Monday, March 28, 2011

Free Motion quilting

Recently I have been doing mostly stitch in the ditch quilting and not very much free motion. When I quilted my bathroom quilt I knew I had to do some free motion quilting but I have let my skills get rusty and I didn't want to do something that would beyond my skills. I ended up with a quilt that I am not very satisfied with. I love the bright colors and the interplay of pattern and color but my quilting makes me really unhappy every time I look at it.  I meant the quilting to be liberated and what it looks like is poor craftsmanship. On Frieda Anderson's Wednesday blog  this week she said the most important thing is to practice, not just once in a while but to keep at it.

So that is what I am going to do. I put some narrow borders on this 12  inch block and decided that I was going to use it for a protective pad on my hutch so it is not something I have to be afraid of spoiling. In the past I have found that I can practice all I want on layered up muslin and batting but I don't really improve until I quilt something that I actually want to use or give away. This was a perfect  practice piece. It didn't take long, it was fun to do, I have something finished to use and I like it. It's not perfect; it isn't something that anyone will ooh and ahhh over. I am not sure how much I can expect to improve. My hands and eyes aren't what they used to be and shoving a  quilt through my Bernina is HARD WORK but I think it is probably worth while. Besides, who  says I have to finish everything in a big hurry; when I get tired I can stop and come back to it later.
 I have a stack of practice sandwiches from years back that are stuck away and I only look at them when I am looking for something else I was looking at  them and they look OK.  I remember they were fun to do so I think I am on the right track. I will do some more practice on small stuff and then I am going to do some FMQ on the quilts I have layered up that I have been putting off because I have no interest in quilting them.

1 comment:

JoQuilter said...

Ruth, have you ever thought about hand quilting? I do not like pushing a quilt of any size under my sewing machine. I also do not like to pay the price of sending it out. But I love the relaxation of hand quilting the "Big Stitch" way.
The 1st secret is the size of the stitch which is 1/8 to 1/4 inch long. The 2nd secret is the right size thread (it has to be heavier than normal hand quilting thread). I use size 12 Presencia Perle Cotton, it is wonderful. The 3rd secret is I do not use a quilt frame or a hoop but get to sit in my favorite platform rocker with the quilt on my lap. Also, I can take it with me when I get together with friends to work on our projects. Or I can join the family in the living room. No, my quilts do not get done as fast as on the machine but the enjoyment is so much greater. My last quilt, an almost twin took me 30 days to qullt. I quilted the king on my bed in 3 months. Contact me if you have questions.