Saturday, 20 August 2011

Lucinda's Gift is DONE!!! + a few free motion quilting tips

A few hours of listening to Arnaldur Indriðasson's (fabulous Icelandic crime writer!) novels about Erlendur and the police in Reykjavik on my MP3 player, and a few sore fingertips later I finally have finished my Lucinda's Gift. I'm so happy with how it turned out! I was a bit worried when I pieced it that the contrast wouldn't be good enough since I have used fabrics that could be "medium" both in the dark sections and the lights. But the reds really separates the two sections, and I love the textured appearance from all the scraps.

Even the binding turned out better than I had thought - when I was stitching it down it looked a bit lighter than I would have liked, but once it was all done, that narrow strip really look good - if I do say so myself ;-) And I managed to use up some scraps on the back too - a bit weird, but I can live with it *lol*

Elin made a request at my previous post for a tutorial on free motion quilting. I don't really have an idea for how to build up a great tutorial at the moment, but I know there are some really good ones out there to watch.- have a look at the links at the bottom of this post :-) But anyways, I thought I'd make a list of things that work for me when doing free motion quilting on a domestic sewing machine.

Sewing machine
Get familiar with your machine! Play with it - it is your friend, and you are supposed to have fun together! Make some samples and try out different settings. Some machines will let you quilt very well with your feed dogs in a raised position, on others you have to lower them or cover them. Also get to know your darning foot - what will it let you do, and what won't it. Also use a fresh needle for quilting!

Don't use a heavy batting or batting with high loft. Remember you have to squeeze some of the bulk through the short arm of the machine, so don't chose something that will cause you stress. If you want a heavy or thick winter quilt I suggest you either split the quilt in sections and quilt it according to the "quilt-as-you-go" method, hand quilt it or take it to a long arm quilter.

This is another one of those "try and see what works for you" ;-) Usually I pin baste my quilts - even if it does take some time and can be tough on the fingers, it is the easiest for me, and the safety pins are quick and easy to remove as I get to them while quilting.

If I'm in a hurry or if I' certain I'm going to wash the quilt once it is done I glue baste. I used glue for Lucinda's Gift and it held up beautifully. But it is a messy process so I try to avoid it, though.

But for quilts I know will take me time to complete I baste with a smooth and highly visible thread to put as little strain as possible on the fabric.

Chose a thread that is soft at pliable. A heavy weight cotton that has not been waxed is usually nice to quilt with. And I actually love to quilt with machine embroidery thread, it does give a different feel and look to a quilt, especially after it has been washed, but it is worth a try.

Test the thread tension on your sewing machine with different threads - you will have to adjust it depending on type and thickness, and not all threads will work well with your machine.

Use the same quality thread in the top and the bobbin. I know some recommend you use the same colour/shade at top/bottom as well, but if your thread tension is right you can quilt with different colours without it being a problem.

You will need something on your hands to give you a better grip on the quilt sandwich. Personally I loooove LicketyGrip - a gel you rub onto your hands. The little box is fairly expensive, but it lasts a really long time and is good value for your money.

If you don't want to use chemicals you can try quilting gloves bought at the quilt shop, they work very well and last a long time - it took me a couple of years to wear out a pair ;-)

Gardening gloves - they work a treat and are heaps cheaper, but they tend to be very warm, and make sure to get some with colourless rubber tips or you will find spots on your quilt!

Moving gloves - you know the cotton knit ones with rubber dots? - work like a charm! I have talked to women who quilt with washing up gloves and apparently they work well.

And you know those rubber finger tips you get at the stationary section at the book shop? Also great, especially if you don't like wearing gloves/mittens.

The quilting
Relax and have fun! You put a lot of strain on your arms and shoulders, so use any means to relax you - an audio book or some relaxing music, a cup of tea or perhaps a glass of wine, etc. Don't quilt for too long at a time! No more than half an hour at the machine without a break.

If you look at old quilting books they recommend you roll up your quilt into a tight package with a small square open for quilting. I don't like that! I like to have the quilt in soft folds around the sewing machine so I can see where I've been and where I'm going. It also makes it easier for me to turn the quilt at an angle and to "mush" the it under the arm of the machine.

Plan out your quilting. Divide the quilt into quarters so that you never have more than half the sandwich under the arm of the machine, and start at the center and work your way out. Here's an example of what usually works for me:

Don't try to cover a large space in one go - just concentrate on what is on the board of your sewing machine and you can see between your hands when you hold the quilt. One section at a time and you will eventually have quilted the whole quilt.

Make up loads of samples, turn them into cushions and fill your sofa ;-) Remember practice makes perfect - and don't expect perfection. The most important is to have fun and produce something you are happy with!

My favorite tutorials for free motion quilting
The videos I have learned the most from are Patsy Thompson's - have a look at the videos on her website: I absolutely love these, she really explain things so well!

If you don't want to sit down and watch a video, there's a nice picture tutorial on Vicki's blog on the basics:

Free motion quilting is very much about imagination and sometimes you get stuck thinking up a pattern - Leah Day have some great patterns to try, there are loads of videos on her blog:

Hope everyone are enjoying the weekend
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida


Doniene said...

Again, absolutely loverly! Like I say, a Bernie is in my future!! Got to save my pennies!!! This was never a quilt that caught my eye, but yours is the best!!! I love Solvi's too.

Thanks for sharing!!


LeKaQuilt said...

Fantastisk flott quilt! Du har gjort en fabelaktig jobb med dette teppet.

Laila said...

Eg bøyer meg i støvet! Ein fantastisk flott quilt og takk for gode quiltetips. Arnaldur Indridasson er ein av mine (mange) favorittar, men eg likar å bla i bøkene, så enn så lenge har eg ikkje prøvd meg på lydbok. Ha ei flott helg.

Pat from FL and MI said...

Anne Ida, Lucinda's gift turned out so nicely. I love photos of quilts taken outside.

I have fall fabrics selected for the Mills Girls, and can't wait to join in this fall.

I will check out your free-motion tut. in a bit when I have more time.


Pat from FL and MI said...

Oops! I forgot to mention, I love the back! It is as interesting as the front (well not quite, but...)

Christine said...

Your quilt looks fabulous ... front and back. Thanks for the quilting tips. I am yet to master free motion quilting ... am only confident to do straight lines.

Merete said...

Nydelig teppe, både front og bak!

Guðrún said...

The quilt is gorgeous, thanks for the tips.

Vicki W said...

I love that quilt!

Debbie said...

This came out gorgeous, Anne Ida! I love the border. Thanks for the diagram with the great tip about the order of quilting. Really helpful!

Elin said...

Tusen takk for masse gode tips, dette skal eg studere meir på når eg får ei ledig stund! Teppet ditt blei berre heilt skjønt! Det er noko eige med scrappy look. Tru kva fru Chiav. seier til dette?

Annelies vdB said...

Congratulations with such a beautiful quilt !!

Sølvi's blog said...

Gratulerer med en flott og ferdig Lucinda's gift quilt. Quiltingen din er nydelig. Jeg har testa ut det mønsteret flere ganger, men kjører med bare opp i ett hjørne, så det har jeg gitt opp.
Og tusen takk for all hjelpa så jeg kom i mål med mitt.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful quilt. And thank you for linking to the Patsy Thompson video page. I'm just learning to free motion quilt and it gave me some great pointers.

*karendianne. said...

This quilt design is stunning. It catches your eye with the blocks, the eye rests then picks up the red design moving into a border. It's just stunning. You're something else!

Ana María said...

I wish I had such a friend to have such a gift! Great job! Lovely!
Thanks for sharing.
Love from Spain.

Elaine Adair said...

It's better all the time. What a beauty! And what a testament for the lowly scraps! Lovely, just lovely. 8-)))

Teresa said...

The quilt is beautiful! Thanks for all the helpful advice. I am going to check out those videos.

Quilts And Pieces said...

Oh it is wonderful! I just love how it turned out!

Rose Marie said...

Wow .... this quilt captured my attention when you first started it ..... how wonderful it turned out and I just love your machine quiting!

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Hello Anne Ida...this is fabulous!!! I have a new sewing machine and plan on learning to quilt...I see you are into Elm Creek...I love those books and often wish I could spend a day in the kitchen with Anna ha ha!!! I have also bought the sampler book you have on the side bar...and congratulations on having your quilt in it...I will have to go and have a look now... I love your blog, Dzintra