This is one Mean Old Lady!

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

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November Challenge

This month's Free-motion Quilting challenge from SewCalGal's guest instructor, Sarah Vedeler, involves spirals, large and small.  I've quilted spirals in the past, and it can be difficult to keep them the same size and evenly spaced.  (Most usually, I gave myself a pair of lines and kept the shapes inside those borders.)  This quilter has us use a grid and an orderly approach, after practicing on paper to build motor memory.

First, the paper practice was tracing--and since I have hand issues already, it was actually painful to grip even my 'fat pen.'  (This is one reason I am moving away from hand quilting and working to master machine quilting.)   

I abandoned this exercise and used my dry-erase board instead.

Then it was time to move to the machine.  I used Bottom Line thread in a pale blue.  The grid was marked with a pink ceramic pen.  I expected to be more successful, since I've quilted spirals in the past.

It was very difficult to relax and find a rhythm.  I was also surprised to see that the larger spirals were coming out better than the small ones; usually I find small designs are more easily controlled.

When I looked back at some previous practice pieces, I could see plenty of imperfections, but the spirals done with the grid do not look significantly better.  
I do see more practice in my future.... and I won't give up on the grid idea.  I've been away from the sewing machine for two weeks; rust seems to build up very quickly!

Thanksgiving preparations will keep me away from my quilting, even though the distraction of the election is now past.  Wishing everyone a happy holiday!


  1. I get rusty very fast when I don't quilt at least weekly, and sometimes daily. But I like the purple piece better than the grid. The nestled together look has it's merits over the separation. But they are all nice

  2. I think all of your spirals are lovely. Probably the grid wasn't as helpful to you because you are already quite good at consistently spacing and sizing your spirals from previous work.

    By the way, if holding the pen hurts your hand, finger-tracing designs is probably just as good for developing the muscle memory of a new design. I also practice quilting motifs using a couple of different drawing apps (coloring apps for kiddos, actually) that I downloaded inexpensively for my iPad. That way you can practice doodling with a stylus, or even just your finger tip.

  3. Es verdad que unos dias sin tocas la máquina y parece que todo aquello que sabíamos ha desaparecido. Es necesario un poco de calentamiento para hacer buenos trabajos. Enhorabuena por tus resultados.


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