Thursday, December 03, 2009

Moving on to Free Motion...

Quilting continues on the holiday quilt for my mother-in-law. The walking foot came off and the free-motion foot went on. I gathered my courage and started by stitching over or around the applique. There were moments of tug of war and misplaced stitches, imperfect echos around berries that some would call charming, but weren't what I had in mind. (Click on any image for a larger view.)

Then came those areas between the diagonal lines of stitching. Some would be able to quilt the continuous line holly leaves and berries without marking, but I don't trust myself at this point to keep the leaves a consistent size, let alone make them fall properly where they turn a corner. So I got out my Golden Threads quilting paper, cut an 18" width to length, and with a little folding and measuring, traced placement of the leaves using the same template I'd made for the applique. (Note also that more applique holly leaves are appearing in the corners of the center square...)

The paper is accordion-folded so that I can make 4 identical patterns, one for each side of the quilt. Staples hold it together as I sew without thread along my traced lines through all 4 layers. I'm not marking the berries - I think I can manage to quilt those without marks.

Remove staples, unfold, and cut into strips which are pinned to the quilt. This is much easier to see than had I tried to mark on the fabric directly. It's better to pin and quilt one section at a time to prevent tearing a part of the pattern as you roll and manipulate the quilt under the needle.

Some directions suggest using spray baste to hold the paper in place, but I don't recommend it. In my experience with the above quilt, the spray baste didn't hold well while manipulating the quilt, but too well when I tried to remove it. It was a nightmare picking out all the little pieces of paper stuck under stitches and in tight spots. If I dropped a piece plucked with tweezers, it would stick to the quilt top where it landed. Even washing didn't release the spray baste. Anyway...

Now I started quilting as I'd visualized - moving along at a fairly good clip without too much of a fight from the quilt. Once quilted, the paper tears easily and cleanly away from the stitching without any distortion of the stitches. Smaller bits can be dislodged with tweezers. I've switched to yet another thread - a lighter version of the green used on the lines and applique. That original green didn't show enough on the dark fabric and too much on the light. This spring green is a nice compromise. Like the other green, I worry about running out before all the quilting is done, but so far, so good.

As I move out to the edge, there are shorter runs of my holly/berry line, so not really worth marking up a paper pattern. Instead, I made a few holly leaves from my old friend, freezer paper. These can be easily arranged and ironed to sections of the quilt, quilted around (not through) and popped off to be used again.

One more day and the quilting should be done.


June said...

I hope your m-in-law appreciates your work. I'm in awe.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Oh, yes, she definitely does. Otherwise, I would not have spent my time on this. I can hear her oohing and aahing already!