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.
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.