From the Sewing Room: Water and Hibiscus FMQ

One final FMQ design for 2017 – Water and Hibiscuses (a mini tutorial)

As we rapidly approach the end of the year, I am trying to get the Vanuatu Turtle Quilt done and dusted. One less UFO to carry over to the New Year! 

Vanuatu Turtle Quilt top finished
Vanuatu Turtle Quilt top finished at our last check in

So I have used my free time this week, such as it was(!) to piece a backing for this quilt, layer and pin it up and design the quilting.

Vanuatu Turtle Quilt backing
The backing I pieced for the Vanuatu Turtle Quilt
Vanuatu Turtle Quilt pinned
I don’t normally pin at this density….. but some of the fabrics in this quilt are not quilting cottons and have some stretch. I wanted everything to be super secure.

To complete this quilt, I knew I wanted to quilt something curvy……. waves or such like to contrast with the geometric black and white piecing and to evoke thoughts of water. But it needed to be subtle. The black and white graduation in the piecing and the red turtle appliqué are enough major design elements for one quilt. So, quilt something curvy in lightweight grey thread……

I was originally thinking spirals of some description, but as I was piecing the backing, I decided that the hibiscuses on the back were simple enough to become FMQ designs. 

hibiscus fabric
The hibiscus motif that is repeated continuously in the main black and white fabric used in the backing.

Working up the Hibiscus FMQ design

My first attempts at drawing the hibiscuses out with a pencil were appalling…..

hibiscus quilting development 1
Not good….. misshapen clover leaves, anyone?
Hibiscus FMQ design, stage 2
Repeated attempts became better…. better petals, better stamens, better line flow.
Hibiscus FMQ design
Eventually I got a formula for a single line hibiscus that I liked. Here it is traced out.

At this stage I was still thinking to pair this hibiscus FMQ with swirls, when I decided that perhaps that was going to get complicated and busy, when I expressly wanted simple. So I opted to go with a design I do relatively often which is kind of a sideways elongated stipple…… and looks a bit like the gentle wavy surface of slowly moving water. I’m sure many of you do it too. Like this……

Water and Hibiscus FMQ design
Water and Hibiscus FMQ design

I have started quilting this design onto the Vanuatu Turtle quilt. It is hard to photograph though, as it recedes into the quilt. Only to be observed by the most up-close and observant users. As per the original plan. 🙂

hibiscus FMQ
Hibiscus FMQ design
Water and hibiscus FMQ design
Hibiscus FMQ with “water”

So, if you would like to try this hibiscus FMQ design, here it is broken down into steps for you.

Step 1

Quilt into an open space. Double back to quilt a heart shape. Do not quite close the shape.

hibiscus FMQ step1

Step 2

Repeat the heart shape to create four more petals. The petal shapes can be fairly uneven, as long as they adhere to the rough heart shape and return almost but not right to the centre. The five points at the bases of the petals should sit in a small ring formation.

hibiscus FMQ step 2

Step 3

Quilt a hooked stamen into the space defined by the first petal. 

Hibiscus FMQ step 3

Step 4

Create one or two more hooked stamens in the second petal and some flatter stamens in the lower petals. Exit the flower between any two petals.

Hibiscus FMQ step 4

You can download all the steps on a one page pdf here: hibiscus.

I hope you enjoy trying the Water and Hibiscus FMQ motifs at some point, perhaps in 2018.  And I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy Christmas holiday. 

P.S. I was honoured to have a guest post on Days Filled with Joy this week. Joy did a marvellous job with her 12 Days of last minute Christmas gift ideas series, including this glittery bauble variation of the couched thread ornaments we looked at here earlier in December. If you liked the bell, tree and star ornaments, you might like to read about the bauble guest post too.

P.P.S. There has been a marvellous response so far to the Monthly Color Challenge running at Patterns by Jen and the appliqué version that we will be doing right here at Clever Chameleon. If you missed the Beary Colourful BOM news this time last week you can find it here.

P.P.P.S. Sharing on my favourite linkys: Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Quilt Addict, Busy Hands Quilts.

4 Replies to “From the Sewing Room: Water and Hibiscus FMQ”

  1. Merry Christmas, Dione. That’s a great hibiscus motif and watery meander – thank you so much for taking the time to make a tutorial AND a PDF for it!

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