This is one Mean Old Lady!

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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December Challenge

A full year of free-motion quilting challenges winds to a close!  This year I have followed a quilting blog published by SewCalGal, featuring tutorials by well-known quilters.  It has been very helpful as well as inspiring (and occasionally frustrating) as several hundred participants have studied the videos, prepared the little projects, and posted photos of the results.

This month's instructor, Patty Thompson, talked about freehand borders  that look complex and full of movement.  As I stitched the suggested designs, I realized I was fairly relaxed.  I was even having fun!  I was even able to forgive myself for the imperfections (especially notable with the wavy feather border, where I could not seem to get my head around the design.)  The whole is certainly greater than the parts--because I find the piece pleasing to my eyes.  

What do you think?

I haven't yet added an image in the central square, and I omitted a narrow spiral border because I like the plain frame.

A close-up of the different designs.  This was stitched with Bottom Line thread on a solid cotton fabric.

  I did this work on Christmas Eve, in between rounds of cookery for our family's traditional dishes.  (Christmas Eve it's lasagna; we often had company for that meal.)  I took time out from setting the table to snap some pictures.  The overcast, chilly day was a preface to our Christmas Day snowstorm!  (In Arkansas, they are calling this a 'blizzard.'  It's no such thing, but they just don't know any better.)

The only marking I did for this piece were the straight-line demarcations for the different widths of borders and the wavy line for the feather border.  Marking is no fun!
Here's to more machine quilting in 2013! 

January addition:
     I decided to add a central motif in the square; for this I traced a design on Golden Threads tissue, then quilted along the lines.  Tearing away the tissue is the worst part....tedious!  I seem to be able to use small pieces of the tissue, but sewing through a larger tracing (a border, for instance) bothers me.  I need to see and feel the fabric.
Here we are:
It was difficult to get a good shot of this due to the lighting.

This will make a nice pillow.  I'm pleased to see how far I've come in a year.  

The tutorials are still available on the blog of SewCalGal.   Take a look and be inspired!


  1. Elaine, this is a beautiful piece. Your motifs are so nice and evenly spaced - not an easy task in my book for sure! I hope you'll post this again when you've decided on a center motif. Great quilting!

  2. What a work of art! Your quilting is truly wonderful, and I'm glad you've been able to relax and enjoy doing it. That's the best part.

  3. Very, very nice. Are you going to fill in the centre?

    1. I had to put my machine away for guest accommodation-requirements, but I do plan a motif for the center. My main goal was to meet the challenge with a quilted sample, and I was happy to accomplish that much. Then, zip, zip, the machine disappeared and the quilting room was a bedroom with computer space. Totally worth it, of course, but it will be some days before I can regroup!

  4. You have done a beautiful job on the quilting of this piece!


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