1/14/14

Quilters: Start Your Sewing Machines

Yesterday was the day I set aside to begin free motion quilting the Vintage Miniature Sewing Machines quilt. I'm hoping to finish it this week because I'd like to take it with me to the quilt workshop next week and hand sew the binding while I'm lounging around my hotel room in my PJ's at day's end. And before I go on, I just want to say that virtually every time I show a picture of this quilt someone asks me about the pattern. I did it as a block of the month, but the pattern is from Ella and Skysie Designs, and here is the link to where you can purchase the pattern. I believe I gave the link to someone recently who told me Ella and Skysie had experienced a fire, and so you might have to wait for the pattern.

My apologies to those of you who read regularly because I've posted a picture of this quilt many times already. If you are sick of looking at it, just cover your eyes for a minute. I'll let you know when its safe to look again. For those of you who might be new readers, here is the quilt top I'm working on:


Okay, you can uncover your eyes now. 

Yesterday I set up the machine for free motion quilting. My idea originally was to quilt a thread spool into the bottom corner of each block, then do a sort of loopy stipple up to the center top of the block where two needles would cross one another like swords. So I made a little practice piece, mainly to reassure myself that I could actually draw a spool. As I've said many times, I am a terrible artist. Absolutely terrible.


Not too bad. Then I practiced my loop-de-loos up toward the top of the piece.


And then the needles, once again reassuring myself that I can actually draw some semblance of a needle.


Then I studied the quilt blocks for a bit and I decided that two spools and two needles were too much. Some of the blocks don't have a lot of space around the sewing machines, and I was afraid that those blocks would appear to crowded. Also, I consulted my consultant (Mike), and he thought one spool and one needle would be plenty. So here's the first quilted block:


I decided to stitch very closely to the embroidery both inside and outside the sewing machine, just to make it stand out a little, and to add a little bit more structure to the quilt itself.



Also, I had to decide where to put the spool and the needle on each block. Should I put it in the same place each time? Or should I put it in a different place? I ended up deciding to use the largest open area of any given block. So, on the next block, I placed them in a different area.


And then I just did a sort of loopy stipple, filling in the open areas of the block.


I didn't want to get too carried away with loops because I was afraid it would be too busy and detract from the embroidery.


Again, I stitched very close to the embroidery to make it stand out from the rest of the block.


I used the same fabric on the back that I used in the outer border, the black on the left in the image below, and so the quilting barely shows at all there. One of these days, I'm going to get very brave and actually do some quilting that shows. For now, I'm still building my confidence. I have in mind to do a vine-like thing in the outer border to echo the vines in the fabric. I'm going to do some straight line quilting in the sashings. In my experience, outlining the blocks helps them to stand out on the quilt back.


So far, I have two of twelve blocks finished. This is a simple design, and I think I'll have this finished within the next couple of days if I keep after it. I've been dragging my feet for a couple of months on this quilt, and so I'm glad I finally got myself together to get started on it. Often, I drag my feet because I'm not sure I'm capable of doing what I want to do. Then, I get started and realize it's not half as hard as I built it up to be in my mind. Do you do that too?

Today is a swimming day. I've only been average on my exercise commitment. I can't remember if I said this on the blog, but I give myself a "C" for last week. I only exercised two out of four days. I'm trying to do better this week. Yesterday was a physical therapy day, and I'm counting that as one day since I'm doing a significant amount of exercise during those sessions...enough to make a lady glow, if you know what I mean. I have a little bit of housework to do in addition to heading off to the pool, and then I'll devote the rest of the day to quilting this quilt.

What's on your agenda for today?

31 comments from savvy and entertaining friends:

Junebug613 said...

Your quilting is wonderful! I love the needle and thread. And I like that you are putting it in different spots on each block. Adds character! If it makes you feel better, you're getting more exercise in than I am! I was going to start a "planking" routine and it only lasted a few days before I got derailed. I'm hoping to get back on track this week.

WoolenSails said...

I love the stitching design, that is so fun and looks so wonderful with your blocks.

Debbie

gpc said...

I love the thread/needle quilting! And no, not tired of looking at it yet. It's a beautiful quilt. I have walked four days this month. I refuse to say "only four days" because it's still more than I managed last month. And the month is only half gone so high hopes to get in more days. Cleaning my house -- now that's a novel idea. Maybe I'll add it to my list.

Vicki W said...

What a clever quilting motif!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I like that quilting with these sweet blocks - fit that spool where ever it works in the individual block. I am exerecising each day - either in the wheelchair or on the couch, but exercising.

Lyndsey said...

How could I tire of seeing this delightful quilt? Your design for the quilting is genius and looks really good. Now tell me where did you get this idea that you're not artistic? Art is about your interpretation of the thing you are drawing. You interpretation is great and I'm jealous of your skills of drawing using a sewing machine. I must get brave and try more designs.

works4me said...

I love your spool and thread quilting. Very creative and well done. Yes, having it in a different spot on each block works well. Adds extra interest. People can play spot the needle as well as oohing and aahing at the embroidery. :)

As far as I'm concerned, if you don't give up on the exercise after a setback or extra day off, that is a big plus. And a physio day is definitely a work out day.

Cath said...

What a superb idea for the quilting design and I am glad Mike helped you decide on one spool..... love it looping around and finishing with a needle....you are such a clever lady!
Cath @ Bits 'n Bobs

Teresa in Music City said...

As usual, you've thought this through carefully and settled on the perfect motifs and fmq to decorate this marvelous little quilt. You should be especially proud of your thread spools and needles - Yay!!!

Did I miss a post where you explain how you put in the block border rows of stitched sewing machines? That is just too stinkin' cute!!!!

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

Love how you are quilting these...I think your planning worked out perfectly!

LynCC said...

I definitely build things up in mind to be way harder than they turn out to be! It's kept me from doing something far too often. I've kind of got that going on with topstitching and thread painting my McKenna blocks, but then it's easy to put those off when I have such a huge backlog of work. . . ;D LOVE your spools, loops, and needles, Barbara - they really look terrific with those stitcheries!!

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Love the quilting. And I never tire of seeing the quilt.

Marei said...

Nice job on the quilting Barbara. I should be so lucky to be such a 'terrible' artist like you.

crazy quilter said...

Very nice job! My biggest problem is always how should I quilt this? Love that you had a Vision and it worked so beautifully. You should pat yourself on the back for a job well done! Keep on quilting.

Quilting Babcia said...

I think this is fast becoming my very favorite of your quilts that I've seen! LOVE that spool-loopy thread-needle idea! You are really very creative with your FMQ ideas you know!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Fantastic quilting and love the quilt as well.

Brown Family said...

You do very nice free motion quilting. You are your worse critic!

Tami C said...

I really like how you decided to quilt your blocks! They both look great! These blocks are really beautiful and I'm glad for the chance to see close ups of them!

quiltzyx said...

Looks like just the right amount of quilting in your s/machine blocks - I really like the loopy-di-loos.

I think the housework should also count for exercise. I walked to the end of my driveway today, to put out the trash! ;)

Dana Gaffney said...

That looks great, I really like the thread spools.

Margaret said...

Barbara, your quilting is awesome. It just makes the quilt look beautiful. Someday I hope to be half as good as you.

Nancy in IN said...

Love the embroideries and the quilting. Today I am going to an American Sewing Guild meeting and we will do community service sewing--gowns for Riley Hospital, fleece blankets, pillow cases,and Christmas socks for military. Then to hairdo and grocery shopping. I will do needlepoint tonight.

Janet S said...

This is sooo beautiful! The needle and thread quilting is a wonderful addition! You are so talented!

knitnkwilt said...

You can show pictures of that quilt as many times as you want to--I love it! I like your moveable spool of thread decision--variety within structure and all that.

Diane Wild said...

Great job on the quilting. Love how it's turning out. Expecting blizzard conditions by tomorrow so I'll have my nose to the needle again. It may cancel the guild meeting.

Jacque said...

Oh, my, that is just gorgeous! In your free time, do you think you could quilt my swoon quilt? :)

Janet said...

One spool and one needle with the loopy loops looks fantastic!

Sherry said...

Wonderful!!!I will look forward to seeing the ribbon award you receive when you enter this quilt!

Kate said...

Love your quilting idea! The quilting so suits the blocks, the quilt looks great.

Judy1522 said...

I love your spool and needle quilting idea for your quilt. You are doing such a good job with it. I am looking forward to seeing the finished quilt.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Jumping on the bandwagon of telling you how wonderful it looks, the quilting, and I agree that you are your own worst critic. And that's true for many of us. I find that if I put it away for a week or so and look at it again, the "mistake" appears fine and needs no repairing to make it beautiful. The spools/loopy/needle idea wins the grand prize this weekend-you're a thoughtful and elegant designer.