Quilter’s Blog Festival 2010

Whoo – time to dust off the old blog. No better time than a day set aside to talk about quilting, right?

 The sewing machine’s been gathering a little dust too, but I’ve been getting back at it the last few weekends, so there’s still hope that my big plans will get completed! I have at least 10 quilts in progress or drafted out on paper, so I have some work to do.

Since we’re here to talk about quilts, here’s my favorite of the quilts I’ve made so far:

When I’m making a new quilt and I’m tempted to take an easy way out, I try to remind myself of the things I like about this one and put more of that in my work. Mainly, the use of color and the improvisational nature. The thing is, this one is so “me” that when I’m making a gift for someone I’m not sure if they’ll “get” it, so I tend to play it safer. I think I might need to make more smaller quilts to work out my artsy ideas, and not feel like that time is wasted because I haven’t ended up with at least a lap sized quilt.

Now, since you’re here, and you like quilts, can you answer a question for me about some quilting I started at the beginning of the year?

 (I’ve been inspired by r0ssie’s process challenge, too). I made this quilt top and started quilting it back in January or February. I’ll show some close-ups another time, but it’s made with Tula Pink Neptune charm squares in the middle of improv’ed frames. My idea was to do free motion squares, kind of like on this sample piece:

They worked out pretty well there, albeit with a few skipped stitches and the rows aren’t perfectly straight, but I jumped right into my quilt. However, it didn’t really seem to work the same way on the bigger piece, and it’s very tiring to do this. I have about a third of the quilt quilted and it took at least two sessions to get it there. Free-motion on my machine is extra fun because the needles fall out (the screw holding them in loosens as I stitch) and so many get broken along the way. 3 broken needles in one session is my limit for quilting time, or until my arms get tired. A lot of the squares are overlapping now, and I’m thinking it just looks sloppy.

So the alternatives are that I could rip this all out and do straight line quilting in a fairly small grid, I could try to finish it as is, or I could rip it out and start over trying this pattern instead:

Thoughts? I’m really leaning towards straight line quilting at this point, but it would be a shame to lose the originality of my first idea.

Thanks for stopping by! And I really will try to keep posting and not just disappear for months at a time…a combination of a change in work schedule and real life stuff kind of got in the way, but I’m glad to be back.


24 thoughts on “Quilter’s Blog Festival 2010

  1. well, i’m no help because i never could get my machine to do free motion quilting. every time I try i end up with a tangled mess of stitches with bad tension. honestly, i don’t think the quilting on your quilt looks sloppy at all.

  2. I think you’ve got a good thing going and are giving up way too soon……….stress from the hard work and broken needles can do that to you for sure. But the quilted part looks GOOD now, and will be even better when it’s all done, washed and dried. It’s so hard to tell where you go over a line or do anything that you didn’t mean to do, once the whole thing is done !
    Give it a rest, and then hit it again ! And maybe peek at some garage sales for another machine !

  3. the overlapping squares you’re doing now look great on this quilt. you’re suffering from the angst that all quilters get when they’ve had their noses pressed up against their work too long! keep after it the way you’re doing it (but get that screw fixed!) and when it’s finished you’ll be able to see what the rest of us are already seeing – a unique and lovely work!

  4. Don’t rip it out! Sometimes I go through some of the same discouraging moments you describe. Oftimes, just leaving it for awhile helps. I’d say, go for it, finish it and when it’s bound and washed it will look totally different to you. If you really don’t like it after that, donate it somewhere and chalk it up to experience. I think you are doing just fine, though!

  5. I have the needle breaking thing happen every once in a while and it can drive a person batty. Don’t give up, I did this with pebble like circles once, and in the middle it was awful, but now I feel just fine about the quilt.

  6. Do NOT rip that quilting out!!! I think those squares look beautiful; they are very appropriate for the quilt. I stippled my last quilt, and when my darning foot broke (and stopped “hopping” and instead just dragged), I was ready to throw the quilt out, after looking at the part that had been quilted after the broken presser foot. However, I showed it today at guild and you couldn’t see ANY of that. Same with this quilt; you may see the mistakes, but we see something beautiful.

  7. Those roses are one of my favorite fabrics! I have purchased a lot of them as a quilt backing that is next in line to be quilted. I can relate to your quilting dilemma – it is a lot of work and can be tricky when your machine is not cooperating. Not sure if this is helpful but would a small meandering be a way to continue? I would definitely not undo the quilting that you have done…
    Oh, forgot to tell you – your show quilt is lovely, lots of personality. Designing your own quilt makes it more special!

  8. I love free motion quilting once I get my rhythm going. I am not sure I would want to take out all that I had already quilted- Some times we try things and they don’t work out the way that we imagined they would look. I agree with another commenter- It will crinkle up nicely when its washed. Perhaps you may want to make a series of quilts that you experiment with different quilting designs.
    I know that I keep learning new things from each of my quilts.. Quilting and creating is an amazing process..
    Happy quilting.
    Regards from Western Canada,

  9. well here’s what I think… go with your gut… when you are making something for someone else they want to be reminded of who made it when they look at it, i think. and that’s you, and your quirky ways… so go with it!

    and about the quilting… the same. work in your originality! like in your beautiful improvized quilt festival quilt!

  10. Very sweet quilt. Free motion quilting takes lots of practice. Have you thought about checking with a sewing machine dealer and find out why your needles keep falling out? Perhaps the screw is stripped and needs replacement. It would be so much more enjoyable to quilt and not have to worry about the needles falling out. Hope you can finish your project.

  11. I like the blue and green frames in your quilt. It’s going to turn out nice. It looks like a bit much to pick out what you’ve done though. How about cut your losses, finish quilting the way you’ve already started, and take on a different mindset of what the finished product will look. It looks more random then what you originally wanted. It seems that I hit a “bottom” with most of my quilts, where I catch myself thinking “this is going to be my worst, it’s just not turning out how I wanted”. But after you finish quilting, binding and washing and look at it as a whole, it is beautiful, and your will be too!

  12. love the colors and the design of the quilt. as for the needles–try putting a tiny bit of steel wool around the threads of the screw. hope that might help

  13. Pingback: Blogger’s Quilt Festival – Spring 2010 » Amy's Creative Side

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