As I’ve previously admitted, I have issues with free motion quilting. I really haven’t progressed much beyond my first attempts in the late 1990s, and expectations of free motion skills have increased exponentially since then. On the other hand, I’ve become adept at the use of my walking foot and machine decorative stitches.
However, sometimes a quilt simply has to be free motion quilted. Case in point is my “Canyon” which measures 30 inches wide and 62 inches long. I wrote about it some months ago, but have finally screwed my courage to the sticking point and started quilting it. First, I stitched in the ditch with invisible thread and my walking foot along major horizontal and vertical seam lines. Next, I stitched some curvy lines in variegated thread, again with my walking foot.
With the day of reckoning at hand I took off the training wheels and began the free motion work after studying pictures of Brice Canyon and the Black Canyon. I decided to forgo marking as the top’s design has several tiers of blocks set a various angles that I thought I could use to inspire my quilting. The lines I wanted to quilt were craggy with occasional outcroppings of low, dusty green bushes. I wanted to use thread color to emphasize sunlight on the canyon walls. I’m talking major abstract walls here.
I’ve been at it now for a week and am so glad I chose a backing fabric that conceals everything. No quilt judge or competent free motion quilter will be allowed anywhere near this stunning example of bad free motion quilting.
- Uneven thread tension? Check
- Uneven stitch length? Check
- Too much drag on the top because part of the quilt fell off the table? Check.
- Strange squiggles to represent vegetation? Check.
- Too much quilting on one part? Check.
- Unwillingness to rip out bad stitching? Check.
My rationalization is to call what I’ve done thread sketching. God knows I followed no regular pattern, and have used at least 8 different threads so far. I plan to quilt it more, figuring it’s already messed up so I might as well go for broke. I may even blend some of the fabrics with my paintstiks.
My major victories? I haven’t broken a needle or the thread. Yay me.