Sunday, September 19, 2010

In the Classroom

Okay, you've already seen what happened to my August, so now I will show you what I did at Maine Quilts in Sue Nickels class on machine quilting the applique quilt. We brought a 12 inch muslin square with batting ready to quilt. We also brought two appliqued blocks using patterns that Sue provided.

This first photo shows the muslin block divided into four sections where we practiced different machine quilting techniques. I'm quite familiar with this kind of quilting, but Sue gave us some useful tips. Everyone's meandering is like your writing, everyone's is different. Also she told us to work from left to right, top to bottom to fill the space. She also introduced us to the concept of boustrophedon, which means ox-turning, where you work left to right and then work right to left. So, start stippling in the upper left area and work towards the right, dipping down occasionally so that when finished each row blends into the next and doesn't read as a distinct row.

Sue's work is very fine and that is something I really worked on. These variations are to show that you don't have to fill space with just the traditional stipple. Sue suggested I increase the top thread tension a lot more than I was accustomed to and it really improved my stitching. She also said a straight stitch throat plate will help eliminate those "claws" that appear on the back of your quilt when you sew fast. I don't have one of those...yet.

I think the best thing I learned at this class was to outline every applique piece before quilting the background. Taking that one step really improves the whole appearance of the quilt. It makes your quilting look neat and tidy by giving a uniform edge and it really makes your applique pop.

If you click on the flower you will be able to see the quilting in the flower and leaves. I'm not thrilled with all of it, but this is practice! It really does add another dimension and interest to quilt in this area, too.

Our second piece was this tulip on the diagonal. We worked on this later in the day and I think I did better on the first piece. All of this is free motion quilting, even the grid. Sue showed us how to go back and forth to make the grid without stopping and starting, but I got a bit mixed up with my to-ing and fro-ing!

The right half of the tulip was done with a straight diagonal line at one inch intervals. Then I added a squiggle on either side of that line. Kind of cute.

See that feather? Sue Nickels drew that! I free motion quilted it! I think it looks pretty respectable.

The second big tip I learned in this class is to keep the quilt facing in the same direction at all times. Don't turn the quilt, learn to sew going in any direction. Well, that is very good advice when you are working on a big quilt, but not so easy to follow when working on a small piece where it is so easy to turn it, however, by practicing that technique on small pieces, you will be able to do it on a big quilt. All Sue's quilts are made on a domestic machine.

Practice, patience, and persistence, the keys to success. Excuse me while I go design my next quilt.

Happy Quilting my friends!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How I spent my summer vacation

Ida Gold tomatoes and Jet Stars

Tonks investigates the onions.

Otter Cliff, Acadia

Me at Thunder Hole

Sand Beach

Fort Knox

Fort Knox
Esterita Austin?

Observatory at Penobscot Narrows Observatory

The bridge

See how that firm grip keeps me from falling 437 feet to the water?

Yes, there was quilting. More to come!