FMQ – Not What You Think

FMQ stands for free-motion quilting. and it’s HARD!

i’ve completed the front and back of the doll quilt i mentioned in one of my WIP posts. and i’ve decided that the it needs a little FMQ. since the blocks are all different, there’s not really one pattern that would work well on all of them.

enter: the internets.

after reading through tutorials, watching how-to videos, and giving it a try on a “test sandwich”, i gave it a try on the real thing.

long story short, i should have made my test sandwich bigger. round 1 went to the machine:

see? not so pretty. ridiculous variation on the stitch length, tension problems, and sharp corners all made my 1st attempt a bust. AND i got to spend a good half hour or so taking out all those stitches and throwing away the wasted thread.

i think i need to watch those tutorials again. here are a few i checked out if you’re interested:

here’s hoping round 2 goes to me. but if i were you, i wouldn’t bet on it.

what are you battling with this week? 

Quilt Designs

i think i love designing quilt tops much more than the execution. piecing a quilt top can sometimes get boring, especially when the quilt top is rather repetitive.

no offense meant towards the pattern designer, but i have to admit that the repetitive nature of the top is probably why the comforter quilt will take me so long. it probably doesn’t help that i’m using the same 2 fabrics for almost 2/3rds of the blocks. bad planning on my part.

and when the Little One only gives me a few short naps each day, it’s difficult to make enough progress to feel like i’m accomplishing anything. that sense of accomplishment and progress are 2 of my favorite things about the arctic quilt.

if i had more time, i’d design a quilt for every color scheme i love. i’ve started pinning a bunch of them from design seeds. there’s no end to the color palette goodies there!

even more than geometric patterns, i like quilts that go outside the “usual”.  and thus i’ve also got a lot of ideas about maps as quilts, make-believe play mats as quilts (which is why the arctic quilt was more of an art quilt than anything else), and more!

i think i need to just break down and get a sketch book for my quilt ideas.

how do you keep track of ideas that pop into your head?

Windows to the Quilting World

i dont’ remember the first time i saw a cathedral window quilt. but i do know that i’ve always wondered how they’re made.

last weekend i found the sometimes crafter‘s blog and saw her quilt-along blocks. guess which block was on the list? that’s right, cathedral window!

i wanted to just give it a try, so i used a couple of blocks i’ve been making for the Little One’s comforting quilt that i’d messed up and started sewing.  because the blocks were messed up (trimmed off-center), my cathedral windows aren’t perfect. oh well. i just wanted to try it real quick. here’s my progress so far (just one window and a couple side pieces done):

cathedral window sampler

my favorite part about these cathedral windows is that they’re fun to hand-stitch! most quilt work is just straight lines down the backsides of fabric. not the most fun when you’re hand stitching. but these windows are mostly curved stitches on the front sides of the fabric, and thus much prettier to stare at for hours on end as the piece comes together.

while i have a perfectly good sewing machine, sometimes i like to use my hands when i “handmake” projects. plus, i think it lends a much more personal feel to the piece.  i think the appeal of hand stitching probably stems from my old counted cross stitch projects. i did counted cross stitch all the time in middle school. it was a lot of fun, i loved the colors, and i could do it almost anywhere with only minimal gear carried with me. a great project for young crafters!

eventually i hope to make an actual effort and make some awesome cathedral window gifts.  i wonder if i can manage to get some pictures of the Little One printed on fabric so i can put her pretty face into the window.  i bet her great grandparents would love a pillow with her in the cathedral windows. or would that be too cheesy?

do you like to hand sew? or are you a machine artist?