Practice the proper way…..

This has been a tough season to find time to practice my FMQ, but I did find one morning where I could try out two more patterns from Leah Day’s “365 Free Motion Quilting Designs”.

The first design was the Basic Spiral….

I first tried it on paper and found that I could very easily work myself into a corner and have no where else to go…..

It helped to learn this lesson on paper and to think about it more when I was actually at the machine. As I quilted this design, I thought that it looked horrible, but when I looked at it as an overall pattern, it was okay.

Obviously, I still need to work on knowing where I am going after I come out of the spiral!!

Now, I decided to skip a few designs and move on to number 8….”Fern and Stem”….

When I was drawing this one out I immediately realized one problem….

…I struggled to keep the lines parallel!! The addition of a few guide lines made all the difference…..

So, when I started sewing, I added those same guidelines…..

….and it made the quilting much, much easier…..

There are still a few things that I need to watch for……

….namely, the places where I am traveling and also be sure that the points don’t flatten out!!

I honestly think that part of my problem is that I have in my head that “this is just practice” so I am not concentrating and being careful enough. So, maybe I have learned a small lesson…….

……. I need to be PRACTICING with the same dedication that I use when I am quilting!!! If I practice it poorly I will never get better!!

Machine Quilting Practice

When I teach classes in Machine Quilting, I always tell my students that the biggest trick is to Practice, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!

After hearing the awarding of the ribbons at our quilt show this past week, I have decided that I have coveted the “Best Machine Quilting” award for too many years and so I am going to try to do something about it this year.

To that end, I came home on Saturday evening and spent about 2 hours watching a DVD that I had purchased and simply playing. It was such fun.

The DVD came from Sharon Schamber’s website and is full of good tips and tricks. I spent the evening with the DVD called “Domestic Basic Freeform Feathers” and I had a great time watching her technique and then trying to replicate it.

To get started, I grabbed a piece of older (not very good) beige fabric and used my fusible batting to make a large sandwich. Then I just started sewing and two hours later, this is what I had.
I am encouraged and excited about continuing to practice!!