Friday, January 27, 2012

Doing the Quilt Along #4 with Leah Day

Ok, so I haven't been doing all of the Quilt Alongs from the Free Motion Quilting Project, but I had a few minutes today before work and I decided to do Quilt Along #4 - Quilting on a Line. My machine was already threaded with black thread and I had an extra practice sandwich lying around, so I figured "why not?"  Plus, the black thread on my light fabric is very easy to see. I drew some lines and a pattern with my water soluble marker and gave it a go.

Let me tell you, it was not so easy. Trying to make the needle go somewhere specific (namely following a line or pattern) is much more difficult than random (or semi-random) motions/meandering/stippling. And, I find it much harder to find the balance between the pedal speed and the movement of my hands. The first line I did, I noticed my stitches were really small because my foot was going faster than my hands. I think it was because I was focusing so much on following the line, but my foot still wanted to go the same speed as it does when I am stippling (much faster). When I do stippling I place a book behind the pedal lodged against the wall to do two things: 1. keep the pedal from sliding away from me and 2. give me a comfortable maximum/steady speed. I got so used to that speed (it's perfect for stippling) that I realize I am unable to go other speeds comfortably. I guess this means I need to start practicing lines and patterns more often.

I also noticed that I had trouble seeing where I was going sometimes, depending on which way I was moving the fabric. I really hated going behind the needle where I could not see and also, making the straight lines go sideways. More practice is definitely necessary.

A little more straight line practice and I filled in the rest with some more stippling practice.

The below is a photo of some large scale stippling practice that was encouraged to try in Quilt Along #3:

I was using a sandwich that I had previously practiced on with other colors of thread. I had to stop near the edge on the upper right and you can see I got a knot and it does not look smooth. Black thread on light material is SOOOO noticeable. I prefer a matching thread and a busy pattern, so you do not see the quilting so much.  I ended up finishing my third quilt the other day and I used a large stippling. It turned out well, but I cannot show it yet because it is a gift and I do not want to risk them seeing it yet.

Until next time,


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Anne said...

Very much what I found, Mike - not as easy as it looks!

Pat said...

I think you did a fine job! As Leah says, practice, practice, practice!

Ray and Jeanne said...

You are doing a great job! I am also a beginner and I now take the time to rethread the machine - my lines and my stippling look much better! ~Jeanne

Leah Day said...

Congrats on the blog Mike - though you will quickly need to change the name. I have a feeling you won't be an "amateur" for long!

While I know it's easy to nit pick issues, the fact is white fabric is like a spotlight to thread issues. EVERYTHING is going to show up. So give this a try again, but this time try dark fabric and light thread and see how you feel about it.

Just keep stitching!


danih03 said...

I think It looks great! If you are an ameture then you're like a fish in water!

AnitaS said...

I find it also more difficult to stitch over lines as to do stippling. I have to practive a lot.

Bouts Choisis said...

It's interesting how different we all are - following a line seems easier to me than the random stuff without a route map :-) where I get scared of stitching myself into a corner. However we are all learning and making good progress! Your quiltings looks great.

Mike Pearson said...

I rarely have to rethread. The machine is very self reliable. I don't know why. But, when I have a problem, it's usually something I did.. strange.