Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Working Out the Kinks on FMQ Paisley Flames

FMQ Leaves/Flames/Paisleys Getting Smoother
Out of 35 drunkard's path blocks in this quilt, I have just over half quilted with what was originally supposed to be flames, but looked more like leaves, and are evolving into paisleys.  You'll remember that the motif in the center of each circle was stitched flawlessly and automatically by computer, thanks to a digitized design and the embroidery module of my Bernina 200/730E machine.  My first impulsively-stitched FMQ thingys radiating out from the computer-stitched designs were crooked, jerky, and wretched.  I hoped that, if I just kept at it, they'd get better and better and the ugly first attempts would disappear into the finished quilt, but they didn't seem to be getting much better after the first few days. 

At first, I was stitching these "flames" from the outside in, quilting the outline shape first and then trying to fit the concentric arcs of stitching inside that outline.  I did a little research on Leah Day's fabulous free-motion quilting web site, and realized that the flames I was trying to quilt were basically the building blocks of her paisley fill design -- and she says to start with a small teardrop, and then build out from the center.  I decided to try it that way today and -- to my amazement and delight -- I instantly was able to achieve much better results.  See how the lines are smoother and the stitch length is more consistent?

Today's FMQ Efforts

Unfortunately, it took a long time for me to work the kinks out with this design.  Whatever -- I just keep telling myself that I'm doing the best I can today.  If I waited to do FMQ on a real quilt until I was perfect, I'd never get enough practice in to get there.  I do think I'm going to have to add something else between my flames/leaves/paisleys, but it's going to be something EASIER that I have practiced successfully!  I just want this quilt to be done already and on Lars's bed...

In other news, my little boys are coming home the day after tomorrow after three weeks of traipsing around Florida swamps, zoos and beaches with their paternal grandparents.  Yippee!  Note to self: Three weeks is TOO LONG!  It's too quiet in my house when they aren't here, and even though I did the weekly laundry in half the usual time, it was depressing not to have little undershirts and frog pajamas to fold.  I miss their noisiness in the morning, their hugs, and our nightly bedtime story routine.  Even my dogs are concerned -- they go into the boys' bedrooms, turn around and give us this significant LOOK that says, "HELLO, Pack Leaders!  Haven't you forgotten something important somewhere?!  Where's the rest of our pack???" 

1 comment:

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Really gorgeous-love the improved version of the flame!