Thursday, 21 April 2011

Contemplating Lily's QAL

I know I've been a little absent, life.... what can I say!

But that doesn't mean I've been doing nothing - honestly.  Trust me, I have lots to share, but I thought it was important to let you know how I've been contemplating my Lily's Quilt Along blocks (ok, block at this stage!)

This is my one completed block which is currently about 25" square.

Grab some of that clear tablecloth plastic, leave in a warm studio so it's wrinkle free and soft and pliable, and lay over your block.
Grab yourself some washable felt tips, or whatever, as long as it's not permanent!



And begin to play!


The green didn't like it at all, but you begin to get the idea ... right?

Just see what different patterns look like...

I like how these two look together ... don't you?


the start of feather spines ...

or maybe not!



All sorts of filler patterns to play with, that are really not difficult at all...


Hmm, some friend came over to play with some free motion quilting and this gave me an idea too!

So, when I'm contemplating a little free motion quilting, first things first, I give the machine a little spring clean, brush up and oil if necessary.  Make sure I have plenty of bobbins pre wound so no stopping required.  A new sharp needle, and for this I like a Schmetz Microtex 75/11 or topstitch/quilting in size 70/10.  The finer the needle the less noticeable your needle holes will be after all is done.



And I have a couple of sets of those blue thingys.  That's non slip stuff for draws and shelves, found in general diy stores and best of all - Poundland!  I'll explain why in a mo ...

But first, before you go getting all excited and grab your blocks to do the quilting, grab yourself a little practice piece, layered up with the same wadding you'll be using in your quilt, pinning is easier than tacking (them little big stitches can get caught up and become a real pain in the ...... neck!)

Ready?  OK, lets begin.  Make sure your feed dogs are down and if you can set your sewing machine to stop with the needle in the down position, do that too  :)

Now, listen very carefully, hanging onto your top thread, needle down, needle up (just once) and pull the top thread until the bobbin threads come through.  Grab hold of the bobbin thread and pull it all the way through so both threads are on the top of your quilt sandwich. 


When you begin to quilt, hang onto these and it will stop you getting those nasty little birds nests on the back.  (I know it's spring and all that, but really, the back of your precious quilt is no place for any nesting birds!)

I want to talk a little about holding onto your work.  You could hold onto it like this below ....


Or many people prefer to wear gloves that do the gripping for them, if you like these, great, fill your boots if it works for you!

Now,back to those little blue non slip pads....


they work just like the gloves, gripping your fabric, without the hot hands  :) You just need a hand size piece for each hand!

You can see my little fat hands are quite close to the needle and working in this small space means you have way more control to create beautiful free motion quilting that trying to concentrate on a big area.   Yes you need to move and adjust the position of your hands more, but it really helps. 


Have a little play, see how it feels, don't get all speedy, because just like learning to drive, you feel like you're less in control if your foot has lead lined boots!

Play, you really do have permission, it's ok,  see what you can do...


See what you can do...

Try new to you techniques...


practice the patterns you want to use on your quilt


And before you know it, your little sandwich of practice is filled ...


Now, go play, it's all about the practice!

I'm off to finish off a few more of my blocks, and write a few more blog posts  :)  Hopefully the sun will shine sufficiently for a little photo call  :) 

Until next time...

Happy Quilting!



15 comments:

Leanne said...

Thank you for all the ideas and the encouragement! Your quiliting rocks!!

Madame Samm said...

Holly Molly Trudi...that is a lot of stitching...and the circle...well I like it...looks perfect points too...will have you call you miss PP... lol
Happy Easter my dear

Sandy said...

Wow, that is a great block. Love it!

Char said...

Thanks so much, lots of great info in this post.

Caryl W said...

I have been curious about these since you posted on flickr!! Thank you so much for all this info...great stuff!

QuiltSwissy said...

very nice idea for using that vinyl. Never thought about it that way. Thanks.

glen: I have learned TWO things today!

Lynne (Lily's Quilts) said...

Wow Trudi, fantastic post, thank you. I was wondering how you used the plastic when I saw the pics on Flickr!

Benta At SLIKstitches said...

The plastic is a brilliant idea! For the fmq, I use the round pads too, but got fed up with moving them along as I quilted, so I cut one in half, took the two pointed ends on one half and overlaped them and stuck them together. Same on the other half, and now I have two tubes that I can stick my fingers through so the pot holder stuff moved with my fingers!

Flying Blind... said...

Wow-wee I am never going to be able to do that - but I am happy looking at yours!

Shevvy said...

One day when I treat myself to a proper sewing table with a drop in place for the machine I will have a nice big flat surface to quilt. In the meantime I have to work on top of the dining table so the most simple and basic FMQ is all I can aspire to but this was a great post to help me dream.

Manda said...

Great ideas and beautiful quilting thanks!

Sarah said...

Your quilting is amazing! Question (probably a really dumb one but anyway) how do you fix the tension, when I try to FMQ the back looks terrible, the bobbin thread is a bit loose and the top thread is in wee loops - not to mention the fact that I can never get the stitches on top to be the same size!

Pat said...

Thanks for the incouragement and all the hints. I am getting close to quilting a table runner and will try it then.

Magnolia Bay Quilts said...

Great quilting, Trudi! Thanks so much for sharing the tips. Gotta get some of those blue grippy pads.

Happy Easter!

Terri said...

thanku for the top tips! must go practise now. again.
I know........... 'practise makes perfect' :-)