Monday, February 27, 2012

Free Motion Quilting - feathers

Sometimes free motion quilting can be so frustrating! The problem is, I am a perfectionist. I also am one of THOSE that thinks if you don't quilt your own quilt, you can't lay claim to making the quilt. WHO AM I TO ARGUE with Eleanor Burns - who "quilts with her credit card!" Problem is, my credit cards are all gone, and we live on cash only.....when I think about shelling out cash to someone else to quilt, well............I would rather buy fabric!






Well, I have quickly gotten to the point of having several quilt tops sitting in my studio, un-quilted. I am DETERMINED to learn to quilt them myself. The perfectionist in me though, won't let me start them! This too goes against the teaching of most free motion quilting teachers....their advice is always practice, practice, practice. and even practice on real quilt tops (GASP!!!) What if I mess it up? Well, if they site there an never get quilted, what good are they anyway?!? (<---those are exclamations of ambivalence.)



This month's free motion quilting challenge with SewCalGal was feathers....who doesn't love them? I know I love them. I tried drawing them, and when you look at them at a distance, some of them weren't too bad, but again, the perfectionist in me reared its ugly head. I had to use a template. Besides, Diane said we could! Okay, so she was encouraging and teach complete free motion, but she did mention templates at one point, so I took that as complete permission.









This template is from one of my absolute most favoritist free quilting template locations.....forestquilting.com - if you haven't been there, be sure to go and collect all of their beautiful free quilting motifs. I used the one called "Feathered Heart Motif"

The pdf says it is for a 12" square, so I needed to reduce it for my 8 1/2" practice piece. To figure out how much to reduce it, I divided my square size, to get the percentage of the original size I needed to print. (The original pattern size 12 divided by 8.5 equals .67 or 67%) On my print settings, I set it to print 67% of original size.

Next, I took my quilt square, and marked the center lines, by folding and marking. I used a light box to align the center lines on my square, with the center mark on the pattern. I then traced once side of my heart. Then I flipped the pattern over, and traced the other side. Note, the disappearing ink pen disappeared too quickly, so I had to revert to the water soluble. The other neat thing about this project is learning to use all those nifty tools I have sunk a lot of money into!

I set my machine up for free motion quilting. This time I spray basted my practice sandwich, as this is a pretty complex motif and I would have a heck of a time working around pens.


I tested my machine out on scrap piece and everything worked fine.....I went to my real piece and YIKES I started having skipped stitches. Since I cleaned my machine, before I started, I knew that wasn't the issue. So, I changed needles - stitching once again worked fine on my scrap piece. Went to my real piece again - and skipped stitches!!! WTH!!!! Yes, I am using expletives, because I HATE reverse sewing.


 
So, to the internet I go.....since I had a new needle, my machine was clean, my tension was fine on my scrap piece, I couldn't figure out what was happening, then it dawned on my, I had a thicker batting on my scrap piece!! I found Diane's advice about skipped stitches in free motion quilting here - and made a new "scrap piece" using the same skinny batting, and voila - problem of skipped stitches solved.

Sorry for the novel here, but I had to get all that out!
If this is your first time visiting my little home here in blogland, be sure to take a look at my free patterns page, by clicking on the free patterns tab at the top of this page.

Until next time,
Piece!
All graphics, images and content on this blog (unless stated) are the intellectual property and copyright of Michele Hester and www.quilting-tutorials.blogspot.com. I'd be thrilled if you'd like to use one of my photos! Please link back to this blog when doing so. Please do not post entire tutorials or any other content *such as posts* found on this blog without my written consent first. Thanks so much! ©2009-2012 All rights reserved.

8 comments:

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Looks wonderful!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Looks wonderful!

Amy said...

Good job on your feathers! In spite of the frustrations, you beat the problem.

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

You did a fantastic job!!

Leslie McNeil of MarveLes Art Studios said...

Looking GOOD! Great post! Nice insight, and troubleshooting... is everything! You cannot "buy" that kind of education, ya know?!

SewCal Gal said...

Oh Michele, your heart is beautiful. Love it. Inspirational.

SewCalGal
www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

Suzan said...

I am not a snob about it but I also don't feel like it's my quilt unless I quilted it. I do have an opportunity to use my sister's long arm which makes things so much easier but I often quilt on my domestic machine. I started machine quilting on my second quilt since I have always just been too cheap to even think about having someone do it for me!

Sara Glascock said...

Thank you so much for turning me onto the Forest Quilting site. I am forever indebted to you!
Your feathers are heads and tails above mine. Keep up the excellent work.

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