Improv Free Motion Quilting and a Missing UFO

My Word for 2020 icon by Allison Reid

I am so happy with the progress I made at Jo Westfoot’s ‘Mix It Up Improv Free Motion Quilting Class‘. πŸ™‚ I’ve dabbled in the past but you know I have a love-hate relationship with free motion quilting. In a recent blog post I went as far as to call it a battle! Anyway, in the spirit of GROW (my word for 2020) I booked myself onto the class. I’m so glad I did.

Jo took as through quilting a series of motifs and filler designs with plenty of time to sit at our machines and give them a go. I particularly enjoyed stitching out the whimsical flowers.

My fat quarter practice sandwich – an afternoons work!

Since the class I’ve tried designing and stitching my own flower motifs. Doing that is a clear indication that my attitude to FMQ has shifted, I now have a ‘can do’ attitude rather than getting bogged down in the fear of spoiling a patchwork with my imperfect quilting. No doubt there will be occasions in the future when theΒ  ‘mind monkey’ chatter will stop me in my tracks BUT at least I do now have my practice sandwich to wave at them!

When I booked the class I had in mind a long abandoned UFO which has some large setting triangles, ideal for decorating with improv FMQ. Last week I went looking for that UFO. Could I find it? Uh!Uh! I looked through boxes of fabric, partially finished projects, class samples…. I dragged more boxes out from under beds… No sign of the quilt top *sigh* I repeated the hunt. I was getting a bit anxious: What if this UFO was stashed away with a whole lot of other UFOs that I had completely forgotten about?! Still no sign of the quilt top! A few days later I tried again. This time I armed myself with a torch and lay myself flat on the floor next to each of the beds in the house. Success! Pushed way to the back of a space I found the quilt top, in a plastic box and *phew* it was on it’s own.

I am ashamed to admit that the eight 12″ blocks date back to Amy Gibson‘s 2016 ‘Sugar Block’ BOM series on her blog stitcherydickorydock! The large block is older – a sample for sofa cushions that were never made. The fabrics are fabulous, such gorgeous deep, rich colours. Actually, looking at the blocks I’m quite impressed with them. Thanks to Amy’s clear instructions I managed to negotiate some fairly complex cutting and piecing including my first attempts at Foundation Paper Piecing.

I’ve had to search through the Gallery section on my phone to discover that it was September 2018 when I cut sashing strips and stitched the top together. And then I guess I was gripped by fear of FMQ and relegated the project to a box and the dust under our bed. Please don’t judge me – I’m sure I have dusted under our bed at least once since Sept 2018… And since then just forgotten about the UFO lurking there.

There are a few projects in the queue that I need to work on before I I can turn to quilting this re-discovered UFO but thanks to the skills learned and practised at the workshop I now feel excited by improv FMQ rather than fearful.

Have you worked through a fear/can’t do attitude to gain a patchwork quilting skill?

Allison

 

 

 

Free Motion Quilting – Growing Skills

Ho! Hum! My word for 2020 is GROW. This week I have been experiencing GROWing pains! πŸ˜€

The Log Cabin quilt ‘beached’ on my sewing table while I worried about free motion quilting feathers…

It’s my on-going battle with developing Free Motion Quilting skills vs. Perfectionism! Of course it is impossible to become a skillful crafter without tons of practice and the production of less-than perfect quilts along the way. Even

Read moreFree Motion Quilting – Growing Skills

Not Your Typical Bank Holiday Monday!

Today is an atypical Bank Holiday Monday. For one it is sunny and VERY hot! Being British we plan for cool, rainy holidays….

Secondly, in our household we are waiting, waiting… To hear from our eldest son who was admitted to hospital last night and is undergoing emergency hernia surgery as I write. To occupy our anxious wait I have retreated to the relative cool of my sewing room while my husband is in the sitting room watching the hi-lights of yesterday’s dramatic Ashes Test match.

Yesterday evening, blissfully unaware that our son (who lives across town) was writhing around in agony, I managed to complete all the fmq feather swirls on the first Square-in-a-Square quilt. My free motion ‘skills’ produced a variety of swirls – some with just seven feathers others with ten. But I am content with the overall look.

Square in a Square FMQ feather swirl (3) by Allison Reid

Square in a Square FMQ feather swirl (2) by Allison Reid

Now. with my heart beating a little faster than is necessary for the activity involved, I am squaring off the quilt and preparing to attach the binding. Thankfully neither job requires my full attention πŸ™‚

Square in a Square trimming by Allison Reid

I am so thankful to our God for the gift of prayer. Yesterday morning we sat with both our sons in Church, we sang God’s praises together, prayed together and shared in Holy Communion together. Our God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow πŸ™‚ We can trust him through the good times and the difficult times.

Linking with Beth for Monday Making and Em for Moving It Forward Monday.

Allison

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (74)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share πŸ™‚ It’s a Bank Holiday weekend here in England, the sun is shining and the mercury is rising. There’s time to enjoy the outdoors and play in the sewing room too: bring along your project(s) and share in the conversations initiated by members of our Worldwide Quilting Community. Add your thoughts to the conversations by using the comments box at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

I was aiming for a finish this week but it hasn’t quite come about. My main focus has been on the quilting of one of the Square-in-a-Square quilts. Using the walking foot I stitched edge-to-edge wavy lines followed by in-the-ditch stitching around the charm squares at the centre of each block. The quilting shows up best on the back of the quilt:

Square in a Square quilting back by Allison Reid

I liked the squishy look this open quilting design produced – I was reminded of the eiderdowns we had on beds before duvets became the go-to bedding. But on reflection I decided a quilted design within the centre sqares would create interest whilst adding to the stability of the layers. My first choice was to mark and stitch (using a free motion set up) a design into each square using a stencil.

Square in a Square stencil by Allison Reid

This didn’t work so well…

Square in a Square stencil quilting by Allison Reid

I could put up with the wobbly stitching lines and the variation in stitch size but when the beginning and end of the continuous line design didn’t meet up… Well! I got the stitch ripper out and had a re-think. I plumped for free motion feather swirls. The results are not particularly even but I am content with the overall result – imperfect feather designs are very forgiving.

Square in a Square FMQ feather swirl by Allison Reid

I’ve completed three of the feather swirls so my aim is to complete the remaining seventeen before attaching the binding to the quilt.

Tomatoes ripening in my garden by Allison ReidI will be spending quite a bit of time outdoors too – this weekend feels like a bit of a bonus at the end of the summer season. The tomatoes are finally ripening and I am moving into phase two of the ‘battle of the bird table’ with my adversary: the ever growing population of large, greedy Woodpigeons. I wouldn’t mind them stopping by to feed once in while but these birds peck away in relentless fashion with no thought of sharing the food with smaller birds. I added some plastic mesh to the bird table to prevent them perching and reaching the food but to no avail. Still! I am ready for a fresh battle πŸ˜€ I will not be defeated by a Woodpigeon!

 

Woodpigeon on bird table by Allison Reid

And so to just a few of the quilty conversations that have caught my attention this week:

Ever been on a quilt shop hop? Karen over at Tu-Na quilt set off to tour the whole of Michigan in 8 days taking in 59 shops and covering 2815 miles in the process – not to mention a Grandson’s baptism! Click here for the opening installment of her Shop Hop tales!

Yvonne Fuchs has released another of her striking quilt patterns. The solid fabrics she used for the featured ‘Wonder’ baby quilt has helped me decide on the colour scheme for a Snoopy quilt commissioned by a friend.

Cynthia challenged herself to use green fabrics. She has created a stunning improv garden quilt.

Allison’s Diagonal Seam Tape is a brilliant idea – helping accuracy and saving time by doing away with all the diagonal lines that usually have to be drawn for half square triangles or snowball corners. In fact the tape is such a great idea that Allison’s initial supplies sold out super fast!

Linking with Alycia for the first Finished or Not Finished Friday πŸ™‚ as she takes on the baton from Myra at Busy Hands Quilts.

Happy Stitching!

Allison