Welcome to my blog about my quilting journey! I started quilting in 2006 with a quilt of my own design which started as a cushion cover and ended up as a single bed sized quilt! Now I'm totally hooked....maybe obsessed is a better word for it.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Free Motion Practice (and another UFO finish!

Well this week for me was about practicing some free motion quilting to (a) improve my existing skills and (b) trial some different designs to use on my Something New Sampler which I am calling Pole Dancing.

I had some of the backing fabric left over after making Molly two blankets last week as part of my 13 UFO's in 2013 task for March:

as well as another piece of stitched together leftover bits of wadding with nowhere to go so I decided to make another blanket for Molly and use that for some FMQ practice.  Of course before I did that I thought I better do some online research and spent a little time looking at Leah Day's website but I also hadn't yet looked at any of Leah's Craftsy online workshop for quilting the BOM I made last year so I decided I'd better have a bit of a looksee.  When my computer was being friendly (ie when it decided to stay turned on instead of switching off for an unplanned smoko (for non-Australians that's a coffee break!) I managed to get through quite a bit of it.

My eyes started to glaze over when I got to the feathers section (to be fair it was getting late at night, not a reflection on Leah's teaching style!) so I decided I'd better just get on with it - well the next day anyway!  On the weekend before I had divided the blanket into 8 inch squares with some sashing areas and so it was just a matter of getting started.  I had been given a reel of quilting thread by my mother-in-law that she had bought in error but it was quite a heavy weight so I decided to use that up on this project as I couldn't see me using it in an actual quilt.  Other than it being a bit heavy to practice designs like pebbling where you do a lot of travel stitching - tried that and the thread broke as soon as it had to go over 3 layers of stitching - it worked pretty well and it was more the motion of the stitching I was trying to come to terms with anyway.

Luckily Molly isn't too fussy a dog but just in case I decided to FMQ her name in the middle so she'd feel a bit special.

I liked quite a few of the designs, including this square shaped one, which I think was called circuit board.

but I think it might make the quilt a bit stiff so I'll need to re-think that one.  I tried a few different versions of a spiral shape and the ones I seemed to be able to get the hang of were escargot

and spiral knots (sorry, its a little hard to see!)

 I was pretty pleased with my stippling (albeit on a large scale) as up until now I have only ever managed to do a looping line as no matter what I did I always ended up crossing over my stitching.  My favourite design of all ended up being a kind of paisley design starting with a heart shape in the centre instead of a paisley and echoing out.

I kept the hearts pretty large and that bit stayed nice and soft because its large. I seem to have an affinity for heart shapes as my favourite stipply type design is a leaf and curly vine design and a leaf is only a heart with a centre spine when its all said and done, I guess that's going to be my thing!

Anyway here's the whole thing:

The main thing holding me back from achieving the results I want to, I believe, is where I sew.  I'm in the hallway on a fold out Horn sewing cabinet and this causes me problems in a few ways:
  1. there is a gap behind the cabinet and the quilt likes to slide off and so the weight of the quilt gets me out of shape
  2. when I drop the machine down into the cabinet so I have a flat sewing area its too low for me to comfortably get my knees under (one of the problems of being vertically enhanced, although I wouldn't have said 5'10" is that big, I'm the smallest in my family!).
  3. my machine is quite old and so there is a large area behind it when it is in the lower position and the quilt wants to get stuck in there as well
  4. as I have to sit further away from the machine than I would like (due to No 2 above) there is a gap in front of me so the quilt tends to gather in my lap and again the weight pulls me off line.
At this stage with no space for a room to sew in I can't see any resolution to these problems, although when I'm quilting a larger project I tend to stuff things down behind the cupboard to fill that gap at least.  So my quilting will be less than I'm striving for until I can improve my location but I guess I will cope!  Any jobs which call for precision such as an all over spiral will have to wait!

Anyway, I'm sure Molly thought it was all a bit of a laugh, she seems to be smiling in this shot!
She keeps pulling funny faces every time I get the camera out, either she's trying to tell me to nick off or she wants to be the class clown!

Anyway, enough of my ramblings, thanks for reading my blog if you've stuck with it this far!


  1. Way to go Sue, thats a phenomenal first effort. Just imagine what you will achieve when you do manage to get a larger area. Can you "borrow the dining table for a while?

  2. I think it's looking pretty good - considering everything - and really Molly wont mind so much! It really is a matter of getting everything just right isn't it?? good luck as you progress..

  3. What a great way to practice your FMQ! I will have to try something like that. I really need to take a class. I'll check out Craftsy!

  4. Great work. I know what you mean about needing more space. FMQ does require quite a lot of room to be able to work on it comfortably.


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