Thursday, April 14, 2011

Practice Makes Proficient

So I've got my Bliss top all pieced together. I don't have the moxie to cut into such pretty fabrics when they're already kind of small, and one reader made a great point in her comment--the more I cut the more seams I'll have, and the quilt will end up being smaller (thanks Carol!). I had not considered this one bit, so I just sewed the squares together completely random. Welllllll...I tried to lay them out a certain way but it wasn't working out so I mixed them up a bit and called it's an intentional sort of random. It makes me happy just to look at it.

It needs another press for sure but the fabric is so soft and pretty.

 I pressed it carefully so it wouldn't get stretched out of shape (which is what I usually manage to do).

 EEEEEEEKKKK!! I love it.

I managed to find some red and white Bliss yardage on Etsy to make the binding out of, and the next time I head to Joann's I am going to get some Kona aqua for the backing. When I tell you it is taking everything I have not to call out of work tomorrow so I can work on this I am not lying. Patience is not my strong suit when it comes to things like this.
A few of you twisted my arm about it :) and I have decided to free motion this quilt. I have wanted to learn how to do it for a long time but it looks so scary! But so fun!! Like sky-diving. But since I'm a scaredy-cat and won't be jumping out of any airplanes I'll get my kicks with Lola, my trusty Janome. I spent some time last night and this evening practicing and I think I'm ready.

First--can I just say it took me forever to lower the stupid feed dogs? The picture in the manual was unclear, so I'm sitting there trying to pry open something that looks like it should open, while sister Alicia is sitting there saying "I don't think you're supposed to do that." I was staring at my machine wondering just how the hell I'm supposed to find this switch when she says "Oh! Here it is!" She flicks it and boom--feed dogs down. Grrrr. But also woohoo! Because I was ready to give up.

Second--I used the darning foot that I bought for my Singer. It worked well enough but something seemed a little off about it. So this morning I bought one for my Janome to see if there is a difference. If there isn't, no worries, because now I'll have an open-toe and a closed-toe foot (how weird does that last sentence sound taken out of sewing context?). I'll have one more mini-practice with it and then I'll take the plunge for real.

Third--here are some pics  of why it's a good thing I practiced.

My first piece. I showed my mom, all proud of myself, and said "Look! It's my first piece of...thing!" And she was all "Mmmmm....yeah." When I look at the later pieces I understand her lack of excitement.

 This was my third. The stitches are much more even and shorter. It's not easy getting into the groove. I also need to practice making the free motion twirlies to get the hang of how to move my quilt. I've got the motion itself--it's the pattern that needs some variation.

 I tried it on a scrap square--I'm pleased with the stitching except for my starts--those stitches are a little wonky. I used orange in the bobbin to see what it would look like and it helped me figure out the correct tension for everything.

 Here's where you can really see how my design needs work but I like how the stitching looks on this fabric. I used a light tan thread and it blended in nicely but still stood out. I think I'll use this for the top and probably aqua thread on the back.

I had a large piece of some scrap fabric (about the size of a table runner) left over. My practice pieces were pretty small, so I took Kris' advice (thanks, dearie!) and made an impromptu table runner just to get a feel for the weight of a larger piece. It's made out of that pink, green and yellow floral above so I won't bore you with another shot. I worked on my swirling and it came out better. It's actually usable looking, so I'm going to bind it and use it for a summer table runner. I think I'm ready to give the actual quilt a go now. I'd better get myself to Joann's before I forget how to do it. But bed first. And then work. 

Here's one more shot of happy for you:

Happy Friday!!! And thanks for reading this--it was a long rambly one :)


  1. Oh Bethany!!!! SEE, I KNEW you could do it!!!!! It looks wonderful! And I don't have to tell you how much I adore Bliss!!! I can't take my eyes off of my quilt top in Bliss! It is said it...HAPPY!! I too was thinking of a Kona Aqua for backing. I haven't begun to quilt on it yet. And I may send it out. Your practice pieces looked great! I want to see the runner!!!!! I am so proud of you!!!! And I SO know that feeling where I cannot wait to dive into a project!!! Keep us posted!!!! And GOOD LUCK!!!

  2. I still remember my first time free-motioning like it was yesterday. My entire shoulder hurt afterwards like you can't imagine. Later someone told me I have to use my HANDS to move the fabric and not my shoulders. For a first timer, that's easier said than done. Looking at your quilt-in-progress makes me really want to make my own quilt. But what a waste of a lot of fabric!

  3. It's AMAZING! SO bright and happy...perfect!



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