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.


  1. I have a Janome 660P and the 6500P. Love them both. The 6500P is on a quilt frame. It does really great.
    Do you like your 7700? I have my 6600P in a cabinet. I do not know if the opening could be made big enough to put the 7700 in to it.
    beautiful work!

  2. Clicked over from quiltvillechat group. Love your colors. I'm learning this FMQ too. I'm doing pet pillow covers for practise when it is other than meandering. I like what you've done on this one.


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