Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

As part of the agenda for the year, I have promised myself to work on improving my free motion machine quilting as well as trying some new stitches and approaches.  And I have known for a long time that the only way to master machine quilting--well, let's stick with improving right now--is the answer to the Carnegie Hall joke--practice, practice, practice.  So I set myself the task of doing some FMQ every day.

Now I still have not bowed to the siren song of the long/mid arm and I do my quilting on my Bernina so I decided I would work on regularizing my stitches on small things first.  I started on just practice pieces that could be thrown away, using some of that fabric that I wonder who bought.  But many of the stitches began to make interesting patterns and were not embarrassingly bad, for the most part, so I decided to make something useful:  practice potholders or hot plate pads for the fancier ones, eight to nine inches square, with Insul-brite, which has a heat shield, as the batting.

My first was a little shaky, but I decided to bind it anyway.

My next attempts were a little better:

The backs, of course, look as good as the  fronts so that they are reversible pieces:

I have to say that I was proud of the circles in the border since I was not sure they would turn out at all freehand.  They are not perfect but are acceptable.

For this one I played around with a freehand zigzag stitch (above is the front, and below the back), and again I tried some loops:

One of my latest is a real pot-pourri of stitches.  If I could do it over I would the circles in a less bright thread.

I finally decided that I would sell some of these, and, much to my surprise, they did sell.

I had to keep my attitude that these were practice pieces, so I could try something new and difficult and if it didn't turn out, it just went in the trash with no emotional upheaval.  Easy enough to say until the first time it happened, but now it has happened enough that I'm getting the emotions under control--at least in terms of hot plate pads.

I am also now practicing on some larger pieces, but am still learning a lot from these little exercises, which are enough fun that I willingly work on them for about twenty minutes a day.

And if you are still with me, thanks for the company.

1 comment:

Kathy P said...

Looks like you've been doing this forever! I think you've mastered it! Where are you selling them? If you're interested in learning more background filler designs, check out Leah Day's blog: