Friday, October 30, 2015

Week in Review 2015 - 10/30

This tom turkey visits me daily. He is
entranced by his image in the picture
windows of my studio. 
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

My posts nearly always include an image of a current free motion practice piece since I make it a point to do some free motion quilting every week. No surprise, many of the comments I receive concern my free motion quilting.

In this post I want to address two questions I have received about my free motion quilting practice. The first is why do I do it. The second is what do I practice on.

The primary reason why I do some free motion quilting weekly is in order to maintain my skill between quilts. However, there are other benefits as well. Not only do I maintain my skill, but it improves, not as dramatically as when I was first starting out, but I do notice that my ability to navigate out of and into awkward spaces is nearly second nature now. When I am practicing, I choose new motifs to test drive. Try 30 new free motioning quilting motifs in a year and do that for five years and I have not only mastered the basics, but I have 150 motifs to reference when selecting how to quilt that next quilt. Even better, because I am constantly trying new motifs I have no qualms of trying something new on an actual quilt.
A detail from Deconstructed Sunrise #3 showing the quilting.

I don't practice on an "important" quilt. For the most part I practice on solid color fabric and that is most likely to be white muslin or black. I do this because the stitches don't blend into the fabric, making it easy to see where I have already stitched. I will often piece together scraps of muslin or black fabric in order to make use of the scraps, but also because this is more like an actual quilt with seams. Occasionally, I even piece my batting. Do NOT seam batting scraps together. Instead align two straight sides of batting together and using either a zig zag stitch or another stitch that goes from side to side (not satin stitch) to attach one scrap to another. I like to use a quilt sandwich that is approximately the size of a fat quarter or 18" x 22". I start by stitching a grid of squares or rectangles that are at least 4" on each side. I only fill in one unit per session. A 5" x 6" rectangle is large enough for me to develop the muscle memory for the motif and work out any tricky areas. One fat quarter sandwich lasts me for two months, so I am not constantly having to put together quilt sandwiches to work on.
The piecing on Deconstructed
Sunrise #3
is complete. All the circular
sunrise photos have been quilted as has
the top sun. 

If learning how to manipulate something larger than a fat quarter is something you need to practice, then I highly recommend making quilts for charity, especially charities that require crib (cot if your live in the UK) quilts.

It has been an awesome week when it comes to spending time in my studio. I actually managed to head down there for three full days this week. Here is what I achieved:

1)  Continue quilting Deconstructed Sunrise #3 (Due November 30, 2015) - Done!

2) Free motion quilting practice. - Done! 

3) Post the number of days I have worked in my studio in 2015 - 90/126

4) Perform a random act of kindness - Done!

Puffy Clouds is a free motion quilting motif of my own,
influenced by Muv, of Free Motion Mavericks. I'm
thinking of using it in the sky portion of Deconstructed
Sunrise #3.
I will be a free motion quilting fiend next week, too. Here is the game plan: 

1)  Continue quilting Deconstructed Sunrise #3 (Due November 30, 2015)

2) Free motion quilting practice. 

3) Post the number of days I have worked in my studio in 2015

4) Perform a random act of kindness 

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.


  1. practicing your craft... a lot of people say, oh I can't free motion but I wonder if they have put in the time learning and practicing....

  2. Hey, "puffy clouds" is a really neat motif. I can't wait to see more of #3 :)

  3. Thanks for sharing how you practice! I just took some time off from quilting a large quilt and could really tell when I went back to it that I was a little "creaky." I' seeing the importance of staying in regular practice.

  4. The quilting motif for the sun is simply brilliant!!!

  5. So true about practice, practice, practice. I have done a lot of FM quilting over the years and love the feeling of getting in the zone of quilting. Love the idea of creating a little sampler of designs, I'm going to have to start one, too, because sometimes when I sit down to quilt my mind goes blank.

  6. Gwyned, Deconstructed Sunrise is fantastic! It must be such a thrill now that it is finished. I love the subtle tones of yellow and peach in the photo of the detail, and the combination of quilting and colours is nothing short of perfect. This week's featured project at Free Motion Mavericks is...

    The puffy clouds FMQ is fun. It is begging for a swirling water variation.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv