A quilter at the LQS let me borrow a stencil. She told me to take off all the feet, hoop the project and start practicing. Away I went.
I thought that I would show you how I make some of these better motifs today. It is in the same fashion as 15 years ago.
I find that when working on a specific motif to be quilted, it always looks better in the end if I hoop it. I don’t hoop things if I am just going to meander some pattern. I like an embroidery hoop. Here is my favorite.
I like this one because it is easy to get under the foot of the machine and has enough space to get a decent size motif in it. You do not want a thick quilting hoop, it is too tall. I like to use a stencil and blue pen to draw the motif onto my quilt. I try to have a pen that is older, I don’t want so much pen that it will be forever getting it out. I like a little older pen. I will pull off the end and add a little water to it. This will make it so it isn’t so much work to transfer the motif. Sometimes I use a chalk pencil. This pattern is to ornate to easily tell where I am going with the chalk.
When I hoop a motif I keep in mind that only so much of the hoop will fit between the foot of the machine and the arm (the throat plate area). I try to place the motif so that I do not have to rotate the hoop to reach all the areas of the motif. Some larger motifs this is not an option. This one is small and I could get to all the parts easily.
- I use the hoop for 2 main reasons:
- I like how the hoop spreads out the motif. This helps everything lay flat. I do not have to worry about that while trying to maneuver around the motif. The second reason is it gives me better control in moving the fabric. I place the hoop with the flat side down, opposite of how you would hold the hoop for embroidery. See how I am holding the hoop. I have the hoop in both hands. Usually I just go fast when I am meandering. For this technique, I take my time. I do not have to stay exactly on the line—but I want the consistency of both shape and size. I will often draw many motifs on and sew them out so that I do not have to take the hoop out from under the machine. I will just slide the next motif under the needle and hoop that part of the quilt.
I also wanted to show you my practice piece. I draw this motif on a small sandwich and run it around the machine a few times. I like for the muscle memory to start kicking in. I want to be able to know if I my hands keep wanting to make a concave curve vs. a convex curve. If you click on this you will see that I sew this shape 3 or 4 times. I have about 4 of these shapes on the sandwich.
I then spray the quilt when I am done. I don’t soak it too heavily. I often spray it 4-5 times. I will let it dry, then spray again, until all of the blue is out. Sometimes it will take awhile. This is why you don’t want that brand new pen. I will lay it over the back of the couch to dry at the end of a work session or between sprayings.
The key for me has always been practice. Nothing nerve wracking. I have 2-3 sandwiches that I often practice on. When the kids are looking for something to do—Why not rip! They love it. Then I will use the same sandwich next time.
Just Quilting Away,
Just Another Quilter