Monday, September 29, 2014

Keep a Scrapbook: Ideas & Sketches for Free Motion Quilting

When I find a quilting pattern I like I scribble a version into my sketch book (emphasis on scribble - if anyone saw my sketchbook their opinion on my artistic talents would be very poor!) - beside my scribble I put the name of the designer, book and a page number if applicable. As well as my scribbles I also cut out designs I see done by other quilters and stick them in.

Personally I feel that your style of free motion quilting will be individual - regardless of the pattern you use - as we all have different hand writing - so we too will all have different quilting styles. I'm not too focused on being original - because as far as I can figure out every idea I have ever had has been done before!! But I am focused on being good at what I do - and sadly the only way to get better at anything is by practice. (Gosh how dull is that!)

If you are focused on getting better at free motion quilting using a sketch book is a really great way to help you practice patterns and record ideas. You can take it anywhere - stick anything in it - scrawl in a way that no one will understand (that's me!) - and it doesn't matter - because it is to record your inspiration and ideas. When you flick back through it you will be amazed at how many ideas are there - it is always the first thing I reach for when I am stuck as to how to start a quilt.

If I think about how much I have improved in confidence as well as technical and ability in 9 months since getting Freddie - it makes me feel mildly warm and fuzzy. Teri's words 'practice, practice and practice' are still ring in my ears - and it is true - it doesn't get easier overnight - but just keep going, keep practicing and the possibilities are endless. The only way to get better is by practice and drawing the designs over and over again - it will all help you when you eventually bring your material to your machine and quilt with confidence.  

 Notes for designs on Maria's Curve Quilt

As a quilter (can I say that now?) I feel like every pattern I look at makes me think 'ooh that would make a nice quilt' - keeping notes and drawing patterns help me remember all the inspiration and ideas that spring into my little head.

My sketchbook scribbles are much too messy to share - but check out LuAnn Kessi's website - she shares so many of her sketches with all of us - they are gorgeous. She also wrote an article in Machine Quilting all about keeping a Design Sketchbook.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Scrap Buster: Splatastic Scraps

One of the things I wanted Luke to help me with was how to make the materials I use (old clothes) become more interesting - for my designs and quilts to be more innovative - and perhaps on occassion less traditional. I started unloading my huge stash of clothes waiting to be recreated into something wonderful - when Luke asked if I kept scraps - me? keep scraps? - you could almost see him gag when I showed him how much of my scraps I kept! His theory was why use the good stuff when we could use the scraps.

I couldn't argue with him - so we set about sewing the white and blue scraps into 'splats' (my eloquent name for them).

Little blue pieces (above) all sewn together turn into a blue splat (below.)

From these splats we cut 2.5" strips and pieced traditional log-cabin blocks. I thought it was really interesting how when you start to make a structured block from this random splat it all comes together & the little scraps all sewn together look very purposeful - as if you have almost meant to put each scrap where it is. Up close it looks random - but step back and the pattern becomes very clear.

I particularly like all the whites together. I would be happy to make a whole quilt from white scraps like this.

During the process of making my splats I experimented with sewing the seams the wrong way and instead of sewing bits together - sewing little splat patches onto big splats just with a running stitch. I really like the effect it has of making the surface texture of the blue fabric more interesting.

My finished block which I will become the center of a pretty quilt in the near future.

Now I just need to find time to sew all of my scraps together in this way to make them all re-useable fabric pieces ....

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Luke Haynes

I haven't made much progress with any of my projects because I've been too busy hanging out with this guy (Luke Haynes) who has take a few days to come and give me some guidance. His quilts are VERY cool - you can see more of his work on his website

I first noticed Luke Haynes some years back. This is the first of his quilts I ever saw (below.) (I love this quilt!)

Luke doesn't usually travel with his quilts - but this time he was (lucky me) - so I got my own private quilt show - which was really cool - and I got to ask lots of boring questions like 'what stitch length do you use' - to which he rolled his eyes!

I love love love the detail on the jeans in this quilt. 

And Bunny #1 insisted on giving her own quilt show which Luke humored very well.

She was very descriptive about how she made each quilt.

And then Luke showed her his quilts and I was blown away by the questions she asked and how interested she was. It was so cute and Luke was a bit of a superstar for going with it it all so well!

I fear I'm not going to have time for anything at all (like I had lots of spare time before!) as this guy has provided me with so much 'homework' and ideas I am drowning! But how lucky am I to be hob-knobbing with the professionals!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Flora & Fauna

"Fauna is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is Flora." - so Wikipedia tells me.
This is a quilt I have been thinking about making for quite some time - not so much the flora & fauna aspect of it but the big colorful initial in the center and then detailed flowing quilting all around on the white fabric. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Four Must Have Books for Beginner Free Motion Quilting

I have a lot of books on free motion quilting. I buy as many as I can second hand for a couple of dollars - you can find a lot of second hand books through sellers on Amazon now - or on e-bay. Books are great to have and browse through looking for new ideas and new approaches to old designs.

Here are my favorite books for someone who is looking to start free motion quilting beyond the basic stipple.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Groovy Curvy Quilt

This quilt top was put together by the lovely Maria. You can see some other of Maria's quilts here and here. Maria's quilts are a dream to work with. Her piecing is wonderful, the colors she works with are amazing and her backs and put together in a way (1/2" seam allowance pressed open) which makes me as a longarmer swoon with gratitude.

This is a quilt pattern called "Groove" by Carolina Patchworks.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

C- in Social Media

I am a bit busy these days. Busy with my three bunnies, a good sized house and busy trying to building up a charity dedicated to memorial quilts and my longarm quilting business too.

I want to be good at social media - I want to promote myself, my talents & my ideas - but I just end up having very little energy or time for it. I also find myself (not yet 40) feeling and looking confused and often stating 'I just don't understand!' I feel like my parents when we first got a VHS video player!!!

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