Friday, October 25, 2013

December 2012 FMQ Border Challenge with Patsy Thompson

December 2012 FMQ Border Challenge Completed (Backing Side)
As you know if you are a frequent visitor, I am scrambling desperately to complete all 12 free-motion quilting challenge exercises of the SewCalGal 2012 FMQ Challenge by the Second Chance deadline of October 31st, 2013.  What's that, six days from today?  Yes, that's how I roll...  For the past few days, I've been working on Patsy Thompson's December 2012 challenge tutorial on border designs.  This is a fat quarter sized practice sample, approximately 18" x 22", and I burned through an entire spool of Mettler 60/2 cotton embroidery thread.  Fortunately, I had almost an exact color match in another brand of 60/2 cotton thread, because I was hell-bent on getting this challenge finished tonight and no one who sells good thread is open for business at 9 PM in Charlotte.

It took me at least an hour just to mark the straight (or straightISH, as it turned out) lines delineating where each pattern would begin and end.  I used an acrylic straight line tool with Velcro grip teeth on the bottom to help me quilt along the straight lines, which took some practice before I got the hang of it.  Then, the quilting of the actual designs -- it was agonizing this time.  From a distance it looks pretty good, but as I was doing the quilting I was very frustrated that I could not get the quilting to come out on the fabric looking as good as it had in my imagination.  The border pattern that I thought would be easiest turned out to be very difficult for me, and nothing was coming out the way I wanted it to.  In all honesty, this probably has a lot to do with the fact that, being down to the wire with this challenge, I skipped the "practice doodling the designs until you are comfortable drawing them" step...  Ahem.

Finished Piece, Right Side Up

The first photo I showed is actually the back of the piece.  Although my orchid purple thread shows up well enough on the blue and purple batik fabric in person, it's really hard to see in pictures. 

Most of the border designs I used on this piece came directly from Patsy's excellent tutorial, but I did mix in a couple of other new designs that I've been wanting to try.  The "Squiggle Square" motif in the outer border was from one of Lori Kennedy's free-motion quilting tutorials over at The Inbox Jaunt.  I also attempted to replicate one of Judi Madsen's quilting motifs that looks like a string of stuffed olives (when she does it) but mine did not turn out so smooth and round.  I'm most pleased by how much straighter I was able to quilt the straight lines in this piece and by the overall balance I achieved by alternating dense/open quilting, curvy/geometric quilting, and the way the center and unquilted strips puff up for relief.  It looks kind of like a museum frame around a painting, doesn't it?

When I pull out the entire year's worth of practice samples, I know I will be amazed by how far my free-motion quilting skills have come, and if I wash this piece the "oopsies" will probably be lost in the puckering and quilty goodness.  Although my feathers are still not as good as I would like them to be, I really loved Patsy's method for marking the spines with a flexible ruler tool, which she demonstrates in this YouTube video:

So now I have completed 11 challenges, and I have one more to go between now and Halloween.  Wish me luck!


Tina said...

Well done, Stitch Stitch Go.

Rosemary Dickinson said...

I still haven't done this last challenge. I hope to do it soon. Yours came out beautiful! Just seeing your work makes me want to do my own even sooner!

Carrie P. said...

I thought that quilting design look familiar. I did that last year. I learned a lot.
Well done!

Ivory Spring said...

Looks absolutely awesome!

Raewyn said...

It looks great!! Good on you for getting through the challenges. I learnt so much from last year's and this year's ones.

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Rebecca, these really look like frames for an art piece. You might consider actually putting an art piece in there :-) I hope you don't mind if I use that idea. Isn't it incredible how practicing the doodling part helps. I often skip this too, but it's never quite as good as it could have been. Thanks so much for linking up to Free Motion Mavericks' 300th post party. Your links are all really great.