Sunday, September 30, 2012

September FMQ Challenge: Feathered Wreaths in a Drug-Induced Fog

My Feathered Wreaths
Greetings from the Land of Clogged Sinuses, Violent Sneezes, Watery Eyes and Reddened Nostrils!  Sick or not, today was the last day to post my sample for SewCalGal's September Free Motion Quilting Challenge, so I drugged up on Alka Seltzer Plus Cold & Flu meds and faced my fear of feathers!

This month's challenge was brought to us from the amazing quilter Paula Reid.  Paula posted a video clip demonstrating her "fluff and stuff" method for maneuvering quilt bulk on a domestic sewing machine, which I really appreciated.  She also posted a feathered wreath block design courtesy of The Stencil Company for us to practice with this month.  I've never quilted on a marked line before, and I've never quilted any kind of feather before, either, so I spent the last 29 days doing some serious procrastinating.  You would be amazed at all of the "urgent" things I "had" to do before I could think about attempting this challenge...  ;-)

I decided to trace the design onto my fabric with my light box, using four different marking untensils: Disappearing Pink pen, Disappearing Purple Pen, Blue Chalk Pencil, and Pink Chalk Pencil.  The two disappearing pens disappeared as soon as I'd finished marking the designs, so I had to go over them again.  The pink chalk pencil was so faint on my fabric that I could barely make out the lines as I was quilting, but the blue chalk pencil worked fairly well.  My plan is to serge the edges of this sample and toss it in the wash after the markings have sat for a week or so, to see whether any of the markings remain after washing.

Fourth Attempt
I'm quilting with Aurifil 50 weight thread for the first time, and also using my Bernina BSR contraption to ensure a consistent stitch length with the feed dogs down -- and LOVING IT!!  I think the problems I was having with the BSR before were due to high speed on the background fill designs.  The BSR was a lifesaver for following these marked lines, which I quilted much more slowly.  No problems whatsoever.  Quilty Love!  75 Schmetz quilting needle, Hobbs Tuscany silk batting, and I pin-basted. 

The verdict?  Not as bad as I thought!  For the first wreath, I tried to eliminate backtracking the way some others did for this challenge, but I found it very difficult to maintain an even space between individual feathers, so for the other wreaths I backtracked as carefully as I could.  It's not perfect, but it's passable.  When the markings are gone, I think it will look pretty good.  Here's the back side:

Backing Side Up


Jenny K. Lyon said...

Overachiever! I'll be interested in your findings about the marking methods. Your work is lovely!

Linda and Michelle said...

Fabulous job! I love the four of them together. Great!!!

Jacquelin said...

Para mí es mucho más difícil seguir una linea dibujada en la tela. Tus coronas se ven muy bien. Me gusta.

Jacquelin said...

Para mí es mucho más difícil seguir una linea dibujada en la tela. Tus coronas se ven muy bien. Me gusta.

Ivory Spring said...

Looks awesome - quilting slowly wins the race. :)

Elaine said...

I'm impressed! You turned out four very nice pieces.
You will find that the more experience you have, the easier it gets. I quit using the BSR while still quilting w/ my 440, mainly because it blocked my view too much. Now (after several quilts) I can tell precisely where my needle will fall, and following lines is not the bugaboo it used to be. Congratulations on facing the dragon!