Easy Mixed-Media Hearts with Free-Motion Quilting – Quilting Daily

Here’s a way to practice your free-motion stitching skills and add a mixed-media element to your machine quilting. In honor of Valentine’s Day, it’s heart art from our sister publication Cloth Paper Scissors, one of my favorite sources of fiber art inspiration.

Painted hearts with free-motion quilting by Joanne Sharpe,
as featured in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

The tutorial for these quiltlets is by Joanne Sharpe, a mixed-media artist who specializes in brightly colored lettering and art journal art.

For this project you will need:

  • Muslin, 2 pieces, cut to desired size
  • Watercolor paints (Joanne used Koi® and Peerless® brands)
  • Paintbrushes (watercolor and acrylic)
  • Acrylic glaze (such as Silks® Solar Gold)
  • Batting cut to size (1 piece)
  • Sewing machine with the ability to lower the feed dogs
  • Thread


1. On a protected surface, loosely paint a heart shape onto one of the muslin squares using a very wet watercolor brush loaded with watercolor paint. Let the paint soak into the fabric. Add additional layers of watercolor to build up the color intensity. Let dry.

2. Paint into the negative space, framing the shape. Add some areas of acrylic glaze to add subtle light and sparkle.

3. Make a quilt sandwich with the painted heart on top and the plain muslin on the bottom.

4. Lower the feed dogs on your sewing machine and free-motion stitch around the painted shape, adding texture, dimension, and interest to the square.

These machine quilted and painted squares are the perfect “art everyday” project. Try using pale colors and experiment with matching or contrasting thread. Use these gems as embellishments, ornaments, patches, wall art, or as part of a larger free-motion quilting project.

Joanne’s hearts-in-motion are featured on the cover of the January/February 2013 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. Each issue offers tips, tricks, and techniques for exploring mixed-media art and collage with paper and fabric.

For more ways to combine free-motion stitching with mixed media, check out our QATV Episode Bundle: Printed, Stenciled and Painted Quilts and Sew Wild by Alisa Burke.

P.S. How do you practice your machine-quilting skills? Leave a comment below.

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