Do you quilt your own quilts? The last quilt I hand quilted (start to finish) was George's baby quilt, finished in early 2009. Then I sent one to a long-armer, and by late 2009, I was ready to give machine quilting a try. Even though I read a lot of blogs about machine quilting, it was still a rough, bumpy event.
We still use that quilt, but I have learned a lot since. A year or so later, I tried out wavy vertical lines with my walking foot, and that somehow became my 'go to' pattern for any quilt I needed quilted quickly. It's great, I still do it, but I can't really fairly say "Yes, I machine quilt my quilts." Come on, I've got one pattern.
Well, it's time to break out of that one pattern rut and start playing..
My friend Christina has written a book and asked me to help get the word out. When I got my copy I was so excited-- 'Oh wow! I love this!'
'I have that fabric!'
'This looks so cool'
'I love her photography!'
And I'm like, "sure! I can promote your book! I quilt!" I flipped through the book and instantly wanted to make about 6 of the projects. I thought it'd be nice to make one to show off for the blog hop. The construction was simple, so I got started-- pieced the top, layered and spray basted.. and then..
I got too scared to quilt it. Because, no, I really didn't know how (or I should say I didn't feel comfortable) to free motion quilt.
That's when I shelved my blind enthusiasm and opened First Steps to Free Motion Quilting as a guide book, with the intent of learning a new skill. And wow, it worked. There is so much information in this book, all neatly organized, easy to understand, with clear directions that are easy to follow. If you read her blog, you know that Christina has always made machine quilting look easy, but now we know how she does it. ;)
I started with some practice pads and I worked on the patterns I have always wanted to try.
I used some left over Mile-a-Minute blocks and turned them into coasters. I tried vines, pebbles, echoing paisleys, and spirals. Some of my lines looked good, some were crap, but what mattered was that I was no longer scared of doing it. I know with practice I'll get better.
I also started doodling patterns -- I used the magnetic doodle board lying in the play room, easy to draw and erase, no worries about the kids messing it up.
Gradually I built up the confidence to try out some quilting on the book project, and hey, it didn't turn out too bad. (You can see it better on the back-- and don't mind the broken threads.. sometimes my top thread catches on the feed dogs, even though they're down, while FMQing. I should take it to be serviced, right?)
I tried a vine, zigzags, spirals, even George's name... and honestly, each pattern just made me want to go back and try out some more. I was totally surprised that of all I tried, the square spirals are the ones I liked doing the best. I've been daydreaming about quilts with thin borders ever since..
So here it is: I made a little chair cushion for George's play table chair. He was super excited about it, and so was I. (Christina's pattern is for a regular sized chair, but I adjusted it for George).
If you would like to win a copy of First Steps to Free Motion Quilting (a US winner can choose between a hard copy and an ebook, an international winner will get an ebook.), leave me a comment telling me the last thing you wrote by hand, the last thing you ate, and the last person you talked to. I'll choose a winner on Monday, 9/30.
And don't forget to stop by the rest of the stops of the tour for more chances to win!
9/25: Allison Rosen at Stash Books Blog
9/26: Jessica Alexandrakis at Life Under Quilts (you're here!)
9/27: Monica Solorio-Snow at Happy Zombie
9/28: Susan Beal at West Coast Crafty
9/29: Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Studio
9/30: Angela Walters at Quilting is my Therapy
10/1: Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts
10/2: Megan Dye at Megs Monkey Beans
10/3: Victoria Findlay Wolfe at Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts
10/4: Katie Pedersen at Sew Katie Did
10/5: Christina Cameli at A Few Scraps