Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WIP: Listening to My Quilt

I got off to a good start this weekend by finishing the Bunny Book in time for Easter.  You can see some of my tips for assembling it on my last post. I mailed it off to my granddaughter Monday.  Happy Easter, everyone!

I am going to resist the urge to start anything new and focus on practicing my FMQ again.  I will start with my Jack O' Lantern Trio but first have to decide what pattern to quilt. 

I just ordered a really neat book called Listen to Your Quilt and I am excited to apply what I have learned thus far. I was reading it this week – and I mean reading, not just browsing through the pictures. It is a written in a friendly tone and gave me a much better perspective about the whole arena of quilting after I've layered top, batting, and backing. You know the old saying: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. This book is more than a collection of patterns and the sequence for producing them. It is inspiration on how to pick patterns for your quilts.

The first time I sent out a quilt top to be quilted I felt guilty. After all, shouldn't I be doing the finishing myself since it was my creation?  But I was afraid to ruin the top with my inexperience. I have such a mismatch between my experience piecing and my experience quilting.  Didn't well known quilt makers and quilt designers also send out their creations to be quilted? And as for doing the quilting myself on a king size quilt... I certainly did not want to spend the money or sacrifice the required space for a long arm of my own.  So, I squelched my guilt. 

This first top I sent out to be quilted was stitched in an allover quilting pattern on a long arm. Here it is, my Thimbleberries Hometown Christmas quilt. It was on display at the county a few years go. In retrospect, a more block specific quilting pattern would been better. It would have enhanced the piecing that I was so proud of. But block specific quilting would also have been a LOT more work and much more expensive.

So I again wanted my future tops to be quilted more in keeping with the printed fabric and piecing design.  Even if I were willing to pay the long arm quilter more money for her time to do this for me, I would have to know in advance what I wanted (which I wouldn't). So I started to learn and practice Free Motion Quilting. I struggled with it, sent out a few quilts to be FMQ'd by someone else, and did a few on my own. I took two classes, one very free form and one more formal and heirloom-ish. The desire to get better at my own custom quilting was strengthened when a smattering of my initial guilt was resurrected. One instructor, when referring to an allover quilting pattern with a long arm machine, made the comment "It's just like a mattress pad". 

I divulge all this because I have come to realize there is no right answer and this book Listen to Your Quilt reinforces that fact.  It made me feel better about how I chose to quilt or have my tops quilted. Some quilts, depending on their intended use and design, may be better long arm quilted with an allover pattern. Others may be better if they are free motion quilted, outline quilted, or heirloom quilted very densely.  This book not only gives perspective but also provides assistance in choosing which method would best enhance the quilt. Although there are many, many examples of quilting patterns for inspiration near the end of the book, the main focus of Listen to Your Quilt is to help identify the path forward after those dreaded words at the end of many patterns, "Quilt as desired."

Therefore, after my Jack O'Lantern Trio top I will work on my Chicken quilt top. 

Jack O'Lantern Trio is a modification of an old project and I am willing to sacrifice it if the quilting goes radically wrong. The Chicken top was to be deployed with a home decor I no longer have. If I mess them up, it is not just cause for weeping and gnashing of teeth. They are both relatively small wall hangings (less than a fabric width wide) and they both have a sort of built in grid to help me develop a uniform sizing to my bubble, loops, pebbles, swirls, or whatever else I attempt.  Both have triangles to be creative with.  My WIP is to gain confidence in FMQ when I want to do it and lose that guilt when I don't!

I also plan to also seek out large pattern prints to work on outlining skills. I just bought this and think it would be a beautiful way to practice.

That's it for this week. Here are my stats.

Completed projects:
  1. Completed and mailed the bunny cloth book
  2. Bought printer ink so I can now print my paper pieced BOM pattern
Ongoing projects:  
  1. Color Play of the Day - now with long arm quilter, thread/pattern decided
  2. Sunny Spring Frost - now with long arm quilter, thread/pattern decided
  3. Jack O' Lantern Trio - awaiting FMQ
  4. Chicken quilt - awaiting FMQ
  5. Overlapping square wall hanging - awaiting FMQ
  6. Grinch quilt - on design wall for assembly and creative sashing solution
  7. Mask quilt - hidden away in a container awaiting inspiration for arranging hexagons
  8. Scarecrow - just add his doo-dads and be done with him!
  9. Paper pieced block of the month - downloaded and ready to print
New projects:  
  1. None
Stats since last WIP 3/20/13:
     Completed  projects - 1  (counting buying ink is reall too generous)
     New projects - 0
     Currently in progress - 9 - yikes!

Now I am off to check out what the rest of you have been up to at:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

1 comment:

  1. Love the Peter Rabbit book! What a great idea for an Easter gift.

    Oh the actual quilting... that is really my downfall - and I really struggle with it! Good for you for being so proactive in trying out your FMQ and quilting skills!!