The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book Blog Tour

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Hi everyone,

I’m excited to announce the beginning of The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book blog tour.  For each of the next nine weekdays, C&T will be giving out a copy of The Free-Motion Quilting Idea book on various blogs.  Make sure to visit all the stops to maximize your change to win!




I’ll also be posting a reminder every day to my Facebook page to visit specific sites.

So, without further ado, here is the schedule:

Monday 11/2: C&T Publishing

Tuesday 11/3: Generation Q Quilting

Wednesday 11/4: A Quilting Life

Thursday 11/5: Pat Sloan’s Blog

Friday 11/6: Mandy Leins

Monday 1/9: Sew Sweetness

Tuesday 11/10: Christa Quilts

Wednesday, 11/11: Cherry Blossoms Quilting Studio

Thursday 11/12: Amanda Murphy

If you are interested in creating a quilt that incorporates all the blocks in the book on which you can practice, check out The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Sampler, available as a download from C&T.  I started a Facebook group for quilters working on the sampler, or just applying the concepts from the book.


FMQIdeaSampler_1303_SMMake sure to visit C&T’s blog today for the first chance to win!

Happy quilting!




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Introducing Sparkle!

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Note:  This giveaway is now closed. The lucky winners (by random number) are Ruth B who liked the red/blue/green snowflakes on white and Alicia Key, who like the stripes!  Congratulations, ladies!  Please send me your emails.  For more a chance to win The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book, follow along with the blog hop November 2nd – 12th!

Hi everyone!

I just returned from a very wet Market (record rains in Houston) where I shared the Contempo portion of the Benartex booth with my good friend Cherry Guidry.  

Contempo Fall 2015 Market Booth
Contempo Fall Market Booth 2015 – Cherry’s designs are on the left, mine are on the right around the tree. Sarah Vedeler’s fabric is in the front on the left and Michele D’Amore’s is on the right.

Despite the weather, we had a lovely time and really enjoyed catching up with all the creative people at Market.  This Market was pretty exciting for me because I had three new books debuting with C&T Publishing, as well as the BERNINA panel, new patterns and embroidery collections, and a fabric line with Benartex!

Today I wanted to introduce, Sparkle, my newest line for Benartex.  It is called Sparkle and is a crisp and bright holiday line.

The original prints that inspired the Sparkle collection – the light tossed snowflakes and the wreaths. I think the red wreath might be my favorite print in the collection right now – but I like the softness of the blue wreath too!
These ornament prints were developed later on in the process, but they also function as feature prints. And I found while sewing it was quite nice to have the darker shade of blue with which to work.
These are the supporting prints that gave “Sparkle” its name. They are fun to play with, vivid, and make FANTASTIC binding!
… and here are the coordinates. They are great for appliqué or to contrast with the feature prints. Note there are three swirly leaf prints and three petal prints – the third being barely visible as the white background white light blue line work. I always think it is so useful to have low volume prints.
And last but not least a fun stripe print. It makes a great binding too!

There are four new patterns for the Sparkle collection and they should be available in about three weeks.  I’ll talk more about them then, but here is a sneak peek…

All Sparkle patterns

There is also a panel print for the Sparkle collection.  (I designed two complimentary patterns to work with this panel, but I’ll save them to show another day.)


OESD has already digitized embroidery for Sparkle.  It is available now so you can ask your local shop to order it.  Writing a complimentary pattern to make these gift bags is on my to-do list this weekend.

Sparkle gift bags
More Sparkle Embroidery
Sparkle “redwork”

I’ve already talked about the Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book and Quilted Celebrations, but my coloring book for C&T, Modern Elegance, arrived on my doorstep while I was at Market, so all three books are now in my shop.


Is anyone (but my mom) still with me?  If you are it is time for the giveaway!  Benartex gave me a stack of 10” squares and a stack of 5” squares to give to you guys and I’m throwing in Modern Elegance too.  We’ll have two winners – one wins the 10” squares and one the 5” and both win coloring books.  To enter leave a comment telling me what Sparkle print you like best and please leave your contact info.  One entry per person please.  The deadline will be this Monday, which is actually the kickoff for my Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book blog hop over at C&T.  (There will be giveaways of that book on different blogs for two weeks.)


I really hope you like Sparkle!  Have a lovely weekend!


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Heart’s Delight Quilting

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Hi everyone,

Hope you are having a lovely fall!  I’ve been teaching a lot of quilting on the BERNINA Q Series quite a bit over the past couple of months and I usually bring a trunk show along with me.  One of the questions I get asked most is how I chose the different quilting motifs on Heart’s Delight, my block of the month for Carina. So I thought I’d take a minute to tell you more about the process.


I do usually start out with a general quilting plan, but I frequently change things alone the way.  So, I knew that I, in this case, I wanted to use paisleys and petals and soft shapes, but contrast them with straight quilting lines as well.  Just like the piecing really.

The first thing I decided was the thread color.  I like quilting with Aurifil 50 wt. cotton but time was of the essence (after all, it was less than a week until Market) so I opted for Aurifil monofilament in the  top and Aurifil 50 wt. in the bobbin so that I wouldn’t have to change out colors.  I have a large spool of the monofilament that I use both on my BERNINA Q24 and on my 780.  When I use it on the 780 I like to use a thread stand to let it unwind, but it works well on both machines.  I really love the Aurifil monofilament – it is soft and pliable and not shiny at all – it just sinks into the design.

I started out by stitching in the ditch around all the blocks and elements on my first pass.  I stitched in the ditch and added some of the larger fills as I worked down the quilt, but I only added the smaller fills once that process was completed.  (For more information on fills see my Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book.)  If I had been quilting on a domestic machine, I would have chosen to stitch in the ditch between all the blocks and around the appliqué motifs, etc. and then added in the fills with my free-motion foot after.

So… block by block my quilting plan evolved a like this:

I decided to quilt the central bargello heart by stitching in the ditch on every seam.  This really emphasized all of the piecing plus it contrasted nicely with the curving shapes I knew that I going to be adding elsewhere in the piece.  Another consideration was that a more wavy design would have been hard to execute cleanly in this area, because even the slightest shifting in the seams would have been noticeable.  I used my BERNINA Q Series Ruler Attachment to quilt clean, straight lines.



Moving from the center out I chose to quilt a sort of leafy vine in the green area.  I quilted a spine around the entire square and then went back and added leaves to the left side of the spine and then to the right.  I did not mark this since our eyes are very forgiving of leaf shapes in general – plus I knew it would be hard to see my mistakes on the print!  I left the dark teal frames unquilted so that they popped up a bit, and quilted wavy lines in the white areas, using my ruler foot and a ruler again to ensure uniformity. Quilting a white area will draw your eyes if you have lots of fun fabrics in other areas!  (Ask me how I know this!  Rip rip rip!)

Do you see the diamond border in the lower right hand corner of the above photograph?  I choose to bounce from corner to corner of each diamond with a petal shape and fill the interior area with pebbles.  Petal shapes are so useful. You can use them in their entirety to create a medallion or a four petal blossom, or you can use just half and bounce from corner to corner of a design.

036HeartsDelight_03I quilted around each shape in the yellow appliqué border above the bargello heart and then filled in the background small scale paisley design.  I love paisleys for the back of appliqués – they are really quick to execute and fit well in a variety of spaces.


I divided up the hearts in the left border by connecting the two top points of each heart with the bottom point of each.  I then filled in the resulting shapes with pebbles.  (If you use a fill in one area of the quilt it is nice to repeat the same motif in other areas as well.)  I don’t think that quilting designs have to follow the piecing exactly – sometimes it is more fun to use the piecing as inspiration and add another layer of design during the quilting!



You can see just a hint of the bottom central border in upper right of the above photo.  I quilted around each flower and filled in the background with simple ribbons.  For the cornerstones, like the pink one in the photo, I simply quilted around each motifs and then did a background fill.  I think I started with hearts, but I couldn’t see anything on the dark pink, so I ended up migrating to a medley of swirls, hearts, and pebbles – or whatever I felt like in the moment that would let the appliqué pop!  I figured if I couldn’t see while quilting neither could anyone else.

I quilted a medium scale paisleys in the yellow border.  What can I say?  I REALLY LIKE PAISLEYS!

On some of the above you can see a glimpse on the side border with the teal Carina medallion quilt.  For medallions I like to let the print do the work for me.  I quilted around each, and then traveled into the center and went around the circle, and then followed the petal shapes to quilt “feathers” all the way around before exiting the way I came in.  (I have some video of this down in my instagram feed that I took at the time. If interested you can check it out – my user name is AMANDAMURPHYDESIGN.)

The top and bottom inner heart borders were quilted much like the cornerstones.  I quilted around each heart shape and filled in the background.


I stabilized the top and bottom outer border, pictured above, by quilting all the way across the top of the hearts and all the way across the bottom of the hearts.  I then quilted echoed lines within the hearts, leaving a smaller heart shape.  I filled these shapes with a fishbone motif.  And I could go right across the quilt without stopping because the motifs were connected and I was using monofilament thread!  Finally, I willed in the white floral print area with swirls.  Yes, I thought about paisleys because I REALLY LIKE PAISLEYS but I threw caution to the wind and went for swirls instead.

And that is how I quilted Heart’s Delight!  If you are quilting it send me a picture – I’d love to see!

Have a lovely weekend and happy quilting!



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