As 2014 begins, we all reflect on 2013. 2013 was the year of free motion quilting for me! I made it a goal to study, improve and most importantly just practice free motion quilting. I’m not likely to get better by sleeping under a quilt, so I best start quilting like a fool. The year started with a voile string quilt. It’s fairly busy, so I practiced a different pattern in each square.
I figured out that loopy curvy shapes are easier for me than angular shapes.
Next up was a mini for a swap. I did some straight line quilting to stabilize it before I went to town.
Pebbling is relaxing to me. Because they’re organic (read: don’t need to match), they’re much easier than some other designs.
Because these fabrics kind of became solids, I needed to be neater in my quilting! Everything showed!! I love busy prints because I can try something new and no one will ever see it.
For the Understanding the Rainbow sample, I appliquéd around the circles as part of he quilting. Then I did little shell shapes in the white. The quilting REALLY showed. One thing I’ve found is that if your consistent in the density, you can hide mistakes. What really stands out is a different amount of spacing in the design.
Sometimes there are three loops and sometimes four, but I kept the spacing consistent.
I was starting to feel really good about my pebbling at this point, so I went a little crazy and decided to do this.
I pebbled all of the background of a Designer Star. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I used a pale grey thread so my work showed!
While I was recovering from that experience, I did all over loops on my granny squares. There’s a lot of white background so the quilting does show, but to me this quilt called for something simple and almost utilitarian.
I’ve discovered that it’s much easier for me to do dense quilting that is custom to my piecing than to do an all over design. It’s easier for most people to draw a close to exact 1/4″ circle than a 3″ circle, so it would make sense that smaller is easier. FMQ is drawing with thread. Dense is easier, but boy is it time consuming!!
Next up was another mini quilt for a swap! This one was for a quilter I really admire, so I wanted the quilting to sing!!
This was dense quilting! And intense quilting!! Lots of my go-to shape…infinities. I find that shape easy to stay consistent with. With FMQ, you have to do the shapes that work for you!
This quilt was in celebration of the Accuquilt Barn Quilt competition. (I got second!) And it also became the cover quilt for the Accuquilt version of Designer Star.
Lots of (stressful) solids led to lots of infinities. I’m not really into switching thread a million times to match so I usually just pick the best overall color and go with it. For this quilt, I used a winter white.
The Mod Tree Wallhanging is one of my more popular tutorials. It’s also my personal favorite! I used pebbling to mimic snowballs all over the background.
Again, I used a soft grey. I also think grey is easier to see as you’re quilting. Sometimes I can’t tell where I’ve quilted when it’s white thread on white!! The black blanket stitch is part of the quilting and the first stitching I did when I put the quilt sandwich together.
This quilt is busy busy busy!! But I didn’t want to mess it up! This is my Scrappy Star.
I did all over infinities in every direction. I used a light grey thread. I was able to really practice infinities since this is bed sized and the quilting barely shows!!
Then came my All Squared Up quilt. The quilting needed to complement the piecing.
The quilting shows on the pattern cover. I was pleased with how consistent it was. I’m not much into marking. I find it difficult to stitch along markings. I tend to count instead. For example, there are five loops in each triangle.
Next up was the Lazy Sunday and more busy prints to hide the quilting! I did shells on this one.
And infinities on this one!
And more shells on this one! Practice! Practice!! Practice!!!
I also made two Taffy Quilts this year. The first was made in Blubird Park. I did custom quilting with infinities, loops, shells and swirls.
The quilting showed in some places and less so in others. I quilted fairly densely since this was a shop sample. Dense quilting hangs nicely.
This is the quilt where I discovered my favorite new thread! It’s Aurifil 4060. It’s a variegated neutral. Love!!
The second Taffy is brighter Spring colors. I used a mix of infinities, loops, shells and curves on this one too!
I want to frame this picture when I look back at the beginning of the year to now! Is it perfect? No, but I have improved so much. Practice really does make
All these quilts (and many others that weren’t major players in my FMQ journey this year) were pieced with Aurifil. I have a habit of keeping the empty spools. It’s exciting to see the inside of an Aurifil spool; it’s sort of like a unicorn sighting. I sometimes quilt with Aurifil, but these are just the piecing spools. 2013 was a year of 19 spools. Color 2310 is my favorite, but any neutral is fair game.
May 2014 bring you a full bobbin, a sharp rotary blade and a full stash!