Hello 2011!

So, I’m not typically someone who makes big lists of resolutions, but this year, I’m determined to tackle a real quilting resolution for myself. I’ve been making quilts for over 10 years now, but I have yet to really take on machine quilting. This year I want to make learning how to free motion quilt a priority.

lots of pins

For a long time I’ve neglected to put something I made on our bed, mainly because I’m afraid Hudson will ruin it. He sleeps on the bed at night and has a tendency to spread dirt around liberally (eww). Recently though, I found out that I have some major allergy issues with the dog and cat, as well as with dust mites. I need to be able to wash all parts of our bedding weekly, but the comforter we were using is too big to fit in my washer.

Instead of buying a new quilt (seems stupid for someone who can quilt) I figured it was time to make one. I had the majority of these blocks made and I finished it off last week. I just kept thinking that it was going to stink to spend all that time hand quilting something that is sure to end up with dog slobber and dirt…a pretty unhappy end to a quilt that I’m sure I’d spend months finishing.


I’ve wanted to try free motion quilting for so long now, but I’ve been worried that I’d just end up wrecking a full quilt. Perfect for a quilt that’s going to get used all the time and will probably fall apart anyway, right?

all pinned up

I’m starting this project out, not expecting a whole lot from my first attempt at this. I’m tired of only really being able to hand quilt, and I feel like I could do so much more if I could just tackle free motion quilting. Keep your fingers crossed, and I’ll post progress soon.

6 Thoughts on “quilting resolutions

  1. You can do it!
    I suggest making smaller practise pieces first, to get an idea of speed and stitchlength.
    I am looking forward to seeing your progress!

  2. I went from hand-piecing and hand-quilting EVERYTHING, to doing everything on the sewing machine, so I can totally commiserate.
    For FMQ, I’d highly suggest a Super Slider (http://ihavea-notion.com/store/item_64/Free-Motion-Super-Slider.htm), along with a pair of gardening gloves, the kind with the textured fingers and palms – don’t spend $25 on the gloves in the quilt shops. They’re exactly the same thing, just repackaged with a higher mark-up.
    If you’re doing straight line quilting, a walking foot will be your best friend!
    Good luck with your FMQ adventure!

  3. Good luck! You might want to check out the Free Motion Quilting Project blog:
    She is working her way through 365 different free motion filler designs. Some adapt well to larger, allover patterns. She includes videos of each, so you can see her technique.
    Also, if free motion is more than you want to tackle on this large quilt, consider straight line quilting instead. With a walking foot, a quilting bar, and some blue tape you can make a beautiful design out of straight lines. Check out Freckled Whimsy’s blog for some examples:
    (Karrie does a great job with straight line quilting).

  4. Love the colors:)
    Just go for it, I just did a twin size for a friend’s daughter and used FM. I thought it was soo fun even though my stippling wasn’t perfect. Who cares! There isn’t any perfection in FM that’s for sure:) Just get in there and have fun with it!!

  5. I’m looking forward to seeing your experiences. I need to explore this area too!

  6. I tackled free motion quilting just a few months ago, and I’m so glad I did! My “practice” quilt was a lap-sized one that’s probably going to end up at Goodwill… the blocks were ones I’d started several years ago, and by the time I got around to looking at it again last year, my tastes in color and fabric had changed quite a bit… perfect for practicing, since I didn’t care too much about the end product. It only took me about 2-3 hours to finish, and I felt so much more confident about free motion quilting by the time I was done. Shortly afterward, I was able to tackle a queen size quilt for my sister and was surprisingly very pleased with the results. All that to say – I totally affirm the value of a practice quilt, and I know you’ll catch on quickly and be so glad you tried it!
    I feel silly posting this, because I imagine that you’ve most certainly already seen it, but this post from Amanda Jean was endlessly helpful to me; I still refer back to it:
    If nothing else, it’s a good reference for others who will read your blog and have an interest in free motion quilting.
    Lastly, for what it’s worth, I backed another recent quilt with a solid, bold color (blue) and free motion quilted in white thread (so as not to distract from the front of the quilt, the majority of which was a white background, similar to yours. My consistency in stitch length is still far from perfect, and it’s so very obvious against a solid, colored background. You may not find the same thing with yellow; I’m not sure. But I just bought a patterned fabric to back my next free-motion-quilted quilt… should disguise my stitches a lot more.

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