May 29 13

Machine Quilting, A Sale, and A Shout Out for the 2013 FMQ Project


I haven’t posted on this blog in ages, so I thought I’d show a little of the quilting I’ve been doing.  The quilt above is partially quilted.  Once I’ve outlined all the applique shapes and stitched in  the ditch w/invisible thread, my first goal in quilting is always to stitch all the “major” motifs that will kind of “ground” the theme of the quilt.  Usually, these are motifs that  work to re-affirm the message or theme of the applique shapes.  The easiest one to start with here are the feathers.  I wanted to play off the appliqued feathers to kind of “supplement” the tail feathers, so I placed a flexible curve ruler in the open space by the feathers and first got a curve I could mark for the spine guideline:


You can kind of see the curve marked here:



…and here’s a shot after feathers have been stitched:



I will probably go back in later and add hyperquilting inside those feathers, but when I’m working to get all the important motifs quilted, I am pretty focused on getting that part completed.  One of the nice parts of hyperquilting is that you can do it any time once the “base motif” has been stitched.  I next moved onto the headdresses on the birds.  This is another example of trying to “play off” of an applique shape.  First, I used a flexible curve ruler to mark a curve:



In this next shot, you can see the marked curve.  This will be the basis for a swirly headdress that flows from the applique shape:



…and here’s the initial swirl headdress:




I liked it, but it just wasn’t enough.  Sooooo, I went in and added some plumes coming off on one side.  Notice that when you do something like this, you don’t want to destroy the delicacy of the swirl headdress, so you want to be careful about how you lay out your plumes.  If you look closely at my needle, I didn’t carry those plumes all the way back to the swirl but instead left a short space between them:



…and here’s what the headdress looks like at this point:



By this time, I was getting kind of bored and I’d added enough “grounding elements” that I could start with some background filler quilting.  I opted to go Variations Polyester Thread by YLI  (sadly, they have discontinued this thread line, so if you see any spools of it out there, grab them up while you still can!).  The color I used here is called “Grass,” my favorite color of this wonderful yet discontinued thread line:



(and you can see that I went back in and hyperquilted the feathers!)

On another note, we are in the final days of a sale on all PTD DVDs, books, and Appli-K-Kutz dies.  All retail purchases of these items are 25% off through 9am this Friday, 5/31/13 if you enter May 2013 in the discount code box during checkout.  The discount won’t show up until the final step of checkout, but this is a great savings, so don’t miss out on it!


I also want to give a shout out for the 2013 Free Motion Quilting Challenge hosted by SewCalGal.  She has just announced the newest challenge which is to make a project using border designs; you can read about the details here.  For any of you who didn’t play around with the border design challenge from last December, this is something that really is worth doing.  I heard from many quilters who were shocked by how easy it was to create a really pretty small wholecloth quilt just playing around with borders.  There are also many different prizes available, and more importantly, this is a great way to hone your free motion quilting skills.  Many thanks to SewCalGal for coming up with even more ways to spread the joy of free motion quilting!




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  1. Valerie/Pumpkin Patch Quilter Says:

    Oh you smart girl you with that curved ruler! How clever! I would never even thought to do something like that but now I will have to give it a try. So glad you shared this with us.

    SewCal Gal’s free motion challenges have been great inspiration. I have yet to participate but I love to look at everyone’s work. 🙂

  2. Jocelyn Says:

    So pretty. I love the variegated threads, but it seems the manufacturers are not making them much anymore. Connecting Threads discontinued theirs a couple of years ago.
    I have several of your DVD’s and just need to sit down and start working through them. SewCalGal has been such an inspiration to get the machine quilting going.