Memories of Sisters, Part 2 . . .

Free motion quilting is not a skill that comes easily to me. In fact, I really struggle with it. Because of that, I try to take at least one class a year from an expert. When I learned that Janet Fogg was teaching a day-long class called “Basic Drawing for Machine Quilters” during Quilter’s Affair, the week of classes leading up to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show on the second Saturday in July, I jumped at the chance to register.

The best part was . . . we didn’t have to bring our machines!  We were asked to bring a sketchbook and a pen, plus a quilt top that we planned to quilt ourselves. Janet led us through a variety of drawing exercises, showing us how to build a simple quilt motif, build on it, travel with it, and transition to other quilting designs. We did that all morning, filling pages and pages in our sketchbooks with motifs and notes. She gave us a fantastic handout which included many of the motifs she has used on her own award-winning quilts.

practicing spirals in Janet’s class


In the afternoon, Janet treated us to a slideshow of her amazing quilts, all quilted freehand, and then we took turns displaying our own quilt tops, getting feedback from her and fellow students on ideas for quilting. I am really excited now about putting my classroom learning to the test at home.

On the day of the quilt show I took special notice of quilts that had been machine quilted freehand. Here are some closeups, starting with Janet’s own quilt, Hippo Love. (I neglected to get a photo of the entire quilt but you can see it on her website: )

detail of Hippo Love by Janet Fogg


detail, Hippo Love by Janet Fogg


detail, back of Hippo Love by Janet Fogg


detail, back of Hippo Love by Janet Fogg


Here are other examples of free motion quilting I admired:

quilting by Shireen’s Stitching


quilting by Shireen’s Stitching


quilting by Tammy Mac Arthur


Quilting by Loretta Orsborn


As you can see, the bar is set very high. Janet echoed the advice in every book I have on the subject: it takes a LOT of practice to become a proficient machine quilter. I’m on a road trip to California right now to visit my grandchildren, so all I can do is think about practicing. Does that count?




This entry was posted in free motion quilting, Sisters OR Outdoor Quilt Show, update. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Memories of Sisters, Part 2 . . .

  1. Thelma says:

    I can’t read my own handwriting, so when it comes to drawing, it’s even worse! Practice is not in my vocabulary, I’ll never be a quilter! I think it’s in you though!

Comments are closed.