Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Straight and Narrow

There is nothing curvaceous for me this week. I am quilting the straight and narrow.

I am still doing the FMQ on my Simple Gifts quilt. I had completed stitch in the ditch and one line of echo quilting around each gift last week. When I stood back and looked at it, I liked the overall effect and it did make the gifts pop out a bit more. I had been trying to decide on a filler pattern between the gifts but nothing quite appealed. I quilted a second echo line around one gift, paused, then quilted a third echo line around the gift, and surveyed the effect. I reluctantly acknowledged to myself that, yes indeed,  it would look good with the extra two echo lines around each gift. Glutton for punishment, I set out to add those two echo lines around each of the thirty gifts, essentially doubling the quilting work I had just finished. On a bright note, these echo lines also fill in a fair amount of the space between gifts, so my indecision on what to do in the nether land between blocks has been averted. Here is one of the blocks quilted this way. My lines are far from perfect but the effect will be there, and, once washed and puffed up, the crookedness will not be as noticeable. I am most definitely leaving the packages themselves non-quilted.

I am planning to keep this quilt for myself so I am a bit more forgiving of quilting quirks. Also, it will remain an example to me of how I am improving throughout different sections of the quilt. It is giving me more practice with my ruler work, but this controlled FMQ can be slow going, especially negotiating around all those angles of the bow. The quilting is not as carefree and flowing as those curvy, swoopy free form patterns. I have to keep reminding myself that I did not piece this in a couple days and so I cannot expect to FMQ it in short order, especially with my low experience in this phase of quilting.

I considered and rejected the idea of doing this with an even feed foot on my domestic. Just the thought of all that corner turning gave me the shivers! I am using a sit down long arm and not a computerized machine so I need to remind myself to be patient. It is good practice and I am building skills on my new HQ Sweet Sixteen and getting less klutzy at scooting that VersaTool ruler around. Considering the time invested, I sure am glad I am not trying to make a living with this kind of work.

Enough echo quilting for now. When I get bored or tired, I get sloppy; so to break up the tedium, I started another project to trade off with. I am just going to reveal this one in bits and pieces. It is a pretty sure bet though that those strips at the bottom half of my project case will get made up into checkerboards of some sort.

Yup. The blue strips made up into checkerboards but they are rectangles, not squares. Hmmm. Interesting. That piece at the lower left will be a curious scrap to work with in on another quilt. Surely I will not throw it away. These really are the same blue fabrics, just different lighting conditions – evening lamp below vs. daytime natural sunlight above. This is going to be a fun quilt to piece. I may even throw in some of that "A" word - gasp, appliqué! 

This is still a lot of straight work. For now I am making a beeline...


  1. Sometimes a quilt just demands straight lines, even though they are the most boring (IMO) thing to stitch! :) It's good you have a second project to work on - those checkerboards are so cute!

    1. Yes, I do try to listen to my quilt. This time it "echoed back" in a chant like tone... straight... lines... straight... lines.... hmmm... quasi-straight lines will do also. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

  2. I love straight line quilting! Looks like you are getting some great practice. Can't wait to see more of those checkerboard blocks. Those are some really cute fabrics!

    1. Practice makes perfect... but perfect will not make an appearance on this quilt - maybe not until the next one. ;•) The checkerboards are turning out to be a fun distraction. More are coming. Thanks for visiting and commenting.