Monday, May 24, 2010

Machine quilting - yikes!

I have been playing with my new sewing machine and confirmed that free-motion quilting does indeed require skill. Sometime this week or next I have to go buy some inexpensive yardage to make stacks of small quilt sandwiches to practice, practice and practice again. Supposedly 10 minutes a day will lead to improvement. Of course the snippet I read that in said nothing about how many days of 10 minutes a day are required... Well, I knew there would be a learning curve and I haven't become too discouraged yet, but I'm not going to be free motioning on anything I care about, like an actual pieced top, anytime soon.

I have done a bit of straight line quilting with the walking foot though.

I'm not 100% happy with the result but it's a start. I think I might quilt it differently if I had it to do over, but I'm not so unhappy with it that I care to rip out all the stitching. Call me lazy :) I just have to adjust my mind's eye to the look of machine quilting. It really does give a different look than hand quilting so I have to plan it differently.

My swap block quilt is now a pile of blocks waiting for sashing. Last night was supposed to be the night it all came together. I pinned position labels to all the blocks in case they fell out of order, cut a few more sashing strips and sat down to sew. I'd sewn several seams by the time I realized I hadn't set the machine properly to sew a 1/4 inch seam. Ooops. I decided to set those aside to rip later, adjusted the machine, and sewed a few more seams. Then I realized I'd run out of bobbin thread 3 blocks earlier.

At that point I looked at the clock and decided perhaps it was just a little too late for me to think clearly, so I turned off the machine and went browsing the Blogger's Quilt Festival instead. I should have gone to bed, but all those quilts were just waiting to be viewed! I only made a tiny dent in the long list of links.

For a change of pace, tonight I'm turning off the technology. I'm going to hand quilt on my daughter's hearts quilt or my husband's astro quilt. I haven't decided which yet. His simple one is 3/4 done, so I would inch closer to a finish. Hers, with the more elaborate quilting, is only 1/4 done, so I need to make more progress...


  1. You expressed my feelings exactly about doing free-motion machine quilting! But I think the quilting on your table mat looks just fine; certainly good enough to suit me! Sounds like your luck on the swap blocks is similar to my luck the past two weeks! I think bed is the best place for me now too, but I may stop by the Blogger's Quilt Festival a while too. BTW, both your quilts are looking really great! ---"Love"

  2. It's definitely worth perservering with FMQ. Of course it will never be handquilting but it's another dimension to your quilt making. Enjoy your *night off* from the pc. Cheers, Ann :-)

  3. Hang in there with free motion quilting. I've not done much, but yesterday I quilted two dolly quilts and by the time I was done with the second my loops were rounder, my stitches more even and my confidence building. Just remember to breathe (I have to remind myself of that one!) and realize that you will be more critical of your quilting than anyone else. I look forward to seeing how you put your swap blocks together!

  4. The table topper is so pretty! I hate it when I run out of bobbin thread and don't realize it for a while. Who ever invented bobbins that don't hold very much thread? Spending an evening doing hand work is always good, so enjoy it tonight!

  5. I've taken a couple of free motion classes and yes it takes lots of practice. I'm still not very good at it, but keep trying. I think your little table top turned out great and it's looks so pretty with the flowers. Connie204

  6. I had to laugh at your struggles with free motion quilting, as I have the same strugles with hand quilting, which you do so beautifully! You will get the hang of it. Quilter's gloves are a big help in guiding the quilt as you sew. You may want to invest in a pair if you don't have some already. Keep practicing and maybe I'll take my own advise and start practicing my hand quilting again.

  7. I've done a bit of FMQ, and no hand quilting. The Hand-quilting intimidates me, perhaps because I don't know how?

    I think my issue with FMQ and hand-quilting, is actually choosing a quilting design, and then marking the quilt.

    Practice, practice, practice. That's what I need!

    Keep up your practice too, before you know it you'll be completing very lovely projects!


  8. You might be surprised with what you have accomplished after only a week of practicing FMQ, I know I was. Good luck and have lots of fun!! ♥

  9. Machine quilting does give quite a different look, but it comes in handy when one wants to get something done in a hurry.
    As for the goofing up in the middle of the night, been there;) Sometime's is best to walk away;)
    Happy Quilting!!


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