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