Free Motion Quilting Going Swimmingly for the Frogs

I've been dreading starting the free motion quilting on my Ribbit, Ribbit quilt. 

I've only free motion quilted a table runner, a few very small wall-hangings, and one baby quilt.  I can't draw to save my soul, and I am absolutely not good at this.  Nevertheless, I want to learn, and there's only one way.  I've given up thinking that the free motion quilting fairy will arrive and touch my hands with her magic wand.  If she's out there, she hasn't been able to find my house.

So I've been doing what I always do when I want to make another stab at free motion quilting.  I go to the website of someone I consider to be the Queen of Free Motion Quilting:  Leah Day.  Honestly, her blog is so helpful.  First off, if you look at the top of the blog, you'll see a link to choose design tutorials based on "difficulty level."  When I take on a project like this, I simply go to the "beginner" level and look for designs I think will work for my quilt.  Then, I watch her do it.  And then I do what she did.  Sometimes I can do it just like her, and sometimes not.  But even when I'm on the "not" side of the equation, it doesn't look half bad.  Really.  If you think you can't do free motion quilting, I have just one thing to say to you:  If I can do this, you can do this.  (That's assuming you're going to see what I'm about to show you and think that I can do it.)

I decided I wanted to put "pebbling" around the frogs.  I didn't see a "pebbling" tutorial on her free motion quilting blog.  Maybe there is one, but I didn't find it.  There were variations on pebbling, but not the straight pebbling design.  So, I simply did a search for "pebbling" and came up with Leah's video tutorial, which was tremendously helpful.  Here's how I did:

This may be the worst example of pebbling that's ever been done, but it's the best I could do.  My life's motto is:  "My best is good enough."  I'm happy with it, even if it is the worst that's ever been done.  Here's another picture:

And doesn't Mr. Frog look happy now that he's surrounded by river rocks?

I'm so happy that my quilt hasn't been absolutely ruined by my lack of experience.  It's not perfect, but perfection isn't my goal.  Learning is my goal (along with not ruining the quilt in the process).  I still have two more frog blocks to go, and I expect to finish those tomorrow.

Now, buoyed by my experience of not ruining things, I'm ready to tackle a couple more of her designs.  Here's what the whole quilt top looks like (in case you haven't seen it already):

In the blue border, I'm going to do a line of what Leah calls Kelp Forest.  And in the outer leaf border, I'm going to do what Leah calls Grass Channel.  These are both in the beginner and beginner/intermediate category, and so they seem within my ability.  One can only hope.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

WoolenSails said...

I love the quilting, goes perfect with the frog. Free motion is supposed to be fun and relaxed, so just enjoy doodling with your thread;)


Country Log Cabin Quilter said...

The quilting looks great! It will be interesting to see how the other designs turn out too! I am also learning free motion quilting and I think it is great that so many quilters are working on it so we can quilt our own quilts instead of having other people do it.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Barb, I really like it and am excited to see your other sections as you do them. Happy Spring.

Kelsey said...

I think you did great!

Brita said...

That is an adorable quilt! Yes, froggie looks very pleased with his environment, good job :-)

Anonymous said...

I think it looks amazing! I'm no expert, but you did a great job!

Kate said...

Looks great Barb!

lynndianne said...

Guess the FMQ fairy can't find my house either. I've been terrified to really try FMQ. It's always in my head....don't go over a line, don't box yourself in a corner, etc. I'm glad I'm not the only one. I love Leah's site. My husband just bought me a ProStitcher Avante 18 so I guess I'm expected to actually finish something now. As soon as the unit is up and put together I will practice 30 minutes a day....promise. Lynn

quilary said...

I know how you feel about free motion quilting - I want to be able to do it, but it doesn't quite work out on the quilt like I "think it" in my head! You've done a great job and it really suits the froggy too!

quiltzyx said...

I think you did a great job on your pebbling!
Try not being so hard on yourself "worst pebbling ever" indeed!
You can do it!!!!

(I think today must be exclamation point Tuesday!)

Stormy Days said...

I think your peppling came out great it looks good, but I don't like poor froggy surrounded by rocks, maybe you could call them bubbles.