Friday, July 18, 2014

Make Things!

This summer I have taught quite a few Free Motion Quilting classes - they have been lots of fun, I have met some amazingly talented people and I have always learned something new too! Thanks to everyone who took one of my classes!!!

We have been taught to 'Practice, Practice, Practice', but I now realize for quilting it should be 'Make  Things, Make Things, Make Things!'

my first practice pieces from 2010
Typical practice pieces serve a purpose, but I believe that if you really want to improve your free motion quilting, you need to make something that is 'finished', and if you are lucky, serves a purpose (it might just be to try out a new FMQ design). There is something that happens in our minds (and hands) when we set out to make something.
I call these Purposeful Practice Pieces (another use for PPP).

People seem daunted by large quilts, so I recommend making small things - 


Pillows, mug rugs, table runners... are always useful, and make great gifts.


A couple of years ago I joined the Small Quilt Talk on Yahoo, so I tried all kinds of small quilts. Not only was it a great way to try different free motion quilting designs, but it was wonderful to step out of my comfort zone and experiment with different colours, layouts, etc for piecing the quilt tops. The above is a display in my sewing room.


My sewing room is full of quilts! They are on shelves, rolled in a bucket (behind the old spinning wheel), 


on the walls (I just use little straight pins to hang them on the wall), 


under wool that I have dyed (and waiting for spinning),


they are also used as shelf liners! There are all kinds of places to have quilts, and they have all served their purpose as practice pieces.


This one is in the laundry room (on an old wooden dry cleaning hanger), it is an 'orphan block' that I added a wide border to, so that I could try out a feathered heart quilt design.

practice pieces on the shelf

A good idea for Purposeful Practice Pieces is to cut a 12"-15" square/rectangle of plain fabric and try out a couple of quilting designs. I make a lot of these! I use a design concept from Cindy Needham, to 'Divide and Conquer' - just divide up the plain fabric into different areas and try out different FMQ designs.


Here is one that I am working on (it is cut from the back of an old silk blouse). I wanted to see what 'Cathedral Windows' would look like on a 30˚ grid instead of a 45˚ grid. I used some small dishes to draw around for the circles. I still have to fill in the other areas - just have to decide on what FMQ designs I want to try out.



The 'Designer Batting' idea is also from Cindy Needham - one layer of cotton batting on the bottom (for firmness) with half a layer of wool batting on the top (for puffiness) - these small pieces are leftover from larger quilts. Notice that the backing and batting is larger than the top, this way I have room for my hands when quilting. The backing is cut from an old cotton sheet - nothing fancy, but it all works great for practicing!

So Make Things, Make Things, Make Things!!

If any one is interested in taking my Beginner Free Motion Quilting Class and lives in the Winnipeg area, I will be teaching classes this fall at the Oak Bluff Community School (three Wednesday evenings in October) - more details to come!

I have been making others things since I last blogged (over a month ago!) - 






I did some spinning. I bought a high speed whorl for my spinning wheel to make finer yarns. This one is a three ply, fingering/sport weight yarn. Here is a link to my Ravelry project page for more details.


It started out as this fibre, it is silk and merino from Ashford. 


I made a hat (hopefully I won't need this for a long time!). The pattern is Lucy Hat. It was a lovely, quick knit. The yarn is hand dyed from Tanis Fiber Arts - her colours are amazing. Here is a link to my Ravelry project page for more details.


I also did some practical sewing (so rare for me!). I was given some nice, large down pillows, and since my family have been wanting floor cushions, these were perfect. I was going to turn the two pillows into one large square cushion, but that seemed like it would be too messy, so I made two covers from some fabric that I had inherited, maybe one day the two will become one.


I have also been spending a lot of time outside (the novelty of being able to just go outside with out putting on so many clothes is the best, and only lasts for a short time here).

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!♥︎