Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Practice Quilting

Quilting, like any skill takes practice.  I'm sure there are naturals out there who sit behind their machines and sew like they have magic pixie dust in their fingers, and while I may believe in pixie dust, I can't seem to find any.   SO...I practice.  All those batting scraps from past projects get saved and practiced on.   Even before tackling a project with a basic stipple, I like to get a few good wiggles in first. Get loose...meaning my arms, shoulders and brain!  Speaking of getting loose, practice stitching also helps you configure your thread tension BEFORE working on your main project.

 It's 100% necessary to do a few stitches to determine if your machine's tension is right, if nothing else.  Every time I sew on a different project, my thread may react differently. I recommend doing a test run to be sure everything is working how it should. Trust me, finding out later that your bobbin tension is off, AFTER quilting for 10 minutes is heartbreaking, and picking out 10 minutes of stitching can take hours and hours.

I practiced some different filler designs to use in the background of my Flirt quilt top which I talked about basting here.   I wanted something the would give some nice texture without really grabbing the eye away from the lovely Panel.  I tried some loops and hearts to stay with the Hearts motif in the panel but it felt too distracting and open. Something to play with more later...maybe in the mug rugs.

Then I found Brain Coral by Leah Day at the Free Motion Quilting Project and liked the way I felt stitching it. Practice helped a lot.  I was very stiff at first, but by the end, my stitches were smoother and my echos were better.

Now I am ready to go quilt.  Thanks for stopping by!
Please check my sidebar for my favorite linky parties.

38 comments:

  1. I've been putting off working on free-motion quilting - I need to put those batting scraps to work!

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    1. It can be so rewarding when you see yourself improving! Thanks for stopping by today :)

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  2. Ha! I like the name of your blog. :) I hope your project works out the way you envision it. It's really cute!

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    1. Thanks! I used to be horrible about ripping every mistake! I leafe thiggs alone more noe, thank goodness. :) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. I do the same thing. I make sure that the batting scrap is the same kind as what is in the quilt when I practice. I would only add that I also do a small test every time I change the bobbin or thread the machine. It has saved me hours of unpicking.

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    1. Ive seen thst some ladies keep little squsres to run through after bobbin changes and then later turn them into a quilt-as-you-go. Its an interesting idea. Thanks for stopping in.

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  4. Your practice pieces look great! I do a test sometimes and sometimes not... even though I know I am flirting with disaster... and it really does help to loosen up before jumping in on the real deal. I just get so excited sometimes! LOL

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    1. Ohhhh! You play on the wild side! Lol. I admit, sometimes I jump right in to a quilt if it's just basic quilting. I still do small runs to test tension though. Thanks for taking time to comment!

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  5. You really shared some great advice in this post, Kelly! And I love that Brain Coral design. Hope your quilting went well!

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    1. Hi Lorna and thanks! I think it could be nice in the background.

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  6. Great tips, Kelly! Your FMQ looks fun. I always do a practice piece before I start quilting my project - I'd rather my seam ripper be the least used tool in my sewing room (instead of the most ;o).

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    1. haha! Me too. I try to keep it hidden away in a drawer :)

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  7. It looks great! And what a great name, Brain Coral. Love it!

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    1. Thank you! lol I know about the name. Leah Day at Free Motion Quilting gets the credit for that one :P

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  8. I haven't found my pixie dust either. I lost it along with the seam ripper. I lose that thing so many times. In all seriousness, I like the Brain Coral. I will have to give it a go.

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    1. Thanks for visiting. IF I see a tinker fairy I'll let you know {obviously a lot of Disney channel has been on this week for my boys} :)

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  9. Looking good. I love the look of the brain coral. Leah's designs are great. I took her craftsy class and loved it!

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    1. I would love to take her newest one! It's such a great source for quilting designs.

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  10. It looks fantastic and the moral of this story...practice, practice, practice!

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  11. Nice FMQ work. I agree, it sure takes time to practice and juggling tension...but it's so worth it. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your blog link on my linky party. It's so much fun to see what everyone is working on.

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    1. Thanks for hosting the linky! Seeing what so many others are working on is an inspiration overload...in a good way! :)

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  12. I love the brain coral. I am just starting out with FMQ and I am really very bad at it! But .... I am improving and I can feel myself getting better as I practice. You've inspired me to just ... keep ... going. Linking from pretty bobbins

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    1. I'm horrible at some quilting designs but I am determined to improve. A year ago my basic stippling more more like a jagged mess :P We'll all get better if we encourage each other, right? Thanks for stopping by.

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  13. You are so right about that darn tension when FMQ. Like you, I just continue to practice, practice, practice. And hopefully one day, I will be near perfect.

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    1. Only until some new crazy technique comes out to learn! Then the cycld begins again :)

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  14. Yes, after a few painful lessons, I've learned to make a practice sandwich to test that tension. It's amazing how different threads react in the machine. Both you squares look great. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to leave a kind comment.

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  15. wow! your quilting looks great. I could not agree more, practice makes perfect when it comes to FMQ. You just have to get the feel for the motion to make it smooth.

    Thanks so much for sharing at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

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    1. Thanks so much. I still feel like a beginner, but I know I've been getting better :p. Thanks for hosting the linky

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  16. I agree about practice! And Leah Day says every day. But I hate changing from the regular foot to the quilting foot. Lazy aren't I?

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    1. Haha. I don't mind changing the foot. My problem is remembering to start with a full bobbin. Seems like I always run out after 2 mins. Thanks for stopping by.

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  17. Some days I fell like a rock stars, others not so much. Totally agree, practice is key!

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    1. Some days my hands wont translate what my brain is trying to do and I pick up a different project instead for the day. The rock star days are the best though! Thanks for stopping in.

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  18. Great stitching and advice Kelly... I've learned so much from Leah too - just very thankful for her...

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    1. Thanks Karen! Leah has changed quilting for me! Ive learned so much from her blog. Thanks for commenting :)

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  19. I can't tell you how many little practice squares I have laying around my quilt room. Great practice, your stitching looks wonderful.

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    1. I always think that if I set myself up right I could use a nice fabric for my practice pieces and then turn them into coasters or something :p
      Thanks for stopping by Pat!

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I really appreciate that you have taken the time to comment. I am so inspired by this community, thank you for that as well. If you have questions {even some suggestions}, I'll be sure to get back to you.

Go sew already! :)
Kelly