It’s been a busy few weeks here lately including half term and family visiting so I haven’t got much quilting done, but once the family had left, I started again this week desperate to try and complete some UFOs.
The first task I set myself was to complete some quilts for Linus – I had 3 ‘tops’ that needed sandwiching (putting a top, wadding and backing together) and quilting (stitching the ‘sandwich’ together), so I decided to practise a variety of free motion quilting skills I’ve been learning.
Free motion quilting is using the machine to stitch in a random way, moving the fabric in different directions, around curves, backwards, forwards and sideways, without having to turn the fabric round. It’s like drawing using the machine where the needle is the pencil, only you have to move the paper and not the pencil! I never thought I’d be able to do it but with a lot of perseverance, I’m getting there!
The first quilt I completed was a baby panel and with there being several baby motifs, I decided to use free motion quilting to outline each figure. Although it isn’t easy to see the stitching on the top, it’s a little more visible on the back.
A few months ago, I decided to purchase an embroidery machine as I’d seen some examples of using one for edge-to-edge quilting instead of using a long-arm machine to do free motion. I’ve had one or two goes trying this out and had some issues to overcome, but after spending some time using software to achieve the size and settings of the block I wanted to use, I had a go on the second Linus quilt. While there are still some things to sort out, I’m fairly pleased with the outcome and I know this is something I’ll also persevere to use more so I can use different designs.
The final technique I’ve been practising this week is using rulers to assist free motion patterns. However the word ‘rulers’ doesn’t give the right image and should be described more as ‘guides’ as they are all different shapes and are used to guide the machine foot to create different patterns. The moment I saw these in use, I knew it was something I wanted to use too and so I purchased a special foot and templates from Westalee, an Australian company. I have loved learning to use these and am gaining confidence, particularly as I have just signed up to an online course to learn more. I decided therefore that the third Linus quilt was just right for using the rulers and so I’ve been working on this one for the last couple of days and have just completed it. Again, some of the stitching isn’t always apparent just looking at the top, but look at the picture of the back and it’s much easier to see all the patterns. I’m pleased with the way it has turned out and it will inspire to experiment on future quilts.
I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve put into these, especially knowing that children in hospital will benefit from these quilts, and I’m so pleased I can put my practice to such good use!