Free Motion … some ideas

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I’ve been doing  some free motion quilting over the last couple of days. Some of my stitching was pretty good. Unfortunately, the rest of it was pretty bad. I must confess that free motioning is definitely the weakest part of my quilting.

I was talking about it with my friend Vicki last night. I was sharing my plan of spending a portion of the summer practicing my FM technique on 18″ x 18″ squares of muslin. But here’s the problem. My FM is fabulous on those 18″ squares! My stitches are generally small and my control is great. I start to run into problems on larger projects. It’s much harder when you’re manipulating a larger quilt — it’s heavy, difficult to turn, the quilt knocks things off my very messy sewing table, and my shoulders get sore. All of the preceding problems combine to make my previously perfect stitches much larger and less even than I would like.

This explains why some parts of my quilt have quite lovely stitching (generally in the middle). Then other areas (such as the borders) look like they were done by a drunk monkey.

So my new idea is to do a practice twin quilt. I’m going to use muslin, but I’m going to practice with decorative threads and free motion stitching. This way I will be working with the weight and size of a traditional quilt. It will be a whole cloth sampler!

We’ll see how it goes. Of course it’s easier to practice on 18″ squares because you can throw them away if you make mistakes. There’s more of a perfectionist slant when it’s an entire quilt. However, because I’m using muslin (40% off at Joann’s), I’m going to try and just have fun with the experiment. If I’m brave, I’ll post some pictures as I complete sections. Beware … you may see some very sad looking feathers!

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