Monday, January 11, 2010
Free Motion Quilting- don't fear it!
This is one of those techniques that you either want to learn, or you are happy to let your long-arm quilter do it all for you. I don't meet very many quilters who sort of want to quilt their own quilts. You either do or you don't from what I have seen.
Free motion quilting is something I am still learning. I find that it gives me great pleasure when I do it well, and great frustration when it does not look good enough. Along that line of thinking, I found this great blog. Leah Day is offering You Tube tutorials for 365 different free motion designs at this link. Some are so unusual that I would probably not even try, but many are so terrific. I find it incredibly inspiring. The one above is called "Creepy Bug", but I don't think it looks that much like a bug, I like it though. It looks more floral to me, and I would use this design. Leah has all kinds of tips and ideas on this blog for better free-motion quilting. Definitely check it out!
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got when learning free motion quilting, was this:
If you draw or doodle with a pen or pencil, consider trying those designs with your sewing machine. It's good advice really. You simply try to "doodle" with the needle and thread. In most art classes one of the first projects they make you do is a one-line continuous drawing or self portrait. That is taking a pencil, putting it to paper, and making the drawing without ever lifting the pencil until the picture is done. It is a hard thing to do well, but it is possible. I have seen some that are simply remarkable. Free-motion quilting is the same concept, but with more freedom to "doodle".
She also has posted this tutorial on how to quilt your quilt blocks, or your quilt in segments, then piece them together. I have seen a lot of quilt as you go methods and tried many, but this one intrigues me. Mostly I find that the end result is very simple line quilting on the back. Often, it looks messy or crooked. This technique offers you a way to free motion quilt your quilt in a unique and dynamic way, but also to do it in small segments. That is important for most of us because space is always an issue when free motion quilting, and it is so hard to manipulate those huge quilts. The result is a nice quilting flow and design on the front and back of your quilt.