Free Motion Quilting by a Beginner



As promised, here is the update about my adventures in free motion quilting on my Siblings Together quilt. Actually, the entire process has been a huge learning curve for me. To begin with my idea was to put together blocks of, say, 12″ square which I would make using the Quilt As You Go (QAYG) method. However, due to the size of the squares that I had in my stash and the number of those squares that I had, that method was not a viable option: my quilt was going to be 11 squares across and 20 squares down. I was wary of attempting to quilt the entire quilt top in one piece so decided, instead, to make four sections measuring 11 squares by 5 squares which I would QAYG.

I began by drafting out a plan of how I would place the squares. I wouldn’t normally spend time doing a plan but I knew that I had to be organised about placement as I only had a few squares in some of the colours/designs but many of some of the others. I have to admit, at this stage, that having a sketch of where to place each square was invaluable. It saved me a huge amount of time when stitching the squares together, but also when joining the sections. I was constantly checking the paper copy of my design. Whoever might imagine that I would stick slavishly to the original drawing? Certainly not me!

Once I had put together the tops I set about making the sandwich for each section and quilting. I used 2oz polyester wadding and had a different backing fabric for each section – because I couldn’t find a large enough piece of fabric for the whole thing!

Next came the quilting. I had used my walking foot for the first time before Christmas and it had broken so it was with some trepidation that I embarked on this particular adventure. I had bought some 80/12 quilting needles for my machine [no, I didn’t know what size I needed, I just picked up that size] so inserted one in the machine. I dropped the feed dogs, set the stitch length at 0 and attached the free motion foot. 

I picked up the first section…

Here goes…

Ooh! What a surprise. This is fun – I’m quite enjoying myself!

I had not planned what design I would use for the quilting – sorry, but that was a plan too far! I simply decided to take my time and just sort of ‘swirl’ the work around. It didn’t take long for me to get into a bit of a rhythm.



Some parts went quite well and I was very pleased with them.

Other parts weren’t quite as good as the shapes were very different sizes but I didn’t mind that. One problem that I encountered was that my basting stitches keeping the sandwich together sometimes became caught on my machine. This may not have happened if I had remembered to use my Supreme Slider sheet. Silly me!

This is the largest project that I have done using free motion quilting. I was pleasantly surprised at the result on the front of the quilt.

It is a long way from perfect but, for me, that doesn’t matter. From where I’m standing it is a vast improvement on my previous attempts at FMQ. The overall effect is pretty good, I think. I’m certainly not ashamed of it.

This photograph shows that some of my points were not just bad they were downright awful but it shows the quilt is handmade and, actually, this was the only really poor section where points were concerned.

Overall, I am pleased with how well I managed the piecing and the FMQ. I will reveal the finished quilt in another post, when I have managed to get a decent photograph of it! In the meantime, here is the photograph of an acceptable part of one section.

 

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