Friday, September 20, 2013

Future Projects Friday: Free motion quilting

Well folks, you did it! You made it to Friday and the weekend is just a few hours away! Perhaps it's cause for a quick celebratory dance at your desk or lab bench? Don't worry about the stares you will undoubtedly attract- it's Friday! Here in North Carolina, the weather is supposed to be warm but there is a chance of rain for both Saturday and Sunday, which means I can stay inside and quilt! woohoo!

One of the things that has really caught my eye since joining Pinterest is the abundance of gorgeous quilts that people post. While I have been sewing quilts for some time now, I am relatively new to the actual 'quilting' aspect of it. Previously, I used to tie all of my quilts by hand (similar to what is shown here) to finish them.

[ hand-tied quilt that I made for my husband's sister and brother-in-law for their wedding ]

 Over the last few years, I have switched to finishing quilts entirely by machine. But, I feel that I really lack creativity in finishing the quilts. I usually find some sort of seam line or pattern on my quilt that I can easily follow at a 1/2" distance.
[ exhibit A and exhibit B: using existing seam lines to quilt ]

Last fall, I purchased my first walking foot. I sew on a ~20 year old Bernina 1630 machine that was my grandmother's before she passed away. The machine is incredibly special to me and when I use it, I am often reminded of my time squirreled away for hours in my grandmother's sewing room, with free range of her fabric stash. I was able to purchase a generic walking foot for my machine from the website Sewing Parts Online. I purchased the generic version since the original Bernina part is still almost $200- Eeek! With my walking foot, I now have the ability to break out of my rut and do more elaborate quilting just by creating vertical lines, horizontal lines, diagonal lines or a combo of vertical and horizontal to create a grid that has nothing to do with the actual pattern of the quilt top--baby steps, right?

  But...what I really have been dying to learn and implement is free-motion quilting. Have you seen some of the awesome quilts with a gorgeous pattern stitched on top (here, here & here)? The addition of free motion quilting to a quilt top gives it a new level of dimension and texture that are just lovely.

Below are a few tutorials I have gathered from around Pinterest that describe how to free motion quilt. I think the common theme is to start small and practice.practice.practice. I am thinking I might first try this on small projects like a mug rug or a placemat until I feel more comfortable scaling up to a quilt.

1. Free motion quilting advice from Sugar Tart Crafts:

[ photo credit: ]

       "...• Draw your design on with disappearing pen, or iron on a piece of freezer paper to "trace"  
         • Start with a strong needle, so there is less worry about breaking it while stitching.
         • Slow down! Don't just stomp on the pedal. It will take time to match the speed of your hands 
            and foot...."

2. An in-depth tutorial for free motion quilting from the Oh Fransson! blog:

[ photo credit: ]
This blog gives you a very good idea of the process of free motion quilting from start to finish.

3. A list of the supplies you will need for free motion quilting from A Few Scraps:
[ photo credit: ]

This blog entry details the list of items you will need including the specific type of sewing machine needles and items that will be helpful such as the gloves pictured above.

4. A series of video tutorials from The Quilt Show:
Sometimes it is helpful to actually observe a technique being performed and this website has a lot to offer in the way of video tutorials.

If you have other tutorials you have found helpful for learning to free motion quilt, please feel free to share them in the comments section of this post! Happy quilting!

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