Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Free Motion Quilting

Good morning!

This past year has really been a learning year for me.  I've taken all of Sharon's courses, though I haven't completed the GIMP course as I had computer problems.  I've also been trying to figure out if I just want to do one specific thing, or if I am just meant to forge along doing anything that strikes my fancy.
In the meantime, while I am deciding what it is I want to do, I will just keep learning and the next item on my list of things to learn, is free motion quilting, which is now my monday project.  

When I decided that I was going to practice free motion quilting, I thought I would just do a very simple stipple.  Well, guess what?  It isn't so simple!!
What a mess!
I started with an 8 1/2 X 11 inch piece of fabric and the same size of fabric stabilizer.  I sewed them together all around the outside using a straight stitch on the sewing machine.  I then sewed down the centre from top to bottom and across the centre from side to side. This gave me 4 sections.

I wanted regular paper size, 8 1/2 by 11 inches sample sheets because I want to keep the stitches in a binder for future reference. 

The stippling in the photo above is in one of the 4 sections of my fabric piece.  I was trying to go for nice rounded curves.  And I failed.  So I went to one of the best sites on the net for free motion quilting. "The Free Motion Quilting Project" or "Day Style Designs".    Both sites are from the same person.  After looking at the web site above, I found a list where the stitches are ranked from easiest or beginner to the more experienced stitcher.  This is the one I am using, for beginnersMy first stitch was "Shadow Waves".  I did the remaining 3 squares on my fabric practicing this design.  I had trouble keeping the wave design up.  You can see I got slightly better by the time I got to square #3 but I kept having to stop and reform my wave.
My first attempt at Shadow Waves is the top left square, then the bottom right was second and then the bottom left.  Like anything, all you need to do is practice, practice, and practice.  There is slight improvement with each one I did.  I will keep practicing this design and then go on to "Cursive F's".

I tried doing the machine quilting with just office "rubber thumbs" on my finger tips to move the fabric along, but the things kept falling off, so I bought these gloves and they worked like a charm!
 They really worked well at holding my fabric down so I could slide the fabric along with just a gentle touch.

In the meantime, I got some new books.  As far as I'm concerned, you can never have enough books!   I really like this one.  The book is "quilted symphony" by Gloria Loughman.

Its well written, very well diagrammed and the best part, there are 4 exercises or workshops in the book to practice what is being taught.  What I loved the most about the book, is that Gloria is trying to show you that if you enjoy making abstract art wall quilts, you don't need to buy patterns to make them.  You can easily make your own pattern and though I was intimidated at first, I really do honestly believe you can come up with your own pattern ideas.

I am doing exercise #1 in the book and have my fabric all picked out.  And before you have heart failure thinking you need this many fabrics, I just can't decide exactly which ones I want to use yet! 

We don't have any real stitch store on the island other than what is available at Michael's, almost 100 km away, but we do have a fabric/quilt shop nearby. I am totally addicted to fat quarters and have a cupboard full of them so it made chosing a few for the project that much harder!

I also got my Dec 12/Jan 13 subscription issue of "Stitch" magazine.   
In it was the cutest biscornu. 

It had the lacy hardanger edge that was too nice to resist.  So, it is started and on my stitching table!
I am not too fussy on doing all those Algerian eyes along the outside border!

 Well, that's all for me!   We went for a walk this morning after breakfast and it is still bitterly cold out.  I got a bit of a chill and need to bundle up and warm up.  Think a bit of cherry brandy might be in order!

Have a super day!

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