Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WIP Wednesday...

It feels a bit like I’m living in the land of Quilt OCD over here.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to finish off two big projects at once while simultaneously starting to dip my toes into dressmaking for grownups.  But the quilts…the quilts!

After finishing up my tilted star alphabet quilt top, I knew exactly how I wanted to quilt it with a mix of free motioning quilting and hand quilting.  I love this top and have never tried to free motion on anything larger than a quilt sandwich before, so I knew that I couldn’t dive right into it without practicing on something first.  My main fear about free motion quilting is that I’m so green with it, I don’t want to totally screw up a quilt top for the sake of practice.  What do to??

So I dipped into the WIP pile and came across this – my black and white broken herringbone top.  I was in a rush to finish it to participate in the MSBHQAL a while back with the intention of adding an extra column and 2 rows to make it more lap sized.  As it stands right now, it’s more of a generous crib size.  Somehow making the extra blocks just fell to the side as I worked on the feather top, Little One, Mon Amie, and other assorted projects in the past 6 months.  I still really like it as a quilt top, but I have to say that I’m a little more in love with the individual quilt blocks than the top as a whole.  Has that ever happened to you?  Long story short – it’s a finished quilt top that I’m not super invested in and already had backing fabric for.  Hello practice quilt top! 

Months ago, I signed up for Elizabeth Dackson’s FMQ Craftsy class and am just now getting around to watching the videos.  They are fantastic - it's really helpful to see how she's moving the fabric around instead of just reading a tutorial online.

Generic darning foot on the left and the BigFoot on the right
When I first attempted FMQing with my On the Boardwalk mini, I bought a BigFoot for my machine and really struggled.  I found that the large plastic disk really obstructed my view of where  I should be going and it felt like I was trying to quilt blind.  Seems like you should be able to clearly see through the plastic, but maybe there was glare from the machine's light?  I don't know but it just wasn't working for me.  I went out and purchased a generic darning foot which looks more like what I’ve seen Elizabeth use in her videos and boy did it make a big difference! I feel like I can really see what I'm doing now.

I’m still struggling with matching the speed from my foot pedal with moving the fabric around, but I feel like I’m getting a better handle on things as I work through this one!  My plan is to keep it simple stupid and just move back and forth through each block with curliques in the black and white sections.  It’s still looking pretty sloppy, but I think I’m getting better!  Once I make my way through the black and white quilt, I’ll feel more confident to try something only slightly more difficult on the tilted stars.  

Linking up:  
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


  1. It looks really good!! The best way to practice is actually on quilts so have fun!

  2. One thing I do, that might help, is I actually quilt backwards - I move the quilt from behind the machine to the front. This way I can see what's already happened, and I'm not blindly hoping my stitches don't overlap the previous ones. It especially helped on that recent swap. :D

    1. Good call on the backwards thing! And curlicues are great anyway, because a little overlap isn't very obvious.

      Gloves are helpful too. They give you a little extra grip that helps you feel more in control of where the quilt is going. I have a plain pair of gardening gloves with the little nubby rubber bits on them.

      Good luck! It'll be great!

  3. Oh, it looks great! And it really is the best sort of practice! Good luck! :)

  4. It looks great! I always remind myself that the imperfections make each quilt special and provide a touch of whimsy!

  5. Congratulations for jumping in on FMQ'ing! It can be so much fun (and so frustrating at times!) but the key thing is that it is a wonderful feeling to take a quilt from beginning to end!

  6. It's going to be a cute top and the bonus of fairly busy fabric is any imperfections in the FMQ will get hidden. Way to go! I use a dollar store pair of gardening gloves, it helps immensely. Elizabeth Hartman has some good FMQ tips too on the MQG blog here

  7. I'm in love with this;-) The key to FMQ really is just practice, practice, practice... and it always takes me way longer than I think it should!

  8. Looks great, Stephanie. Coordinating the speed of the needle with the moving of the quilt is the most difficult part. I like to practice on baby quilts. Sending them through the washer and dryer hides all kinds of problems.

  9. I love the black and white with a pop of colour. Your interpretation of this quilt pattern is fabulous.