Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Baby Steps

We have our WhirlyGiggle quilt all ready and we're determined to quilt it by machine ... and not in straight lines either. We really want to learn to do this Free Motion stuff we see everybody else doing. Every time we get ready to start, we chicken out, it seems. We set our machine up for free motion and test drove the spare block we had leftover. Oh, boy, the learning curve is steep. And we are so very unforgiving of ourself.   (In truth, Grandma Coco doesn't see what all the fuss is about. It's Cheryl who's dragging her feet.)

We finally dug out a UFO that we started a while ago. We planned a quilt-as-you-go quilt. We like quilt-as-you-go but we have to admit it was a sort of stop gap measure between hand-quilting and actually getting the hang of machine quilting (which seemed pretty much unattainable back then).



We've already flip-flopped around on this one. We started out machine quilting with the feed dogs up, starting and stopping and pivoting as needed. Very time consuming. We did a little hand-quilting on a small frame which was actually the frame for an artist's canvas. Good idea but ... Very time consuming. Result? UFO. And now we all know why. So, now that we've got a little of this and a little of that anyway, why not go all the way and use these blocks to practice our FMQing on?

Say Cheese Copyright  © 2012 Cheryl Coville


So, here's the deal. There are 11 hand appliquéd, hand embroidered Say Cheese cat blocks and 1 hand appliquéd portrait of our long-ago dog, Daisy. These will alternate with 12 scrappy patchwork blocks to form a quilt 56 1/4 inches x 60 inches. The animal blocks will all have one backing fabric and the scrappy blocks will have a coordinating backing so the back of the quilt will be a checkerboard.

Daisy Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2012
That sounds like a plan. Off we go. Any words of wisdom will be gratefully received. 


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14 comments:

  1. You go girl! Put Cheryl in the backseat and let Grandma CoCo drive the machine. :)
    Man, I love that Cheshire cat smile - how can you not grin looking at that?
    Good luck - we know you can do it!

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  2. Yes, yes, yes! Do it! I made an abortive attempt to learn FMQ a few years ago. I tried again last year and persevered even when I hated what was coming out. I'm soooo glad I've learned how to do it and just wish I had stuck with it a few years ago. You can do it, Cheryl! My recommendation would be to start with coordinating threads and do one block a day. Unless the thread's catching or nesting, don't unpick anything until you are done all the blocks. When you are done, put it away for a day or two, then come back and look at them again. I'm sure you will see an improvement. Also, remember that some of the funkies will disappear or become less noticeable once you wash the quilt -- seriously, it's like magic. Good luck!

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  3. Pedal to the metal, and go girl. Don't over think it, just do it. And when you look at it, after you are done, take a big step back. Does it pass that 3 ft. rule? Then it is good to go. If not, take another step back. ;)

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  4. I'd use the clear monofilament thread, a soft one like Monopoly. It'll hide any 'oopses'!

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  5. now that looks like the cat the swallowed the canary ......
    now the both of you have fun now you hear.
    in stitches

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  6. Go for it Cheryl! But look who is calling the kettle black...I am cautiously approaching FMQing....If you can do it, I can do it...so go for it!

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  7. I love those kitty blocks! do you have a proper darning foot (or now a days) called a quilting foot? it usually has a built in spring and you sew with the feed dogs down always. There is no lifting the foot to turn or make loops. One thing I always do before machine quilting is take some sheets of scrap paper and loosely and as lightly as possible draw the quilting loops, flowers, hearts or whatever is your plan. When my hand "knows" the pattern, then I put fabric under the needle and set to real work. Even if I do only some of the quilt and go back to it a few days or even one day later I do the paper thing as a reminder to my hands... If you do plan to use monofilament thread you should not use the quilt for a child or pets as the stuff doesn't break but if it does develop a pull, the thread can cut like a razor or strangle or if for any weird reason it gets eaten can cause havoc...

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  8. those blocks are just too cute!

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  9. These blocks are so fun. I've never done any machine quilting so I can't give you any advice. Besides, I've not quilted long enough to advise anyone. I do agree with Karen though. Let Grandma Coco put her foot to the pedal and get busy getting busy :) Have fun on the learning curve.

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  10. The grin on those cats is too funny! Love the blocks!

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  11. Go slow and move the fabric evenly. You can do it! You'll get into a rhythm very quickly.

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  12. Jump in there and start with meandering. Concentrate on a small-ish space and just fill that with squiggles. The rest will come by just practicing.

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  13. I have yet to learn free-motion quilting and plan to start next month. Leah Day has a great Free Motion Quilting Project going and that's how I'll learn. - http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.ca - Grandma Coco may want to look into it and recommend it to Cheryl. :-)

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