really don’t much like dressmaking any more. Maybe she’ll forget about it – works sometimes.

    Have a wonderful Christmas. Rest and have some fun.

  22. This year has been crazy. Three quilts hanging at our local museum feels great. I am mostly an art quilter as I really don’t enjoy making blocks as much. I still have 2quilts to finish for Christmas, one being basted and the other with some blocks made by my young adult church group from a Psalms coloring book for our pastors wedding/ Christmas gift all ready printed on fabric. So why am I not upset? My husband and I both got sick. Our travel plans to see family are still on hold too. So why am I not upset? At almost 69 years old I have found things always work out. Not my way but God’s way. Quilts will be finished and given and family understands. I am taking this forced rest as time to sit back and think about those quilts I am planning next year to take form in my mind. Life throws curves but is how we swerve that truly counts.

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