I think these baptist fans are officially my new favorite style of free motion quilting. I'm hoping that with a bit more practice, I might just be able to freehand these fans without marking up the quilt, but we'll see. I've heard from a lot of you guys over the last few days about these fans, and how they look hard, and I can tell you this much: you can do this
. It may take a little bit of practice, but this style of FMQ is totally
Water-soluble fabric marker
FMQ foot of your choice - I use a spring-loaded open toe foot
FMQ thread of choice - I use Gutermann or Aurifil, but whatever your machine likes will work just fine
A few notes about this tutorial:
* I am right handed, but I stitch right to left in this tutorial and 99.9999% of the time. Why? Because it makes sense with the way my machine is set up. Feel free to flip the ruler upside down and trace your fans in the opposite direction so you can stitch right to left, if you prefer quilting that way.
* This design can also be done with a walking foot, but honestly, I really intensely dislike straight line quilting (and to me, all quilting with my walking foot is like straight line quilting), so I much prefer this method. I feel it's way more enjoyable, but to each their own.
1. Before basting, take your finished and pressed quilt top to your cutting table or another large surface. It's best to do your marking on an unbasted quilt, in case the marker bleeds through to your batting. It's also a lot easier to work with, without the extra heft of the batting and backing. Note below that I have modified my circle ruler slightly; I have added a piece of masking tape at an approximately 45 degree angle, so that I don't overtrace my fans.
2. Align your Circle Cut ruler with the bottom of your fabric, with the outside edge of your outermost circle line close to the edge of your fabric. It doesn't have to be at the edge, just close. Begin tracing the lines, stopping at the tape.
3. Repeat step 2 over and over until you have completed your first row of fans, scooting your ruler to the left and starting each new fan with the outermost arc butting up to the edges of your previous fan.
4. To start a new row of fans and create some additional visual interest, you'll want to nest your fans. To do this, set your ruler with the arrows in the center lining up with where your fans below meet as shown below.
5. Continue tracing fans and creating new rows until you have covered the quilt top.
6. Baste quilt as desired. Next, load up a fresh bobbin, your FMQ foot of choice, and get ready to quilt. Begin by putting your needle down at the start of your fans in the bottom right hand corner of your quilt. If your machine has a needle down feature (where whenever you stop the machine, the needle is down), be sure to turn it on. We're going to be moving the quilt to create the curves in these fans, but in a linear fashion. There will be no rotating of the quilt as this design is quilted.
7. Stitch-trace the outermost curve of your fan, moving from right to left, until you reach the end of your first curve. Stop, with the needle down. As you're stitching your first curve, the one after that, and the zillions after that, here's a tip: Don't freak out if your needle bobbles or wobbles a little bit as you're stitch-tracing. Just keep flowing with it, don't try to correct it immediately, you can gradually work your way back to the blue line. Once you rinse the blue lines from your quilt, you'll never see the wobbles again. I promise. :)
8. To begin stitching the next curve, slowly stitch downward from your top curve down to the next curve, as shown below. Then begin stitching to the right, again tracing the curve.
9. Continue stitching back toward where you began your fan, creating the second curve of the fan, and stop, needle down, at the end of the traced line. Next, stitch to the left, to catch the next traced line.
10. Repeat to stitch all traced lines from your Circle Cut ruler. You'll notice, however, that when you stitch the final traced curve, that you have stitched to the left of the stems of your fan curves. You will need to freehand stitch the final curve of your fan, moving back to the right, to match your other curves.
11. To travel to your next fan from your final freehand curve, stitch to the left, to the edge of the outermost curve of the next fan as shown below. The arrows show you here which direction to move your quilt as you stitch.
12. Repeat, stitching over each traced line, until all lines are stitched. Then, using a spray bottle loaded with water, rinse away those blue lines, and ta da!
Now, if my husband ever stops working 18 hour days, I will try to post a video of me doing this kind of FMQ, to help make it a wee bit clearer. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to let me know! And if you use my tutorial to add some fans to your quilt, please be sure to shoot me an email, I'd love to hear all about it! You can also add photos of your work following this tutorial to my Flickr group
. Have a great day!