A free motion quilting rockstar, that is! And I’m so dang proud of myself and everything I accomplished over the past 12 weeks in the Free Motion Quilting Academy with HollyAnne Knight. I’m not even going to try to humble brag – I’m going full on woooooo hooooo on this achievement. So strap in.

The class is 12 weeks long, you learn 28 quilting motifs, and you have access to HollyAnne and her amazing community. To graduate, you have to submit pictures of your motif sampler and a whole-cloth quilt. Here’s my finished sampler.

picture of my finished FMQ sampler

Not Just Another Quilting Class

Free Motion Quilting Academy is by far the best quilting class I’ve taken in my quilt life. Every class before this one had me dropping out right about here:

close up of meander quilting motif

Yup. I’ve been a big chicken and usually dropped out right after the meander. I have lived here for so long, but I wanted to do more interesting motifs. HollyAnne creates such a positive and supporting environment that I felt comfortable “messing up.” I felt OK making mistakes. Because I had a whole community of rockstars behind me, I knew I could do it.

So I stuck around long enough to do the loopy meander.

close up of loopy meander quilting motif

Still mostly in my wheelhouse. OK. Maybe this class is going to b-wait. Swirls?! Yes, please.

close up of swirls quilting motif

And you know what I see in this picture? I see someone who was really wobbly at the top and started to get better and better as I went. By the time I moved from practicing to putting swirls in my sampler quilt, I gained so much confidence.

I’m Pretty OK at This

Then we moved on to some more complicated motifs, and I was having so much fun. I am absolutely in love with pebbles now.

close up of pebbles quilting motif

And paisleys are just to die for!

close up of paisleys quilting motif

So let’s just up my game with some filled swirls if you don’t mind!

close up of filled swirls quilting motif

I think my favorite new motif from the class is Ginkgo Leaves. They’re just so delicious.

close up of ginkgo leaves quilting motif

Final Exam: Whole-Cloth Quilt

Everyone was really nervous about the whole-cloth quilt at the beginning of the class. I was definitely nervous. What would I quilt? Would it make sense? Would it be any good? I was so nervous, I made a life-sized map of my design just so I would feel more settled when I started quilting.

draft drawing of my final project of a pot of flowers on a table

Then there was nothing left to do but get to quilting. And here’s where I ended up:

close up of my whole cloth quilt

I could just cry when I think about everything I learned and how I was able to put it into one project.


Since the graduation ceremony was on YouTube, Sir recommended we put it on the big TV and pop a bottle of wine. (Oh, how I love this man!) Seeing my sampler, my whole-cloth quilt, and my silly face up on the screen was really overwhelming. Becoming better at the actual quilting part of quilting is one of my 2021 aspirations, and I feel this class took me so much farther than anything else could have.

TV screen from graduation with my projects highlighted

A new cohort starts at the end of the month, and you have until the end of this week to sign up. If you’ve been wanting to take your free motion quilting skills to the next level while learning in a supportive environment, this class is definitely for you.

I Didn’t Do It All On My Own

Of course, William had a lot of thoughts and feelings on how I was getting my work done. He loves to weigh in and do those up close inspections!

William the cat sitting on a quilt at the sewing machine