Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The hard part!

About 10 or so years ago, a friend and I took a class at the community college on free-motion quilting.  If it were a real class, I would have failed.  I just couldn't get the hang of it!  So I've never attempted it since.  But now I have this top that needs to be quilted . . .

So the other day I took the last few scraps from my quilt and some old, leftover batting, put on my free-motion foot, and gave it a go.

And it wasn't as hard as I'd remembered!  I had done some research though - Elizabeth Hartman has some excellent tips on her blog.  I've become a huge fan of this lady!  I really enjoyed her Craftsy classes - she's a great teacher.  And I love her design sense.

So here are my little samples:


The yellow was my first attempt.  I found it easier to do straight lines than curves, and I fiddled with the tension quite a bit.  It also took me a while to find a good rate of motion; when you do free-motion quilting, the stitch length is set at zero and the feed dogs are down, so any movement that happens is because you make it happen!


This first green piece was my second sample.  I was playing around with a boxy quilting design to see if I'd like it on my Disappearing Nine Patch.  I'm thinking it's busier than I want though.  But I'm pretty proud of how consistent I was able to be!


This was my last piece of scrap, so I tried out a wavy design.  I don't think this is right for my top either, and it's a lot harder for me to keep consistent stitch length on curves.

I'm still a little nervous about my ability to maneuver a blanket-sized quilt while keeping my stitches even, but I think in some ways it may be easier than working on these little 6 x 6" squares.  I found I didn't have a whole lot to grab on to, and my fingers were getting in the way!

Even though it's a little scary, I'm excited to get all my materials together and start the actual quilting process.  Any of you quilters have any other tips to add?

21 comments:

  1. That looks great, good job!

    This is what I have to learn next! I picked a small project to do it on the first time (and advent calendar) and I'll be using white thread on white fabric which sill hopefully be forgiving. Once I've got the calendar assembled I'm going to cut scraps of the fabric and wadding to practice until I feel confident. I discovered yesterday that I own the right foot for my sewing machine already so that was a bonus, but I must admit I'm a little bit worried!

    I'm a fan of Elizabeth too, her book is great and my next quilt is going to be from it, I have it constantly out and within reach to check things as I'm working!

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    1. I thought I picked a small project too (my top is slightly smaller than a twin size) but man! I did the first few rows of straight stitching yesterday and I think it was only slightly easier than Turkish Olive Oil Wrestling!!

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  2. as someone who has never attempted quilting i have nothing useful to add... but i'm sure however you decide to quilt it, it will be beautiful. can't wait to see your finished project, good luck!

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  3. You never cease to amaze (& impress) me. I can't wait to see MORE!

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    1. Well, the first couple "real" rows didn't go that great, so you may want to hold on to that praise for a while, LOL!

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  4. Wow, I haven't tried free motion yet. After seeing this, I'm nervous! I'll have to check out those tips you linked to. I'm sure you'll be a pro by the time I see you!

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    1. In the end I decided to do straight-line quilting, but now I'm thinking free-motion might actually have been easier!

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  5. Oh my, that looks like fun (once you get past the initial learning obstacles that is)! I love the results you have gotten, now is this a leap into a whole new exciting world of projects?

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    1. Not sure yet! We'll see how this one goes!

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  6. I've never tried machine quilting. Will you have to baste it like crazy to avoid shifting? How do you move the giant thing around your machine? Oh well, maybe you will make that another post!

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    1. I was hoping you would know the answers to those questions! It's got to be doable, because plenty of people do it, but I'm having a hard time so far!

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    2. Keep us posted and good luck, you can do it!

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  7. Ooh, fancy! You got skills! And cute practice fabrics too :)

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    1. More of the 1930s prints! Love them!

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  8. I find it easier to manipulate the quilt sandwich wearing gloves with gripper fingers and even palms. Less stress on my hands.

    hugs

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    1. I've read about that. I'm going to try it and see if that helps. Thanks for the tip!

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    2. Gail, gardening glove work great! I have one pair that I cut a fingertip or two off so I can grasp a thread when necessary.

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    3. Cool, I'll do that! I have a six-pack of gardening gloves I bought a while ago at Costco :-)

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  9. So -- I was on Ravelry checking out what you've made lately and I got distracted. I looked back and a little pop-up was there with a link to your blog! I had to comment on this post for obvious reasons :-)

    I'm excited to see what you are doing!

    Cyndi

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    1. I've been enjoying your interior decorating pins on Pinterest, and wondering how your new house is coming together! Hoping you guys are settling in nicely over there! Have you done any quilting?

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