A Banner Day: Free Motion Quilted

After seeing the quilted word art I've begun offering in my Etsy shop, Top Anchor Quilting Tools commissioned me to make a banner for their show booth. Since the necessary colored threads got hung up in some foul weather and the kids have had a bunch of snow days, I'm running short of time.

Top Anchor Quilting Tools FMQ Banner with Ruler Work

 In order to get the good color contrast without stitching every last millimeter, I'm using a 30 weight thread that always gives me a bit of trouble. I've tried larger needles, even smaller needles. Different tensions too, but every once in a while some ugly happens. Would you believe I'm getting better results with a smaller needle? Seriously! It certainly does not like backtracking at all. But I'm forging ahead.

Feather wreath Template

I'm surrounding the logo with the various rulers that Top Anchor sells and to make sure they are easy to see on the banner, I'm doing some bobbin work. That's turning out pretty well.

Free Motion Quilting with rulers Feather Wreath

The feather wreath is one of the harder templates for me. It's a lot of fun and so cool to get such a perfect wreath, but you have to be very careful to use the printed guidelines to position the ruler accurately for each plume. Just a tiny bit on each plume and you'll be way off when you get back around to the beginning. Similar to having an accurate piecing seam allowance. Using rulers and templates is a great way to bring uniformity and evenness to your quilting.

Ruler work star

Hands-down, my favorite template from them is the 5 pointed star. It's one of the easiest to manage on a stationary machine, simple to line up if you get off a little, and stars are always handy designs for quilters. Do a couple of offset repeats of a star using the same anchor position and you get some really neat designs.

Another of my favorites is the Dahlia. Above is just a simple single version, but offset a second one and it is really fabulous. You can also do a third repeat and it starts looking like Spirograph You can see an older video I made using the Dahlia template, or see the accompanying post.

It's been so much easier to use these templates on my Janome 8200 compared to the 6600. No prongs in the way of the ruler and it's much easier to use the rulers behind the foot.

Now to get back to stitching. I've got to get this banner and another sample quilt done before Tuesday morning when I leave for Lancaster, PA. I am so excited to go to the show. Let me know in the comments if you are going to the AQS Show. Hopefully we can meet up.

If you are in this current winter storm nastiness on the east side of the US, I hope you are staying warm and not having to travel out in it. Come on Spring!


  1. Thanks Amy for sharing this has been so informative, I purchased the Dahlia and the Wreath from Top Anchor last week been busy so I have not tried them yet but after watching you it really motivated me to hurry and try them !! Love your banner it is beautiful!!! Stay warm! I live in Texas so it is not as cold as some I'm sure! LOL

  2. We are headed to Lancaster next Thursday and I'll be at the show on Friday. Will have to look for you doing demo's. What is the name of the booth you will be in? I have a 6600 and have never tried any ruler work and I have done just a little free motion. So I've always read your blog posts with interest... usually when I'm in bed at night with the tablet since your posts come in late. :-) From Lancaster, hubby and I are headed to Harrisburg and south from there to Pigeon Forge TN and the Mt. Quilt Fest which is the following week. I love that show... can I say even more than AQS show. :-)

  3. I so enjoy reading about these tools. Thanks for writing about them. Congratulations on the banner and enjoy the show.

  4. Looking forward to meeting you in Lancaster on Thursday afternoon and seeing you demo these great rulers.

  5. Love love love the banner, Amy! A fantastic job as always. It will be such an eye-grabber hanging in our booth in Lancaster this week! Can't tell you how much this - and you - are appreciated!

  6. You guys present there are performing an excellent job.
    web design agency

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.