About Me

South Louisiana
I have been married for 20 years to a great husband and we have 8 children ranging in age from 1 to 18 years. I am a homeschooling mom, which can be very challenging. I love sewing, knitting, reading, gardening and have recently started oil painting. I love to create. I really want to have a blog to show off some of the stuff I create, but I also want to share about my life and family. email me at ctrich8@bellsouth.net

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Machine Quilting Adventure

Wow, I havn't posted in over a week, time sure does fly. I have been steadily working on the quilting of my quilt. It has definitely been a learning process. First of all, I can't just do things easily the first time, no, I have to make it hard. It's just that I wanted the quilt to have a certain look to it, and just a basic quilting in the ditch wasn't going to do it. I wanted all of the squares echo quilted 4 or 5 times, which didn't seem like it would be difficult until I started to do it. I thought I could use my walking foot and stitch and turn and stitch and turn until all the squares were done. Well, maybe if I had a smaller quilt, which a smart first time quilter would have done. No, I had to make a twin size quilt for my first go at quilting. I actually sized down from a king size quilt, I am not THAT nuts LOL Anyway, you can not just pivot and turn a twin sized quilt, no sirree. I tried, and my arms were killing me after half a square. So, I thought maybe I could just stitch each side of a square in a long line, stopping for the sashing and restarting. Well, that was just a pain. I even tried to handquilt : O My efforts were not so pretty. That will definitely take some practice and I do want this quilt finished before the next decade. I finally realized my only option was to do the squares free motion. Of course, I practiced on one square before I started on my quilt. I kinda got the hang of it and while my stitches are not all even, I figure it will give a folksy look to the quilt. Anyway, that is what I am telling myself LOL I am sure I will look at this quilt in the future and think what a mess I made of the quilting.

After all of this, I thought maybe I should check some books out from the library on machine quilting. Well, there are all sorts of tips LOL And all 3 authors stressed how important it was to practice, practice, practice before starting on your actual quilt. Well, I got all sorts of practice ON my quilt LOL I don't have time to waste practicing. So, I am sure the last squares I do are going to look completely different than the first ones. But like I said, that will be folksy, right? Come on, help me lie to myself lol Even with the tips though, maneuvering that quilt is a workout! I have to conciously make myself relax my shoulders, because I am going to end up with some sort of injury if I am not careful. Oh, and I got some finger condoms (seriously, that is what they look like!) to help me grip the quilt. Still not sure if I like them yet. The gripping does help, but I hate having something on my fingers, I can't feel what I am doing. I am hoping the next time around is much easier, I guess it is like everything else, it takes hours of practice to master.

Here are my two practice squares. Of course, the square was super easy to do with the walking foot on this tiny square. You can see my first attempts at free motion. I think my flower looks pretty good considering I have never done this before lol The second practice square was to see if I could do the squares free motion. They resembled squares, so I figured I was good to go : ) Looking at it now, it looks awful, I must have been tired when I made that decision.

Here are some squares on the quilt. I didn't realize until I had done several squares that I was supposed to grid quilt in the ditch first before starting the quilting inside the squares. I should have read those dang books first! So, now I am doing my quilting in the ditch, I am almost finished, so should be able to start on those free motion squares again soon.

I included a picture of the finger *grippers* because I think they look so funny! JUST LIKE miniature condoms! LOLOLOL


mommyholly said...

Oh I already LOVE the look of the quilt, Tonya!! It looks amazing and good for you for attempting such a big job! I have never machine quilted, but then again I have a super crap-o machine too haha! I love the look of echo quilting as well, so I am loving your progress!!! :) Keep it up, xo!!

Tine said...

It looks awesome!!! I am so impressed with your quilting :-) I was thinking af doing something like what you are doing in the squares on Charles' quilt, but I am finding it very intimidating... Don't you end up with a billion loose ends?
It is so beautiful! And even if it is hard work (and it is!), it is also a lot of fun, don't you think?!

Jessica said...

Machine quilting is oodles of fun...watch out! It's rather addictive also!

harts4Him said...

I think you are doing a marvelous job on your quilt. The folksy look is the only way to go--even after quilting LOTS of quilts on the machine. Perfect is too hard to achieve. I use 'Machingers'-they are gloves with grippy tips. You can find them at quilt shops. They are nothing like the Fons & Porter ones. They were awkward at first, but I cannot quilt without them now.
My advice for free motion quilting is this. I hope I can explain it in words. You have to move the quilt the same speed as you are pressing the footpresser. Move the quilt fast and you must use the same speed on your presserfoot. Same as going slow. I am sure all the books have told you that, but until you get the quilt on the machine, practice will make your work better and better. I too practice on quilts---not enough time to do it any other way.
Once you wash the quilt, the threads will sink into the fabric and the stitches won't be so obvious. You will LOVE it when you are done. When you see one of your kids cuddled up in it you will love it even more!
Happy quilting!!

Amber said...

The quilt looks amazing. I can't believe those are free-motion squares - they looks so straight!! And I was laughing so hard at the finger "condoms" :-)

muralimanohar said...

Well, ya got more patience than me...quilting that whole quilt...scary!!! :p

Marie said...

I think your quilting job is just gorgeous...and it's handmade, so who says it needs to be perfection? I like that it's imperfect because it just means you lovingly made it by hand. The quilting bug hasn't bit yet, but I am working on a tablerunner out of some pretty fabric, so we'll see. That will be the extent of my quilting.

Maybe next time you're in town, you can just show me and we can hit up the Quilt shops here in Houston! :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent effort Tonya - especially considering it is your first one! I had my first free mtion quilting experience ont he weekend - it certainly isn't as easy at it looks!

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

I am not sure why my comment was posted as anonymous!

Randi said...

I practice on my quilts too! No time for extra practice, for sure! The first quilt that I machine quilted looks fine from far away, but get close and it is not so good--especially the back. I didn't realize that the fabric bunched on the back if you didn't hold it tight. Now I know!

The quilt looks great, by the way. Whoever gets it on their bed is lucky!

Trish said...

I love your quilt so much! Don't worry about the stitching - it'll be cuddly warm and full of love no matter the stich uniformity.

My mom has recently started quilting small projects - except she's mostly tying them and not "quilting" them. Your quilt inspired me to get her a 10" moda cake and a 5" moda cake for pressies. Hope she likes them!

Anonymous said...

That looks great! Are you doing that with a "normal" sewing machine? I asked my mother, who is also a quilter, how I could do that and she said I would need a special machine. I was wondering if it's possible to do it with a normal machine.

Lola....L..O..L..A....lo--oh--luh! said...

LOVE THE QUILTING!!! You are awesome!! I never practice with anything...I just usually dive right in with the good stuff too! I like to call my learning items "rustic".

Ruth said...

The quilt is lovely! The practice squares would make great potholders!

Ruth xx