Episode 152: Free Motion

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samplerNovAbove: the sampler quilt so far

fbThe “I am 50 and Pretty Okay with It” selfie. I put goop in my hair to make it stick up like that.

dana's quiltMy friend Dana’s quilt. Jaye thinks this pattern is called “Grecian Cross.”

This week’s questions

1. In your opinion, what have been the most popular quilt patterns of the last 5 years?

2. Did your mother quilt? If so, did she teach you to quilt? If not, how did you learn?

Have you read Sandy’s story about her mother teaching her to quilt? It’s lovely, and you can find it here:



This week’s links:

Super Slider for free motion quilting:



Jaye on researching block patterns:

Researching Block Names


A list of quilt docs from the Quilters Newsletter blog:



With These Hands–An Exhibit of African American Quilts


Barbara Brackman’s blog on modernism: http://historicallymodernquilts.blogspot.com/


Jenny Beyer Blocks: http://www.jinnybeyer.com/quilting-with-jinny/design-board/browse.cfm

20 Replies to “Episode 152: Free Motion”

  1. SUPREME SLIDER … is a silicone mat that lays on the bed to your sewing machine allowing you to move your quilt with less drag as you FMQ. There is a hole that goes over your feed dogs … be careful not to sew on the mat if it shifts… Should stick okay but sometimes if you are not careful it slips… I added painter tape to the side of mine because I had that problem when it got older.

    Thanks for the links … brought me to places I had not been to before.


    LISTENING to the podcast as I clean / rearrange my bedroom. No sewing for me til that is done.


  2. BLOCK is definitely GRECIAN CROSS page 371 Block # 3084. The other similar block was TENNESSEE CIRCLES ( I missed named it Tennessee Cross) has a smaller center block.

    JOHN FLYNN Co will draft and make laser cut acrylic templates with or without seam allowance for about $20 … a definite must. They will make the templates to the desired size.

    I have Brackman’s and Jenny Beyers book. Brackman’s book is in BLACK AND WHITE plates so you can see the values which is important for designing. Jenny uses her fabrics in the block photographs…. Jenny goes into details about how to design blocks and the importance of grids. BOTH books are great . Brackman’s book was also made into SOFT-WARE for E-Q which is BLOCK BASE. I love this software as it allows me to be adventuresome with quilt blocks and design my own quilts.

    http://electricquilt.com/online-shop/blockbase/ …. It has gone up in price since I bought it several years ago but I think it is worth it.

    NONNIE – – –

  3. Commenting while listening so you can get the true stream-of-consciousness brain output that I’m sure you desire… answers to questions:

    1. In your opinion, what have been the most popular quilt patterns of the last 5 years? Swoon by Camille Roskelly has been very popular, but I would say that modern traditionalist patterns as a category have been popular, which to me is really just writing up traditional patterns using modern cuts like FQs, jelly rolls, layer cakes, etc.

    2. Nope, my mom doesn’t quilt, but she sewed, as did both grandmothers. Grama Eddie made quilts out of the doubleknits and cottons our 70’s clothes were made out of but, but she didn’t “quilt” so much as “tie” with yarn to secure the layers. She also made some corduroy quilts, which make me think that could be a warm and cozy and heavy quilt, which is my husband’s favorite type of quilt.

    I started quilting to bond with my MIL. I’d been sewing since I was 5 and went through the clothes sewing phase (sooooo many homemade paisley print peg-legged pants in high school!) and after making my wedding dress (in a very traditional style) I figured I couldn’t top that and moved onto home dec sewing. And then I did quilting for a couple years with just squares, and then started podcasting and then I really needed to step up my quilting game so I’d have new stuff to talk about every week and now, here, I am, 280 HSTs in a 24 hour period later thanks to Bonnie Hunter’s latest mystery.

  4. A friend of mine dragged me to a quilting class about 23 years ago. I didn’t really want to go. I made baby quilts for each of my boys. I liked the piecing, but I did not like the quilting part, so I stopped. Eight years ago another friend dragged me to a quilting class. l learned about longarm quilters, and I was hooked! I’ve been piecing tops ever since. The actual quilting part is a chore to me, so I don’t do it.

    I think Pam must be a great DIL if she took up quilting to bond with her MIL. I want DILs like that! I’d love to have a quilting DIL in the family, and if she actually liked to bind quilts, that would be a big plus!

    It was interesting to hear you talk about how women feel about the way they look as they age. When I was a teenager, I never felt the need to work at being pretty. My parents cared about our grades, not our looks. My friends were nerds. We were good at math, and we liked to read. In high school, I had a boyfriend who was also a nerd. He thought I was pretty, and his opinion was the only one that mattered to me.

    How much happier people would be if they realized that their bodies are just the packages they walk around in. I’m 52 now. My hair is getting gray, and I’m a little over weight. That’s ok. I look 52 because I am 52.

  5. I remember being asked by my son and others what it felt like when I turned 50 (some years ago now). My response, “I worked hard to get to be 50 and I earned every year. 50’s will prove to the be the best years in my life.” Now on the other end of 50 (will be 59 in Jan), I can attest they have been the best years, because I have made them so.

    I taught myself how to sew at 6 with needle and thread and scrap fabrics making clothes for my dolls. At 10 I started making all my own clothes. My first quilt at 23. Until recent years I was all self-taught. No one in my family sews that I am aware of.

  6. My mom sewed beautiful clothes, but never quilted. Her grandmother did, she remembers sitting under the quilting frame and listening to the ladies talk as they hand quilted. I made whole cloth tied baby quits for years. When I remarried at 50, after being a widow, and working for ten years, I suddenly had lots of time. I moved to Utah where my retired husband lived. I began quilting by going to a block of the month club at Hancock Fabrics. I checked out books from the library, read magazine’s and took an occasional class.
    I’m 63 now, very busy with church work, but still love to squeeze in my quilting time. It seems to put order in my life and reduces my stress.
    I love listening to you, Francis!

  7. Hello again. Your musings on aging are thought provoking. You are always so sensible. I quit dying my hair for similar reasons. I Enjoy being treated differentially and with the respect older people deserve.
    I Endeavor to be as wise as I look!!

  8. When you’re young and beautiful, it’s an accident of nature. When you’re beautiful older, that you’ve created yourself. I rather like what you’ve created. Thanks for that selfie talk.

  9. LeMoyne! It’s a LeMoyne Star!! (shouting at the phone in traffic again)

    I’m with you on aging, although I think I will color my hair for at least a little longer. I started going gray in my early 20s, and it’s not an attractive salt and pepper like my mother’s. As for the smile lines and stretch marks, I’ve earned every one and am proud of them!

  10. I like your selfie! I just read a post somewhere about makeup and the false sense of beauty it can give us. There was a challenge to go one month (or something like that) without and see how your self image can change when you relax about how you look. They were not saying to let yourself go, but just not worry so much about how you look. Love the skin you’re in, as the saying goes. 🙂
    My favorite selfies are taken with my 5 year old and my 10 year old because they always tell me we look beautiful.

  11. Another fan of the Super Slider checking in. I bought it a while ago but didn’t use it much on just the bed of my sewing machine. Now that I have an extension table for the machine, I’m really enjoying the Super Slider. It’s making machine quilting this latest quilt much easier.

  12. I loved hearing your thoughts on aging. Too often, we try and “change” what we are, when we should be enjoying the place in life in which we currently reside. I think you are beautiful, inside and out. I also covet your pointy hair. Looks really sharp (see what I did there?)

  13. I really like the sampler. I know you have used a variety of fabrics, but it does work.

    I have to say that aging is a lot easier when you have a good friend close to your age and can compare notes. Whether or not I think that, plastic surgery is not in the budget (well, it might be after college tuition, paying off the mortgage, buying a house for my mom, etc. I’ll have to get back to you on that)

    Thanks for posting more regularly. It is great to hear your thoughts. Thanks for shoutout. The post I wrote about blocks is at: http://www.artquiltmaker.com/blog/2014/11/researching-block-names/

  14. Regarding your machine quilting practice. I know the 12′-14″ muslin squares are useful for practice, but I never know what to do with the squares once they have been quilted. The guild president had an idea to make a bag from a half yard of fabric on which I had practiced my machine quilting. I felt a lot better about it, because I was able to make something useful out of the practice. The bag is also a nice size and shape. I would do that again. Think about it.

  15. I think I also replied on twitter about the cross block. If I remember correctly (putting some Frances magic into this) it was called Raleigh in EQ7 when I made a very very similar block to it. But MY name for #NYSI that year was panties (the cross parts) and pope hats (the background that makes football shapes). And so my name of panties & pope hats is what I call the block now. Panties & pope hats is the best name because it’s funny and makes you giggle, and has the juxtaposition of two opposite seeming things smooshed together in one block name. There I finally came to your blog for a thoughtful and delightful comment instead of just on twitter! 😉

    Of course I did it as I was listening instead of before, so next time I may actually try to listen to you and post it before. But I was thinking that we had to have some kind of ESP to have thoughtful comment as we may not know your thoughts until afterwards, and to leave a thoughtful comment, wouldn’t we have to know your thoughts first?

    Keep up the good work! Back many many years ago I remember you saying that quilting was the one thing you were worried you would “stick to” and I am so so very glad it did stick and that you are sticking to us in the podcast! Now I may be relieved of my commenting duties for a while since I have 3 long(ish) paragraphs here. 😉

  16. Oh my goodness! Cute pretty. That’s what I am. (Or was). I can completely relate to the age bomb thing. I’ve always been told I appear younger than I am. In my job, I actually stare at myself on a screen like with Skype because I interpret phone calls for Deaf people. Looking at myself is tough because I am getting old. Recently someone told me I looked like I was 55! OMG! I am exactly 55 and I was heartbroken to know I no longer appear younger than I am. So sad!
    On the name thing, Terje is a very common male name in Sweden. My sisters and I all have male names and that’s mine. I pronounce it like “Terry” although it is traditionally pronounced “ter-ya”. I refuse to believe my parents were hoping for a boy but the evidence is rather overwhelming.

  17. Enjoyed your podcast. Never heard the term ‘age bomb’ before, but that’s exactly what I used to do. People could never believe I was as old as I was. But just like you mentioned, doesn’t work so well anymore. I pretty much look my age. I’m OK with that though. Like others have mentioned, I feel like I’ve earned it. I’ve stopped dying my hair and I’m embracing being 60. (I did have someone tell me today that I had real cool boots though.)

  18. Great selfie! As the mom of a teenage girl, the amount of time I notice her looking in the mirror makes me very aware of the lack of time I spend doing the same. It sometimes amazes me the number of times I stand in front of a mirror, washing my hands, without really noticing my appearance. I guess that’s a good thing, right?

    One of the celebrities that has impressed my is Jamie Lee Curtis. The first time I saw her gray hair in one her yogurt commercials, I think I cheered out loud. For people who live their life in front of the camera, there must be such pressure to try to appear younger. I was never cute pretty, but seemed a bit older than my age although I’m told now at 45 that I don’t look old enough to have a daughter about to graduate high school.

    Body image has always been my biggest hang-up as far as my own appearance goes and I am terrified of the thick waist that I see so many women develop after menopause. That fear keeps my going to the gym and running.

    I think I was one of the people that suggested the Leah Day class. I’m sure the basting information was included because the class was meant to be a follow up to the free sampler class. I am a pretty experienced free motion quilter on my Bernina, but what I struggle with is choosing designs to fit blocks. I found watching Leah’s class to be extremely helpful in that regard.

    Thanks for another great podcast!

  19. Just finished listening to your age-bombing podcast and am now listening to Yo-yos. Thanks for keeping me company as I sew the last few Christmas gifts (napkins for my mom to go with the placemats I made for her birthday).

    I have always said “no plastic surgery – love me for who I am and if this ain’t good enough for you – tough luck!”. But recently I have noticed that somehow or other my grandma’s lips have taken over my face. Definitely not plastic surgery worthy, but I’ve taken to trying to smile more and frown/purse my lips less (I’m a grade 2/3 teacher so I’m very good at the “teacher” look). Don’t know if it will help those wrinkle lines around the lips, but apparently it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown anyway! I do colour my hair, but in 10 years when I retire – that will be gone too. Glad to have other people in my corner.

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