Phew! After much procrastination and preparation I am progressing through the quilting of the bed runner I’m making for my parents. It will be a gift to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary. Of course I want it to be perfect and, of course, that’s not possible.
I started writing the long version of this quilting story but decided to delete most of the details, add photos and give my tips for overcoming fear of free motion quilting 🙂
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I have been making very slow progress with the quilting of the large ‘Black Coffee in Bed’ quilt. This week I’ve filled in the setting triangles with a wide spaced meander using Aurifil 40wt thread, 2314. Next I’d like to fill in the main blocks. It’s taken me a while to decide how to do this. I thought of doing some sort of geometric, dot-to-dot style quilting pattern but the more I looked at the blocks
I first discovered quillows through an experienced quilting friend. I was fascinated when I saw her reach inside a patchwork cushion and pull out a quilt! How cool is that!
Phoebe Moon gives a good definition of a quillow at the start of her tutorial:
A quillow is a quilt with a reversible pocket strategically sewn on the quilt so it can be folded up to fit inside the pocket, making a pillow.
A little bit of transatlantic translation is required at this point. In the UK when we hear ‘pillow’ we think specifically of the soft, generally rectangular, pad we lay our heads on at night. We use the word ‘cushion’ to describe the supportive/decorative additions we add to our sofas and chairs. Cushions are generally square, ranging from 14″-20″ in size and I think I’m right in saying these would be defined as ‘throw pillows’ in the USA. A ‘cushion’ in the US describes the padded seat of a sofa or chair.
So, here in the UK think, ‘a quillow is a quilt that can be turned into a cushion’. Hope that helps? I’ll probably tie myself in knots writing the rest of this post as I mix up the wording right, left and centre! 😀
I am so happy with the progress I made at Jo Westfoot’s ‘Mix It Up Improv Free Motion Quilting Class‘. 🙂 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.
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 the ‘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?