Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November FMQ Challenge: Cinnamon Roll Spirals with Sarah Vedeler

November FMQ Challenge: Spiral Swirlibobs in Two Sizes
Yay!  I finished the November Free-Motion Quilting Challenge exercise, two whole days before the end of the month!  Nevermind that I still have four more months to make up before the end of the year, plus the December tutorial...  One at a time!

This month's challenge tutorial comes to us from Sarah Vedeler, an accomplished quilter and designer of gorgeous machine embroidered applique designs for quilters.  Sarah provided us with the formula for a basic spiral, template pages to print and trace for practice, and encouraged us to quilt a whole fat quarter sandwich full of rows of spirals in two sizes. 

I prefer to practice doodling new quilting designs in various iPad drawing apps, since I always have my iPad with me when I find myself waiting in the carpool line, the Starbucks drive-through, etc.  So I traced over the PDF template over and over with my stylus, erasing my "chalk" marks and starting over on the same template again and again.

Then I switched to a different drawing app, one with a graph paper background option, and practiced drawing the spirals freehand.  It wasn't as easy as it looks, and most of my spirals were shaped more like the wheels on the Flintstone family car than like actual circles.  After a few days of this, they did start getting better.

So tonight, I layered up a seasonal snowman printed fabric on top, Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting scraps in the middle, and an ugly brown paisley fabric for my backing. 

Sarah had instructed us to mark out 1" and 2" grids on our practice sandwich so we could practice two sizes of spirals.  Unfortunately, I had trouble with ALL of my marking pens and pencils today -- the purple and blue markers, chalk and soapstone pencils -- none of them would make a line on that green snowman fabric that I could see long enough to draw the adjacent line.  I finally grabbed the musty, ancient cigar box full of tailor's chalk that once belonged to Bernie's grandparents who were tailors.  Now, do as I say, not as I do -- you're NOT supposed to mark the front of your quilt with tailor's chalk because it is intended for marking the WRONG SIDES of garment fabric, and it might not wash out of a finished quilt.  But I had this whole box, with so many colors, and I didn't want to put the challenge off another day, so I threw caution to the wind and tried white, gray, yellow, and finally a lipstick red piece of tailor's chalk.  Again, I would never use this to mark a real quilt.  Who knows what kind of dye makes it red?  I'm planning to wash my practice sandwich now that it's finished, to see whether the markings come out or not. 

Also, now that I'm done with this, I notice there are bulges of fabric puffing up between my spirals, and I don't really like that.  So, if this was for a real quilt, it might be worth it to actually quilt the grid lines with water soluble basting thread before quilting the spirals.  Then I'd only have to mark the first line, and I could use that guide thingy on my walking foot to space all the other lines evenly.

Cinnamon Roll Surprise!
Oh, and the surprise?  When I flipped my practice sandwich over after quilting it, I discovered that my "ugly" brown backing fabric had been transformed into cinnamon rolls by the quilting design!  Mmmm...  I wonder if there's any chance I could convince my husband to go out in search of cinnamon rolls at 9:30 at night?  I'm suddenly hungry...

So, my November FMQ challenge is completed and crossed off my list. I still have four more months to make up in addition to the new challenge that will be posted in December.  I wonder if I'll be able to fit them all in by the end of the year?  I want to thank Sarah Vedeler for sharing her spiral tutorial, and SewCalGal for hosting the challenge.   


Quilting Babcia said...

I love cinnamon rolls, and your back looks about perfect! You've got these swirls mastered! Great job.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Love your visual of cinammon rolls!