Quilt marking

Yesterday, Leah Day turned her blog post over to her husband Josh, a new quilter.  Josh talked about his first experiences with free motion quilting and his struggles with free hand, free motion.  Free hand and free motion are not the same.  Free motion means moving the fabric without benefit of the feed dogs.  This means you can move in any direction.  Free hand means doing that without following any lines.

Josh’s suggestion was that new quilters should mark before they try to free hand it.  I completely agree.  I did a ton of marking as a new quilter.  I had a copy of a panto that I traced from another quilter’s quilt.  I traced it onto transparent paper and then I cut it into a piece of template plastic, so anytime I wanted to quilt this panto that I called “wind” onto a quilt, I just laid the template on it and drew it with a washable pen.  It worked amazingly well.  And, it was about 2’x2’ so it covered lots of space and had an easy repeat.  That’s how I learned to free motion.  After a while, I didn’t need to follow the marked lines so much anymore and didn’t have so much trouble correcting my mistakes.  And, a while after that, I could do the whole thing without marking at all.  Presto, Change-o!  Like magic. 

Even now, I am a marker.  I’m working on this quilt and free motion quilting in the wreaths and half-grid.  100_6153

For the wreaths, I did a semi-marking.  I drew three circles, starting near the center and radiating out.  The distance between the circles was about the same.  I traced a dinner plate, a luncheon plate and a small bowl to get the circles.  And, I did the wreath between them, using the middle one as the stem and making sure my feathers went out to each of the outer lines.  It doesn’t photograph well because of all the variety in the fabrics, but it will after the quilt is washed.  The grid line is completely marked.  I sat with a ruler and marked each of those lines, one inch apart.  I’m not crossing them in the other direction.  The block corner in the picture is finished. 

It takes a while.  It took almost an hour for each of the wreaths and to echo them.  There are 9 wreaths.  It takes about 40 minutes to mark and quilt the grids. 

But it is sooooo worth it.  I can’t even draw a straight line without a ruler.  There’s no way I could have quilted one in. 

Everybody have a great day.  I am off to earn my pay.  This working for two bosses has gotta give.  They’re making me crazy, looking at random projects as one finishes things and one picks things up.  Three more days.  And, then, hopefully, it will settle down.



Marei said...

So I left a comment and hit the wrong key and lost it all. Hate that. But what I was saying was I do all my quilting freehand. I do not mark anything....ever. Admittedly my quilting is not perfect, but I'm not going for perfect. I want to enjoy the freedom that comes from quilting whatever pops into my head, even if that means I change/morph my quilting partway through a project. I DO appreciate the wonderfully precise quilting I see at shows, but I'm not into putting pieces in a show....and I'm not into perfect quilting.

Elizabeth said...

I wish I were better at free-hand, but I mark a lot of stuff too. Your quilting is amazing! The echo quilting on those feathers is awesome!

xo -E

lw said...

I think Marei is probably pretty talented-- you have to be, to see it as freedom to be enjoyed, and not as I do-- a probably muddle involving removing stitches.

Hope your work situation resolves soon. Life's too short to live with that much aggravation.

Rebecca Grace said...

I am gradually coming around to the idea of marking quilt tops. This epiphany has been about 11 years in the making... ;-) That allover stencil idea for learning a design is a great idea, by the way. I'm going to try that!

Also, thanks for letting me know about Leah's husband's post -- I'm on the lookout for male quilting role models right now since my sons are learning. It drives me crazy that 90% or more of the "kids" quilting books, kits, etc., show nothing but girls in the pictures. Kind of like how only boys were featured in math and science books and programs up until pretty recently!

mssewcrazy said...

Sounds a lot less stressful to have some marked guide lines to help. I think I will try the marking -makes perfect sense to me as I consider free style quilting. Thanks for all the explanations you do on the blog - very helpful to those of us who have only followed the lines with a walking foot.