Thursday, October 31, 2013

I Call FINISHED: 2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge, Completed At Last!

All Twelve; All DONE!
TODAY is the deadline for SewCalGal's Second Chance entries for the 2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge, and I have finished my twelfth and final challenge entry just a few minutes ago.  (Click on the above photo to enlarge it so you can see all 12 pieces).

Hybrid April 2012 & October 2012 BONUS Challenge Exercises

Since I had already completed eleven of the twelve required challenges, I decided to combine Don Linn's April 2012 tutorial for using tulle mesh to mark a quilt top with Diane Loomis's October 2012 Bonus tutorial for machine trapunto.
Wooden Embroidery Hoop, Bridal Tulle, Sharpie Marker and Don Linn's Design
First, I traced the quilting motif from Don's April tutorial onto bridal tulle with an extra-fine point Sharpie marker.  Then I used one of those purple disappearing ink markers (BAD move!) to trace over the tulle on top of my silk dupioni fabric.  And then I spent WAY too much time drawing concentric lines spaced half an inch apart throughout the background, which I planned to fill with all sorts of fun designs at the end, but alas this was not meant to be for reasons you will understand shortly.

Design Transferred to Silk Fabric with Purple Marker
Once I had my fabric marked, I switched to Diane Loomis's tutorial for machine trapunto.  I threaded up my machine with YLI water-soluble basting thread in the needle, 60/2 cotton embroidery thread in the bobbin, lowered my upper thread tension considerably so my sewing machine would play nice with the specialty thread, and layered a piece of Quilter's Dream Poly batting, Request loft, beneath my glittery silk fabric, with NO backing.  I quilted just INSIDE the marked purple line with my water-soluble thread and then used my rounded tip Dovo embroidery scissors to carefully trim away the excess poly batting from the back side, just next to the stitching line.

Back Side of Design, Excess Poly Trapunto Batting Trimmed Away
Then I layered my silk piece over a large piece of thin cotton batting like what I normally use for machine quilting with a piece of muslin backing so I had a quilt sandwich.  I switched to silk thread in the needle and left the 60/2 cotton embroidery thread in the bobbin.  I started to quilt around the decorative motif again, just OUTSIDE the purple line this time, but I had to stop before I was finished so I could make it to my kids' school in time for the Halloween parties.  (I'm a 5th grade room parent and I had food and craft activities to set up and supervise).  When I got back to my sewing room a few hours later, I discovered to my horror that all of the lines I had so painstakingly drawn in purple ink had almost completely disappeared while I was gone.  I attempted to redraw some of the lines, but the silk fabric was kind of ripply from the trapunto work and would not lay perfectly flat anymore, and it was too late for me to start over because the challenge deadline is TODAY and it's Halloween and the door bell is about to start ringing...  So I had to just go with the flow and do the best I could under the circumstances.

I was able to quilt around the center trapunto motif fairly accurately because I could clearly see the previous stitching in basting thread even though the ink had vanished prematurely.  Then, because the clock was ticking, I switched to my walking foot and tried to quilt as many of the straight lines as I could.  Once I realized they were crooked and wonky and I was going blind trying to follow marking lines that no longer existed, I made the Executive Decision to call this one FINISHED.  I did, after all, complete both Don's tutorial exercise for marking the quilting design, as well as completing the steps for machine trapunto from Diane's tutorial.  I added some pebbling around the trapunto design so I could see the dimensional effect of the added padding better, and practiced a couple of border designs between my crooked lines.  If the rest of my lines hadn't vanished before I could quilt them, my last step would have been to wash the finished quilt or soak it in water to dissolve the basting thread.  (That sounds like a Laundry Challenge, don't you think?)  I WILL try this machine trapunto technique again, but I am putting all of my purple markers in with my machine embroidery supplies from now on so I never make the mistake of marking a quilt top with them again.  The BLUE markers that wash out in cold water are what I should have used for this assignment!

Well, the clock is ticking, so I'd better do a quick recap so I can get this post up before the Linky closes.  Here are the links that will take you back to all twelve original FMQ Challenge posts on SewCalGal's blog, as well as links to my own post for each completed assignment:

  1. Angela Walters' July Quilted Tiles tutorial, my efforts posted here on 7/3/2012
  2. Ann Fahl's March Thread Dancing tutorial (no longer available online), my efforts posted here on 7/19/2012 
  3. Wendy Sheppard's August Jester Hat tutorial, my efforts posted here on 8/12/2012
  4. Paula Reid's September Feathered Wreath tutorial, my efforts posted here on 9/30/2012
  5. Teri Lucas's October Signature tutorial, my efforts posted here on 10/20/2012
  6. Frances Moore's January Leafy Vines tutorial, my efforts posted here on 10/24/2012
  7. Sarah Vedeler's November Spirals tutorial, my efforts posted here on 11/28/2012
  8. Diane Gaudynski's February Feathers tutorial, my efforts posted here on 6/16/2013
  9. Cindy Needham's June Divide and Conquer tutorial, my efforts posted here on 7/20/2013
  10. Leah Day's May Foundational Stippling tutorial, my efforts posted here on 10/9/2013
  11. Patsy Thompson's Border Design tutorial, my efforts posted here on 10/25/2013
  12. Don Linn's April Tulle Marking tutorial and Diane Loomis's October Bonus Machine Trapunto tutorial, my efforts posted right here at the top of THIS post, right now, at the last possible moment on 10/31/2013!
All Twelve Together: My (Two) Year-Long FMQ Journey

I want to send a HUGE thank you out to SewCalGal for hosting the 2012 and 2013 Free-Motion Quilting Challenges, to each and every one of the teachers who graciously donated their time and their tutorials, and to all of the sponsors who donated prizes to keep the excitement going over the past two years.  I'd also like to thank all of the other 2,000+ participants world-wide who made the commitment to spend a year working on their free-motion quilting skills and to share photos of their struggles and successes in the Flicker group and on their personal blogs.  Seeing photos of everyone else's progress online has been so incredibly inspiring and motivating, and when I look back at my own earliest quilting samples it's amazing to see how much my quilting skills have improved over the last year and a half.  I wouldn't say that practice makes PERFECT (yet!), but at least now I know I'm on the right track!

By the way, if you're at all interested in machine embroidery, you won't want to miss SewCalGal's Fall Machine Embroidery Blog Hop that runs all next week.  I'm scheduled to post on Wednesday, November 6th, and I have some VERY unique embroidery designs to share with youyou.  We will all be featuring machine embroidered projects from a talented professional digitizer, sharing best practices for machine embroidery, and I believe we will each be hosting a fabulous GIVEAWAY, so be sure to check back November 4th through the 8th!  Here's the official schedule and lineup of machine embroidery bloggers for that event:

Monday, November 4th

Tuesday, November 5th:

Wednesday, November 6th:
Thursday, November 7th:
Friday, November 8th:
Now that I got all of THAT out of the way, I can get on with my Halloween!


Anonymous said...

How do I really feel? I am sitting here having worked my way through your wonderful posts of your journey through FMQ Rebecca and I have to say I feel really happy for you [and for me come to that] as you and I both finished these with little time to spare and I just know you will be feeling as great as I am that they are done, dusted and we can move on now to something that is maybe !! a little more relaxing. I think what you achieved in such a short space of time is truly amazing. I love what you have done with all the challenges, given me some ideas I can tell you and many thanks for the information given throughout on threads and tensions, always appreciated. Well done girl. I wonder what will be next for us!!

Ivory Spring said...

Awesome job, Rebecca! You deserve to take a big bow.

Martha said...

All your work is simply amazing!!! Beautifully done!!!
I will be checking out the embroidery blog hop on your day and see what else you've been up too!!! Looking forward to it!!

Lane said...

Yay!! Done and done well. Congratulations! Lane

Carrie P. said...

Well Done!!! What an accomplishment. You should be very proud at your works.

Joann Mannix said...

Holy Cow! Once again, I am in total awe. Your work is stupendous. I would not get through one step without breaking down into dramatic sobs. Truly beautiful. We lost my talented and lovely mother-in-law not too long ago and her quilts are some of my most cherished possessions. You are making memories and treasures to pass on to those you love. There is nothing better.

Thank you, my darling friend, for your kind words and your never ending support. So glad to be back on my game.

Carrie P. said...

Hey I just saw you were one of the winners for the fmq challenge. A BIG CONGRATS to you.