December 03, 2010

Free Motion Quilt Along: Scallops and Echo Designs

Oh, I am getting so excited as we get closer to finishing up this little quilt! Hopefully you have looked through the posts on Scallops and Echo designs, and sketched some that you'd like to try. Two of the three remaining areas on the quilt are reserved for this week. As usual, you can decide which designs you'd like to stitch. I did one area of echo designs and one of scallops. If you don't want to stitch one or the other of these subjects, you could do a square of any other design you'd prefer.

While fans and paisleys are kind of fun to sketch, I don't really see myself using them in the quilts I make. So I wanted to stitch straight and curvy echoing. I started by using my fabric pencil to draw on my quilt. (The fabric pencil was getting shiny and not marking well but I rubbed it on some scrap paper and it worked fine again.)

I stitched along the lines I drew, down one side and up the other.

Then I started echoing. Eventually I got bored. So I stitched some squares in the corners and echoed them back to fill in the spaces, seen here on the curvy side.

I like the look of this!

Now on to scallops. I felt a little intimidated by these, because they require some precision (not perfection though!) and precision's not usually my thing in quilting. So if you feel that apprehension too, do it anyway. It won't be perfect, but it's worth it.

I got two pieces of tape, just longer than the 10 inch length of my square. One I marked right at the edge and every two inches (six marks total). The other I marked about an inch from the edge and every two inches (five marks total). One is to mark the points and one to mark the peaks of the scallops, as I need them.

I laid the first marker down under the bottom of my square. I laid the second marker about an inch and a half above that. If your scallops are two inches wide then they should be only about one inch tall. The extra room was so I could aim for a little before the tape on each side, and avoid sewing through it.

NOW. Which direction to stitch the scallops? I draw them left right left, but in quilting, it is a real pain to go that way, trying to mash quilt back under your machine after you've unrolled or unfolded it to work your last row. You could just stitch them up and down, which is what I decided on. But I've heard that some people orient their machines like this:

Or at a 45 degree angle, with the "top" of the quilt rolled under the machine, to be able to go side to side without battling the small harp of the machine. This orientation did not work with my Bernina but I can see that with a differently shaped machine it might. So if you're inclined to do so, try turning your machine and see how your hand support and visibility and reach end up.

Alright. Stitching. I did a row of basic scallops.

I stopped and changed my tape. The tape that was on the bottom I moved to the top, again, about 1.5 inches above the first row. I didn't use the other guide tape on the bottom of the second row; instead, I just aimed to put the points of the scallops at the peaks of the previous row.

With my tape repositioned, I was ready to stitch again. To get up to the next row, which would start with a half scallop, I could either draw straight up or backtrack to the peak of my last scallop and start there. I just drew straight up. At the end of the second row I switched the tape and did another. I made three rows of plain scallops. Oops! I didn't take a picture of any of this.

After finishing my plain scallops I deemed them "too plain" and I went back over all three rows adding some decoration in the middle of each scallop. I liked those fancy scallops better. In this picture, you can see that I started in the bottom left corner and added successive rows of scallops going up. 

Then I did the row of four nestled scallops. I started with one row, and then mirrored it up the other side, so it looked like five circles. This is a time to make sure your scallops are really the right height. Mine ended up a little tall and that skews the whole design.

After stitching those inward facing scallops I filled their insides with outward facing scallops.

I also did a row of intersecting scallops, using the same two pieces of tape as my guides. I think you can figure out how this guide tape works now. If I've confused you, email me! If you are doing intersecting scallops, give yourself a little space underneath the first row of scallops you stitch, to give your intersecting scallop a place to go. I didn't leave quite enough space for this between the first row of scallops and the border.

I felt like it was all coming out weird and wobbly as I was stitching but once I stepped back the mistakes are minor. The overall effect is very pleasing. One quilt of this and you'd be so great at it!

Oooh, and would you take a look at this?

Just one little (puffy! don't get too nervous) square left! How, oh how will we fill it? I'll tell you soon!

In the meantime, I hope you'll share your stitching for the joy and encouragement of others in the quilt along Flickr group.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh. Your quilt looks great. I can't wait to start this.

Elsa said...

love these designs and sketching them out first makes it look a bit easier to do ...

quiltingnana said...

I have tried and tried but my curved quilting just doesn't come out right. I have set my machine as described in my manual but I keep getting messes on the back. (the stitches seem to be pulling off to the side and I end up with a feathery look on the back) The front looks fine. My straight stitches look fine..Guess I'll have to keep at the straight ones for a while.

Sand and Sunshine said...

Oh yippie I'm all caught up! I was so far behind the other day! But thanks to a quiet afternoon I'm all caught up. I love the look of this quilt! The quilting is so cuddle friendly to boot, there might be some screaming over who gets to call this one their own.

Eileen said...

haven't been following along for quite some time--just so busy with Christmas stuff, but so appreciate the time you've taken to put all this out there for me to play with after the holidays. i love the confidence i now have to at least try some of these things. so thanks so much and have a great rest of the year!

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