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‘. 🙂 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 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?

Allison

 

 

 

Free Motion Quilting – Growing Skills

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

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

Apple Core EPP and an old project rediscovered

Think Big block and pieces by Allison Reid

As the title of this post suggests I’ve been enjoying a very mixed bag of projects this week! My activities have been affected by a head cold. I’ve spent more time at home than planned. There were times when my brain seemed to be completely surrounded by a fuggy blanket so not all those hours indoors were particularly productive! Never mind, whenever the fuggy blanket slipped I was able to move into the sewing room and enjoy some of my patchwork projects  🙂

Read moreApple Core EPP and an old project rediscovered

Preparing for Patchwork Workshops and Falling Down Rabbit Holes!

Snip of Log Cabin class notes
One of my ‘graphics’

On Monday I started revising the pattern and class notes for a workshop called ‘Two Ways to Build a Log Cabin’. The class is booked for 6th March. Before Christmas I made a flimsy to test out my idea and to check the accuracy of the fabric quantities I’d calculated. I began writing the pattern as one to sell but over time came to the conclusion that there are more than enough Log Cabin patterns and tutorials available in books and for free on-line so I’ve been revising my pattern into a class handout. I’ve also been twiddling around with the block design on EQ7. This all takes time – quite a lot of time actually! Especially as I haven’t been able to master graphics software so I do all the pattern illustrations using Microsoft Word. And I probably use that in an inefficient way… but repetition is a good teacher and I’m learning!

All the above is by way of an explanation as to how it is I’ve done quite a lot of thinking and computer work around sewing but so far this week haven’t actually got to switch on my sewing machine! That is about to change though 🙂 I’ve finally broken into a roll of strips, dividing them into two sets to make the normal and curved Log Cabin blocks for a second test quilt. (There are quite a few strips left over from the roll – these have led me down a rabbit hole*). The background fabric is a low volume text print that has been hanging around in my stash for too long. I’m hoping these fabrics will give the quilt a modern look in contrast to the much more traditional looking quilt flimsy I made before Christmas.

Log Cabin (2) fabric strips by Allison Reid

In my Saturday Quilting Bring & Share post I shared that I’ve decided to hop on the 2020 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The colour for January is green. I sorted through my box of green scraps and came up with two colour groupings. I cut my scraps into 2½” squares and strips ready to stitch together as my leaders and enders.

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2020 green strips by Allison Reid

I’ll need to be a bit careful doing this as the Scrap Challenge leaders and enders fabrics are quite similar to the fabrics I’m using for the Log Cabin blocks! 

Scrappy Trip Along finished front (2) by Allison Reid
My 2019 Trip Around the World quilt

*Oh! But Dear Reader! I have now been drawn into another sew along! Scrolling through Instagram I discovered that Allison Jensen @woodberry_way is hosting a Scrappy Trip Quilt Along. I know I shouldn’t (this is definitely a squirrel tumbling down a rabbit hole!) but I did so enjoy the 2019 Trip Along organised by Gnome Angel ... And now I’ve got a growing collection of 2½” strips….(see above*) And Allison’s how-to videos on Instagram and in her blog posts are so interesting and so appealing…. 😀

Well! Last week I shared my word of the year – GROW. It certainly seems the number of projects I have on the go is GROWing 😀 But hey! One week into 2020 and I’ve signed up for a needle turned applique class – definitely got the GROWing skills buzz going! Have you chosen a word for 2020? Has it been inspiring your thoughts or actions?

Lastly, it’s a new term so there must be a Beginners Class starting at Purple Stitches! In fact Viv has filled two classes, one running Saturday mornings, the other in the afternoons. I’m looking forward to meeting the class members and seeing the fabrics they’ve chosen for their first patchwork quilts. Before Saturday I had better print class notes and prepare my demonstration materials…

Linking with Susan at Quilt Fabrication for Midweek Makers.

Hope you are finding joy in creativity.

Allison