Back to Basics with Michael Miller Fabrics: FMQing FUN Composition Book

Fabrics and products featured in this post were provided by Michael Miller Fabrics and Therm O Web as part of being a Michael Miller Brand Ambassador

"Back to Basics" was the theme for our September Michael Miller Fabric Ambassador projects.  As students are heading back to school this month, I reflected on my elementary school days of learning the Basics of Writing through the use of a Compsition notebook.  Through practice and repetition, I learned to write the letters of the alphabet, combine them to create words, that could then be chained together to create sentences and paragraphs.  Below are a few September excerpts from my own 1st and 2nd grade Composition Books.  Special thanks to my wonderful teachers, Mrs. Moody and Mrs. Miller, for teaching me the basics of writing.
Back to Basics: Learning to Write

Learning to free motion quilt is no different than learning to write.  You work on the fine motor skills required to stitch out the individual shapes, that can then be chained together to create exciting filler designs, and combined to enhance any quilt top!  So I set out to use Michael Miller's black Gingham Play, Black Cotton Couture solid and Bright White Cotton Couture solid (all from their Basics Collections) to create a quilted Composition Notebook that showcases some of my favorite quilting motifs from my Modern Free Motion Fillers & Fun workshop
What's Black & White and Loved by All?!?

In order to create my individual notebook pages, I used Sakura Gelly Roll Pens to draw my vertical red line and horizontal blue lines onto the Solid White Cotton Couture fabric.  An iron was used to heat set the pen lines.  Each page was then layered on top of white craft felt in preparation for free motion FUN!
Lined Pages

Black 40wt Aurifil thread was used to stitch out a few of my favorite fillers from all 4 Units of my Modern Free Motin Fillers & FUN! workshop:  Loops, C-Curves, Zig Zags, and Door Beads.  A fifth page was was left unquilted, but fused with Therm O Web's Iron-On Vinyl, following the directions printed on the packaging.  Once each page was quilted, I used the pillowcase turning technique to finish three of four edges.  Curves were marked onto the top and bottom right corners, trimmed, and clipped prior to turning inside out.
Filling the Pages with Some of My Favorite FMQing Filler Designs

My front and back cover pages were made using Bright White Cotton Couture Solid, Black Gingham Play print, Sakura Gelly Roll Pens, Aurifil 40wt thread, and Elmer's School Glue.  For more Elmer's School Glue fun--check out my 5 Reasons to Say Woo Hoo! to Elmer's School Glue post.
Covering the Basics

With my cover pages complete, it was time to assemble my quilted Composition notebook.  At this point, my quilted notebook included a front and back cover, and 5 pages, which translated into:

     7 layers of craft felt
+14 layers of Michael Miller fabric
+  1 layer of Iron-On Vinyl
= 1+ inch of layers that needed to be stitched through to assemble my notebook!!
Assembling My Quilted Notebook

To minimize the bulk, I trimmed away 1" of felt from the unfinished left edge of all 7 layers.  This still left the 14 layers of fabric and 1 layer of vinyl to stitch through.  I used Elmer's School Glue to baste the pages to each other and slowly stitched using a longer stitch length.  Even going slow and using my heavy duty Juki TL-2010Q machine, I managed to bend or break 2 needles!!  An extra wide strip of Black solid was appliqued over the raw edges and hand stitched onto the front and back cover to complete my quilted Composition Notebook.

And here is my new FMQing FUN! Composition Notebook that will make for a fun teaching sample.  I especially love the last page that was fused with Iron-On Vinyl to create a FMQing doodle sheet that can be used with a dry erase marker!!  Yes!  You can practice doodling out the various designs and use a tissue or scrap of batting to erase and reuse for hours and hours of FMQing practice!!

Again, these are just a FEW of my favorite filler designs that are taught as part of my Modern Free Motion & Fillers & FUN workshop!  This class is geared towards quilters of all levels.  Most of my FMQing workshop participants have very little to no prior FMQing experience, and leave with a renewed confidence in their ability to Free Motion Quilt!  And for those Quilters with previous FMQing experience, they will gain lots of new FMQing tips and motifs to add to their quilting repertoires!!  I am scheduled to teach this fun workshop in late October for the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association (workshop is currently full with a waitlist), and again in 2020 (March in San Diego, CA and Santa Rosa, CA, May in Goleta, CA).  Check my teaching schedule for upcoming dates near you or consider booking a workshop with me for your guild, shop, and/or organization!


  1. What a clever way to keep your stitching ideas together and on the shelf! I should find a way to keep the ones I practice instead of tossing them a year later in an orgy of cleaning.

    1. Thanks Ann! I may have to make more for my other quilting classes! Hopefully I will find another construction method that doesn't involve 2 broken needles!

  2. The dogs look pretty realistic, too. ;)

    1. Yes--the pups are authentic! I couldn't resist having my black and white pooches, Panda & Callie help model with the notebook!


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