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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Free Motion Practice Becomes Pillow

Looking back at my practice swatches of free motion quilting done on my domestic machine from a couple of months ago, I decided that I liked a couple of panels. I confess that I didn't use quilters' quality fabric, and the batting is cheaper as well. It's recommended that one use the materials that one will be using in the project, in order to get the REAL feel for how all the components work and interact. In any case, I chose the cheaper route, thinking I'd be throwing it out, or stuffing something else with it.

Notice the pumpkins, vines of leaves, flowers, squiggles
I selected two different colors of fabric, cut a section from each (about 20" x 20") and sandwiched them with the batting. I marked 3" rows on the entire surface of the sandwich with chalk to give me a reasonable boundary to work toward. Looking at the full piece and imaging how I'd be quilting the whole space would be overwhelming and look poorly planned. I stitched several motifs to get the hang of it as I learned to work with the rhythm of the machine and needle, while incorporating the movement of my hands. I used chalk to draw a few motifs to find out if I could follow those suggested outlines. I didn't have the machine tension right, I thought, so the bobbin threads show a bit more than I'd like. I've since learned that my bobbin thread was too heavy, and hopefully the next time I do free motion, the bobbin thread won't show.

Two pieces could be trimmed down to throw pillow size, 16" x 16". I found another cheap fabric in my stash for the piping. In the photos, you'll notice the following motifs: pumpkins, leaves, swirls, flowers. Some of the stitching is dense, some is more open. Even though I didn't use the best materials and I don't have the practiced artistic technique down, I like looking at it, touching it, and letting it inspire me. When I look it over, I find myself eager to do it again! Next time, I'll be even better, right?
Here the quilting is more dense with various types of swirls & squiggles

It's time to WIP! WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

and I'm adding a new link-y group: i quilt blog button


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for checking me out, Di. Your encouragement is always appreciated!

  2. I think that is a great idea, to use the practice blocks for something instead of letting them go to waste. I tried FMQ exactly twice lol. I always seem to expect results immediately and if I don't get them I quit lol One day though I want to try again, I guess I just need to be braver!

    Stopping by from Lee's hop

    1. I hope you do try it again. Yours will be unique, like writing in cursive. I didn't like my own practice particularly, but after letting the pieces sit there a couple of months, they grew on me. I've made some others into mug rugs (coasters) to use in my "studio". No one else has to see them, LOL

  3. I love your pillow, your freehand quilting is amazing. I have been turning practice pieces into mug rugs, and pot holders. I am so happy to have found your blog. I am out looking for a few new quilting friends to share and bounce ideas around, with. I am a retired activity directory of an assisted living home, a wife, mother and grandma who is enjoying the extra time of retirement and filling it with fun sewing and crafting projects. I love quilting, but I am very new to it. Please come visit my blog. I would love to have you follow me back and even get in on my latest Give-A-Way of 2 mug rugs and a dish towel.
    Keep smiling . . . hope to hear from you.
    Your new blogging sister, Connie :)

  4. Hi Connie & welcome to quilting! It sounds like you're going to have a very happy retirement! I'd be happy to bounce ideas around with you. Many years ago I was an activity director at a nursing home (as they were called back then), too! All of us have been beginners in quilting at one time or another, and we're always beginning new projects that stretch our skills. I appreciate your feedback. Come back soon cuz I've got some nice things that I've been working on to share :-)