Free Motion Quilting – issues of scale and contentment

Well! I’ve made a start free motion quilting my Scrappy Trip Along quilt. I can’t say it’s been plain sailing! Never mind, I’m doing it!

Scrappy Trip Along top with borders by Allison Reid
Scrappy Trip Along quilt top.

I’ve found one of the issues I have with fmq is creating the ‘right’ scale. Ideally I want to achieve a fairly open quilting pattern so the finished quilt will feel soft and drape easily. However I end up with stitching lines closer together than I intend. I think there are two factors playing against my intentions (in addition to lack of skill!):

  1. I’m concentrating on the small section of quilt under the machine foot and bordered by the span of my fairly small hands.
  2. Any lines of stitching behind the needle are obscured by the machine foot and the body of the sewing machine so I sometimes mis-judge how close I am stitching to previous stitching.

The quilters view by Allison Reid

Here is the first feathered swirl I stitched. It measures a much smaller than intended, 6″ long by 5″ wide:

Scrappy Trip Along small feathered swirl by Allison Reid

My second feathered swirls measures a much more satisfactory 13″ long by 9″ wide:

Scrappy Trip Along large feathered swirl by Allison Reid

The second is larger because I drew the curved spine of the feathered swirl onto the quilt using a Chaco marker. I found this simple measure a great help in stitching out a larger, more open, relaxed motif. Not perfect by any means but much nearer to what I’d set out to achieve.

Serendipity and all that….  Teri of TerifiCreations shared a short, encouraging video clip by Angela Walters’ entitled ‘Three Things Quilters Shouldn’t Do‘. It spoke to me at just the right time 🙂 encouraging me to stop doing these things and start enjoying the quilting I am doing!

Finally: A shout out for what a wonderful bunch of people there are inhabiting the Worldwide Quilting Community. This morning I was so fortunate to have Jo Westfoot aka ‘The Crafty Nomad’ come visit me at home to, in typically generous fashion, share her knowledge of the Electric Quilt software. Thanks to Jo I’m now much closer to publishing my first foundation paper pieced pattern 🙂 Her kindness didn’t stop there though! With her encouragement and practical experience I have for the first time submitted a quilt pattern to a magazine! How exciting! As my boys would say, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained!’

Check out Jo’s website, gorgeous patterns, subscription groups and workshops here and let’s keep being thankful for the lovely community built around the craft of patchwork quilting.

I’m off to enjoy some more free motion quilting 🙂

Joining in with Moving it Forward Monday over at Em’s Scrapbag and with Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt.

Allison

 

 

Choosing and stitching a walking foot quilting design

At last Saturday’s Beginners Course we reached the quilting stage of constructing our quilts. I demonstrated a few ideas for quilting using a walking foot eg. in-the-ditch, echoing, wavy lines… I’d had a think about how to quilt my version of the Dashing Stars quilt. In-the-ditch would work but I favoured stitching a quilting design over the patchwork to add ‘movement’, helping to take the eye roaming around the patchwork design. I considered a diagonal hatch across the quilt and considered curves, maybe echoing arcs or a swirl. Eventually I came up with stitching a large zig-zag down the centre of the quilt and then echoing the shape to either side.

Dashing Stars quilting diagram by Allison Reid
Quilting diagram. The thick black line represents the first zig-zag, the thinner green lines the lines of echo stitching and the pink dotted lines the chalk lines used to mark where the next quilting line should pivot.

Read moreChoosing and stitching a walking foot quilting design

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (19)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. An invitation to bring along your project(s) to a virtual sewing day and share in conversations sparked by quilty blog posts that have caught our attention over the past week. Do join in by using the comments section or using the linky button found at the bottom of this page.
Last week I said my projects were all about quilting: the Beginners Class got to pin baste their quilt sandwiches, think about quilting designs and set up their machines for their first lines of quilt stitching; and I knuckled down to quilting feather designs onto a 76″ square quilt. As expected the experience of quilting designs on such a large quilt was quite different from stitching out the designs on practice squares!
First feathers on Carrie Nation Variation by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
There was the initial euphoria of stitching feathers into a space on the quilt, stepping back and thinking, ‘Wow! They really do look like feathers!’ As the week has gone on and I’ve continued stitching my way around the quilt I’ve become less jubilant. My expectation was that with each swirl of feathers my technique would improve – I’d judge better how to fill the space, more of the feathers would be lovely teardrops rather than bulbous fingers and I wouldn’t be doing so much unpicking – agghhh! Well! Let me tell you, this week has been a lesson in managing expectations 😀

Stitching by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
I was concentrating so hard on shaping the feathers that stitch length became a little inconsistent and some of the over-stitching missed the mark…

Forming feathers by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
Some feathers look ‘squished’ and others don’t have the teardrop shape

Feather spiral by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
Uneven feather spiral.

Nevermind! I think I’m quoting Angela Walters correctly when I write ‘better finished than perfect’! I did find watching this You Tube video of Angela’s helpful – quite mesmerising watching a needle travelling across a quilt creating feathers using the ‘bump method’.
Silly to be discontented with this I know but there we are – always our own harshest critics with ridiculous expectations! Anyway, although still a work in progress this quilt, called ‘Carrie Nation Variation’ has been entered into The Festival of Quilts. So I had better carry on and finish! Ha!Ha!
I love the way the first three of this weeks blog conversations are connected: 
Yvonne shares a colourful quilt she’s made as part of the ‘Stash Statement’ blog tour. I love the way Yvonne includes so many bright photographs in her posts and provides details about the fabrics, threads and quilt stitching. My Pinterest boards are littered with links to Yvonne’s ‘Quilting Jet Girl’ blog. She is a great advocate and practitioner of giving back to the quilty community.
Carole is a whizz at repairing quilts. Do take a look at this blog post. She shows a technique for repairing and strengthening tears in fabrics. So clever :-O
Leanne has been repairing a quilt too. She has just finished a version of the ‘Stash Statement’ quilt that Yvonne posted about (see link above). Leanne found a small fault in the background fabric as she was quilting and came up with a really neat way of covering it and adding a little secret to the finished quilt.
Thinking of dipping into improv piecing? Alyce has been giving it a go in response to a quilt guild challenge. The improv borders she’s been adding to her mini medallion quilt are full of inspiration.
Thanks to Myra for providing this link to a quilt-as-you-go log cabin cushion tutorial. Myra’s cushion looks great and I definitely want to have a go at this technique.
Happy stitching.
Allison