Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Modern FMQ QAL - Details!

I'm so excited to share a project I've been working on for my guild, the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild - the Modern FMQ QAL! I hope you'll consider joining in with this laid back challenge for all skill levels! We'll be quilting all of 2018.

Each month, I'll reveal a theme (January is "loops") and providing links to wonderful, free tutorials from talented online quilt instructors. You will "choose your own adventure" (or FMQ quilting level) to pick a tutorial to try. Practice, quilt up a quilt sandwich, and then join all the sandwiches together at the end of your year with Quilt-As-You-Go techniques.

While only CJMQG members are in the running to win prizes at meetings (pending our new board's approval and budget), you will have a beautiful quilt in the end, and you can share your progress on the hashtags: #modernfmqqal and #cjmqg

Here's my first month's quilt sandwich - using the following tutorials:
It was so much fun! I'm using a group of jewel toned solids from my stash for the front (so I can see my quilting) and Anna Maria Horner prints for the back. Also, contrasting thread is important to use - otherwise, I wouldn't be able to see what I was doing! So, I grabbed my Aurifil white (2024) and Fuchsia (4020). Texture is my favorite.

I hadn't really quilted either of these motifs before, and it was fun to change up the scale of my arches. For my quilt, I'll sometimes quilt multiple motifs per quilt sandwich, but for the challenge, you only have to choose one. 

The sky is the limit; I'm providing some direction each month, but you can choose do you whatever you want within the month's theme. You could even create placemats or tote bags or something altogether different with your quilt sandwiches. I can't wait to see what my quilt looks like in the end, and how much I improve!

The official description is below. You can read more, including my list of FMQ Resources and Reminders (and books/classes to buy and support FMQ teachers) and Fabric Requirements, Tools, and How To Make a Quilt Sandwich at the official QAL page. I'll be sharing my progress here on the blog monthly and on Instagram, too!

How it works

  • Choose your current level of machine quilting skill (beginner, intermediate, expert)
  • Gather your fabric (I recommend solids for the front) and prepare your squares for the year (or as you go each month - you decide)
  • The monthly theme will be revealed at the CJMQG meeting live, and on this page the day after (also accessible on the top tabs of the main CJMQG page)
  • Quilt a quilt sandwich in your chosen motif, related to the theme. Themes will be introduced for 10 months (Jan. - Oct.). You do not have to quilt the suggested tutorials - just stay within the theme.
  • DO NOT trim the blocks! This will be done at the end of the year during QAYG (quilt as you go) and will help keep your stitches intact if they are stored or moved.
  • Share your quilted block at the next month's guild meeting and share on Instagram with the hashtags #modernfmqqal and #cjmqg 

So, are you up for the challenge? Will you join us? Let me know and feel free to post your January progress on Instagram!


  1. This sounds fun and offers a lot of learning. Looking through my fabrics today.

  2. This is a very cool challenge, Jess. I look forward to picking up some fun new motifs and joining in when it makes sense. Thanks for sharing what your guild is up to! :)

  3. How big are your sandwiches? Are you spray basting them?

  4. What a fun QAL, great way to practice some FMQing.

  5. This is so fun. I also have questions like the theme is loops for january. So we pick our own fabric and colors, right?
    Do we design a block with applique piecing that is made into a sandwich then given the loop quilting design? I would assume if that a yes, then the block has some sort of loop theme along with the quilting lines. What size do we want these blocks to be if we are not trimming them yet? I'm a bit confused. I love the freedom of this QAL but it does leave me with lots of questions. I can't get to guild meetings, even though I"m in NJ, so I would love to try joining you guys for this fun year long adventure.

    1. Hi Elana,
      Sorry for the confusion! There is more info available on the guild website (right here) but I'm also happy to answer your questions!

      Yes! Pick your own fabric and colors. I'm recommending fat quarter sized quilt sandwiches.

      For our guild, we're just making sandwiches with one fabric on one side (solid or like solid, so we can see our practice) and another fabric on the other. No pieced blocks. If that's what you'd like to do (a pieced block), feel free, though. Our focus is just the quilting aspect. At the end of the year, our guild members will have several quilted quilt sandwiches, which can then be cut up and arranged in any way to show off the quilting they did for the year. I hope this answers some of your questions - feel free to ask more if you have them. I do hope you will join us! :)


  6. What a fun idea!! I can always use more practice. :-)

  7. I'm joining in Jess. Looking forward to it.


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