I LOVE free motion quilting!!!! It is so liberating, just drawing stuff with your sewing machine. Just before Christmas, I got the chance to quilt a quilt I didn’t have to piece first, for a friend. It is absolutely gorgeous, made from the Very Hungry Caterpillar fabrics.
Like I said, it’s just drawing with your sewing machine. You need to be able to lower the feed dogs, or in some cases put a plate over them, and with the right style of foot (a small circle) you are off. I find that I need to wear gloves though – ones with rubber grips like cotton gardening gloves are great. this gives you better traction when moving the quilt. because of course the sewing machine stays still and the quilt moves.
As you can imagine, sometimes shoving all that quilt through the space in a domestic sewing machine is easier said than done. This is why I will only quilt smallish quilts myself – big ones go to Busy Bee Quilts to be quilted on a Gammill long arm. It’s kind of cheating, I suppose, but I am also pragmatic enough to know what I have the time and energy to achieve in life.
Being The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I thought I would just meander it, and chuck in a few of the edibles from the story.
The overview. I love these fabrics – they are so incredibly vibrant! The quilt top is made up from the three panels, offset by pieced checkerboard panels. Then there are two borders from the range. The back is made up from the leftovers. It’s quite beautiful.
I quilted the butterfly, leaf and caterpillars around the outlines.
An apple in the border
And a teeny little “easter egg” for the mummy – a martini. It’s only about an inch high.
There are also icecreams and lollipops.
And you know what? This quilt which is about 3.5 by 5 feet, took 3 hours to quilt. I kid you not. Once you get it pinned out, and get used to the whole method, it is sooo fast.
My tips include – always quilt from the outside to the outside each time. Starting and stopping in the middle means lots of sewing in the ends. Due to a few top thread breakages, I had to sew in about six ends. That’s about my limit!
Looking closely at the photos you will see that my stitch length is all over the place. From a competition point of view, this is a big no-no. But I don’t really mind. I do mind if the stitches get so long they could be a hazard for tiny fingers, but otherwise it’s about getting the job done and therefore releasing another quilt into the wild to be loved and enjoyed.