2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge – March Challenge with Patsy Thompson


This post has been updated to announce the winners.  This is the first time in WordPress that I’ve saved a published post to draft mode (while I was selecting winners) and then updating/publishing.  If you receive this update via email/RSS feeds, please let me know.

Welcome to the March Linky Party for the 2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge.

2015 fmq challenge badge



Open to quilters of all levels that want to learn/improve their FMQ skills, regardless if you are using a domestic, mid-arm, or long machine, everyone is welcome. There will be a big emphasis, throughout the year, to ~Create ~ Share ~ Inspire ~ #FreeMotionQuiltingGoodness, aka #FMQGoodness.

Each month there will be a linky party where bloggers and non-bloggers can share what they created, for one or more of the options set for the respective month.  This challenge is actually more flexible than many realize, but it does ask that you turn your FMQ Sandwich into a pillow of any size.  Those that view they are not pillow people may want to make FMQ pillows for gives, or make a larger “pillow bed” for a pet, or donation to an animal shelter.  But the intent is to be proud of your FMQ and turn it into a finished project.  It is up to you to decide if you complete stitch out on a practice sandwich and later stitch out on your quilt sandwich that you will turn into a pillow.  Still, as the options to enter will be flexible, you are encouraged to sketch out your design on paper before you attempt to stitch it out using your machine.

While “Sneak Peaks” were shared in late 2014, as well as throughout the 2015 FMQ Challenge, participants will need to finish their project and enter (link up) in the month that the respective challenge is released.  Those that want to apply the challenge to projects other than pillows, or those that complete the challenge after the given month, as well as those that may wish to share other FMQ projects are encouraged to share in a Flirk group that has been created specifically for group sharing and inspiration:     https://www.flickr.com/groups/2815271@N22/


Aurifil, Clever Craft Tools/Grip & Stitch Disks, Fabrics N Quilts, Fat Quarter Shop, Martingale, The Stencil Company, Udderly Smooth, and Landauer Publishing.

Prizes will be awarded monthly, where specific prizes will be showcased, as well as recognition of the monthly sponsors.  To clarify, prizes will vary every month.  Also, many will be shipped directly to the winner from Sponsors, but QuiltShopGal will be shipping some of the prizes using funds earned from Affiliate programs, thanks to Postage Angels who kindly click thru links on this blog when they sign up for an online class, or make a purchase.  Your price remains the same, as if you had purchased elsewhere, but I receive a few pennies from some sales and those funds are used to supplement my shipping expenses.  Some prizes will be identified as only being eligible to participants in the US or US/Canada, but many will be open to WW participants.  Either way, I hope participants join this challenge to learn and have fun and not just to win a prize.


Our expert this month is Patsy Thompson, a Master Free-Motion Quilter, Designer, Author, Teacher and also a machine embroidery digitizer!

PMT-photo Patsy Thompson

As you get to know Patsy you quickly realize what a wonderful woman she is and how compassionate and kind she is, which is perfect given she is also an MD.  But, she also has an amazing creative side, loves to continually learn, as well as to teach and share her expertise with others.

Patsy has created a number of excellent DVDs on free-motion quilting, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in learning/improving their FMQ skills.  If you are longtime follower of QuiltShopGal, you probably already know I have learned so much from these DVDs.  While I frequently watch them, they are also one of the first things I pack whenever I go on a trip.  Like many of us, I’d like to take my sewing machine with me when I travel, but that isn’t always practical.  So, I always take Patsy’s FMQ DVDs and my sketch pad and I continue to learn while traveling!   They are reasonably priced, packed with tips, gorgeous designs and easy to follow instructions that will help you master the techniques of free-motion quilting and many stunning designs!


Patsy has two FMQ techniques that are uniquely her style of quilting and I love.  Both she has shared in two books that she has written:


Feather Adventures!






Patsy can also be found on Craftsy now, where you can take her amazing class “Ultimate Free-Motion Quilting with Patsy Thompson

I am definitely fond of Patsy Thompson and would eagerly sign up for any class, as well as purchase any book or DVD that she ever offers.  I’m continually amazed how she pushes the envelope on free-motion quilting and what an amazing teacher she is.

 Patsy is also generously offering 30% off all of her Free-Motion Quilting DVDs, created by  Patsy, during March, when purchased from her online store.  QuiltShopGal recommends all of Patsy’s FMQ DVDs, at their regular price. And to get them at 30% off to be an amazing deal.  Just use code “FMQChall30” at checkout.  I honestly can’t recommend one of Patsy’s DVDs over the other, as much as truly recommend her entire collection for those that are seriously interested in in learning/improving your FMQ skills.  Maybe for beginners, any of her “Fast and Free” DVDs could be a good place to start, where as others may be more interested in some of her “Free Motion Fun with Feathers”.  If you search my blog, you’ll find where I’ve written honest reviews, for many of her DVDs.  And, I truly can recommend ALL of her DVDs for anyone interested in learning/improving their FMQ Skills. This special of 30% off certainly makes it a deal, which I hope will encourage you to purchase one, or more, of Patsy’s FMQ dvds.


For this particular challenge, while I did not ask FMQ experts to provide tutorials, Patsy has been working on stitching some FMQ Pillow samples. I hope you’ll click thru to check out Patsy’s samples for this challenge, as well as other inspirational FMQ samples and more, which you can find on her blog 

You can find Patsy at:’




  1.  a sketchbook, which is a great place to start whether you are brand new to FMQ, or wanting to plan FMQ on a pillow, quilt or other project.  Sketching a FMQ motif on paper is a great way to embed a design in your muscle memory.
  2. practice quilt  sandwiches are really important.  Even FMQ Experts using practice sandwiches before they stitch any design on a project, even if they have stitched that design previously.  Practice helps you master a design, as well as ensure your machine is stitching properly.
  3. pillow form that is purchased or handmade, of any size, but I personally prefer a 18″x18″ or 16″x16″ pillow for these challenges.
  4. fabric marking pen that will wash out
  5. Quilting Gloves or Grip & Stitch Quilting Disks
  6. Supreme Slider
  7. Free-Motion Quilting foot for your sewing machine (aka open toe foot)
  8.  40 or 50wt cotton thread that compliments your fabric.  Aurifil is an excellent choice!
  9. Fabric for your quilt sandwich:
    • Pillow front: minimum of 20″ x 20″ (or larger) of neutral fabric that will show your stitching, but it is up to you to pick your fabric.
    • Pillow front backing: 20″ x 20″  (or larger) of any fabric.   As this fabric will be on the inside of your pillow and not visible, this is a great time to pick a fabric from your stash that is your least favorite.
    • Pillow backing: 20″ x 20″ (or larger) of a fabric that compliments the front of your pillow. Note, the size of your pillow backing should align with the size of the quilt sandwich for your front if you wish to do any FMQ on your back, which is totally optional.
    • Pillow back side – backing: totally optional, if you wish to add FMQ to the back side of your pillow.  Size should match your pillow backing sandwich (see above).


You can use any Pillow Pattern or tutorial that you wish to use to make your own pillow form and/or pillow, but I have also written a couple of free patterns that will be released shortly.  In the meantime, if you have questions on how to create a pillow form or pillow and don’t want to wait for me to release my free pattern, email me with your questions and I will try to help you.  My email is Darlene AT  quilt shop gal  DOT com

But while you can make a FMQ pillow for this challenge, of any size, I recommend you start with a quilt sandwich that is at least 20″x20″.  You can mark a square in the center of your sandwich to reflect your ultimate pillow size (eg. 16″x16″, 18″x18″, etc), and use the extra size for room for your hand placement when stitching near the edge of your pillow shape.



Use the free FMQ tutorial provided by Patsy, from the 2012 FMQ Challenge, to create a FMQ Pillow adapting her border approach to your pillow design.  To clarify, you get to decide the number size of your pillow, the number of borders you wish to use, as well as which of the designs Patsy shared in this free tutorial, as you feel appropriate.  Sketch out your design on paper before you attempt it on fabric.  This was a fun FMQ tutorial and will certainly create a fun project to show off your FMQ skills.



Show off FMQ designs and techniques taught in the “Ultimate Free-Motion Quilting with Patsy Thompson” on Craftsy.  You can use one or more designs taught in this class, creating your own unique Pillow that shows off your FMQ skills.

Maybe you want to use Patsy’s techniques for hyperquilting, her stunning feathers, trapunto, plumes, or a combination.  Any design, or combination that you want to use, so long as it is a design and technique taught in this class, is appropriate to claim this entry. And, of course, all of the tips, techniques and designs that Patsy shares in this class will help you learn/improve your FMQ skills, as well as have great fun.



Create a Pillow using techniques and designs provided in any of the DVDs created by Patsy.  Beginners may want to consider one of her Fast and Free DVDs, and confident beginners or those experienced with FMQ may want to consider using techniques and designs from any of her Feathers themed DVDs.  Of course, QuiltShopGal sincerely recommends all of Patsy’s DVDs as they truly are excellent tools to help you learn/improve your FMQ skills.


For inspiration, while you can certainly create a beautiful FMQ pillow with an all over design, or as shown in option #2 of using a “borders” approach to segmenting FMQ quilting space, you may also want to consider segmenting your quilting space into bars, squares, etc.  Maybe the more confident FMQ quilter may want to be creative by drawing large eggs on their sandwich and filling them with a variety of FMQ motifs taught by Patsy and filled with a background, to create a FMQ Pillow for Easter. There is no right or wrong for this challenge, as any of the 2015 FMQ Challenge.  This month, our goal is to simply get to know an amazing FMQ Expert, Patsy Thompson, and apply her teachings and designs to you pillow project, while having fun creating and inspiring others.


Don’t forget, you can enter the March Challenge by one or all of the three options above.  With each option you complete during this monthly challenge, you can “link up” and claim the respective option for your entry.  Those that take on this challenge, after February, or opt to use this challenge on a different project than a pillow, can share photos in the Flickr Group, but those entries do not count as entries to win prizes.  But don’t overlook that while it is fun to win a prize, this challenge is really all about  learning and improving our FMQ skills, as well as sharing and inspiring others to do the same.


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1) Entries need to be completed pillows that show free-motion quilting that aligns with the options defined in this monthly challenge.

2) You can enter one completed pillow for any, or all of the options.  Bloggers can do so in one blog post, but to help with the entries, their post needs to show photos and clarify which options they are entering for this monthly challenge.  Non-bloggers need to reflect the same as bloggers, in the comments for the photo they upload to the flickr group for this challenge. Both bloggers and non-bloggers can add one link to the linky tool, for each of the options they wish to enter.  Note, to help with administration, please be sure the photo in the linky tool reflects which of the challenge options you are claiming when you enter/add the link.

3.   In keeping with the spirit of this challenge, I hope in you encourage others to enter this challenge as well as check out all the entries to get inspired.

4.  In the spirit of ~Create ~ Share ~ Inspire ~ #CreativeGoodness, those that wish to share tips and tutorials during any of these monthly challenges will be appreciated.  And, as always, QuiltShopGal will try to do her best to help increase awareness of such.  Collectively, we can create great fun and help others learn/improve their FMQ Skills.


This linky party will be open thru the last day of the month.  You need to have your project completed and linked to enter to win prizes.  Those that may complete this challenge at a different time, as well as those that want to share any FMQ related project, are encouraged to share photos in the Flickr group created for this challenge: https://www.flickr.com/groups/2815271@N22/

If you are not familiar with how to use a linky click here for a tutorial.

For blogger participants that are interested in posting a badge, the badge code is now on the right hand column of this blog.  Thank you for posting the badge.


(note: formatting in this table is different in WordPress vs blogger and I’m still trying to learn the tricks for WordPress.  I hope to be able to find a solution for better formatting and update this table shortly).

Sponsor Prize Winners
Udderly Smooth, by RedEx 65668_10151884614025894_331473606_n  A gift pack of Udderly Smooth products.  Product bundle shipped may not be exactly like what QuiltShopGal is showing.Estimated Retail value $25.  Prize is open to participants living in US/Canada.  Prize #1  winner – Dizzy Dog
Landauerlandauer Threads The Basics and Beyond, by Debbie Bates and Liz KettleQuiltShopGal will ship this prize to a winner, anywhere in the world. Prize #2 Winner: Raewyn
Fabrics N Quilts One lucky winner will receive a $35 Gift Certificate to Fabrics N Quilts Prize #3 winner: LC’s Cottage

UPDATE:  I want to share insights on how the winners are randomly selected.  I use a Random Number generator tool.  I try to match the first name drawn with the first prize and repeat.  If a name is drawn that is not a US resident and can’t be matched to the prize that was being drawn for, I try to match them up with another prize, as appropriate.

Here are the numbers that were drawn for prizes.

winner #1 winner #2 winner #3 winner #9 disqualified

 Number 9 was disqualified from winning as what they entered was not a pillow.  While we all appreciate sharing of any FMQ project, to clarify only FMQ Pillows that follow the quilting challenge rules should be shared in the linking.  General “sharing” is very much appreciated and enjoyed but should only be shared by way of the FMQ Flickr group https://www.flickr.com/groups/2815271@N22/, OR by leaving a comment on this post with the blog post link that you may wish to share.  (Flickr group gets more visibility and I’m looking into ways to award prizes at the end of the year for ALL participants, including those that share any FMQ project in the Flickr group).


If you have questions for this Challenge, please read the FAQ:  http://quiltshopgal.com/faq-for-challenges-and-shows/

Winners will be selected randomly and this post will be updated accordingly, after I send an email to notify the winners.

email QuiltShopGal if you still have questions at Darlene @ quiltshopgal dot com and I will try to respond as fast as I can.


email address for quiltshopgal

Here is a list of previous posts 2015 FMQ Challenge:
[catlist name=2015-free-motion-quilting-challenge]

0 thoughts on “2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge – March Challenge with Patsy Thompson

    1. Yes Donna. Everyone is invited to join any of the challenges I host. I suspect you are referring to the monthly challenges for the 2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge. New Challenges are released on the lst of every month. Those that want to complete previously released challenges can do so and share what they create in the Flickr group for this challenge, but if you complete any challenge during the month it is live you can share it via the Linky posted in the monthly challenge.

      You can always find links and current info by way of the main page for this event. Simply click on the tabs underneath the blog page header: EVENTS > FREE-MOTION QUILTING > 2015 FREE-MOTION QUILTING Challenge where you’ll find the main page for this event. Or click this link: http://quiltshopgal.com/2015-free-motion-quilting-challenge/


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