Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Spirit Song Ruler Work and Free Motion Fills

And the beat goes on...  Here's what I accomplished in my studio after dinner last night:

Quilting Progress as of Last Night
I'm feeling a little better about it than I was a few days ago.  As you can see in the photo above, I decided to fill in every other rectangle in that "piano keys" design with bacd-and-forth scribbles.  That makes my diagonally oriented quilting design stand out more, like I wanted, and I'm also finding that I like the way the 50 weight So Fine thread looks better when the quilting stitches are denser rather than spaced farther apart.  The photo below shows that same piano key design before I filled in every other rectangle with the squiggles:

Piano Keys Without Fill Work
I had to rip out those two diagonal lines of stitching that I quilted in the wrong direction a few days ago, and restitched them correctly.  I will be marking those lines in all of the other blocks going forward -- it's a lot faster to draw two quick lines with the marker than it is to rip out two lines of incorrect stitching!  I'm also following Judi Madsen's tip of placing a dot in the rectangles that need a fill, so I don't mess up that pattern as I'm moving around the quilt.

The ruler work with squiggle fills is taking a VERY. LONG. TIME.  But I've discovered that the Quilt Glide feature on my APQS Millennium works really well for the little squiggles.  Love!!  Quilt Glide is a hybrid between stitch regulation mode and manual mode, giving you the best of both worlds -- the machine is speeding up and slowing down as necessary to keep your stitch length nice and even as you move the machine, but the needle keeps cycling up and down when you pause, which gives much smoother operation overall for the little detail quilting.  Kind of like a power mower or a self-propelled vacuum cleaner, the Quilt Glide feature eliminates that little bit of resistance you get with the pure stitch regulated mode every time you pause in your quilting.  

Fixing Diagonals and Adding Scribble Fills
After fixing the incorrect diagonals and filling in the piano key border on the previous day's quilting, I started in on this next section.  Ruler work is marked in blue washout marker and the swirly-cue design is faintly marked in chalk.  

This Section Marked, Ready to Quilt
I quilted the ruler work in that top left triangle first, the coral fabric with yellow lemons, and then I moved to the swirly-cues that i'd marked in white chalk powder.  Those free motion swirls go so much faster than the ruler work, but I like the contrast between strong, straight ruler lines and softer, curvy freehand designs.  Both are needed to get the look I'm after.  I was just surprised to discover how much longer the ruler takes, with all of the starts and stops to reposition the ruler, and the careful backtracking along previously stitched lines.

Curly Lines Completed, Now Ruler Work Quilted Along Blue Washout Guide Lines
I'm almost exclusively using my 6" Pro Lines ruler from Quilter's Groove.  It's just long enough for the lines I'm quilting without being too unwieldy, and those handy, perfectly placed perpendicular and 45 degree angle reference lines make it so much faster and easier to line up correctly each time I reposition the ruler.

This Section Finished (Except for Background Fills to be Stitched in Off White Last)
At this point, I was feeling pretty gleeful.  Doesn't that look CUTE?!  Just like my drawing!  I'm so glad I decided to add the squiggles in my piano key border.  Like all of my free motion work, those squiggles are kind of irregular on close inspection, but I love how they look from a distance.  The goal is to get as close to the straight line boundaries without crossing them,  to keep the turns rounded rather than boxy or pointed, and to maintain a relatively even spacing between the squiggle lines and from one block to the next.  I know these things will improve as I work my way through the quilt.

The View From Below the Frame
At the end of the evening, I had to crawl under the frame and take this picture of the light coming down through the needle holes.  

But, in order to check stitch quality, I had to cover the needle holes with a few sheets of paper to block the light coming through.  I did discover a tension problem where I began quilting:

I'm not REALLY in despair, but those stitches will need to come out and be requilted.  What looks like eyelashes on the curves is the top thread being pulled WAY below the quilt surface.  If I left that alone, the thread would be hanging loose on the back of the quilt after the first wash.  More practice, that's all!  I probably should get into the habit of checking the tension every time I start quilting and periodically as I'm working.

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!
Anyway, that's what I got done yesterday.  This would be EVEN PRETTIER in gold metallic thread instead of the matte, pale peach So Fine, but then my wobbles and oopses would be more obvious, too.  Metallic thread has its own challenges, too, so I'll save that for another quilt on another day.

I'm linking today's post with:


·       Let’s Do Some Ruler Work at The Quilt Yarn


·       Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
·       Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter


·       Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  

·       Free Motion Mavericks at Quilting & Learning Combo OR at Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing


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

sorry you had tension problems - the quilting on the top looks really good - you are getting plenty of practice for sure

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Lovely quilting, this piano design is beautiful. Sorry about the back, I just hate undoing quilting stitches!

dq said...

Rebecca, your quilting is magnificent! I so enjoy the inspiration. Quilting honestly makes the quilt!

chrisknits said...

I got halfway through a FMQ on my domestic and looked at the back. It wasn't quite that bad, and it's only for a wedding decoration, so I am leaving it. It's on the back, it won't affect the front, I have too many things going to redo half a table topper! Your Song is singing a lovely tune!!! You have inspired me to break out of my rut, more table toppers means more practice with other stitch patterns!

Ramona said...

Your quilting design is just beautiful and you are doing a fabulous job. Thank you for posting the video in your last post... I'm blanking on the quilter's name. What she said is so true... I need to remember that when I see LAQ at a show, they have been doing this as a career for the most part. Spirit Song is going to be one gorgeous quilt.

TerryKnott.blogspot.com said...

I like your quilting progress! Cindy Needham says that you need a llttle shadow (close quilting) to provide interest with the sunshine (less dense) quilting! It does take longer with rulers on the domestic too! I agree with dq's comment!

Karin said...

Thanks for linking up to the ‘Let’s Do Some Ruler Work Linky’. I love your posts...they are so descriptive and are exactly what I go through when working on a project. Your quilting is turning out great 👍🏻

Jenny K. Lyon said...

It may be different on a long arm, but when there is eye-lashing only on the curve on a domestic, it is a speed issue, not tension. We tend to go too fast on the curve. When I slow down, the eye-lashing goes away, at least on a domestic it does.

I think your quilting plan on this is fabulous and I love the way it is turning out!

Kathleen said...

Fiddlesticks! I guess you are glad to have caught it, but what a pain. I have been pretty lucky with my tension, but I do try to do visual checks and fingernail checks every once in awhile. It is gorgeous and you will have learned a lot by the time you finish this one!

Dione Gardner-Stephen said...

This looks like a very worthwhile learning exercise and is coming along very nicely. You are right to leave the metallic thread until you have mastered everything else though, dastardly stuff that it is! Love all your decisions, your observations and the way it is all coming together.

Marie said...

Oh my - you're having fun, aren't you? Lovely!