Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Some free motion quilting adventures fall into the undesirable category.  Having the corner of your backing tucked under and quilting it down as in the photo below is one of them.  Sigh.  

And the leaves looked really good too.....  Rip, rip, rip.

Just as an aside, another thing I've learned is that if you're going to use multiple colors of thread, it may be a good idea to go with a wildly colored backing.  As you can see the non-white thread shows up brightly on the white background.  Not all of my quilting is that pretty either.  However, this quilt will go on my bed, so most people won't know what the back side looks like except me.  (And of course, all of you, because when I'm done, I'll probably post a picture of that too.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Adventures in Free Motion Quilting

Although the Pansy Sampler, is not the first quilt in which I've done free motion quilting, it is the first in which I decided to be brave enough to experiment, test my limits, try new patterns.  A sampler quilt is a good vehicle in which to do this, because the variety of blocks offers different challenges.

As of the taking of this photograph, all but two blocks are complete.  Still have a number of purple frames to quilt, about half the sashing, and all of the external borders.

(Click on any photograph to see more detail.  The blogger resizing has taken out much of the texture.)

I had one picture block in the quilt ~ this Sunbonnet Sue.  I cannot take credit for the block itself; many of the blocks came in a block exchange, and Sunbonnet Sue was one of them.  I saved quilting this block for near the last, in order to improve my accuracy enough to do the block justice.  I quilted around each of the stones in the wall, each of the squares in the trellis, and all of the pansies.

Quilting on the pansy fabric itself has proven to be a challenge.  The largish print tricks my eye and prevents me from making accurate arcs, etc.  This block shows my attempts at making a quilted "flower" on the largest section of pansy fabric.  It is less than stellar.  Although I've tried a variety of things, quilting around the individual pansies has looked the best.  It's not difficult to do.

I've done free motion leaves in all of the purple frames.  It's a good FMQ design to use, as it's quite forgiving.  However, practice really does make perfect. Despite being a forgiving design, over the course of the quilt, my skill with this pattern has increased markedly.

It is in this block that I tried pebbling for the first time.  I often study Wendy's work for inspiration.  Much of what she does is too far beyond my capability, but pebbling was not.  I was very pleased with the result. 

My favorite quilting motifs are the symmetrical designs as shown in the purple sections below.  They are also the most difficult to do.  The interesting thing is that I've noticed when I merely glance at this block, I think the quilting looks pretty nice.  However, if I stop to study it, then I see all of its flaws ~ and there are many. 

The morning that Eric took all of these pictures for me, Molly Baggins could not help but walk across the quilt ~ usually on the very block he was trying to photograph.  Finally, she chose a spot and made herself comfortable.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Other QI

Many months ago, I introduced you to Marko, my cousins' Maine Coon.  He proved his quilt inspection abilities early on.

There is another cat in the household though.  She goes by the name of Molly Baggins.  My cousins rescued her.  They were told that she is only three years old, but she acts like an old lady.  She's overweight, and behaves like she is in pain when we pick her up.  The vet gave her a clean bill of health, but we're considering getting another opinion. 

With her rather sloth-like demeanor, Molly Baggins has always excelled at laying on anything soft.  I was not convinced that proved her ability as a Quilt Inspector.  However, yesterday with a considerable effort to haul her not insignificant mass up onto the sewing table, she has now clearly earned the title.

Doesn't she look like she's smiling?

I removed her from the quilt with much protest on her part, so I could continue my free motion quilting.  When a couple of phone calls took me away from the quilt, I returned to find her planted on it yet again.  I took that as a sign to call it a day and permitted her to fulfill her quilt inspection duties uninterrupted.