FMQ Skills and Drills: Vines & Leaves with Rob Appell of Man Sewing

free motion vines and leaves

Rob demonstrates how to free motion quilt vines and leaves on a home sewing machine.

Get the supplies needed here: https://www.missouriquiltco.com/land/mansewing/free-motion-quilting-skills-drills-vines-leaves

Watch Rob’s FMQ Series HERE.

Video Transcript (Downloadable PDF Here):

These free motion machine quilting skills and drills videos we’ve been doing really had me swinging from the trees. I’ve been having so much fun. So my friend Jane here and I today are going to be taking you into the jungle for some vines and some leaves. Let’s get started.

So a big thanks to my friend Christina Cameli for breaking down her free motion quilting motifs so well and she gave us her blessing to go ahead and do her vines and leaves from her book as well. So thanks Christina. Awesome stuff you’re doing out there. Now in the description below you’ll find links to these printables. And we’re going to do a real basic series where we build a vine and we put our leaf on it as we go. And you can see here we’re breaking it also down in thread. We’re going to do a practice piece for you. And then once we master this technique then I’m going to go ahead and get a little bit more advanced. And we’re going to put some of the character inside of our leaves as we go up the vine. And then I’ve got a special motif I’ll show you here at the end. So we need our practice sandwich. And remember you really shouldn’t be working on a brand new quilt the first time you’re practicing these motifs. I really want you to go ahead and work on an easy practice sandwich. Something like this. And I know it’s small. That’s just to get our rhythm. Once we get our rhythm down I’m going to put the big quilt in and we’ll really play with that and have some fun too.

Now I like to wear the Machinger’s  gloves. So I need to get these on. They’ve got like a silicone tip on the finger so I can really grab my quilt whether it’s big or small. And then on the bed of the sewing machine right now is the Sew Slip mat. And that’s a teflon coating for our machine. And that gives us the opportunity to really move around. So what I’m trying to say is I’ve got Spiderman fingers and an ice skating rink when I quilt right now, ok? So let’s go ahead and get prepared now. We’re going to start kind of at the bottom run for the first vine and leaf set. And so I still want to bring up my bobbin thread. So I’m going to take a single stroke here. And I should have a nice long tail down there because I did not use my thread cutter. Once I have both of those I’m just going to line them back up underneath the needle. Make sure my presser foot is down. Take a few stitches to lock that in place. And then I’m going to start climbing the vine. So I’m going up the vine. And I don’t make them straight. I kind of curve them in each direction. Let’s get these threads out of the way. It always drives me nuts to see my thread tails.

Now for myself on the leaf I’m going to break to the outside and bring it back into the vine. I personally found that was the easiest way to have an accurate finish point. You can do it anyway you like. I do recommend you practice drawing it the way you do intend to practice quilting it. So I’m going to head up this vine. A couple more stitches to get my rhythm. Then I’m breaking outward and then I’m coming back into the vine and I’m touching and now I’m moving on in the opposite direction and now I’m breaking outward, coming back in. And that is a skinny little leaf. And the reason that skinny little leaf just happened my hands were not in the right location. So we always want to keep our hands moving with our project. But we don’t want to be moving the, the quilt while, moving our hands while the, the quilt is actually moving. So let’s see if we can do this better for us. Come up, break to the outside, break to the outside. Come back in. Try to make them look like leaves if you can. Break to the outside. Now one of the things you’re probably noticing though is this is a very linear design. This is going to be great for places in borders. This is great for sashings, climbing between blocks as we go. So one of the things that I’m going to show you in a few moments is a way to make this go in a lot of different directions. I purposely pulled this up so I can start down here at the bottom. I want to show you how to break down those a little bit more decorative or elaborate vines and leaves. It’s the same exact concept but we’re just adding direction to the middle of each leaf, ok?

So I’ve once again gotten myself ready for a good start. I’m going to tie on with a few stitches. And I’m going to begin heading up the vine again. And now this time I’m going to reposition my hands so I’m good to go. And as I break to the outside, I come back in and before finishing it off, I’m coming up to create a vein in the leaf, back down. And then did you see how I kind of finished it out in that section? I was able to go back and forth as necessary to fill in where the leaf touches the vine. Coming up to do the same thing on this side, break to the outside, back in, up, back down. Into the vine and away we go. Out, in, up, down, connect and move on. And that makes for a really fun design as well. But we’re still moving linear, we’re still working with our sashings or our borders. So how do you build it if you want it to go everywhere? And this is one that I don’t have a printable for you. I want to encourage you to get that book out there. But I’ll still show you how to do it because it’s the same exact design. So you don’t really need a printable for it.

So I’m starting in the middle here but I did just fire my thread cutter which means my little thread tail is going to be so short. It’s going to be really hard to bring up so I’m going to stroke down like I would like to. And one of the tricks I’ll do is I try to pinch it with a scissor or a tweezer or something and see if I can grab it and pull it. And I just barely have it. Oh I don’t think I’m going to get it.  And that’s ok because a lot of us use our thread cutters and it’s not as pretty on the back but you can certainly do this. Where you’re going to just hold onto your needle thread, take a few stitches in place to lock it in. And then we’re going to start going up the first vine. And then the trick to this is we are making the leaf at the top and working our way back down. So I’m going to come up here. I’m going to make my leaf design at the tip. And then I’m going to come back down and I’m going to add one to each side. Opposite sides I should try to say. And now when I’m back down here at the bottom, I can go off in a new direction, going and working my way to the top. Making that leaf. It probably wouldn’t kill me to practice drawing some leaves. I’ve got some interesting looking diamond shapes. But it’s not as easy to talk about quilting and quilt as one may think. I need to stop, reposition my hands, get my quilt out of the way. So this is a really fun way of creating kind of a spider effect of the vines and the leaves as you come down. And you can work this out in all different directions. The other thing you can do is as you come out of here you can make this leaf and maybe you make another one. And when you come in here you can actually run this vine and keep on going. And that’s how you would move on from section to section to section to make this kind of an all over pattern. You just find a good spot and keep moving out in a vine from there. Or you can keep running the vines bigger and bigger out of that center point. So that’s the breakdown of the leaf and the vine for you. Now let’s talk about it on a big project. So now I’m going to be putting my big quilt in, I’m going to bring this around. Let’s talk about the stop. So we’re going to take a few strokes in place. Bring this up to the top here, my take up lever. And now a lot of times if I grab this and I literally tug to the top and I cut what looks to be the knot here, a lot of times that will have also cut my bobbin thread. As you can see it worked out beautifully for me. And now I’ve got a nice long bobbin thread tail so when I put my real quilt in it will be easier for me to bring that stitching to the top because I really want to have beautiful stitching on the front and back of the Man Sampler.

And this is sampler quilt we’ve been quilting on over and over again. And the reason we’re showing this is I don’t want you to stress about the whole quilt project. I want you to just think about each little section at a time. So let’s find a fun place to do some vines and leaves in here for you. Oh I’ve got a good spot. Let’s run them between our feathers. So we’ve got a cool feather tutorial out there for you. So a couple feathers, let’s just run some vine work right through there. Because like I said it’s kind of appropriate for borders. So I”m going to start it where I want the bottom of my vine to be. And I”m staying next to the stitching I’ve done before because that keeps us from puckering our quilts later on. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to do a couple of vines like I just showed spider webbing out of this section and then I’m going to run one from one feather to the next. That will be fun. So that’s the idea. I’m going to quiet myself down so I can really try to machine quilt. This is a quilt that’s important to me. So we’ll crank up the music and you enjoy the show. Let’s get rolling.
Now as I go out into the outer border we’re going to put some of this together and make a bigger motif out of this. Let’s see how it works. I’ve got my, I’ve got my gloved fingers crossed here. Let’s see how this happens. Well ladies and gentlemen I feel my quilting mojo kicking in and I really don’t want to film anymore today so I’m just going to sit here and quilt for the rest of the day. And we’ll catch you next time at Man Sewing.

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