I began my journey into free motion quilting a few years ago, and am getting serious about it again. I have a sampler quilt with blocks made from mostly Tula Pink’s City Sampler book. It is time for this quilt to get finished. For one thing, it is first on my WIP list, (maybe that list WILL help me keep focused) and for another thing, I plan to submit it to my guild’s annual quilt show Stitch Modern coming in March.
The beautiful thing about quilting this quilt is, I can quilt it in small 6″ sections at a time. Today, I only had time to quilt 2 of them. But I feel accomplished anyway by seeing a completed block.
Here in this blog space I share my troubles and successes, and I keep trying to improve as I go along. Last week, I had no random thread breaks but my quilting foot kept catching on the thicker seam areas making smooth quilting lines difficult. Today, I decided to lift my quilting foot a little (I have the Leah Day mod as described here). Soooo, the quilting lines were smoother and easier BUT I was getting thread breaks. Dang it! It is so irritating. The curious thing about free motion is, there could be more than one thing causing the problem. My current primary suspect: tension in the quilter! Plan: yoga stretches and deep breaths in between stitching. Hey, even if it doesn’t solve my thread problem, it will make me feel better. So that’s a win!
Just one more sharing moment for any new to free motion quilters out there. I found that while I am quilting, I am intently focused on the mechanics of things (where my hands are moving, how fast the needle is going, breathe, where the bulk of the quilt is, is my bobbin about to run out) that I have very little room/energy /mojo for the creative left-brain design aspect of the quilting. If I try to think up a quilt design for my block on the spot, my mind goes blank! I’m curious if this has happened to others. My solution to this has been, at night when the lighting is bad or worse, I turn on The Office (yes, binge watching it on Netflix) and then doodle and draw and play to come up with my designs.
The next time I sit at the machine, I have my designs ready, plus have already practiced it once with paper and pencil. This way, I can give 100% to the quilting mechanics without sacrificing good design. Hopefully, as I gain more experience, and my muscle memory begins to take over I can forget about the mechanics and focus on the fun part. Yay!