Monday, April 30, 2012

FMQ Challenge for April

Well, another month has zoomed on by, and though I did get the garden dug and planted, my Free Motion Quilting Challenge got left til the last minute (though it did get done, mostly).
This was created from a lovely tutorial by Don Linn on SewCalGal's blog. He taught us a clever way of transferring a pattern to fabric using tulle, a sharpie, an iron, an embroidery hoop, and a water soluble/erasable fabric pen/pencil (You've got to watch the tutorial to get all the details of the process).  He also gave smart ways to modify or combine parts of patterns and make them something new.  Excellent info from Mr. Quilt!

Quilting on a drawn pattern was a good variation for me, as I'd been about to practice FMQ on a line for Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays (I'm still way, way behind on this, but I'm still working on it, and I'm definitely learning).  To warm up for the project, I just transferred a simple star pattern (the blue markings) and ran lines on it.

Keeping the lines straight is harder than you might think!  There's no walking foot to rely on, and the feed dogs are down, and there's no swirly random elements to throw in when you get in a tight spot, so you're on your own here.

I'm still using the Sulky Blendables 30 weight cotton and a 90/14 Topstitch needle.  This is this is #4117 Fall Holidays on the back, and #4041 Fiesta on the front.

Back to the Don Linn challenge, it was great fun following the lines on those swooping curves.  You can see that I'm even pretty close to those blue pen lines (mostly, usually)!

But I did notice that my thread tension was not quite right, though not horrible enough for drastic measures - you can see it in the photo on dark fabric (at the top of the page - that photo is actually the back of the piece).  And after adjusting the tension to the extreme, I finally realized that I had changed something and had used a different batting on this!  Thus proving again that you always have to sample/do a test swatch with exactly the materials that are in your project.  I should probably label my batting scraps so I know what I'm using each time - there is probably a logic as to how they affect the stitching.  I must become more scientific about my creative projects!

I say the quilting is only mostly done, because it seems like it does need some kind of fill around it, so I have to decide which technique to try - does it want a simple grid?  or micro-stippling to make the leaves and flowers pop out?  or echo stitching? or something else entirely?

too many choices.  too much fun.  

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