|Free Motion Quilting practice piece|
|A modern looking paisley|
I started by gathering the solid fabrics from my stash that I had inherited from my mother. I hesitate to use them in quilts because they’re mostly cotton/polyester blends. These are perfect for making practice sandwiches. I spray basted rows of long skinny pieces of batting left over from previous projects between the fabrics. For these practice pieces, I found that they didn’t have to be taped together.
A Treasury of Design for Artists and Craftsmen. My favourite was a modern paisley that doesn’t have outside edges except where the lines within happen to go to the edge of the design. With an iron-off marking pen, it was easy to draw the outline of the paisley and then quilt the lines within it. If I was to use this pattern again, I could practice it to figure out how to continuously quilt it without having to travel from one end to another. That would ensure that both sides would have the open effect that makes it special.
|Paisley with curves|
I got the idea for the leaf patterns in a Zen Colouring Designs magazine. The image didn’t come out well since I used much lighter thread. Again, it’s the same principle of dividing the space to add different designs.
|Leaf - divide and conquer|
I had so much fun FMQ this practice piece that I ended up binding it and placing it on my wall at work. I smile every time I see it.
I also practiced my cathedral windows based on Cindy Needham’s Machine Quilting Wholecloth Quilts on Craftsy. As she recommended, I took the time to draw out an on-point grid with my trusty iron-off marking pen and then followed her instructions. My edges are a bit off but otherwise, it’s a pretty decent try. It makes such a rich background.
What I learned:
- Use solid fabrics for my practice sandwiches. Using ugly patterned fabrics isn’t a good idea because I can't see the quilting as well, if at all.
- Spray basting strips of left-over batting between the two layers of fabric is good enough, as long as the practice piece isn't used for anything else.
- It’s important to stop quilting at least one inch of the border, otherwise the design gets distorted. This is NOT the first time I’ve learned this - and probably not the last time I’ll forget it!
- Practicing like this has given me a lot of confidence. I’m now planning my next fully FMQ project.