Tuesday, November 14, 2017

More Designs, Dreams, Doodles and Practice Panels

I found some fantastic limited edition panels for machine quilting practice from Liuxin Newman, the Thimble Lady that I just had to share with you.  Liuxin is a renowned author and teacher of hand quilting, hand piecing, and hand applique, and her new digitally printed whole cloth kits would be perfect for hand stitched finishing.  But I'm envisioning using these for practice like I did with my Dresden plate cheater cloth -- except that these are so much prettier to look at, and much more useful sizes.  These would be practice quilts with a purpose, otherwise known as REAL QUILTS!

This Fish O'Rainbow quilt measures 52" x 72" and, with the addition of a simple border or two, it would make a fabulous children's quilt.  You could practice stitching straight lines where you wanted them OR use the lines as markings to evenly space some free motion squiggles.  I especially like all the pearl strings printed on this panel, because I definitely need practice making ROUND pearls instead of SQUARE pearls on my longarm machine!

52 x 72 Fish O'Rainbow Whole Cloth Quilt
See how they've machine quilted the sample?

One Way to Quilt This
I'm sure that, after tracing around all of the circles on this panel with my long arm machine, my ability to quilt rounder circles freehand will have improved tremendously.  This fabric would also be fantastic for embellishing with those bazillion decorative stitches that come with our modern sewing machines, wouldn't it?

This is the other "Just Quilting Kit" from Thimble Lady that intrigued me:

18 Inch Flying Feathers Block
Flying Feathers is an 18" block that you can purchase individually or in sets of 8 blocks, available in the mauve pink colorway or in dusty blue.  Although I'm not as in love with the colors of this one as I am with the happy fishies, I do like that this is all feathers and pearls.  Like round pearls, smooth, graceful feathers that don't look like ogre toes are a challenge, and tracing printed feathers with my quilting machine over and over would probably be a good way to improve my feathers, too.  

Meanwhile, I'm continuing to practice developing muscle memory for quilting designs on my iPad during church sermons:

My "Sermon Notes"
Of course this doodling doesn't translate perfectly at the machine because the Apple Pencil moves smoothly across the surface of the iPad in all directions.  Because of the way a longarm quilting machine carriage rides on horizontal and vertical wheels, there is more drag resistance on diagonal quilting motions than there is on true vertical or horizontal stitching lines.  That's why it's easier to draw reasonably round circles on the iPad than it is to actually quilt round circles on a longarm machine -- they come out square until you learn to compensate for the additional drag at the "corners" of the circle, and the extra momentum you pick up at the top, bottom, right and left points where the machine wants to keep going straight.  

Would you like to know how much actual sewing in real life I have accomplished since my last post?  I sewed ONE WHOLE SEAM yesterday.  I did laundry, got clean sheets on the beds, went for a walk with my sweetie, and had a VOX choir rehearsal starting in on the Christmas Lessons and Carols music.  But I managed to seam two lengths of backing fabric together and trim away the selvages before I left for choir.  That's the nice thing about having a dedicated studio.  If I only have a few minutes, I can sneak off to my studio and just sew for a few minutes.  If I was working on my dining room table, by the time I got the sewing machine out and set up it would be time to put everything away again!

I have high hopes for today, though.  I've got a bit of work piled up that needs my attention, but I hope I'm also able to get that backing pressed and cut down to the right size, AND get that math quilt loaded on the frame today.  I still don't know how I'm quilting it yet, but I'll feel better once it's on the frame and ready to go!

Have a great day, and happy stitching!


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

so good to have a studio to run off to when you only have 5 minutes! I love the piece you show for practice, it is really pretty and not your usual "panel" for sure

Quilting Gail said...

You made me laugh with your sermon notes! Before I retired, I used to "doodle" fmq on all the papers we were given at various meetings! :-)
Also - I love your practice piece - what a great idea!

Ramona said...

I agree 100% about having a dedicated sewing room.. or Hidey Hole as it's known at my house. The second best thing is a door on the room that can be closed to hide the mess! I love your new panel! The colorful fish are adorable and will be so fun to quilt. It will be fun to see your progress. Enjoy!!

Tammy Hutchinson said...

A friend will soon have her first LA so I have been following your posts about your experience with your LA. I am curious about loading the math quilt before you know how you will quilt it. Do you not need to mark it for quilting before loading it? I like the idea of the fabric just for practice-the bright fishes are wonderful!

Val's Quilting Studio said...

The fish panel is an ingenious practice piece!! Thanks for the inspiration.

Unknown said...

That practice piece is interesting. I heard about Liu Xin through the Chinese quilting community. Her hand quilting method is very interesting that she uses a very long needle and draws over 10 stitches at once. Unfortunately after many attempts I still can't handle hand quilting.

Julie said...

Oh, I do appreciate your honesty! Yes, to giving over to all the busyness of the season, and spending time with our loved ones. I do love to quilt, but not at the expense of enjoying all the season has to offer. Sew in January when it's dull again!

Yes, too, to dedicated space, doodling, and beautiful songs! I hope you and your family have a most merry Christmas, Rebecca!