Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Leah Day's May 2012 FMQ Challenge Tutorial: Foundational Quilting Designs

SewCalGal is offering a second chance to those of us who did not complete all twelve challenge exercises during her 2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge, and I have until October 31st to complete my remaining challenges. 

My Completed Foundational Stippling Piece, From the Back
Today I completed Leah Day's Foundational Quilting challenge exercise, which was posted on SewCalGal's blog here back in May of 2012.  Leah Day has a treasure trove of free tutorials, designs, and advice for free-motion quilting on a domestic sewing machine that you can find on her web site, Day Style Designs.  Leah's site is an especially good resource for absolute beginners who are terrified of free-motion quilting, and I love that she has so many great ideas for setting up a workspace and getting great results using basic machines and furniture that you probably already own or can obtain inexpensively.  She's so encouraging and empowering that I DARE you to watch one of her videos and then tell me you can't do it afterwards!  Leah might look like she's all of 15 years old, but she has published several books and instructional DVDs and she has taught and encouraged literally thousands of quilters all over the world. 

The concept behind Leah's Foundational Designs exercise is to quilt a meandering path through the entire area you are quilting and then go back and "wiggle" back and forth across that line with either rounded or deliberately jagged stipple quilting.  I had a fat quarter of red Eiffel Tower print fabric lying around the studio that I had previously machine appliqu├ęd with the letters of our last name for a carpool tag -- something to stick in the dashboard area when we're picking up the kids so they know which student to send out to which vehicle.  I already made a solid black fabric version of my "Too Cool for School" carpool tag into a quilted pillow that you can see here, and I'll probably give that one to Bernie for his car and keep this red Eiffel Tower version for the Mommy Ride. 

Invisible Quilting -- See Why I Showed the Back First?

I didn't want the quilting to be too visible on this piece because I thought it would just be fighting the busy print (which I love), so I chose a red shade of 50/3 Gutermann cotton thread and made my initial meandering quilting path so that it went around the Eiffel Towers, never through them.  I like the way this made the towers puff up a little without emphasizing them the way that outline quilting would have done...  but I didn't intend for my quilting to be THIS invisible!  You can't even see the quilting when your nose is 2" from the fabric! 
Lesson Learned: Matching Quilting Thread to Background Fabric = INVISIBLE Quilting!
If I had this to do over, I think I would have chosen a heavier weight quilting thread in black for this piece.  Whatever -- it's a carpool tag, not a masterpiece, and it was good stippling practice. 

As of right now, I have ten challenge exercises completed and just two left to get done in the next three weeks.  Are you rooting for me?


Lane said...

You can do it, you can do it, if you put your mind to it! Good luck. I love practicing fmq. I pulled out an old practice piece last night and as usual, was fascinated by stuff I've forgotten I did. Be well. Lane

Ivory Spring said...

I think you did a great job!

Thanks for your question on template piecing. I blogged about it today on my blog:


Anonymous said...

I am indeed rooting for you, How are you getting on with the last two? Which ones are they? I have two of the new ones to finish, so we can do them together...go for it, stick with it, you CAN do it....

Rebecca Grace said...

Well, the "regular" monthly challenges from 2012 that I haven't done yet are Don Linn's April tutorial using tulle to mark quilting designs and Patsy Thompson's border design tutorial from December. But I am considering substituting Diane Loomis's bonus tutorial on machine trapunto for one of those, because I have always wanted to try that technique. I think my big problem is that I always want to MAKE something instead of just practicing FMQ, which makes each little challenge exercise blossom into a Big Project that Must Be Finished... instead of just looking at it as practice for the sake of practice.