Like London buses my projects tend to arrive together… after a long wait! Over the past two weeks of blog posting silence I have been jumping between four different projects.
Project 1: I have a finished quilt to report 🙂 This disappearing nine patch lap quilt began life as a quick project way back in June last year. The stated plan was to make a simple quilt top and use it to break through my reluctance to take my free motion quilting skills from practice squares to a real quilt. Hum! Seems I stalled! The prepared quilt sandwich hung around in the sewing room, then moved from the spare bed to the top bunk and back again. Fear of using fmq on a more recently completed quilt top took me back to the disappearing ninepatch. I began by stitching a grid of stabilising stitching, echoing the patchwork pattern. Then anxieties arrived, ‘Oh! No! I still don’t want to do the fmq and maybe it will look odd with the straight line quilting?’ Anyway, as you can see from the following photos, I got over myself, drew out on paper a continuous line quilting pattern that would fit in the charm squares of the quilt, set up my machine, put on some music, had a cup of coffee, took a deep breath and went for it – not quite ‘peddle to the metal’ (you know me, s-l-o-w-l-y does it!) but finish it, I did.
The experience of doing free motion quilting reminded me very much of learning to drive. Early lessons found me all disconnected and unable to coordinate feet and hand movements – gears crunching, bunny hopping, the lot. But after some lessons movements became more coordinated and I could let my attention drift to the road conditions as well as actually keeping the car moving (how do driving instructors have the nerve to sit next to inattentive learner drivers?). As I set off on the free motion stitching of this quilt I realised I’d had enough practice for skills such as stopping midway through a run, re-positioning my hands and then re-starting on the same smooth line to have become second nature 🙂 I started to enjoy being able to coordinate the speed of my hand movements with the speed I was driving the needle 🙂 Then, after about half an hour, I found my concentration wandering – just like when I was learning to drive – the coordination failed and errors started creeping in. It’s at this point that tiredness takes over and realisation dawns that a massive amount of concentration has gone into the maintaining of that smooth travelling along the road or across a quilt. The skill isn’t yet ‘natural’ or intuitive, there is much more driving/quilting to be done before the skill becomes innate.
This is my year of VENTURE and I’m proud to have ventured out of my walking foot comfort zone and used free motion quilting 🙂 The quilt, named ‘Fireside Glow’, is now listed in my Etsy shop (another VENTURE!).
As a foot note I have to confess that within a few years of passing the driving test I lost my nerve and haven’t driven since. I am determined not to give up on free motion quilting!
Project 2: A second quilt using the tube method of cutting and piecing. All pieced, including the backing, pinned ready to quilt. Thinking an all over, meandering, quilt pattern would compliment the misty look of these fabrics: this thought was the motivation behind venturing into free motion quilting Project 1 as a build up to getting a larger quilt under the machine needle.
Project 3: This log cabin quilt top came about as a reaction against all the time I’ve spent on the computer writing class notes and grappling with quilt designs on EQ7. I rediscovered some left over 2½” strips from a log cabin project, delved around in my small stash and came up with enough fabric to make twelve blocks each measuring 14½” unfinished. Most of the fabrics have a William Morris theme and I was pleased to find a little piece of a red Moda French General fabric to use for the centre ‘hearth’ of each block. A day spent making these blocks was good therapy 🙂 I will need to make a quick trip to Nature’s Threads tomorrow in the hope of matching the red for a narrow border around the blocks, not sure about the colour for a wider second border… or the binding … and maybe I’ll need some backing fabric too…
Project 4: The cause of some of my feelings of computer overload! I selected these lovely fabrics on a trip along the Thames Valley to Wallingford, home of Village Fabrics. The plan is to use them to make the quilt I’m VENTURING to enter into the ‘Gardener’s World’ category of the Quilts UK show, Malvern, in May.
As I am so s-l-o-w, it is about time the fabrics found their way to the cutting mat, maybe I shall have to resort to a paper and pencil pattern alongside the EQ7 design if I am to stand any chance of meeting the deadline?
Despite not posting here for nearly two weeks I’ve continued to enjoy reading and learning from many enthusiastic quilting bloggers – links to tips and news can be found on my Pinterest board ‘Pins of the week’ (updated every Tuesday – or there abouts…)
Have a great weekend,