Thursday, September 6, 2012

Quilting Trials and Tribulations

By Kaelyn Angelfoot

I almost have my kaleidoscope quilt top completely pieced together. It is still lacking a complete border, but that should be remedied shortly.

It occurred to me that despite having semi-decent skills at piecing quilt tops together, I have very little experience with the actual quilting process. So I put together some old scraps from half finished projects, and I plan to practice free motion quilting on them. The first is the remaining kaleidoscope quilt blocks assembled, and the second was originally going to be a pillow case.

Doll quilt from kaleidoscope scraps

I still need to finish adding a border onto this quilt before I can layer and quilt it.

The other one is purple, and I've already started quilting it, but I ran into several snags. First, I choose a complicated pattern, because I have epic faith in my abilities. Here is the stencil I created from an image I found online.

Star quilt stencil
Pretty cool, huh? Its going on a strip-pieced quilt made up of various purple material. One of the fabrics used has a shooting star pattern.

Star doll quilt, in progress

 Which brings us to problem numero uno. My magic blue washout marker only shows up decently on the pale lavender fabric and the dark purple fabric, making it very difficult to determine where to stitch next. I plan on combating this by using a white or red chalk pencil to retrace what is illegible.

Close up of not-so-great quilting
Problem number two is that this pattern really requires a free motion quilting style, as opposed to the walking-foot straight stitching I was attempting to complete. There are a large number of starts, stops, and turns with this pattern and that fact coupled with the hard to see lines made my attempts at quilting extremely time consuming, very frustrating, and the end result was not pretty. There are wavy lines, skipped stitches, and crummy-looking starts and stops with overlapping stitches.

I have gotten my hands on a free-motion quilting foot and spent several hours watching how to videos on quilting. What I learned was that I need to take a step back and rethink my sewing set up, because quilting is vastly different from sewing garments. I also need my setup to be easily removable, since I still plan on sewing large quantities of Dagorhir garb in the near future. I have several ideas which I can hopefully put together this weekend.

Stay tuned! More updates to come.

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