Here we are already at the halfway point of our 10-week quest to quilt our way through The Ultimate Guide o Machine Quilting by Christa Watson and Angela Walters. All the previous weeks are listed at the end of this post, if you want to catch up.
This week the chapter is called Quatrefoil Applique and oh my, Christa provides a whole toolbox of motifs to fill all types of spaces. (I’m sticking to the Christa part of the book, because she is using a domestic machine, while Angela is handling long-arm designs.) This chapter is worth the price of the book, in my opinion. Christa provides about a dozen motifs to play with and practice. And practice I have! I will be the first to admit that some of these designs are a lot easier for me than others.
The ones that were most in my wheelhouse are variations on meanders. It was a great way to start off the week. Here is an example of loops, hearts, and flowers. I already do the loopy meander–but the hearts and stars are so charming–I can’t wait to work them into an actual quilt. They would be darling in a baby quilt or seasonal table runner.
But then I had to go and stretch myself into designs that were not as easy for me. I can’t be the only person that thinks that spirals are hard, right?! Both Christa and Angela make them look so easy to do and they seem to stay so beautifully spaced. This is much harder than it looks! I’ve been doodling them for years, and they get better with practice, but, boy, they still need work. Have you ever heard the trick that you should have a glass of wine before you start free motion quilting–to loosen up a bit.? Well, I tried that over the weekend, and let me tell you two glasses in things just started to get worse! 🙂
I have learned something though–keep your eye on where you want to go, not where the needle is. This makes a huge difference! I can get mesmerized by the needle–but keeping my eye on the place I want to be as I spiral out has really helped.
Another motif that I am loving from this chapter is called Echo Plumes. It is very easy to do and you get a fun build up of thread from traveling over the same lines that I think looks cool. I think this may be my new favorite design. It’s beautiful, pretty easy to do, and you can cover a large area pretty quickly.
I don’t want to give away too much from the book, so the last design I want to show you is called Spiral Flowers. It’s another great way to fill up a large space and provides such great texture. I have a pink baby quilt that I need to quilt and I think this might be a perfect motif for it. Super easy and relaxing to do.
One of the main takeaways for me in this chapter is to be creative when filling large spaces or even all-over designs. There is a whole world out there beyond the meander! And Christa also really showed me to not be afraid to take a design I have already mastered and think of a way to do a variation on it. Leah Day did exactly that over something like 400 designs over on her website. Keep on trying those variations until you find your signature motif!
Besides using up stash fabric, working on all these practice pieces as given me a way to use up a whole bunch of random bobbin thread. I don’t know about you, but I had at least a dozen bobbins wound halfway or less with random colors from past projects. And I often find myself scrambling to find an empty bobbin when I need one. So now, when I start my free motion practice, I just pop one in and use it until it’s gone. Since it’s practice, it doesn’t matter that I run it completely out. I finally win at bobbin chicken! Here’s a peek at the back of my practice piece this week, you can really see everything, warts and all! Thank goodness for blending threads!
Five weeks in and I really feel like I am making progress on my free motions stitches. That consistent practice really makes a big difference. I hope that you are seeing some progress as well! Tell me about it in the comments.
The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting will only be on sale for a few more days on the Martingale website. It’s a great time to grab a copy! Don’t forget to share your stitches on Instagram: #machinequiltingbloghop.
Machine Quilting Blog Hop series:
Make sure you make all the stops on the blog hop–we all have such different perspectives!
Vicki at My Creative Corner3
HollyAnne at String and Story
Jen at Quiltin’Jenny.