Rather than loading up a real quilt top just yet, I'm going to do a few more SMALLER practice quilts, to get more familiar and comfortable with the process of loading a quilt. I have zipper leaders on order for my 12' frame but in the meantime, I'll still be pinning directly to my leaders.
My first practice quilt was a huge king sized monstrosity of different colored solid fabrics. That was fine for experimenting with matching versus contrasting threads and doodling different fill patterns. I halfheartedly quilted some straight lines with my ruler on that first practice quilt, but what I really want to do with those rulers is learn to quilt straight lines EXACTLY where I want them on my quilts, like SID (Stitch in the Ditch, along seam lines). The big learning curve for me with ruler work in quilting is developing the ability to eyeball the distance from my needle to the outside edge of my presser foot, because that's how far away my ruler needs to be from where I'm trying to quilt my straight line. So I'm going to be loading up a 45" x 45" Dresden plate cheater cloth that I bought on eBay for my next practice piece:
|Dresden Plate Cheater Cloth from eBay|
The quality of this vintage cheater cloth is pretty lame, I must say. The weave is not as tight as the quality quilting cottons I'm used to working with, and the piecing design is printed onto the fabric crooked so that it's off grain. I tore opposite ends of the fabric along the grainline to ensure that it would load onto the frame nice and square, and look at how askew the printed design is from the straight grain edge of the fabric:
|See How Off-Grain This Print Is?|
|108" Wide Paisley Backing Fabric from JoAnn|
I've gotta say, I'm surprised there isn't a greater variety of cheater cloth fabric available today, considering the sheer number of quilters interested in developing machine their machine quilting skills. If this is something you're interested in, I've found a couple of options that are available as of today:
|Available on eBay here|
|24" x 44" ColorWorks Mariner's Compass Panel, Available on eQuilter here|
|44" Sweet Tea Barn Star Delft Panel Available from Fabric.com here|
|Meadow Dance Quilt Top to Go Panel, by Amanda Murphy for Benartex|
By the way, I don't do affiliate links, so I'm NOT compensated from any purchases you make via links in my blog posts. I have only included the links for the convenience of you AND me, so that I can find these cheater cloth options later, if I feel like I need more practice after quilting the Dresden plates, as well as for the purpose of photo credits.
My quilting goal for today is to straighten up the mess in my studio from the oven mitts project, find the right size batting for my cheater cloth in my box of batting scraps (I bought some fusible batting tape in case I need to piece it -- waste not, want not, especially when it's just for practice!), and just get this piece loaded onto the quilting frame, ready to go.
I have some design work to attend to and a VOX choral rehearsal tonight, so I'll be listening to the Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem on my headphones all day while I'm working in my office and studio. In case you want to listen to it, too:
It's another busy week full of meetings, rehearsals, doctor and dentist appointments for Bernie and the kids, but hopefully I can squeeze in some stitching, too. Have a great week, everyone!
What a great idea to use cheater cloth as practice on your longarm. I know people use panels to practice their quilting skills, too, but your idea is better. There will be larger areas to practice. Enjoy!
glad you finally had your class and I bet you learned a lot. those cheaters should make good practice - I really do not like cheaters and never thought of them being good for something like this but it really should!
I have used cheater fabric to make baby quilts in a hurry. But using them to practice long arm quilting - well, that is genius!!!
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