Sealife Quilt-let

Sealife quilt-let
Sealife quilt-let

This Sealife quilt-let started as a piece of fabric I bought at PIQF. Perhaps I bought it last year?

I bought this piece of fabric to make a quilt for my friend’s grandchild. Since I was giving his granddaughter the BAMaQG Color Round Robin, I couldn’t very well leave her older brother out. I wasn’t up for a full on boy quilt and this piece of fabric seemed to be a good compromise.

I call this a quilt-let, because there is no piecing. I don’t know if there is another name for this type of work, so quilt-let it is.

Sealife quilt-let back
Sealife quilt-let back

After basting it in my hotel room on Friday night, I spent most of Saturday quilting the piece using some flannel for the back. I used the lines on the fabric to guide my quilting.

I have to make a binding and sew that on. I didn’t bring fabric to do that so that is a task for another day.

I am not sure this project was on any of my project lists, which means I can’t cross it off. Still, the fabric has been laying around my workroom and now it will be finished so and off to its new home.

Stars Return

You might remember me talking about the first star donation top. I don’t always get to see the finished product, but last week at the BAM meeting, I got to see it finished.

Star Donation Quilt
Star Donation Quilt

Erin quilted it. She doesn’t make a lot of her own quilts, so she quilts a massive number of charity quilts.

The setting looks pretty boring compared to Stars #2 and Stars #3, but I had to make it in order to get to those two. Erin’s quilting makes it look a lot better!

I was thrilled to collaborate with Erin and look forward to seeing what she does next.

Finished: Down the Drain

Down the Drain: Finished
Down the Drain: Finished

I finally finished Down the Drain on Friday night. Completely finished: quilting done, binding on, sleeve sewn down. Done.

First, as I mentioned, I finished the quilting. Of course I could have stopped any time, but was clearly on a mission. I kept quilting minutely almost every single open space.

I finished hand sewing the binding on earlier this week. Normally, the combination of tightly woven fabric (an AGF solid) and Aurifil make for slow going, but the combination worked great! My needle went through the fabric with no problem and I sewed the binding in only about 4 hours.

I stitched the sleeve down in only about 2 hours. The whole process of making this quilting was so relatively painless. The experience was not and continues not to be painless. The actual process of making the quilt went so smoothly. I guess it was meant to be.

Posts about Down the Drain

  1. I Have a Secret – 8/6/2017
  2. Art Quilt Start: Background – 8/8/2017
  3. Art Quilt: River of Sorrow – 8/10/2017
  4. Art Quilt: Border 1 – 8/13/2017
  5. Art Quilt: Quilting Finished – 9/17/2017

Art Quilt: Quilting Finished

Down the Drain: Quilting Completed
Down the Drain: Quilting Completed

I finished quilting the art quilt, Down the Drain, a few weeks ago. I don’t know why I didn’t post it. My only explanation is life got in the way.

I am pretty pleased with my quilting. I found that doing the work on the 6600 was relatively painless. The border quilting is not perfect. I couldn’t have done perfect quilting if I had wanted, but I also wanted to express that life isn’t perfect, people aren’t perfect and we have a chance to improve.

I have machine sewed the binding and made the sleeve.

Posts about Down the Drain

  1. I Have a Secret – 8/6/2017
  2. Art Quilt Start: Background – 8/8/2017
  3. Art Quilt: River of Sorrow – 8/10/2017
  4. Art Quilt: Border 1 – 8/13/2017

Quilting with the 6600

Shockingly, I have been quilting. I have been working, pretty much, on one quilt for a month and I am finishing up the quilting.You’ll see the quilt soon

Quilting a quilt
Quilting a quilt

Yes, **I** am doing the quilting. Don’t expect greatness, because mostly I am doing straight line or straight-ish (as Kelly would say) line quilting.

I am really happy with the 6600. This machine is made for quilting. It has a built-in walking foot that works like a charm. I had very few tension problems even with different weights of Aurifil. While I miss not being able to piece, I am not dreading quilting like I was with my other machines. I think the larger space between the needle and the harp helps, too.

Mel Beach Workshop

Shockingly, I took a machine quilting workshop.

Yes, I have done so in the past, but it has been awhile.

Mel Beach Machine Quilting Sampler
Mel Beach Machine Quilting Sampler

After seeing Mel’s sampler of designs up close and thinking for awhile that I wanted to pull out my walking foot for use more often, I signed up for the class. I love taking BAMQG classes. The people there are really fun, so even if the class it awful (and there hasn’t been an awful one yet), I know we would laugh and have a good time.

I will never be a great quilter like Colleen or Kelly, but I can be adequate and competent. My method of machine quilt is to follow the designs of fabric, as you saw in the Thanksgiving tablerunners. I usually use my applique’ foot and go very slowly. The applique’ foot allows me to see exactly where the needle is going and I can be a bit exacting when I quilt. I used to free motion quilt, but I haven’t done it in a long time and it doesn’t really suit my style of quilts.

The workshop was held at Grace Lutheran on Saturday a week or so ago. The task was to learn to use to the walking foot or become more comfortable in its use. In the process we would create a sampler (or two) of several different quilting patterns. Most of the patterns were straight line, but Mel included some gentle curves as well.

Mel was well organized and had obviously worked hard to develop her handouts. She covered taking breaks and caring for your body, which is skipped over in many classes. We also learned to use tape to mark, tips and tricks for pivoting, decorative stitches and much more. Mel is a calm and well prepared instructor.

The workshop was organized so that the group would get together to learn information then go to the machines to practice. There was a lot of back and forth, which was great because it encouraged everyone to take breaks.

Result of problem with tape
Result of problem with tape

I had a problem sewing on the correct side of the tape at the beginning. This put me behind, because I ended up with a whole bunch of ripping to do. Still I was able to finish one sampler.

I ended up marking an arrow on the tape telling me at a glance on which side to sew. Simple, and possibly unnecessary, but it helped me. I also marked some of the places with my Nonce pencil, a tool I learned to use when I first started quiltmaking. I didn’t have a Sewline with me.

The first thing we did was create squares on the sandwich we had created at home. Like the example above, we were to have a 9 patch layout in which to quilt our designs. I was moving along fine until I sewed on the wrong side of the tape and suddenly my squares were too small. After ripping, I drew the lines on and sewed over those drawn lines rather than using tape. Note that I didn’t make a big deal out of *my* error, as I have seen some people do in other classes. I calmly ripped enough so I could sew the next lesson and then ripped more while I listened to another lecture. Yes, I was frustrated, but this had nothing to do with Mel.

My Machine Quilting Sampler
My Machine Quilting Sampler

Eventually, I got back on track and was able to finish all but a quarter of one square.

All of the designs are straight line designs except for the heart in the center, which, as you can see, has only a very slight curve. The straight line designs were mostly done using tape in some way to mark out the lines, though in the spiral (upper left hand corner) I used the side of the walking foot, as instructed.

One of the reasons I took the class was to try and find background designs, that fit my quilting style, to use to finish the Tarts. I am not sure I found what I needed, though I think I can use some of the designs for that purpose

Machine Quilting Sampler: Chevron
Machine Quilting Sampler: Chevron

My favorite design was probably the Chevron, though I am not sure when I would use it. It isn’t as hard as it looks.

The class was worthwhile and I am glad I took it. I am not sure whether I am more inspired to quilt more in a new way or just have more knowledge. I don’t have a wild desire to machine quilt everything in sight. I suppose time will tell.

I have another sandwich made and continue to try to decide whether I want to start my own sampler, trying out the designs I wasn’t able to try in class. The problem is that if I am quilting, I am not piecing. Also, I can’t switch back and forth as I have to set the machine up for one or the other. For the moment, I will continue to piece.

Walking Foot Students with Projects
Walking Foot Students with Projects*

You can read more about Mel’s thoughts on her blog post.


*Thanks to Mel for the photo

BAM Retreat Projects

As discussed a couple of days ago, I went on the BAM Retreat. I didn’t just have boatloads of fun and eat until I was sick, I also made some valuable progress.

The Thanksgiving tablerunners have been hanging over my head. Thanksgiving is now 1.5 months away and the hanging became more like the Sword of Damocles than an item on my to do list. I am pleased to say that the two remaining have been quilted. I still need to make and apply the binding, but the quilting part is done. I didn’t get to the tablemat, but I am pleased with my progress.

One thing I did on the pumpkin tablerunner was use Aurifloss (12 wt thread). I used it in the machine with 50 wt Aurifil in the bobbin. There was more breakage than I normally experience with Aurifil. I really like the effect and was pleased that the 50 wt did not show through to the top. I didn’t have to adjust the tension.

I also made a few blocks for the Tula Pink City Sampler/ Tale of Two Cities project. The blocks were a good break from quilting, which I needed after I completed the quilting on the first tablerunner. Julie joined the #100blocks100days challenge on Instagram and, while I have not joined, it is inspiring me to work on them. Also, she is now ahead of me on making blocks! I need to get myself in gear. Michelle S was a good support for this project at the retreat.

I also FINALLY started the Valori Wells Little Cell Phone Wallet pattern. I really, REALLY need something to carry my phone and hotel key when I am wearing dresses with no pockets. REALLY. Since the project was small, it seemed like a good time to work on it. I had some trouble with the directions, which should be no surprise. I did get a good working sample by the time I left the retreat. It isn’t one that I will use for various reasons. I’ll write more about this pattern in another post.

While my descriptions might not seem like a lot, I was busy and working hard the whole time. I am pleased with my progress and will be really pleased when I can finish these various projects and cross them off my list.

Reno’s Premier Quiltmaking Event: Make it Modern

Make It Modern
Make It Modern

My friend Kathleen is organizing a great event in beautiful Reno: Make it Modern. This is the premier Reno event for modern quiltmakers. It is a great opportunity to work with a couple of QuiltCon 2016’s hottest designers.

What: Fun and fabulous days of creating, led by modern quilters Christina Cameli and Libs Elliott. Additional help, discussions, and general shenanigans each evening at the sewing salon, and a trunk show on Sunday morning.

Where: Peppermill Resort, Reno, Nevada

When: June 9-12, 2016

Who: Christina Cameli and Libs Elliot will be teaching

Why: Because it is fun to meet up with other like minded quiltmakers and have some fun sewing

How: easy access by car and plane

Find out more information and register on the Make It Modern Events website.

Make it Modern – Reno

Make It Modern
Make It Modern

My friend, Kathleen, is organizing a great event in beautiful Reno: Make it Modern.

What: Fun and fabulous days of creating, led by modern quilters Christina Cameli and Libs Elliott. Additional help, discussions, and general shenanigans each evening at the sewing salon, and a trunk show on Sunday morning.

Where: Peppermill Resort, Reno, Nevada

When: June 9-12, 2016

Who: Christina Cameli and Libs Elliot will be teaching

Why: Because it is fun to meet up with other like minded quiltmakers and have some fun sewing

How: easy access by car and plane

Find out more information and register on the Make It Modern Events website.

March 2016 To Do List

2016 To Do List

  • Quilt Christmas table runner – I thought about calling it done, because I was finished except for the very outer border. I was very much inclined to call it done, but thought the outer border would be flapping around while I tried to bind it, so I started to do a little bit of quilting to hold it down. I have about two more rows left.
  • Wash fabric AKA The Great Unwashed-I washed a few loads in the past month and actually spent a couple of hours ironing then cutting. Further progress.
  • Cut out 3 notepad covers for gifts
  • Finish cutting out Day in the Park backpack variation
  • Sew 3rd Petrillo Bag
  • Sew Bon Appetit apron
  • Cut out Art supplies pincushion
  • Sew Art supplies pincushion
  • Sew purple pincushion
  • Quilt Thanksgiving tablerunner #2
  • Quilt Thanksgiving tablerunner #3
  • Quilt Thanksgiving table mat
  • Bind Thanksgiving tablerunner #1 – I have pulled a couple of fabrics for binding, but I am not sure which to use. Admittedly, I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it. I should do, though since that will add to my finish list.
  • Pull fabrics for QuiltCon class
  • **Make binding for Flowerburst

Finished since December 2015 post

  • Quilt Thanksgiving tablerunner #1
  • Cut out Anna Maria Horner Multi-tasker tote
  • Cut out Art supplies Sew Together Bag
  • Finish cutting out 3rd Petrillo bag
  • Cut out Thanksgiving tablerunner #1
  • Cut out Thanksgiving tablerunner #2
  • Cut out Thanksgiving tablerunner #3
  • Cut out Thanksgiving table mat
  • ATCs for CQFA December meeting
  • Finish sewing Anna Maria Horner Multi-tasker tote -this was a gift I intended to give during Holiday 2013- sigh. Missed 2014 Holiday deadline as well. I made it for birthday 2016 and it was a successful gift.
  • Sew Art supplies Sew Together Bag
  • Cut out Purple Sew Together Bag
  • Sew Purple Sew Together Bag

Fibershots Pieces

As I mentioned a few times, I made two small quilt-lets to donate to the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles for their Fibershots fundraiser. All the pieces are 10″x 10″ and will be $100. They should have less than 3″ of dimensionality if the piece sticks out from the wall. My piece is basically flat.

I am killing two birds with one stone by making them in the minimalist style for the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club February Challenge. I’ll talk more about that aspect in a later post.

Minimalist Fiber 1 & 2
Minimalist Fiber 1 & 2

I wanted to make something that would sell, so I kept the design clean and used popular colors. The piecing was easy – all out of the scrap bins. I got bored by the machine quilting so I added some color to each piece.

I didn’t know I had to put a sleeve, etc on the piece, so I wasn’t able to finish them at the work party after the meeting. I was a little irritated at that, but stayed up on Saturday night (my exciting life!) to finish them so I could start fresh on Sunday morning.

I hope someone buys these. I would really be unhappy if they stayed in the gift shop for the next 3 years.

Quilts Come Home

Friend Julie and I went to Colleen’s last Friday and picked up quilts.

I picked up 2 quilts, which now need to be bound. Julie picked up her giant Christmas quilt. We went to Dharma, Flourcraft and had lunch at the Miracle Mile Cafe.

Colleen is finally getting back into the swing after her family challenges. She is caught up on quilting quilts and is starting to design patterns again. She is working on a group of patterns with a labyrinth theme. They are gorgeous and the construction uses a technique that keeps them very straight. I will share more information with you when she gets to a point where you can buy them.

Julie picked up her giant Christmas quilt, which she showed at the CQFA Meeting. It is a full on scrap quilt and really epitomizes Julie’s exuberant nature.

I picked up the FOTY 2013 and the Russian Rubix. I didn’t remember FOTY 2013 until the morning of when I was in the shower. I am very pleased to have it home and am in the process of hand sewing the binding. After that I will work on the Russian Rubix. I thought I might get RR done in time to enter into the SCVQA Show, but I don’t think so. It is in two weeks and I have done no paperwork, contacted nobody. I’ll enter it into something else later in the year.

Silk ribbon
Silk ribbon

Julie needed to stock up on dyes and dyeing supplies, so we went to Dharma. I never feel like there is much there for me there, but I bought a couple of bottles of Retayne and some gifts. I always enjoy looking at the yarns. They are such beautiful colors and feel so soft.

Julie and I shared the purchase of on skein of some PFD silk ribbon. I wasn’t even thinking about until she showed it to me and said that we could lay it on other fabric and color it or paint it. Once she said that I was a goner. I couldn’t get the process out of my head, especially with the Tsukineko Ink experience fresh in my mind. She put it back, but I said I would share it with her.

After Dharma, we went to lunch. There is a cafe, which has a lot of gluten free options. I had GF Eggs Benedict. It is so nice to order straight off the menu and not have to go over ingredients with the server. It makes me feel like a real person. We sat for awhile and then headed over to Flourcraft, which is a gluten free bakery. I was full as a goog, but we sat and had coffee and cake anyway. I stuffed a piece of orange bundt cake into my stomach AND bought two scones for later. Again, I can’t tell you who a treat it is to go into some shop and buy whatever I want without worrying about wheat flour. It was nice to sit there and look out the large windows. The clouds were big and fluffy and gorgeous that day, so the sun was, on and off, peeking through to give a blast-like sunbeam. I definitely did not eat pizza for dinner. I just had a salad while the boys ate pizza.

We stopped at a small toy/craft shop called Doodlebug as well. They have a lot of fun toys, but also craft supplies. They also have pottery to paint. Their button selection is almost as good as Britex, but veering towards kids themed.

It was supposed to be a leisurely day, visiting with each other and doing fun stuff. We did fun stuff and we visited, but we also went and went and went and it felt a little like a marathon. A VERY fun marathon. 😉

Thinking about Machine Quilting

I saw a recent article, Turning Practice into Play by Betsey Langford**, in the November 2014 issue of the AQS magazine. The article was about practicing machine quilting. The article proposes a playful, and useful way to practice machine quilting. It made me think about my recent experiences with machine quilting.

Finished: Kelly Bag
Finished: Kelly Bag

I think that my recent experience with the Kelly Tote is validated by this article. One of the reasons I never really practiced machine quilting outside of classes was because it felt futile. I know the 12″ squares are a good manageable size to get the feel of machine quilting, but then what? What would I do with them? My thought process was ‘nothing’ so I would use ugly fabric and then I wouldn’t be at all motivated to practice. Practicing machine quilting on a half yard of fabric and then making the tote made the process seem less futile. It made it seem like I was practicing AND preparing something that I could use.

Hideous test piece of FMQ
Hideous test piece of FMQ

This article is in the same vein. Langford talks about using various surface design supplies, such as Tsukineko inks, paints, Inktense pencils, etc to make designs and then following those designs to practice FMQ. The surface design piece gives practice on using those tools while providing something interesting to machine quilt. I relied on the motifs on the fabric in the Kelly Tote. Creating your own motifs gives the quiltmaker more freedom of expression.

Betsey Langford also gives ideas for items to make with the product of your machine quilting exercises. The way I feel about the tote bag sums it all up until I want to use one of the author’s ideas. All in all, it gave me some ideas to expand my machine quilting / FMQ practice in a fun way.





**Nota bene: I found references to this article, but could not actually find a link to it. I will add one later if I find one.

Kelly’s Bag

Kelly's Bag
Kelly’s Bag

A little while ago I participated in Kelly’s monthly BAMQG Challenge, which was to quilt a half yard fabric sandwich. The goal ended up being to make a bag from this piece. I wasn’t entirely happy with the quilting, but I didn’t sincerely dislike it either. The quilted piece laid around for awhile, but it was on my mind. It is only recently that I made time to start the bagmaking part. Part of the delay was because I couldn’t understand and extrapolate out from Kelly’s excellent directions. You know me. Sometimes I can read and read and the words look like gibberish. She was very patient with me and agreed to give me one step at a time. Broken down I could do it.


  • 1 yard of fabric (2 different half yard pieces will add interest)
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for straps and other fiddley bits
  • 12″ x 42″ (or WOF) ShapeFlex
  • 12″ square of coordinating fabric for binding
  • batting slightly larger than 18″ wide to accommodate the half yards above
  • Sewing machine and supplies to machine quilt/free motion quilt
  • Rotary kit
  • Judy Martin Point Trimmer ruler
  • Optional: Timtex or Soft & Stable

Here are the directions with some illustrations:

  1.  Layer and sandwich 2 half yards of fabric with batting
  2. Full Piece Quilted
    Full Piece Quilted

    Free motion quilt piece as desired. Shown is the piece that I did back in April. I know pieces of fabric don’t magically quilt themselves and I am not saying they do. It took me some time, but it is good practice and this is a good use for those practice pieces. Go back to the previous post and look at the different quilting designs I used.

  3. Kelly didn’t have me make the straps until after the bag was put together. I like to make all the fiddley bits first, so they are ready to go when I am on a roll making the bag and ready for them. That means: make the straps whenever you want. You should make them your favorite way. Here are the directions for making the straps that I used for this bag:
    1. Cut 2 strips 6″ wide by WOF. You could make them 5.5″ and they would be a touch skinnier.
    2. Cut 2 strips 5 3/4″ x WOF from ShapeFlex (If you make the straps skinnier, you need to adjust the size of the ShapeFlex. I cut it smaller to reduce bulk in the seams, which can get quite hefty without trying.
    3. Press ShapeFlex to wrong side of fabric, following the manufacturer’s directions.
    4. Fold each 6″ fabric backed piece in half and press well.
    5. Open the pieces you just pressed and fold raw edges to the center.
    6. Press folded edges.
    7. Fold entire strap on original center fold again. Raw edges should be inside and strap should measure about 1.5″.
    8. Optional: Depending on what you want to use the bag for, you can further line the straps with something like Timtex or Soft & Stable.
    9. Topstitch along both edges very close to the edge. You can use a decorative stitch or two lines of straight stitching to add interest
  4. Squared up Quilted Piece
    Squared up Quilted Piece

    Square up your quilted piece by trimming the excess batting and raw edges.

  5. Fold trimmed piece in half RST* and sew along side and bottom edges ONLY. Only the top will be open. You will have a flat piece that looks like an oversized iPad cover.
  6. Measure to Box the Corners
    Measure to Box the Corners

    Box the corners. Kelly does a minimum of 2″ from the side seam. FYI: there is no seam on one side, so I pressed the fold and treated the folded part as a seam. I used my Creative Grids 4.5″x8.5″ ruler to try out different corner sizes. I ended up doing a 3″ box, using pins to try out the size and see what I liked. You can see in the photo that I was able to use the side and bottom measurements to help decide. I had to see how big the bag would be and how it work as a bag I actually used. Once I decided on the size of the boxed corner, I drew a pencil line across the corner to know where to sew. I placed a couple of pins across the drawn line to hold the bottom in place. Then I sewed on that line to make the box. in the picture, I sewed along the short end of the ruler from diagonal line to diagonal line using the center seam as the straight line.

    Corners Boxed
    Corners Boxed
  7. Optional: Trim off the excess corners to reduce bulk. I like to do this because I don’t like the excess to interfere with my stuff once I start using the bag. Also, small stuff that migrates to the bottom of the bag gets tangled up with them. Since this bag doesn’t have pockets, small stuff will migrate.
  8. Press raw seams open. You’ll have to stick the iron inside the bag.
  9. This is the point where, when I make the next version, I will sew binding over the raw seams. If I knew someone with a serger, I would serge them, but I don’t, so binding it is. I could just leave the raw edges, but that just seems wrong. On this version of the bag, I did this step later, but it makes sense to do it after the corners, so there is not a lot of other stuff to worry about and you won’t have to fold the ends of the inside binding over, because you can cover the raw edges of the inside binding when the top binding is sewn.
  10. Make a bias binding like you would for a quilt. You will need about 50″. I cut my square (see list of supplies) into 2.25″ wide strips on the diagonal. The Judy Martin Point Trimmer ruler makes it really easy to sew the strips together. I suppose you could use straight of the grain binding, but I think a bias binding works well.
  11. Add binding
    Add binding

    Bind the top, covering the edges of the binding that covers the inside raw edges (step above). I sewed along the bottom first, making sure I caught the underside as well as the top. When I finished I sewed along the top of the binding as well. I thought it made the bag look more finished and added some interest (must be my favorite term today). I used an extra piece of binding leftover from the Spiderweb quilt and I am glad I used something that mostly matched. On another version, I would plan ahead better and use a coordinating fabric or the strap fabric.

  12. If you haven’t made your straps, make them now.
  13. Test the length of the straps until they are right for your height. I used WonderClips at different lengths to find the right length, then I trimmed the original length to my custom length, which was about 36″.
  14. Flatten the bag carefully so the edge of the side is folded. This means that the edge of the side measures an equal amount from the side seam to the edge of the side as is the top. Measure two inches from this fold.
  15. Place a pin at 2″ that you just measured.
  16. Measure 2″ down from the top and place a pin parallel to the top of the bag. This makes a half square where you will place your strap.
  17. Fold the end of the strap 2″ up and place the folded edge right beneath the bottom of the binding.
  18. Sew the straps to the bag, making a box with an X in the middle. Go around the edges and the X a few times.
  19. Optional: After you sew on the straps, sew along the fake edge of the side (see step 14) from the top to about 4″ from the bottom. Do this on all sides to make the bag into a box.

You are finished! You have made the bag. Hooray!!!

A Variety of Notes:

Crazy as it sounds, I am now thinking of fabrics I can quilt that would look awesome in bag form. I know. I think I have lost mind.

I like my bags to have pockets, but I also don’t like the stitching to show through, so I didn’t put any in this bag. You could make a lining and add it before you sew on the binding, then you wouldn’t have to cover the raw edges with a binding. You could sew the pockets to the lining. You’ll have to figure the measurements out yourself. Of course, your beautiful quilting would be covered.

*RST – right sides together

*WOF – width of fabric (usually about 42″-45″

Free Motion Quilting

Full Piece Quilted
Full Piece Quilted

Yes, I did some free motion quilting.

Now that you have all peeled yourselves off the floor and revived yourselves with some smelling salts and a stiff drink, I will repeat that, yes, I did some free motion quilting. Kelly, the BAMQG President is issuing personal challenges and this is the first one I have really been able to do.

I got this fabric at the EBHQ show and just decided to use it for this exercise.

I decided to break up the exercise into 3 patterns, roughly the same size with the piece (1/2 yard x WOF): continuous boxes, flower petals and round swirly things.

Continuous squares
Continuous squares
Loopy circles
Loopy circles
Flower petals
Flower petals

Some of these are designs I learned in various machine quilting classes I have taken over the years. I did this exercise because of the BAMQG personal challenge, but also to test my skills.

Though I have not done a lot of machine or free motion quilting over the past few years, I am not terrible at it.I still have some skills and was able to get into a nice rhythm. I am not a pro by any stretch of the imagination and I won’t be firing my quilter any time soon, but I think I can do small pieces.

Full Piece Quilted-back
Full Piece Quilted-back

I couldn’t quite get the tension right, but the back doesn’t look horrendous. I will ask about adjusting the tension on the DC5100 when I go for lessons. I decided to concentrate on the look of the front, my speed and the length of the stitches.

I tried two different darning feet as well. Both came with my 9k. One is a hopping foot, which I don’t like that much, but ended up using on the DC5100. The other is a darning foot with no springs or hopping. It fits on to the shaft of the machine, screws in and is ready to sew. I prefer this foot as I can see better where I am headed, but it doesn’t fit on the DC5100 and no similar foot came with that machine. I also used Aurifil 50 wt thread. I used that thread, rather than the 40 wt, because I have a lot of colors and the color I wanted to use was available to me right at the moment I wanted it with no trips to the quilt store. I suspect the 9k didn’t like the speed at which I was quilting with that thin thread. It occurred to me later that I could have adjusted the tension, but I didn’t think of it before I switched machines.

Continuous squares in process
Continuous squares in process

I do free motion quilting at kind of a medium speed. I set the machine to that medium speed and that allows me to have better control over my stitch length.

One of the design elements I used was to go around some of the cups and fruits rather than just quilting over all of them. some of them, as you can see, I did quilt over, but many I outlined. I found it to be good practice in following a design.

I never like it when the quilting doesn’t follow the piecing, or fabric design, but getting a little recent experience with machine quilting, I am reminded of the ease of pantographs and all over designs.

Sewing machine[s] setup
Sewing machine[s] setup
My machine was not very cooperative, but it could have been the thread. I switched machines to my back up machine and that worked better, but wasn’t very comfortable. I don’t have an insert yet for the back up machine (traded in my Jem for a Janome DC5100) and quilting with it up out of the cabinet was pretty painful. Also, with the 9K down in the cabinet, I had no good place to put my legs and kept barking my shins.