How Shall I Quilt Thee? Let Me Count the Ways!

Please click on the title to read the full post.

Hi Everyone! Happy Spring!

Whenever I get to the end of making a new piece, I’m always a bit nervous (still) about how to quilt it.  Can you relate?  And then I tell myself, go back to the steps you created for your students (duh).  They work. I wrote this 5 Step Free Motion Quilting Blueprint a few years ago, but I thought I would share it again now, because I have finally finished piecing Opal #2 or “Dancing Colors”.  This blueprint is very good at the overall technical aspect of decision making, in other words, the how to do the quilting.

What it is missing is the decision of what kind of quilting does this particular piece need?

Each piece calls for something different.  I think it’s fair to say that busier the fabrics and overall design, the simpler the quilting motifs should be.  Exhibit A: my mug rug (simple stitch in the ditch quilting)

Exhibit B: back of same mug rug ( has more free space that would show more intricate quilting)

Intricate quilting designs will get lost in busy prints and complex piecing. And by lost, I mean, you won’t even see them unless you are 2 inches away. Unless you use neon thread. Or a really heavy line of stitching, like wide satin stitching. Or lots and lots of intense stitching in a small area. So all of these factors come into play.

Which is why, I think Opal #2 will again be mostly stitch in the ditch and some simple echo quilting in the more open areas.  Just because I can do fancy feathers, use blingy threads, or other tricky types of quilting magic, doesn’t mean I should.

Ask yourself what does this quilt need? What kinds of lines will enhance and support the overall design? I think you get the idea.  Now fear no more and go quilt those tops hiding in your closet.  And here is the blueprint too…

My 5 Step Free Motion Quilting Blueprint

It’s really just a process of elimination.  Try it out and see if it helps you when you get overwhelmed standing in front of your unquilted piece.

  1. THREAD CHOICE:  Blend or stand out?  What colors?  What weights? Shine vs. matte? These will determine if your lines will blend or stand out. Pull out your threads and actually lay them onto your quilt to see if they blend or stand out.

    Blue thread stands out, white thread blends
  2. DESIGNS/PATTERNS:  What kind of patterns do you like?  Preview them on your quilt top with clear plastic and grease pencils or vis-a-vis markers.  Don’t like them? Erase and keep trying new patterns.  
  3. Clear plastic on top of quilt, red marker lines
  4. PRACTICE:  Make a sandwich of same fabrics, batting and back.  Check tensions, choose bobbin threads.

    practice piece
  5. PRACTICE MORE:  Free motion your patterns with your thread choices on the fabrics you used on a practice piece.  This warms you up, diminishes fear and increases confidence!
  6. QUILT:  Go quilt your actual piece for 30 mins. then take a break.  If you lose patience or concentration before then, break sooner.  Chocolate is helpful to quilting success!

Have you seen this???

Private Design Intensive for Art Quilters

This is my new Private Intensive for Art Quilters- a 7 week adventure to learn how you can make great art quilts. Whatever your plans for the summer, I hope you include some studio time for yourself.  Make art, make it often, and enjoy it!  And if you want some help, click on the link to get some support!

And if you still have questions, doubts, fears…. please feel free to email me at

Love to all, peace out!



Coming up soon….


I will also be teaching this class at Bernina World of Sewing in Raleigh, NC on June 24th.  You can contact the store for more info on enrolling in that class at (919) 782-2945.

If you can’t make either of these classes and you want to take a class with me- CALL ME at 919-602-2260.   I can teach for a small group of your friends, like I did a while back for my friend Joyce Marks and her quilting buddies.  We had a blast and I tailored the classes to her group’s interests.

And you can always take an online class with me- see below!


For all you online class junkies, I am offering a new class online.


Have you ever wanted to learn how to paint details for depth and realism on your quilts?


If the answer is yes, read on.  My popular Painted & Fused Morning Glory class is going to be offered online  to the general public for the first time.  I have taught this class many times and each time I’m awed at the fabulous results everyone gets, with each flower being slightly different.

This class is open for registration  now and starts January 1 and is only $39.00!

And you can do it at your own pace in your own house, in your jammies, without running around.  All lessons will be available to you at the same time, in case you get inspired and want to work fast.

Here is the linky thingy to register:

I hope you will enjoy this fun class, it will remind you of Spring in the middle of Winter!

And, you will learn all the techniques I used to paint my latest landscape art quilt….

Would you like to work with me one on one? Maybe you would like to make original work, show it and perhaps sell it?

This has actually happened for my client Susan!

 Susan has just let me know, she sold this quilt! Congratulations, Susan!

One of my private clients, Susan, has had her quilt, “Nature Takes Back Her Own”,  that was accepted into the prestigious Houston IQA World of Beauty Show.

NatureTakesBackHerOwn 72

As part of our work together, I coached her on the making of this quilt.  She was able to realize her vision to design, make and get her art quilt into one of the best shows in the world!  How about you, are you ready???


Look into my 6 month Private Coaching Masterclass!

 I have extended my private coaching program, from 3 months to 6 months.  I believe the transformation my students are looking for must take place over a longer period of time to have a lasting impact.

I want you to make the most amazing, original art quilts that you can.  That is why I am now accepting private students who are serious about their creative expression in the world of art quilting.  Take advantage of my 17+ years as a textile artist, and speed up your learning curve. To work with me privately, please set up your initial, no obligation,  free Get Creative Call here: Schedule Appointment You can find out more by clicking on the Testimonials and Private Coaching tabs to the right in the sidebar or at the menu at the top.



Here’s what one guild VP had to say recently:

I’m usually Johnny on the Spot but missed the boat last week re these BIG THANKS.  Loved your presentation. Heard very positive and supportive remarks from the guests…thank you again for the well-defined and creative presentation.  Look forward to seeing you again. 


Here’s a link to my contract with current lecture and class rates:  Contract


Don’t forget to get yours:  Quilting Arts TV has the new 1500 Series available for download-  YES this is the one I am in (squee!!) Click HERE to get yours.


Susan and I on set

My Pinterest: You can take a look at my pins, which are organized on different “boards” HERE.

About RoxaneRoxane-Web-Images-007

Roxane is a full time studio textile artist, teacher, and author, with two girls, who are both growing up too fast!  She recently appeared on Quilting Arts TV, and has taught at the Houston quilt show.  She is also a BERNINA ambassador. Her work is in several private collections and she loves doing custom commissions.  For more info go to

Permission to duplicate: You certainly can use this blog, just be sure to credit me and include this link, Roxane Lessa. Hey, if you like this blog, please hit the FB or Twitter icon in the top right sidebar and share with others! That’s why they are there…..:)


Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr