11 December 2012

the quilting part of quilting

I'm so excited about the enthusiasm over my book review project!  I'll be trying to post one every week or two until I've done the titles on my bookshelf.  I really appreciated the feedback I received about what books to do next.  Right now, I'm planning three ahead, and this is what I've got lined up:

1. Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe
2. Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pederson
3. Geared for Guys by Emily Herrick

Other stuff you guys suggested:
  • a way for you all to get involved, like maybe a central place to link to your blog when you write a serious review.  I'm totally down with this!  I just need to figure out how to make it easily navigable.  I've been planning a proper website (around the blog) so that tutorials, reviews and such are more easily cataloged.  I think once the website launches, I can set this up.
  • my personal opinion.  On the website I'm planning on making recommendations for specific categories and subcategories.  I'm not sure if I'll go further than that.  I imagine that what is appropriate and useful will reveal itself.  I guess that I just don't expect that what I want or need in a book is necessarily what YOU want or need, so I'm happiest to just describe what is in the book and who I imagine would want/need it.We'll see!
However, ya'll know that I love to talk about process, so since I just reviewed Free-Motion Quilting by Angela Walters and then went on a quilting binge to wrap up some works-in-progress that were due (at magazines, or as gifts), I figure I can talk about my process in choosing and using quilting designs.

recently quilted


Quilting is probably my least favorite step in the process of making a quilt.  It's also, probably because I send quilts out pretty often, my biggest problem growth area.  I just haven't put in the time on quilting that I need to in order to have those gorgeous even stitches and in order to get onto the quilt what is in my head.

I tend to like quilting that is somewhere between an all-over pattern with no relationship with the patchwork and a one that is micro-coordinated to the patchwork.  Usually, this results in either a fairly minimal all-over design (see the The DoublePlusGood Quilt, Miss Stinky's Particle Board Cabin) or for a long time I have favored straight-line quilting (The Full Stops Quilt, The Green Quilt, The Kelp Quilt).  It probably helps that these designs are pretty straightforward requests for me to make of my lovely local long-arm quilter, Bernie.

I also tend to send things out to the long-arm quilter when I'm short on time or when I've made a large quilt (and most of my quilts are large!)

I recently realized that I need to do more of my own quilting.  Why?  Because I came across this work in progress:
The Martha Quilt


I made this quilt top in 2005.  2005.  2005.  I f**king love this quilt top and it hasn't been quilted because I haven't developed the skills to execute what is in my head.  ARGH!!!!  Time to grow some ovaries, slap that darning foot on my little Janome, and get to work!

I had a few lap-sized quilts in need of quilting, so I decided to woman-up and quilt them myself.  Unfortunately, I can't show you the quilt tops (gifts and such), but suffice it to say that I wanted something non-swirly and non-straight-line and moderately dense.

My go-to-spot for browsing free-motion quilting designs is The Free Motion Quilting Project from Leah Day.  More than 365 designs being given away for free with pictures and videos and explanations?  Yes, please!  They are also, very helpfully, categorized in multiple ways, including difficulty, design type, and directional texture.

I decided to practice on a small quilt I anticipate donating to charity.
Basic Chevron quilting practice

This is the Basic Chevron design.  Pretty easy.  I got much better as I went, so I was glad to be working on a practice quilt as I got the worst of the wobbles out of my system.

I then slept on it (your brain processes skills as you sleep, making you much better on the start of day 2, than you were at the end of day 1.  Seriously, here's my reference: RadioLab. Yay science!)

On the second quilt, I decided to use the Square Spiral
Square Spiral design practice


Again, it was a bit clunky at first, but I practiced a bit, slept on it, practiced a bit more and then was competent enough to do it on a "real" quilt.

My practice quilt doesn't look half-bad though!
Checkerboard quilt used for quilting practice
The actual quilts were similar to the practice quilt in that they had a columns of patchwork and I wanted to quilt in a way that went with the columns. Like the practice quilt, there are two passes of the quilting within each column. I tried the chevrons wider, but I lost control doing something that wide on my machine. I think I am going to invest in some grippy gloves and see if that helps with control. Leah Day sells quilting kits with gloves and sliders, so I'll pick one up from her, since her shop is how she supports her awesome website.

I think I'm going to finish upthe patchwork for  my log cabin quilt next, but in the back of my head, I'm contemplating how I will quilt it and also the Halloween Quilt.  I actually, think I'm pretty close to settled a design for the Halloween Quilt---varying sized squares filled with the matrix design.

21 comments:

  1. Way to grow a pair! (Of ovaries! :) ). I'll have to look into those slider things...

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    1. I hear good things! (See the comments below!)

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  2. Thanks for sharing your quilting practice! I've been practicing too ~ it's a lot harder than it looks ;) Get the grippy gloves ~ they help a lot, you can cut the fingertips off too so you don't have to take them off to do other things. What type of machine do you quilt with?

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    1. I tried linking to my blog post that shows the machine http://r0ssie.blogspot.com/2010/03/what-goes-nicely.html

      It's an all-mechanical Janome TB12 Threadbanger Sewing Machine. It is a twin to the Janome/New Home L-108 and the Janome Travel Mate 4612 (and probably others, this is a popular style that Janome re-releases periodically with new styling.) I think it is being sold as the HD1000 now!

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    2. If you get the Machingers from Leah, don't cut off the tips. That's the only part of the glove with grip.

      I learned SO MUCH about FMQ from Leah's site and challenged myself to finish one quilt a month last year. My quilting improved exponentially. Before you know it, you'll be quilting like a pro!

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    3. Thanks for the tip on tips, Flaun!

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  3. The gloves make a huge difference. So much more control. I use the Machingers and also enjoy constantly referencing my "machingers" when wearing them like I am a cyborg. Quilting without them is like writing with my left hand.

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    1. That's such a great explanation of the difference. I can't wait to try these out!

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  4. Sweet! Keep at it! What changed my world was a desk that my machine drops into creating a flat level surface for the quilt to lay on. That and the Supreme Slider thing (in Leahs shop too) making the bed of the machine/ table glossy and slippery. I actually like quilting now but am thinking of sending off a king quilt to be done by a long armEr( which I've never done). Or better yet renting a long arm at the local quilt shop. I use a pair of gardening gloves with the latexy inner hand. I'll have to get a new pair to cut off the tips to thread, and clean and rebobbin in. Good idea... I take my gloves off and on constantly!

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    1. There's a comment above that suggests cutting the tips off might not be the best thing...something to consider.

      I have a wood table just laying about in the garage that I'm contemplating cutting a hole in following this tutorial: http://frommartawithlove.com/diy-ikea-sewing-table-tutorial/ It seems like it would be worth it.

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    2. oh so worth it! it makes such a difference ! well those gardening gloves are latexed on the whole hand so thats why cutting off the tips might work for those...not sure on the machinagers if they are nonslip just on tips or what.

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    3. I put a 4X8 sheet of OSB on top of my old table spaced out by 2X4's....cut a slit in my OSB to fit machine, then shunned machine up just a tiny but. I rounded the corners of the OSB and shellacked the piss out of it. Works Luke a charm! Six bucks fir OSB and had the 2X's laying around. Also, turn your machine 90 degrees to quilt (like a long arm)....it makes a TON of difference!

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  5. I can't quilt without the Supreme Slider. I have a pair of Fons and Porter's gloves because they are very thin. I like a snug fit, too. I'm a longtime follower of Leah's. I get super stuck with the quilting plan, too. I like the idea of the commenter to do a quilt a month. Maybe I'll make that my goal for 2013.

    Kris

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    1. Maybe a quilt sampler...I see that Leah has a craftsy class!

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  6. Yes! The more you do it, the better you get. And soon it won't seem like a big deal to do them yourself. Trust me, I went through the same evolution. So says the girls who just basted a king size quilt filled with negative space.
    That matrix design is so easy too, once you get the rhythm of direction.
    Like others have said, the right set-up will go a long way towards making it more enjoyable. My biggest tip is to have a beer while doing it. It will relax you and make your shoulders less tense. And it is tasty!

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    1. Good luck with the King! Wow! I'm going to get myself a proper set-up and then quilt like the wind!

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    2. haaha or a glass of wine!

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  7. oh awesome! I love that you're doing more quilting yourself. that's crazy how the brain works. :)

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  8. I think the practice quilt has a bit of mid-century modern flair with the square spirals. I also need to practice (head dipped in shame) however it's totally my machines fault not mine. And I'm sticking to that story. The Slider looks pretty genius and I spent hours one night looking at Ms Day's videos, what a wealth of information!

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  9. Girl, I love it when you talk process!!

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  10. I love Leah Day and Radio Lab! Those guys are freaking fantastic! I thought I was the only one who knew them! You must love NPR Saturdays too!

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