Posts Tagged ‘free motion quilting’
Can you tell I love me my unpolished red satin? This is “Mandala 1: Core,” also published in Linda Seward’s book Ultimate Guide to Art Quilting Techniques. It’s free motion quilting, but the nice thing about using marbled patterns is that you have lines to follow!
I taught beginning free motion quilting this past Saturday and had a FABULOUS time!! When I did my lesson plan for the class, and then as I was going through it with my students, a few things became very clear to me.
- Everything starts with a straight line done with the free motion foot. It helps develop rhythm and hand placement. No longer will I start with a motif when teaching beginners.
- It’s easy to go from straight line to stippling (large, medium, and micro) as well as figure out how not to get in a corner and have to stop. My students found it very easy to move quickly and easily into curved lines.
- At this point we stopped to talk about threads and tension. It seemed a good point, and there were questions cropping up. The biggest problem they (and probably most of us) have is silencing that Inner Critic and realizing we have to practice – most of us aren’t willing to approach it that way at the beginning. (Ask me how I know that…). One person had bobbin issues, and the rest were concerned with moving that upper tension dial, as well as determining if their machine like same thread top and bottom, or another combination. I need to remember for future classes that “same thread top and bottom” may be more helpful to beginners. I’m so used to the quirks of my machine and how to work with different top and bottom
- Next pattern was a basic heart-shaped leaf, first learned by me in the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge by quilter Frances Moore.
- Pebbles were next – large, medium, fill-ins, different sizes. This seemed a natural progression.
- Then spirals, grid patterns, and feathers. No one really got frustrated, mainly because they could see how previous learning morphed into a new pattern pretty easily.
Lots of samples from me so students could see practical applications within actual quilts, as well as all my practice fat quarters that I now use to practice or check tension before beginning a new project.
Best part? Everyone signed up for Intermediate FMQ in March!
For over 13 years this piece has been known privately as “Ode to the Fire Goddess Pele” as a result of my time in Hawaii. It’s official title is Gaia 2: Beginnings. Our biggest problem has been that it was meant to hang on it’s own, but we were unable to figure out a simple – and not intrusive – hanging system. So for the last year, since we have been showing our work in Vermont, we’ve talked about mounting the piece – somehow. Here’s the story of the creation of the original piece.
That led to me deciding to completely redo the piece – ev.er.y.thing. It took two weeks of night time by the television to get all the machine quilting pulled out. In the 13 years since this was finished my machine quilting skills are SO much better. I will say that my original tension was so bad that in many places all I had to do was pull a thread and I had many many inches come right out.
My new plan is to requilt it, change the edging, mount it on a large piece of black fabric, quilt the black fabric, and then add a sleeve. I need to have all this accomplished by May, as I plan to enter it into the “Abstraction” show in Saranac Lake this summer.
Right now I have 12 strips still with serged edges. I found a FABULOUS piece of red and gold fabric in my stash, and (hoping I have enough) I will put the binding on over the serged edges. It looks really good so far.
A close-up of the original weaving with the serged edges.
This piece will also have a new name: Revolution. More on that as I get further along in the quilt.
There were a lot of other small items completed – some UFO’s and some brand new. The small piece at the left (24 0nches square) was an OLD top from many years ago – part of a pattern kit for customers using marbled fabrics. The quilt top had some serious rolls of fabric where the iron (and the user…) had pressed wrong. So I to0k out all the stitches, fixed it, made the sandwich, and then requilted it with my practiced free motion skills. A lot of new patterns from Lori Kennedy’s The Inbox Jaunt – she has amazing tutorials.
Then there were pieces where I looked through pieces of marbled fabric we had saved and waited for one to speak to me. A lot of them did in the course of the year. “Sonoran Desert” was one of those. this was done on white denim, and it was a pattern I’ve not quilted before – but it spoke to me of the saguaros of the Sonoran Desert.
Didn’t like this binding – too sloppy to control, so did a regular fabric binding. It hung in our library show and now has a new home with a woman who lived in Tucson for a number of years. Added a few semi-precious pieces of turquoise, agates and lava.
A friend keeps us supplied with all sorts of remnants of cottons, polys and silks. We used a couple to see if they would marble – and they did – spectacularly. One of them went immediately to our son in Seattle – he loved the dark colors – said they were “sexy.” The one he received was “Sliver of Moonlight.” First pic is of the plain marbled fabric, second is seeing the stitching. Unfortunely no final pic of it mounted.
This one is same fabric – black poly-silk, and is called “Whispers in the Moonlight.”
There are more pieces, but I need to move on to new projects…..more on an upcoming sale we are having – next blog post!
hitting 1000 b logposts……
Our first solo show was wonderful. We were guest artist the month of August in the Essex Junction Library, a wonderful space in the community room. The fiber pieces hanging on the brick walls softened the room a great deal. Great reception for folks, hosted by our dear friends the Williamsons. Lots of good discussions, and I tried something new – a “completed” piece that I still am not happy with, and I asked for suggestions for re-doing/changing the piece- great ideas, and I will certainly do an interactive piece again for future shows.
April through June, Jericho Town Hall, “Double Exposure” – artwork and a piece of literature/quote that goes with it.
June through September, Unsworth Law Offices, a selection of fiber and digital work.
Phoenix Books with the Essex Art League, 2016, small works.
Old Red Mill Gallery with the Essex Art League, digital work, as well as ongoing fabric sales
October through April 2017, Maltex Building with Burlington City Arts – large works. These are large pieces, and many of them have not shown anywhere before, so it was exciting to visit them in their 6-month home. Third floor, so go visit!
This was a big year for showing our work – many more options and acceptances than most of our time in Arizona. We taught a beginning marbling class at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, NY, and in the process of chatting, we became part of their arts curriculum grant project. I’m really looking forward to this activity; I miss the days of working with The Kennedy Center to bring integrated arts into the classrooms in the Chittenden East School District in Vermont.A lot of great memories from the conferences, and then great memories from arts work within the district (need to do a blog post and reflect on the work we did….)
A couple of pictures from our Saranac Lake class, followed by an individual machine quilting class I did for a fellow artist who wanted to expand her techniques. Mary Hill is a mixed media artist, with vibrant work.
We spent Vermont Open Studios sharing space with Mary over Memorial Day Weekend. LOTSSof great discussions on marketing!!
Plus, since May I have been working on an interactive teaching manual for the ebook Interactive Edge of the Sea. This takes all I have worked on in curriculum in 40 years of teaching and brings it together for teachers, with a modern update on using all forms of new assessment and social media within the classroom. My hope is that this manual becomes a template for other disciplines, as there are a lot of useful interactive teaching techniques – and everything is correlated to current educational standards. A labor of love with my second mom, Betty Hupp. Here’s the cover:
We are just about done with final edits, and after the first of the year it heads off to coding. I have a lot of links to check to be sure they all work!
Bunches of shows…..here are pictures of our small pieces at Sweet Grass Gallery in Williston, VT for the month of November.
There’s still more…..stay tuned!
I was very involved this year in helping others create some wonderful fiber art. First up was a baby quilt for a teacher at a former school of mine. The teachers all created blocks based on children’s books, and then along with the baby quilt, gave the books to the new mom. It came out so cute!
You can see the machine quilting – “leaves” for the pages of books – the leave of a book……a lot of fun to quilt. Next time….stabilize the pieces before they are sewn into blocks….
How many books can you identify?
LOVE Patricia Pallaco!
Two more baby quilts scheduled for the new year….prolific bunch at Camels Hump Middle School!
A good friend made a “science fiction” quilt for her son – a gamer, doctoral student, and avid reader. It was SO MUCH fun helping in the process, from using spray basting, to zigzagging quotes, to creating the dragon (a “must-have in this quilt). It hangs from a curtain rod that is very “Lord of the Rings” in design. I was responsible for the machine quilting of dozens of galaxies within the quilt. The dragon has a lot of marbled fabric within it, and it works so well! Kathy did an amazing job. Teeth, flame, wings, and horns all crafted from marbled fabrics. Hubby Dave did the design for the pattern, Kathy did the contruction with vinyl and a few other fabrics.
The last heavy sewing/quilting happened when my friend Kathy wanted to recreate a marbled wall hanging of ours that one of her daughters loved. Sure…..to find she wanted it reversible…and a few other changes….
The story of the original piece is here.
I don’t have any finished pics at this point – just an in-progress. Oh, did I forget to mention she wanted one for each daughter? Different colors for reversible? Different quilting patterns? It really was a lot of fun, and it challenged me to revisit a reversible binding….but I made Kathy do all the hand-stitching……
A close-up of in-progress……
The year started with this commission: The Arroyo –
…and we’re not done for the year!!
A lot of smaller work was started, finished, and revised this year – part of the need to create more pieces, and part to experiment with new ideas. We also tried more framing (pretty successful) and mounting on canvas (very successful, and not that all expensive). The biggest issue seemed to be people didn’t know what to do with small wall hangings or table-toppers. By framing them we are leading our customers to see the piece on a wall, looking like artwork. This is also working well for galleries and stores with small spaces.
The “Chocolate Box” piece on the left was done some 18 years ago as part of a challenge on the QuiltArt list to create an 8 x 8 piece with the theme of “brown.” I pulled all kinds of browns from my stash, including some marbled fabrics, and then I zigzagged them together with the idea of creating a “Whitman’s Sampler.” I have always thought it looked very cute. I rediscovered it this summer, adding batting and backing, variegated thread in a more prominent zigzag, put on a binding, and mounted it on fabric. Lots of good feedback on the piece.
Another piece that saw framing was a small piece of marbled poly-satin that a friend (Suzan Drury of Saltwater Systems) added glitter to at least 10 years ago. Loved it, but it didn’t translate into something someone would want to buy – so on a whim I added batting and backing and then quilted it – thus “Pond 3” – a favorite topic. I learned to do sand dollars as part of a tutorial from Lori Kennedy (theinboxjaunt.com), so you will see clam shells, sea urchins, and sand dollars throughout the small piece. It looks quite striking. One thing I learned in the framing process was to move to lighter-colored frames to keep a piece from feeling constrained.
this year saw the debut of a new series – “Leftovers.” The idea for this came about when we would clean the marbling tray after a session. There were wonderful designs of leftover paint as we emptied the carrageenan. We started saving some small pieces to capture to designs – all of which are very organic and “earth strata.” Two pieces made their debut at Phoenix Books in Essex as part of a rotating display of work by the Essex Art League. There are LOTS more to come – all of which need me to stare at a piece for a while to determine how it wants to be stitched. They are all simply framed and look almost like photographs.
Before stitching on From Above:
Ultrasuede marbles wonderfully. Over the past couple of years we have been doing yards of this for Bead My Love to sell at the various bead and gem shows. We get to keep a few pieces for ourselves, and this year I finally attacked quilting one – with some interesting lessons….the fabric feels like suede, but it doesn’t translate to a puffiness when quilting (note to self: use extra batting for the next piece). Also, the various colors didn’t show well, which is why I went with Superior Threads New Brytes yellow – a thicker thread. this is a 12 x 12 piece of ultrasuede. Introducing “Partly Sunny, Chance of Storms.”
One more piece – we also started marbling flowers and leaves from the silk flower sections of the craft stores – another way to use up left-over paint in the marbling tray. Here’s “Autumn,” a collage of some marbled silk leaves. Covered canvas, 8 x 10 inches.
More next time as I continue to review the year. Comments welcome!
It has been a banner year for art – especially in the making of art. When I stopped to reflect, I realized we created more this year than any other year – some big, many small, and all taught us something! I’m doing several blog posts, since I don’t have pics for a bunch of gifts – awaiting the jpgs in the email….
Yesterday was the presentation of a commission for dear friends of ours. It was supposed to be for their anniversary in September, but just didn’t happen….Once knee surgery was over and I could move around fairly easily, I set to work. The marbled fabric had been done since April, and I had been mulling designs since then. It was time….
I started working with the Chinese symbol for “family,” and after just this first littyle bit, I have even more appreciation for the art quilts of Kathy Nida. This involved tracing the symbol, determining which side would be “up” when ironing onto the front of the fabric, adding WonderUnder, and then making sure it actually worked – especially since I had a limited amount of the fabric choice for the symbol. First success.
Next was creating the pattern for the side panels, loosely based on a table runner by Lonnie Rossi and definitely made my own. Same issues with being sure of right and wrong side, since there would be two panels, and the designs would mirror each other. Much angst – especially on the choice of the background – I had a peach silk that worked with the overall colors, but looked terrible with the small pieces actually on it. The fabrics were extra marbled fat quarters that didn’t make the cut in terms of main color, but they were all complementary.
I put off for the longest time doing the zigzag satin stitch and then discovered that the fabric frayed very easily. A lot of adjustment, sharp pointy scissors, and FrayCheck got me through this section.
I had one panel completed and then started on the second panel. It probably would have been easier doing them both at the same time, but I wanted to be sure the idea could be executed before I was completely committer.
The request was for some apple blossoms quilted into the design – originally to be on the border….but it worked out differently. I Googled images of apple blossoms and determined a free motion pattern, and then began. As long as the petals had ragged edges, the pattern worked.
Lots of flowers over both panels – really liked how subtle the patterns are.
Checking to see if the three panels really do work together….
Time to square off and do the binding – the side panels had a LOT of ironing as they were becoming distorted. Note to self – allow more edging next time around…..
Preparing the canvas for mounting the panels. We have started mounting much of our work on canvas frames covered with a complementary fabric. Much sturdier, easier to hang, and people seem to view them more as “art.”
Thinking it’s going to work…….each side panel is three 8 x 8-inch canvases, mounted together and covered.
A piece I started about 15 years ago and finally finished this summer – will be adding loops to the back to hang on our door for Halloween. I still have plenty more to work on, and slowly,over the winter during knee recovery I plan to work on them – plus lots of new ones.
Speaking of new ones, in organizing Bridge yesterday (some 7000 photos and a lot of saved duplicates, I think I can make sense of some of the new process pictures. This first piece, Chocolate Box, was done YEARS ago, as part of an 8 x 8 challenge from the old QuiltArt list. I think the theme was “brown,” but who knows? Originally I just sewed pieces with a zigzag stitch – and then I realized I needed stabilizer on the back – like I said, a long time ago. This summer I came across it, added backing, re-quilted it in a variegated thread, and added a border. Still love the piece!
This piece was done for us years ago as part of a challenge to use marbled fabric in a traditional pattern. I made a sandwich, added waves to the bottom of each boat, and quilted semi-circles around the sails to represent the sun. If you made this for us, please let me know so I can credit you.
This next was also part of a challenge, and I use it as a sampler for using free motion quilting on a traditional block. One of the sections is plain, the others have a variety of patterns, some following the the pattern, and some walking around. I love how the marbled fabric quilts up.
I like to use my backs to show errors- and then in the blank area I added details about threads and needles.
So I continue with cleaning and organizing, and hubby is busy marbling every fabric we seem to have in the house. He’s having a ball!
This next piece I started when I lived on Nastar, which has to be 18 years ago – it was part of a Block of the Month project for our online customers. This was September/October, but when I finished it, it had a VERY noticeable bulge from bad ironing – in two separate places.
Took both borders off, made a new sandwich, and then sewed the borders back into place to hold the top for quilting. I did a lot of work with new patterns from Lori Kennedy and her Craftsy classes.
There are amazing motifs, and Lori’s technique of doodling them first works like a charm. Here are some pics of patterns:
Lori’s Twist, which I can finally understand how it’s done – parallel lines up and down and everything looks perfect. My bubbles and straight-line quilting. An example of quilting the marbled fabrics.
LOVE the leaf motif – now I have several in my bag of tricks – way easier than it looks! New motif in the turquoise – an exaggerated swirl.
A better look at the orange peel (I know it as a cathedral windows variation) and the swirl.
Lessons learned –
- I want to be able to do what Judi Madsen does with the negative space and have one pattern rather than several, depending on the space.
- STILL love the colors in this quilt!
- Markers help cover up tension issues from a different color bobbin thread.
- The back doesn’t have to be all one color, especially if you’re having tension issues from two different weights of thread.
- Outside (final border) can be very simple.
Yup, two more pieces around for forever…..both needed complete revisions, as my skills have grown quite considerably. The first is a “cheater” cloth, very Southwest, which is why I bought it. Originally it had been quilted in the ditch, and while I loved the co.ors, the piece really didn’t speak to me……so I took it all apart.
And in the process I discovered a ,lot of stuff – pros and cons – about cheater cloth.
One, they are great for practicing free motion quilting. You can get right to the designs without having to worry about putting the whole thing together. I re-sandwiched the top and then studied it for quite a while for ideas.
Two, they can really tax your ability to work with fmq designs. In some of the smaller blocks, I used the same basic quilting motif and changed it up a bit in other blocks of the same design. Great way to practice!
Three, the store doesn’t always do a great job of cutting the panels. On closer examination, you can see where some borders show and some don’t. I really had to work the binding carefully so the piece would look even all around. Plus, the fraying from new usage, poor quality fabric, and age didn’t help at all.
Four, nice decisions about which type of thread to use. I stayed with Superior Art Studios and Rainbows – because I like the sparkle. I did use cotton King Tut because I wanted to experiment with thread painting for shadows, and I didn’t want it really obvious.
Five, I need to get a better photography set-up in our new place…….
Six, discovered I could cover a few binding mistakes with some markers….liking that!
View from the top – couldn’t adjust light like I wanted (really missing the garage set-up at this point). Look at the binding – see what I mean about borders?
Another view – the backgrounds of the actual pots are left unquilted….I was tempted, but I keep remembering Tim Gunn and “edit.” I didn’t want to detract from the “shading” I did on the pots…I was really happy with how that turned out.
Seven – straight-line outlining isn’t as easy with a free-motion foot…but it is great practice….
So I have unearthed a bunch of UFOs in going through one of the containers in the studio. One is up on Facebook, free to a good home for the cost of postage. A couple of them, I need suggestions for what I can do for the quilting. Plus, if you recognize that you made the item, please let me know so I can credit you – it’s been a long time since they were sent to us.
Here’s the first.
This was done for us as a way to use marbled fabric in a traditional block. Now I need suggestions on the quilting. I want to use it as a sampler in my fmq classes. I was thinking of outlining the blue marbling for the waves and then doing something with partial circles around the sunrise/sunset….Ideas?
Here’s number two.
This is reverse applique, and I can treat it as a Hawaiian block with outlining, but I’m wondering if there is something else. All suggestions welcome!!
This last quilt commission (which Susan is no doubt getting plenty of use in chilly Tucson, and we have our quilt off the bed, as it’s too warm here in Vermont….) was a challenge for me to fill space with quilting design. I LOVED how it came out, and as usual I learned a few things on it. So when I started this new table runner for a friend for Christmas (left-over pieces from a Judy Niemeyer pattern) I wanted to do an overall quilting pattern that was very organic and would unite all the blocks.
Big lesson – just because you can quilt it, doesn’t mean you should….which harkens back to Road to California in 2012. First time at a big quilt show, and hubby and I kept commenting on the amount of free motion quilting showing up. Some quilts didn’t seem to need that much quilting, and on some the quilting really enhanced the work. This was also when I began taking free motion seriously, and in the last three years I am now teaching basic machine quilting.
But with this table runner, I realized to late (to rip out half the runner) that I had too much quilting. Here’s my table runner that was on the table when our friends came to dinner.
The block pattern is obvious, and at this point I was stumped as to how to quilt it – I ended up using invisible thread with wide circles. Ehh. So I wanted to do something different with this one.
You can see the meandering quilting – I really just played with curved line to offset the sharpness of the design.
You can see here that the quilting design when up close takes over and dominates the pattern. This is where hubby quoted Tim Gunn (yes, too much Project Runway in our house,……): Edit, edit, edit. Yup – bigger curved lines and no leaves or stones.
Like I said before, way too late to take all those stitches out. However……when looked at from certain angles, all you see is the pattern. At other angles the quilting is predominant. And, ultimately I like them both.
Before I actually started the quilting, I was subbing one day and had time on my hands, so I was watching one of my Craftsy classes on machine quilting big projects on a small machine (and my Bernina 108 doesn’t get much smaller….). Spray-basting the WHOLE quilt. Nothing will move. I’m trying this, and lo and behold it worked WONDERFULLY.
The spacing could be better, but NO TUCKS! Well, three little ones that actually ironed out. That’s the way I’m going from now on. My fingers will appreciate no more safety pins – this time a year ago it took hubby and me four hours to pin-baste a queen quilt…..
So more lessons learned, and another commission in the works for March. I am having SO MUCH FUN!!!
About two years ago I asked for some volunteers to make traditional blocks using marbled fabrics, as I wanted to show what can be done with traditional quilts besides the art quilts I do. Now that I am improving my machine quilting skills, I turned one of the blocks into a new teaching sample for both quilting marbled fabrics as well as using marbled fabric in traditional quilts. First up is the back of the block – a list of all the threads and needle sizes used, as well as any (and all) tension issues, so they could be discussed (and I wouldn’t forget what I used where).
I quartered the block, and one section was left completely unquilted – because that is also an option. Here’s the front of the block:
Far left – unquilted. The yellow pieces have three different designs. I’m partial to the one with pebbles quilted throughout the piece. I used Bottom Line in the bottom, size 80 Superior needle, and Bottom line in the top.
Each marbled piece is done in a different free-form design. Lower center uses a Superior Thread Brytes, heavier, so I used a #90 Superior needle. Upper right used Bottom Line on the top and followed most of the curves in the pattern. Right marbled fabric used a variegated Superior Rainbows thread and only did a few of the wide curves. Different looks in all three. One of my favorite stitches is just following basic curves, and you can see that in this quilt:
For the white – BIG lesson was don’t use a distinct variegated thread unless your fmq stitches are VERY even. Spent three hours taking it all out. The white was patterned with circles and small crosses. For the bottom right I used yellow Bottom Line in the top for a hint of color and gridded the triangle, using the fabric pattern as a guide. Upper left, also with white Bottom Line, I followed the circles in the white fabric pattern. Right triangle I followed both patterns, also white Bottom Line, and found it too busy.
After the New Year, I want to experiment with more like this. Let me know if you have done something like this to determine different quilting ideas.
My last finished project before packing the studio for the big move to Vermont. I made a modern quilt – it didn’t start out that way. I was going to do a log cabin, but then I decided I just wanted to sew half-square triangles using the paper triangles. After about 150 triangles, I realized there was no way I wanted to sew three times as many more for the whole quilt. So I made the center panel. (Needless to say, I have lots left over for another project….)
All of the colors were chosen as to whether they would play nice with the blue fleece I’d bought in November for the backing – this color is my great-niece’s favorite – forgetting the fact that I’ve never used fleece for a backing…..
Then I started playing around with borders to the center design, trying to get it into lap-quilt size. I had plenty of triangles left, so did borders with just a few on each end – I’ve seen something like that in a lot of the modern quilts I’ve looked at. At this point things became pretty freeing – I knew I wanted lots of space for free-motion quilting, and Maria from Quilter’s Market helped me pick out another fabric – she has an amazing eye.
The worst part of the whole quilt was sewing together all those triangles, lumpy intersections, and trying to quilt over them. But I LOVED how it came out. I was having serious rippling problems because of the stretch of the fleece, and Maria suggested using 505 to spray and corral it into place for the rest of the quilting – wonderful, with only a few ripples and they are not really noticeable. I ran out of my Silk Kimono blue I was using, which I loved….and if I hadn’t had several rippit sessions, I might have had enough to finish the quilt. But I had to go to the Big Local Fabric Store and once again I realized HOW MUCH I LOVE Superior Threads – the stuff I bought kept shredding constantly. I used Magnifico in the bobbin and LOVED it.
So here are some shots of the free-motion on the front:
And finally, the completed lap quilt for my great-niece Gracie-Mae on turning 13. (Seven more lap quilts for the other great-nieces and nephews over the next 10 years as they turn 13…….)
Or if you prefer this orientation….
I can now understand the freedom of modern quilts. I have a lot more ideas on how to use the marbled fabrics in some new smaller wall hangings, but that will need to wait until I set up my new studio in Vermont – maybe by July!