Monday, February 14, 2011

Lap Quilt with Free Motion Quilting

Well, my Saturday was spent working on the lap quilt.  Friday evening I put the borders on and then Saturday I wanted to tackle the free motion quilting.

I found a few patterns I liked for each individual block, thanks to the books by Eva A. Larkin (Free-Motion Quilting Made Easy), and Pam Clarke (Quilting Inside the Lines).

Then, based on advice from Sarah Ann Smith (Thread Work Unraveled) I did a test swatch of one of the patterns I wanted to do.  Copying it onto newsprint first, laying it on the test sandwich, and sewing along the lines.  The threads worked pretty good, minor adjustment to the tension, but overall, I liked the effect of the varigated top thread.

What I didn't like was pulling the newsprint off afterwards.  Yes it came off pretty easily, but the odd little bit was stuck in the stitches.  I know it would come out in the wash afterwards, but did I really want to have to do that for each and every block?  No!

I wanted to be able to free motion without the paper guides. I was determined to be able to do this, completely free motion.  Practice makes perfect right?

So the first block in the centre of the quilt, I roughly sketched the design using a while chalk pencil.  That worked well enough, but did I want to draw it every time?  Again.. No.

Per Sarah's instructions, look to where you want to go... not just the stitches you're actually doing... just like driving a car... look ahead.  

I continued on to the next blocks, slowly, my curves started becoming more natural looking, my stitches were a decent length and consistently so.  Seriously, this does take practice!  I tried several different designs in these 5" blocks, and I noticed that the more I did the original one, the easier it became.

Now let me tell you, that Supreme Slider is great! and so are the Machingers!

I did try a couple times without the gloves and they really make a world of difference.

One thing I have noticed though, I need to get a proper table for my Janome Horizon 7700 to sit in.  Working with it on top of my table, with the extended quilting table is too high.  I found, very quickly, that my shoulders started to ache.  

All in all, it was a good day though.  I was able to get all the blocks quilted, and Sunday morning started on one of the borders.

Unfortunately, as I was quilting one of the last pinwheel blocks, I realized it was sewn together incorrectly.  Ooops!  Oh well.  I wasn't pulling it apart to fix it.  Now it's definitely unique!  :)  Can you see it in the bottom left corner?

And a close up of one of the blocks, of the quilting pattern I became pretty comfortable with.

Now I'm feeling more confident, but not sure I'm confident enough to FMQ Bonnie Hunter's Roll Roll Cotton Boll once I have it all pieced together.  We'll see.

RRCB Step 6

Oops!  Forgot to take a picture of all the hst's sewn together... but... before Step 7 of cutting all the brown triangles... I wanted to see how this is finally coming together.

I'm really liking these!

RRCB Step 5

Another step done!  Wow.. took a bit to make all 600 half square triangles.

Neutral Quilt Pattern

Recently in the Quiltville chat yahoo group, Judi Butz found a webshot picture of a beautiful quilt done in all neutrals.

Neutral quilt on webshots photo

We believe the person who originally designed the quilt is a Mabeth Oxenreider.

So, not to do any dis-service to her, she gets credit for this design.

Being the computer geek I am, and playing with my EQ7, I recreated it in the program using 5 simple blocks.  These blocks are 6" square finished (6.5" unfinished).

Here is a copy of the EQ7 image, granted not done in neutrals, so you can see the blocks clearly.

At 14 blocks across by 18 blocks down, finished quilt measures 84" x 108".

Now, don't get confused, this is easier than it looks.  It's 5 simple blocks.

From the inside to the outside:

Pinwheel block:
- cutting - many methods to do this
- cut strips of 3 7/8" x whatever length you have
- subcut into 3 7/8 squares, cut on the diagonal
- make 60 blocks

Log cabin block
- cutting - use whatever method works for you
- the strips in this 6" block are 1 1/4" wide
- centre block is 2" x 2" (unfinished)
- make 36 blocks

Eight pointed star block
- center square is 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"
- corner squares are 2" x 2"
- center edge (flying geese) are made with 4 3/16" x 4 3/16" square then cut diagonally both ways
 - centre edge (flying geese) add 2 3/8" x 2 3/8" square cut diagonally once.
 - or any method you're comfortable with
- make 44 blocks

Broken dishes block
- four half square triangles to measure 3 1/2" each before sewing together
- make 48 blocks

And lastly, a chain block.  Don't worry, this is easier than you think.  It's two 4 patches sewn with two half square triangles..
- cutting - 4 patches are 2" squares
- half square triangles are cut using 3 7/8" strips
- subcut into 3 7/8" squares
- cut once on diagonal
- or use the EZ angle ruler or any method you're comfortable with
- make 68 blocks

You just flip them around the border as in the quilt image and it makes a very unique border.

It's all pretty easy when you break it down into sections.

If anyone would like the EQ7 project file, I'm more than willing to send it.  I have also created a pdf file for those who don't have EQ.

Happy quilting!
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