Monday, August 25, 2014

Fun with Free Motion

I've been working on my free motion filler designs with my mid arm machine in the studio, because practice gets me ready for my bigger projects and customer quilts...auditioning designs and trying out new fillers works better with stitches when you're ready to graduate from pen and paper or your dry erase board practice.

I usually try out new smaller designs "in the margins" on the outer edges of the extra fabric and batting for quilts I already have loaded on my frame, but I decided to try an actual sketch quilt instead of just doodling on muslin and batting.

No marking, no drawing, just jumped in with a vague idea and started stitching!

I  took a lovely tan 2 yard cut of Kona Solid, and used the fold for the center design marker and free handed a serpentine row of large bubbles to divide the practice space.  Then I used the outer edges along the selvage to try out two different free form feather styles and used pebbles and marbles background fillers on one side of the center line and McTavishing filler on the other.  

**for those of you free motion fans who have not picked it up, Karen McTavish has recently reissued her instructional book and DVD set to teach you how to be experts at this versatile and gorgeous design.  Pick it up on her website or at quilt shops near you!!**

The micro filler work is a little physically taxing if you don't remember to relax, so put on some music (flamenco guitar is my music of choice) and put one foot up on a little stool to take a little pressure off the lower back, and remember to take breaks to stretch from time to time.  

I make sure the light is good and a fan is on circulating air and keeping things fresh and bright.

To keep to the experimenting, I added an extra layer of batting under the feather design area and compacted around it with stitching (either pebbles or McTavishing) to press down the extra batting so I didn't have to do a lot of trimming between quilt layers.

When designs were finished and the quilt was bound I ran it through the washer and dryer to check out the shrinkage.  I love how the batting puffed up in the faux trapunto areas, and can now take these new skills to the next project.  

This was so rewarding and so much fun...although it's not a quilt for a bed or a gift or a client, I have it thrown over a shelf in my den, and it's the star of the room.  Practice makes perfect!!

Let's make another one!!  Happy Quilting!