This is one Mean Old Lady!

This is one Mean Old Lady!
Self-portrait: 'Quilter on Fire'

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Quilting Skill-builder

Six months into the one-year Free Motion Quilting Challenge organized by the energetic blogger SewCalGal, I am definitely feeling like I have benefited from participating in this process.  

June's teacher is Cindy Needham, and her tutorial is filled with thought-provoking and helpful information.  I have read and reread this one.  Below is my sample from her lesson; I will continue working on this, adding texture and experimenting with her techniques.  My goal is to improve my machine quilting and increase the amount of freehand quilting (versus following marked lines.)  The less marking I have to do on a quilt top, the happier I will be!  

Practicing circles, repetitive lines, and feathers
 Visiting Cindy Needham's website was impressive and inspiring for me.  Her whole cloth quilts are striking.  I have many new ideas to put into practice.  The trend toward dense 'background quilting' (sometimes called 'fill') is evident in her work.  
Detail of the sample

Stitching these patterns requires concentration and at the same time one must relax.  Not easy to do!

Back of the work

I used Aurifil Mako 50-wt thread and a size 80 Sharp needle;  for part of the design I used different colors of Aurifil in bobbin and top--and the machine did not like it.  I had to reduce the top tension quite a bit.  This sample is far from perfect, but I am pleased with my progress.  Other than some margin lines and an open grid, I did not mark anything.  

It's as important to build confidence as it is to build skill, I find.


  1. Hi Elaine, Your sample for the June Free Motion Quilting Challenge looks pretty good. I think you are well on the way to meeting your goal of quilting without marking the lines.

    I noted that you commented about having to adjust the tension to use different thread colours in the needle & bobbin.

    My secret for this is to make sure that there is not too much contrast between the colours. If I can twist the two threads together, and not have one colour shout at me, I know that they will blend over the quilt with out the bobbin thread "freckles" being obvious.

    This is no help if the quilt top is a high contrast to the backing, but more often than not it is possible to find a happy medium with the threads and the fabrics.

  2. Are you using your new machine? I love your work. And I am so impressed.

  3. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.


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