Hi all and welcome to the new year! I’m so excited for you to move on to the next practice sample. This technique will introduce you to working with a larger quilt sandwich and to doodle with some guidance. Some of you found it a little challenging to doodle on a blank sheet of paper so in this step you will utilize the fabric design to create shapes not only by tracing around the designs but to embellish and fill in the space.  Try continuous sewing no need to be perfect here…let yourself be free and incorporate the shapes you practiced in Part 4 like loops, stars, vines/leaves. But don’t worry if you find yourself in a pickle with nowhere to go stop, secure the thread and start fresh in another location.

Hopefully you found a nice large print and basted your sandwich. Below I used safety pins roughly 6-8 inches apart.  I choose this fun flower pattern which has several different flowers some solid some just outer lines. If you are just joining us click here for the supply list.

It is best to begin quilting from the center outward this will help keep you organized and to help avoid stretches, folds and bubbles in the top fabric. In the beginning it’s inevitable these will happen but as you practice more and more you will begin to use counter maneuvers to prevent them from occurring.  By starting from the center and moving outward the top fabric moves with you if you decide to wonder off one direction then come back another you risk ending up with an un-quilted area surrounded by quilted areas. The un-quilted fabric is now secured all around and has nowhere to move as you quilt it…a fold or bubble is likely.

As you can see this fabric design provided a great palate to embellish. I quilted around the green petals and then added a design within them. The white line flowers I used as a background only and created my own flower design over them. Definitely have fun with this!

A few tips:

1) In free motion quilting your thread tension will need to be adjusted so be sure to test before you begin quilting.

Remember the following:

*If your top thread looks like a solid line on the top and you see bobbin thread poking thru – loosen your top thread tension.
*If the bobbin thread looks like a solid line on the back and you see the top thread poking thru – tighten your top thread tension.

2) If you are still having tension issues check your thread weight every sewing machine is different but using a 40wt thread on the top and a 50wt in the bobbin can help – preferably the same brand. I find bobbins like thinner threads. Try this combination unless you are experienced at adjusting the bobbin tension…this is a topic for a future post!

3) Make sure you workspace is clean and free of obstructions. You won’t be happy if your sandwich hits something as you are in the middle of a nice smooth loop.

4) Quilting gloves can help eliminate hand and arm fatigue.

5) Be sure to remove the safety pins as you quilt an area.

6) Don’t rush though finding the right rhythm will increase stitch length consistency and provide a more fluid motion.

For those of you who successfully quilt your entire sandwich leave a comment here letting me know how this project went. Include your email address and I will email you a bag pattern to make out of your newly quilted sandwich!

Definitely have fun with this!