Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Free-motion quilting

Well, I did it. I am free-motion quilting. I am half-way through my quilt and it is certainly not gorgeous, but its not horrific either. I do have some definite opinions on the process, though. Here is what I've figured out so far.
Some of the pictures are hard to see, but if you click on them, it will show it to you a little bigger...

1. It was recommended to use a setting on your machine always that leaves the needle in the "down" position when you take your foot off the pedal. Holy crap I wish my machine had that option! Because you are working with such a large object in such a small space, if the needle is not down when you stop, it is highly likely that the quilt will slip and you will restart slightly off from where you stopped, making a little notch in your quilting line. I tried to hold onto the quilt each time and manually place my needle down before I moved my hands, but I wasn't always able to do that, or sometimes I just forgot.

2. I don't think I could use this quilting technique on anything larger than this quilt. It is very difficult, in the middle especially, to move the quilt around smoothly because of all the extra that is all around. I have the right side rolled up like the tutorial suggested, but it is still very awkward. Making nicely curved lines and keeping the stitches even is all about how smoothly your hands move, but even if I had the fine motor skills of a god and years of practice, it would be hard to do that with that much extra quilt to the sides, top and/or bottom. Then again, lots of people do it, I reckon.
(Now that I added the picture, the rolled-up part doesn't look so big, but its awkward, trust me.)

3. Machine quilting is SO MUCH FASTER than hand quilting. That is a VERY big plus. The other quilts I've made and/or helped with have been hand-quilted, which is nice, but it takes for-eh-var. I can't imagine how much even faster this would be going if I'd decided to use a straight-line pattern with a walking foot. I think that is what Christine is going to do, so we can compare later.

4. I need more practice. I am glad I decided to go for it with this quilt, even though I was really nervous. Like I said previously, the quilt is not perfect, but not awful either. Chances are, as time passes, I won't even really be that bothered with the funky places. The quilt on my bed is so super wonky (yeah, we didn't measure anything.) and I don't even notice it.
side note: I looked for a picture that I am sure I took of that quilt and included in a blog post, but I couldn't find it. I really should add those neat labels to my posts for that kind of thing.

Here are some close-ups of the quilting. Its definitely not as smooth as I would like, but it will do.

I will update again when I finish the rest. Hopefully it will happen today!


  1. Wow! It looks awesome! I wouldn't have even noticed the place where the needle slipped if you hadn't labeled it.

  2. I used Vanna White yarn for my scarf. Olive and Dusty Blue. I felt silly buying yarn with her picture on it but it's actually really soft and comes in some nice colors.

    My afghan is going to be more of a lapghan with only 25 squares. :)

    As for inspiration, do you get any crochet magazines? I tend to pick up Crochet Today at the bookstore and that's one of my favorites. This month's issue in particular has some awesome patterns!