I did it. It's done. My first free motion quilted quilt. It's a baby quilt and it's my baby. I'm so pleased with how it turned out. I can hardly believe I did it. I dreaded for months learning to do this, now I wonder why. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a breeze or easy, but I enjoyed it. I have a long way to go, but I'm getting better and better. The quilt is my fractured pinwheels (tutorial really is coming). I used a combination of a vintage sheet and quilting fabric to make this one. I used a couple of leftover blocks to piece the back. I had a little scissor incident when I was trimming threads and I accidentally sliced one of the blocks right on the seam, but since it was on the seam it was a pretty easy fix. I didn't freak out about it, I just did my best to repair it. I love this quilt...the whole wrinkled quilty goodness of it. I so wish the pictures were better, but the sun was setting and I couldn't get a good shot, but there was no way I was waiting for tomorrow.
Some of you have asked a bunch of questions about my free motion quilting experiences. With my vast experience (hear the sarcasm) of ONE quilt under my belt, here is what I've learned so far:
*no one can really tell you how to do this. you have to experience it for yourself. the more i asked the more frustrated i became. i really wanted someone to tell me how to do it.
*a good machine is a must. my machine wouldn't do this kind of quilting even if you talked nice to it for a year. you have to be able to lower the feeddogs and have a darning foot. i used my mom's bernina. (thanks mom!!!)
*relax! easier said than done. i imagined everyone quilting away and never stopping till the quilt was done. i have no idea if this is the right way, but i stop often, to relax, to see where i am, to adjust the quilt, to think about where to go next, and most importantly i stop if i'm getting flustered. as long as your machine stops with the needle down you can stop as much as you like. learning how to coordinate hands and foot so that the needle stops without a hop, skip or a jump is a skill to practice. i think i stop my hands and then lift my foot.
*look ahead - not at the needle. again, easier said than done because that needle is mesmerizing. the more i look ahead the better i do.
*find your style i've found that i move to the right. i started in the center of the quilt and just started. i'm more comfortable moving to the right and i found myself going round and round the quilt working to the right. i can make smoother curves and more even stitches when i work that way. if i force myself the other way, it's sort of like trying to write left handed. so, i guess what i'm trying to say is find what works for you.
*practice for real everyone told me to practice, so i did, but i practiced on scraps. when i finally did a mini quilt which was for real, i did better. when i was going to throw my practice away, i didn't pay as much attention or really try my best.
*slow and steady hands i found myself moving my hands too quickly and then i got jerky and flustered which made for some interesting shapes. i'm finding that slow and steady hands and a moderate rate on the machine works for me. it's a bit like rubbing your tummy and patting your head. (not the most natural motion!) slow hands, quicker foot speed on the pedal. that's what made the nicest curves and the most even stitches.
*attitude you know it's what they say about everything, if you think you can, you can.
i'd love to hear about everyone's experiences with free motion quilting. are these the things you experience? Lastly, thanks for answering all my questions and for the encouragement and support. I'm gearing up for the next one!