(The drawing is now closed)
Welcome to the first quilting week of the Free Motion Quilt Along! First off, I am excited to tell you that C&T Publishing is providing a copy of Show Me How to Machine Quilt, by Kathy Sandbach, to one lucky blog reader. How perfect, thank you C&T! To be entered for the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post. There must be an email address for me to contact so please include that if your profile does not allow people to access your email address.
I hope you are excited about quilting some wiggles! I decided to split up the quilting designs and quilt along instructions so the designs can serve as an easy reference for anyone, without a bunch of quilt along information confusing matters. So if you haven't already, please read the post on wiggle designs.
Now, we are going to be quilting wiggles in two of the skinny strips on the quilt. How about the middle two? Just roll your quilt up to one of the strips, and slide the roll under the arm of your sewing machine.
You get to choose whatever designs appeal to you. Choose according to your interest and skill level! Now, before you rush (wiggle?) off, I do think you should open up your quilt journal and sketch any of those wiggle designs that you liked. Then you will have them to inspire you for future projects. And take some time to think about other wiggle designs. Sketch those as well. Then choose four to six designs you would like to try. Not all of them will be appropriate for a one inch wide strip, so take that into account.
I must tell you that I am a ponderer. I can get stuck mulling over the silliest details. If you are also a ponderer, know that the designs you choose are not important. Practicing quilting is important. So if you find yourself getting stuck on deciding what to quilt, just quilt the designs I quilted, OK? Before starting, try a few wiggles on your practice pad to get in your groove (and to double check that the tension pixies haven't visited).
Here we go. I first did a basic serpentine wiggle for 1/3 of the strip.
Then I increased the frequency of the wave. This might be UVA. Got your sunscreen?
Then I decreased the frequency. Maybe a bit too much. It was looking like a pretty sickly wiggle so I just threw in a tiny leaf here and there. Force of habit.
On to the second strip. I tried the ribbon candy design. Took a little bit to get the feel for it but I really like this one!
Then I did the basic serpentine down to the bottom of the strip. At the bottom I turned around and did the mirror/DNA wiggle, until I reached the 1/3 point. The challenge with this design is to NOT stare at the needle. If you stare at the needle you will make all your turns too late and it will not be symmetrical (although, if you were really aiming to draw DNA you will have totally nailed it). You need to look ahead of the needle, where you're going (like driving!). If you are at the outermost part of the curve you should have your eyes on the point you want to intersect the first wiggle. If you are at the intersection you should be looking ahead to where you want the outermost part of the next bump to land. This is a general principle of free motion quilting so take this solemn vow: I will not stare at my needle.
Finally, I tried the ribbon effect. I like the way this looks - it is hard to mess this one up!
A few words about working with your quilt for the first time. Try and keep it from hanging off the edge of your table. Pile it on the table or in your lap so you're not battling the weight of the quilt while you move the quilt sandwich. Stop every now and then and make sure it's not starting to bind around the corner of your machine or table.
Also, I quilted my lines with the one inch strip oriented vertically in the machine but if you want to quilt from side to side, go ahead. Just roll up your quilt from the right side, slip it under the machine arm and start quilting on the left edge. As you work your way to the right you will be slowly unrolling the quilt as you go. This is just a matter of preference. Up and down or side to side, no one will be able to tell once your quilt is off the machine.
And finally, for some of you this quilt along is the right pace and for some it is painfully slow (I can tell, even though you are being very polite). So, hey, you don't have to wait for me! I would love nothing more than for you to have the confidence to disregard everything I say and just quilt what you want to quilt. That is what will really make you a better quilter: practice. So if you want to quilt more than what I tell you, or try designs before we get to them in the quilt along, you absolutely should. Don't wait around for me to bore you to tears.
So, go ahead, have fun; no stress, it's just quilting! Don't forget about the Flickr group for sharing successes or struggles.