Ooo! Friday was day four of quilting ‘In the Cool of the Evening’. Undeterred by the disappointments of the previous days walking foot quilting I got into the sewing room bright and early. I knew it was to be day when I would have to don those ‘big girls pants’ and get down to some free motion quilting! So from 8am ’til 11.30am I went into procrastination mode: first I cut and stitched together the strips of fabric for the binding (well! I reasoned it had to be done sometime…); next I made a fresh practice quilt sandwich from wadding off-cuts and an old polycotton sheet (well! I’d need to do some warm up stitching before I moved on to the actual quilt wouldn’t I?); then I did some practice stitching (well! practice is important!); I cleaned the fluff out of machines bobbin race (it’s good to have a well maintained machine…); next a coffee break and a chance to catch up reading the blogs I follow (well! it’s important to be refreshed and relaxed before doing fmq); and then a quick walk to a local hardware store to pick up some garden supplies (well! fresh air is good for us, isn’t it?).
By 11.30am I had no place to hide! I positioned the quilt under the needle and went for it… And, much to my surprise, I enjoyed a rather intense half hour of stitching 🙂 Here are the results:
I could point out some faults but I won’t: as Melanie wisely advised in her comment a couple of days ago, ‘Don’t be more critical of your own work than you would be of a good friend’. And a key word in the paragraph above is that I enjoyed doing the fmq and any self-judged imperfections in the workmanship can not take away the satisfaction I experienced from executing that stitching 🙂
On to my quilting tips and techniques:
- Practicing fmq really does help to raise confidence and improve skills – even if you only get the chance every-now-and-again, no practice is a waste of time.
- The quilt is much bigger and heavier than my practice sandwich. I found the speed I could move the quilt under the needle was considerably slower than I’d been moving the practice piece so I had to adjust my stitching speed too.
- Whenever I paused stitching – to move my hand position or shift the quilt – I thought about the next few inches of quilting to be done and made a little plan in my head which helped me feel in control of the pattern I was creating.
- I regularly checked the scale of the shapes I was stitching to make sure there wasn’t a noticeable difference to the scale I’d used at the beginning.
I think I have another six hours of stitching leaf shapes before the hedge areas of the quilt are completed. Thankfully I do have a full spool of the green Aurifil 2902 as fmq sure does eat up thread.
If you would like a break from all this machine quilting talk I’d highly recommend you take a look at Bella’s beautifully hand stitched Valentine’s quilt – it is stunning 🙂 Click on the link here or find the link on my Pinterest board, ‘Pins of the Week‘.
Hope you have a great weekend.
I mentioned the modifications I made to my fmq/darning foot to stop it bouncing using the tutorial by Leah Day. Here’s a photo of the foot along with the new practice sandwich.