I mentioned in a previous WWST post, it is critical to bond with your quilting system. In same that post I also mentioned that your BRAIN is the most important quilting tool you have. So let’s talk about that for a few minutes.
I have been a freehand quilter since the beginning. I did a couple of pretty pantos when I first bought my machine. I did not enjoy it. Not the pantos fault. I am just not good at following the lines and I did not have the patience to learn to do it better because I didn’t enjoy it. Yes, I admit that’s a bit circular in logic but…
So I moved to the front of the machine pretty quickly. And found that I enjoyed that a LOT! I was able to learn from some of the best; Diana Phillips (of Line Dancing fame), Jamie Wallen of just plain fame and I took a class from Nicole Webb right at the beginning of my career. Since I was so new, I was wide open and soaking it all up like a dry sponge.
Things I learned to think about –
Getting control of my machine. Finding the right speed to move to create a smooth line of stitching…too slow and I wobble; too fast and I out run my stitch regulator or over shoot my design path. And the right speed is different for different kinds of designs. I do not SID as fast as I do feathers.
Filling the space. I am not talking about density, but of making sure the design reaches the edges of the intended area so it doesn’t look like I forgot something.
No more than 3 different designs on one quilt top. A “rule” that can and should be broken on occasion, but generally applies. More of a guideline really. Modification of a design does not count as a “different” design…for example a leafy wreath in the plain blocks and a vine of the same type of leaf in one of the borders and or sashing. Which leads to…
Carrying a design throughout the quilt. Another “rule” that can and should be broken occasionally.
An example of carrying the design throughout would be using CC on a sampler quilt. In CC you use the seams and intersections of the piecing of the block. Since a sampler quilt is full of differently pieced blocks the quilting will be different in each one, but similar in design and density.
Carrying design throughout a quilt helps create continuity.
Give up on perfection.
I said it.
This might be a good time to remind you that this is MY process and what works for me 😉
The idea of perfection can stall me or make me afraid to start. It can make me afraid to try something new.
Instead, I work on doing my best with each quilt top.
Lastly (for this post at least) Learn to love Stitch in the Ditch or SID. Almost every quilt I do that is not an all-over (edge to edge) has some SID. Sometimes it is only the seams between the body and the borders of the quilt; sometimes it is around each block. It helps give the quilt clean, crisp lines and enhances the overall look of the finished quilt. That said, all bets on SID are off if the quilt has wandering borders or seam allowances that flip back and forth a lot.
Oh! And if the client doesn’t want any SID there won’t be any SID regardless of what I think.
In Part 5 – What should we talk about? Why I quilt so many dang feathers? Once Around Designs? Why do I think anybody cares what I think about quilting design? What do you want to talk about?