Friday, March 30, 2012

March FMQ Challenge

March's Challenge, by Ann Fahl, looked easy to me.  Ann provided some great background information about FMQing and our challenge was to do some background fill stitching, rather than all "stipple" or "meander". 

I've done stuff like this before, on quite a few quilts.  So, I thought it wouldn't be much of a challenge to do more.  So, where did my challenge come into play??  In the middle of stitching a quilt using a loopy design, my machine broke.  My repairman said he's never seen a Viking belt really snap in two like that.  I knew it was the belt almost as soon as it happened.  The machine made a high pitched whirring sound, like a motor revving without being in gear.  I'm sure you've hit the gas on your car without having it in gear.  My machine is a Viking Sapphire.  I've had it for about 5 years, and done TONS of sewing on it, as have some of my students.  I've done costumes, quilts, tent bags, alterations, clothes, gifts, ... Well, you get the picture.  And I had never taken the time (or money) to get a tune up.  The machine travels often, from home, to NY, to Bethlehem, to...  Replacing the belt means taking off the entire plastic body of the machine, which requires some screws and "popping" the unit.  I kind of wanted to see what it looks like inside, lol, but didn't get the chance.  So, off to my favorite shop, Pocono Sew and Vac.  When they first took the machine, they said it could be in up to 3 weeks.  What??  From March 19th to April 9???  What was I going to do?  I can piece with my vintage Featherweight, but quilt with that?? Um, no.  No walking foot, and not about to try playing with the feed dogs to do FMQ.  I picked up a 1/4" foot with a guide, and planned to make some quilt tops.  But the FMQ Challenge?? How do I do that??  Well, since Ann's designs are similar to others I've already done, here are those. 

This is a quilt I made last year, with a Hoffman Bali Pop and other fabrics using Multifaceted by Cozy Quilt Works.  I did a loopy FMQ in the alternate blocks (some have stencils) and added some flowers within that. 

This is a Jelly Roll Race quilt I did last summer.  It reminded me of a sunset, so I quilted waves and swirls using King Tut thread.  I love this one.  I wanted something curly because the quilt was all straight lines of color strips.  So, I had already done something like Ann suggested. 

This one has stars and loopy stitching in the borders.  There is a center concentric star pattern, and then the FMQ design in the rest of the runner.   I think I did this 2 years ago, and anything Patriotic really should have stars, don't you think? 

I enjoy playing with thread and designs.  The quilts do "ask" for certain things.  I'm learning more every day, and enjoy sketching the design first before I put the thread and needle on the quilt.  I've also learned more about my machines.  I also plan to do more tops with these designs.  I really want to do some of the flower shapes I've seen on the Facebook page, too. 

Thanks to Pocono Sew and Vac, I actually got my machine back after 10 days.  I'll be finishing the quilt that "broke" it, lol, and posting more about that.  But in the meantime, I wanted to make sure I posted about the FMQ challenge.  Thank goodness I'm not totally scared about trying a new design or my own variation.  I would have been really upset if my machine had needed a "spa day" during February!!  I guess the timing was okay, afterall.

Update!! I finished the quilt that broke the machine, lol.  It's not the quilt's fault, just joking.  Here's a picture of the quilt.  I did a loopy meander using cream colored nylon thread. 

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