Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April's Free Motion Quilting Challenge post

SewCal Gal and Don Linn got together for a very enlightening and informative tutorial.  Brilliant!!

So, say you have a stencil or drew a design that you wanted to stencil and quilt.  But it's the wrong size.  Photocopy the design and use the machine's functions to make it bigger or smaller to fit. 
So, say it now fits, how do you easily create a traceable stencil?? This is where Don's idea is so cool.  Get an embroidery hoop and a piece of tulle (bridal veil fabric) to fit inside the rings.  Make the tulle nice and smooth in the hoop, and place the hoop, tulle flat, on the copy paper.  Trace it with a Sharpie, which marks the tulle.  Iron (nylon setting) to set the marker, and you now have a stencil to mark your quilts, without using XActo knives or plastic.  The netting can be stored in a plastic page protector with the copy, so you can create and change stencils to suit your taste, and transfer the designs easily.  Brilliant!!  No expensive light box needed, and you can even transfer the design after the quilt is pin-basted (just remove the pins where the stencil is going, then replace them before quilting.)  You can't do that with a light box!  Did I say brilliant??

Our task this month was to use this idea to trace a design, and use our free motion skills to stitch it.  Don provided a design just for this task, and I thought it was pretty.  It also provided some (much needed by me) practice in retracing a line you have stitched. 

So, I know exactly where some wooden hoops are in my sewing area (on the wall, just hanging around for about 20 years, lol)  I also know I have lots of tulle from making quite a few headpieces and bridal things and play costumes (um, almost 20 years?? lol)  So, I pulled out the box I was SURE had tulle.  Nope, netting, too spaced out.  Next box, again certain it had to be there.  Nope, more netting, and some organza (too fine).  Beginning to feel a little like Goldilocks here (Where's the just right??)  3rd box had it.  Locate the Sharpie, create a quilt sandwich, and traced away!  I used a blue wash-out marker on the first, and a red EZ Washout quilters pencil on the second.  Both marked the design I traced, but I did have to press harder than I normally do with a stencil and Sewline pencil (which I tried, but it didn't work for this exercise)  I also did a little more of a "sketching" line. 

I felt the practice was very valuable.  I really thought my retracing has improved (I'm loving the spring darning foot, since it's offset from center, and I can see behind the needle.)  The sample fabric is a white tone on tone muslin, and the batting is Warm & Natural cotton.  The thread is Sulky 30wt cotton quilting thread in a pink variegated, with a size 14 quilting needle and Gutermann in the bobbin.  I washed out the marker lines and pressed it a bit.  I DO plan on using this technique on my son's quilt (Double Irish Chain) as soon as I decide which design I want to use.   It's difficult to find stencils that fit, and this makes any design accessible.  Did I say Brilliant???  If you want to see Don's video, use the FMQ Challenge picture on the right side of my blog to link to SewCal Gal's blog, click on Free Motion Quilt Challenge tab, and in the chart, click on April.  You will see a link to the video.  He also has books with additional designs, that include directional arrows for stitching. 

Yeah, I played a little with the center of the flower.  One has a swirl and the other a cross hatch design.  I also tried to line them up to see how it might work (or a similar/smaller design) as a border.


Ray and Jeanne said...

Great job! You are right - this method is brilliant! I totally agree! I guess I need to look for a spring darning foot that is offset from center - mine isn't and that would make my life must easier! ~Jeanne

Diane Wild said...

You did a great job. I like your idea about the page protector to store the pattern. I was thinking baggy.