Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Free Motion Quilting Bliss

Hi everyone:

Since I've added the Janome Horizon 8900 QCP to my sewing machine stable, I've been working on improving my free-motion quilting skills and really feeling good about the results. I'm finally getting into the rhythm and achieving the results I've been striving for. So satisfying! The additional features on the Janome, such as the speed control and start/stop button certainly help me with my free motion quilting. I can set the speed for the rhythm I like and then I only have to worry about coordinating my hands to that rhythm. 
My Janome Horizon 8900 QCP snug in her cabinet
 Of course practise makes perfect and I've been practising on the Scattered Squares quilt from the Inspired Modern Quilts by Elizabeth Hartman on Craftsy. This project is composed of 100 - 4" squares, so lots of opportunities to practise quilt motifs. Following the advice in Design it, Quilt it by Cindy Needham, I stitched in the ditch through the entire project - or ESS - every stinking seam - as Cindy calls it! This really helps to stabilize the quilt and then you can do the rest of your quilting without pins and not have to worry about the layers shifting. 

I decided to try a different motif, not in each square (yikes, there are 100 of them!), but in each of the 5 different fabrics in the quilt. That seemed more manageable and would allow me to get in some good practise for each motif. The only thing left to decide was what motifs I wanted to practise!
Scattered Squares with various quilt motifs
I decided to try some feathers, again from Cindy Needham's class, as well as some wavy line and pebbles from Machine Quilting Negative Space by Angela Walters. I also tried some squares and swirls from Angela's class. 

negative space online quilting class at craftsy.com

I used The Bottom Line from Superior Threads in both the top and bobbin so you would see the texture, rather than the thread. 

After I felt that I was familiar with these quilting designs, I decided to quilt some wall hangings that have been waiting to be quilted for some time (years). I used pebbles in the background on both of these quilts. I was pleased with the results.
Wall hanging #1 all done!
Floral wall hanging finally quilted
The Scattered Squares quilt is partially completed and I use it for a warm up before I do any free motion quilting on a larger project. It's always a good idea to take some time to warm up before tackling the "real" project - just like you would do before exercising. It doesn't take long - ten minutes or so - and you'll find that you'll really notice an improvement in your quilting.
Scattered Squares with lots of squares completed
Do you practice before you start quilting your projects? What tips do you have for improving your free motion quilting skills?


Lori said...

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing

Chatterbox Quilts said...

You're welcome, Lori. You can fine information on my new Janome in upcoming videos on my Youtube channel, so be sure to subscribe so you'll know when these are published.