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Monday, September 24, 2012

Continuing the class project

I am continuing the class project for the class Beyond Machine Quilting. This counts as a UFO (unfinished object) because I cut the fabric before my husband died and didn't look at it for a couple of months. Also there is an important project waiting for my free motion quilting to get better so it can be finished. The class project should put me over the top.

I finished the ditching a couple of days ago. It went very well. I've learned how to use my walking foot no matter what thread is in the needle. It took quite a while to learn how to thread very fine threads in the machine, but I've got that down pat now and it no longer is a problem.

The next thing I needed to learn was how to mark a design on my fabric and sew it. It turned out that using my sewing machine to punch holes in a paper pattern did not work. I solved that problem the old fashioned way.  I used a push pin and poked the holes by hand.

I bought the "stuff" to put through the holds several months ago for my last hand quilting project. The "stuff" is called pounce powder. I bought the blue color. It came with an eraser shaped pad to put the powder through the holes.

It didn't work for my last hand quilting project with a commercial stencil made especially for that product, and it didn't work for this current project with my hand made stencil. The problems were different. With the commercial stencil I could not match up the patterns on the border I was going to hand quilt. With my home made stencil I could mark, but the powder would have disappeared before I could sew the pattern on the machine. I ended up using what I had marked as a "suggestion" of where to mark with an old fashioned silver pencil.

If I am going to be marking quilting designs, I need to come up with a better method.

This is my current practice square. The two really ugly round objects were just drawn by hand, but the sewing was about as ugly as a beginner's project can get.

There were two reasons. First, I am a total beginner at following a line in free motion. Second, it turns out that I hate colored thread on white fabric. What I want from the quilting is the texture. There will be times when colored thread will work, but that will be on a colored background. What I like is for the thread to match or to be one shade darker or one shade lighter. If you look at the round "flower" at the top, it is a beige thread on a white fabric. The sewing isn't wonderful, but I really like how the texture looks.

Here is a close up of the "flower." I have another one marked on another piece of white practice fabric, which is a good thing, but I do think that it won't be all that bad.

But I made some decisions that took me the better part of two days. No colored thread in this project even though that is what the class called for. And I might make three "flowers" or I might just make one.

What I really want to learn and practice is making feathers and stalks with leaves free motion, without marking. And frankly as you can tell from the background practice areas above, I seem to do free motion with no lines better than following a line. I know that learning how to follow a line is going to be important at some point, but right now just getting a bunch of free motion practice in is what is really important. I've got that important UFO (unfinished object) waiting for me to get better at free motion.

Take care all.


  1. Definitely try the Fine Line WATER erasable pen. You will need to completely soak your quilt to get the marks out, but it will work a lot easier and will actually show and stay in place for you to get the quilt quilted by hand or by machine.

    And let me also say Stella that I'm very sorry for your loss. I hope you will find comfort and purpose in quilting.


  2. I think you've nailed it: the texture! That's what I want in my quilts, too. Thank you for defining that for me. I think your quilting is coming along nicely and it looks as if you are not stuck in squiggles and jiggles. Way to go!

    I hope you have many fine memories of your husband and that you can feel comfort in them. Now, take care of YOU!

  3. Hi Stella I'm so sorry for your loss my thoughts are with you x Thankyou for the review of the pounce powder I had looked at this but was dubious so I'll still to the white pencil for now! Don't worry about travel stitching I couldn't do it 2 months ago but have just done the hearts and feathers wholecloth so you come a long way in a couple of months! Your quilting is fab x