Sunday, January 22, 2012

Machine Quilting With Leah Day - Week 3

 This week was STIPPLE, Stipple and stipple. Different quilts and different areas within a quilt call for different sizes of stippling. Week 3 was our opportunity to try our hands at practicing scale.

3 Sizes of Stippling

I marked my fabric sandwich into three vertical channels and started with the central large scale stippling. It seemed like I had finished before I even started. Thanks to practicing large scale basic stippling during the first week this was very easy.

Large Scale Stippling - Close Up

Out of all three sizes of stippling this was the easiest and most consistent when it came to stitch length. I also spent the least amount of time so fatigue and boredom didn't have a chance to set in.

Next I tried my hand on a medium scale stipple. This is the channel on the left shown in the 3 Sizes of Stippling image above.

Mid-Sized Stippling

I still had solid control of my stitch length when doing the mid-sized stippling. I do recall getting hung-up over the size, which is a bit larger than the half inch channels suggested by Leah. I found it difficult to look at my finger (a half inch guide) while I was also stippling. I decided what was most important was that I stayed consistent, which I did.

Small Scale Stippling

Boring! Although I tend to work small scale most of the time on my own work, I found stippling at closer to a 1/4 inch scale boring. It was easy to get distracted. This meant that my stitch length wasn't as consistent. I have a tendency to ramp up the speed with my foot to a point where my hands and brain don't keep up. The result is tiny stitches. I needed breaks to shift my hands and regroup my brain, so there are a few hesitation and stop/start points. It was also easy to move from small scale towards medium scale stippling, so the consistency of scale isn't quite as good with this sample as it is with its larger scale sisters. However, unless you look very carefully and know what you are looking for the inconsistencies aren't noticeable. 

What I am very appreciative of with this project is that it acts as a good warm up for my personal free motion quilting on my current project. I can sense a much stronger sense of control, ease and even stamina at the machine.


  1. This looks sooo nice! And I don't see a problem at all with your small scale! Looks perfect to me.

  2. Thank you. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist.

  3. All three sizes of your stippling look fantastic. I'm loving this QAL, I never thought of how much there was to think about with just stippling. I think it will make us all better quilters.

  4. Your stitching looks great, very consistent considering the different type of movement required for each scale.

  5. What beautiful stitches and shapes. I wish I could make mine as well-shaped and curvy!
    I found the largest scale the most difficult: couldn't keep the scale consistent or produce the shapes I wanted.

  6. Pat, MC and Anne - thank you for giving my work such generous praise. I do have the advantage that I have been FMQ for over a decade and rather comfortably for the past five years or so. We'll see what happens when I tackle Week 4. I pieced my "quilt" this afternoon. Tomorrow I tackle sewing on the line.

  7. Your stitches are looking terrific! Perfectly balanced and wonderful curvy - give yourself a pat on the back!

  8. Thank you, Leah. That means a lot coming from a master like you.

  9. Having the equal sections makes it look very nice. Such a smart way to show the different sizes! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Part of the fun of each assignment for me is figuring out how to layout the work, which fabric and thread to use and even thinking how I will write it up as I work. Your is just the encouragement I need to plan my "play".

  11. As a non-stitcher, machine or hand, I am finding this totally fascinating!It makes me appreciate your work even more than I have! And, I loved seeing your pieces at the M. Library!
    Keep up the wonderful work, and I will enjoy following wherever you lead! Cheryl

  12. Hey Cheryl, I'm impressed. Thank you for taking the steps to follow along with me and check out my work at the library. You are a wonderful friend. Who knows you may even be tempted at some point to pick up a needle.