3/20/12

Sew Empowering

If you are a beginner at free motion quilting like I am, then it can be very exciting to successfully quilt an entire quilt with your free motion quilting developing skills.  And if you are a lousy artist like I am, it can be a G. D. miracle when it works out.  Miracles abound today because I just finished quilting the largest quilt I've attempted on my domestic sewing machine.

But before I go on, I feel I must comment on our medicinal cat, Gracie.  Earlier I blogged that Mike is home with some kind of bug.  We suspect it's the flu, but he had a flu shot, and so he's feeling a little better after nearly 48 hours . . . mild for a flu bug.  In any case, he's been well attended by our M.C.  That's Medicinal Cat to you.


So with the two of them safely ensconced on the couch, I went about finishing up my quilt.  Here is the unquilted quilt top so that you can envision it as I go through this.


(I'm not sure why this image is so compressed, but I can't find the original.  You get the idea.)  Anyway, I blogged earlier about having problems with my stitch regulator skipping stitches because it wouldn't pick up the bobbin thread when I sewed near a seam.  Here's an example of what I'm talking about.


This was extremely frustrating.  A few of you had good suggestions, and I tried all of those things.  What made the most difference was switching out the foot on my stitch regulator.  I had been using an open-toed darning foot.


When I switched it out for the plastic disk foot, the problem improved at least 90%.  It didn't get rid of it completely, but it did save the sewing machine from an unceremonious dump into the trash can.


Now I'm thinking that I should really take the sewing machine and stitch regulator into the shop and see if there is an adjustment that can be made to get rid of the problem completely.  As it is, I can live with it, but I'd really like it if the darned thing would just work properly.  My attempts at quilting are frustrating enough just dealing with the significant shortcomings of the quilter.  I don't need problems with the machine as well.

So there were a few places where the machine started skipping stitches that I was able to back up and re-sew the area to fix it.  However, some places just ended up looking heinous.  This, for instance.


And since I wasn't having complete success in getting rid of the problem, there didn't seem to be a good way to deal with this.  Initially, I had in mind to pick out the stitching in these areas and then go over them with my walking foot.  But then I got the bright idea to just quilt a flower over the most offensive areas.


Not perfect, but acceptable.

So over the past three days, I've quilted the whole thing.  My work isn't the best free motion quilting I've ever seen, but it's the best I could do, and therefore good enough.  You should know that my motto has always been this:

My best effort is good enough.

Those are the sewing words I live by.  It keeps quilting fun.  And it works for life in general as well.

So here's what I ended up with.  This is the over all design I was trying to achieve.  I used white thread on top and a sort of pinky multi-colored pastel variegated thread on the bottom.  By the way, this entire quilt was made from scraps and yardage in my stash.  


I quilted a butterfly in each corner of the quilt.


And here's how the top looks.  I'm using that dark purple fabric from the inner border for the binding.



I used a grayish pinky batik on the back.  It's what I had on hand and I wanted to use it.  The thread was a perfect match.



This quilt pattern was free on the Clothworks Textiles website.  It was fun to make.  The piecing is all traditional.  I wanted something that was not applique, and not paper-piecing.

Now I just need to bind it and it will be ready to ship to my swap partner.  I hope she likes it.

And that, my friends, is that.


13 comments from clever and witty friends:

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Yea! It's DONE! And it cute, too. Great save with the flower.

Karin said...

I'm so excited for you and proud of you! Doing the Snoopy dance! Weren't you just thrilled? You've given me the push I need to jump in and just quilt it. There's no stopping you now! It's beautiful!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

That's exciting! I like the flower on top of the stitch.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I would never have guessed you were a beginner at anything! You always have such pretty projects!

PJ said...

Yes, changing the foot does help, try a topstitch needle - I've been using 80/12 size with pretty good luck and when you take your machine into your dealer for service take your BSR - some of the first ones Bernina had out they have replaced the spring on the those BSR's because of skipped stitches. Your quilting is lookin good.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I'm so happy you stuck with it - didn't even think about the foot. I want to get one of those 'big foot' for my machine but yet to find one that will fit my old machine.

Terry said...

I'm :D for you.

evelyn said...

Great job Barb. I haven't tried free-motion on a real quilt yet. Still practicing on scraps. You did a great save with the flowers too.

Snoodles said...

I think the addition of the flowers is pure genius! Your FMQ is 500% better than mine -- you are rocking those butterflies!
Aww, aren't MCs just the bestest? SO cuddly and purry!

Celtic Thistle said...

Your finished quilt looks lovely, well done you! Great idea to quilt the flowers too, necessity is definitely the mother of invention in this case :)

Dana Gaffney said...

It looks good, love the flower idea, I usually applique a little heart over any problems, never consider ripping out if I can help it. Right after I read your post about your machine missing stitches my machine started acting up. Do you think they just don't like all of this free-motion stuff?

Diane Wild said...

Congratulations on your first full-size FMQ project. I promise it gets easier. Yup, take that machine in and get it checked. It might just have to sit in the corner for a while. Nobody has time for naughty machines.

LynCC said...

Hey, wow! - did you just put the butterflies in as you went along, without marking? You did a fantastic job. Love your flower solution of the skippy parts.