Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Playing with Ideas

Last week I mentioned that I would share a little technique I used with machine binding. If you're looking for it, I put it in a separate post here.

Now on to what I'm working on this week. It's time to get back to the Big Quilt. First, I cleaned up the basement shoved everything to one side. I need lots of room for basting. 

To my credit, I did take a big load of books to the recycling center. When I was working I had all my grad school textbooks in my office, and when I retired they all got carted to the basement. Now they're gone. Yippee!

I still need to clean up the floor a bit. It will be a little tight for basting, but it's the largest space I have. Hopefully, there will be a quilt on this floor soon. 

When I finished that top, I quickly whipped up a little piece with leftovers to use for practice and exploration of quilting motifs. It's about 30 by 32 inches and sandwiched with some old fabric I knew I'd never use in a quilt. 

So far I've tried some straight lines with my walking foot and my FMQ foot as well as some other quilting with my FMQ foot. I haven't figured out exactly what I'm going to do, but I am getting an idea of what I don't want to do. 

  • I don't want to do long straight lines with FMQ. I stink at it, and it would be really hard to do while wrestling the quilt. 
  • I also do not want to do walking foot lines that require me to turn the quilt a lot. That would leave out outlining the strips that make up the quilt. 
  • I don't think I want to do anything flowery. I did some wonky flowers, and they just don't look right to me. Maybe it's partly because I'm using a light thread right now and they jumped out too much on the dark fabric. (I also got myself trapped and did not do a good job of backing out.) 
  • I'm not crazy about the clamshells. I started out small then tried to make them a little bigger, but gradually went back to small. It seems like there is a comfortable size to some motifs that I just gravitate to. It might be hard to get a nice edge on the clamshells. 
  • And let's not even talk about my ribbons or whatever those are!
  • And this list is no longer in parallel construction. Please don't tell my English teachers.
I do like the straight lines in the light gray fabric (but maybe a little closer together), and I love the meandering on the light orange. (One of the recipients of the quilt really likes meandering, but I'm not sure I'm up for that for an entire quilt.) I think if I try some designs with a little more detail, I should chalk in some registration lines. 

Mostly I've been scouring the internet for inspiration. I love the idea of using a few different motifs among all the strips, and if I wanted a masterpiece style quilt, I'd quilt really small with tiny stipples around cool designs. But that's not going to happen with this. It's an everyday quilt with a bit of a self-imposed timeline for finishing. I really need to get going on a baby quilt for these parents-to-be and I want this to be a project that I can work on a bit each day while I'm working on that--and hopefully finish it before I need to quilt the baby quilt. 

One big decision still to make is the thread color. I kind of want the thread to be hefty, so I'll probably use my ever faithful King Tut. But I don't want it to stand out a lot. I've been using an off-white (Papyrus) for the practice stitching. I'm thinking maybe gray for the quilt. But the jury's still out about which one. Maybe variegated?  I'll try some regular gray on some of the darker practice strips and see what happens.

Okay, my head's spinning now. How about a few garden pictures? I finally figured out why I include these on my quilt blog (aside from learning to take photos). It keeps me somewhat accountable for keeping up the garden. I usually lose interest about this time every year. I did dress in thick denim to keep the mosquitoes away while I was taking pictures. 

Here's my newest plant, Liatris. I love it. My husband thinks Dr. Seuss would have liked this crazy looking flower. It blooms from the top down, so this one's about half in bloom. I don't know if the top flowers will still be good when the bottom ones open. 

Here's the first Calendula of the year. They volunteer all over the place. 

And one more of my geranium on the porch.

I'm linking up this week with Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts for their linky parties. Buttons are on the right. 

I hope your quilty week is going well.


  1. I really like your test quilting quilt! I stink at quilting, so I usually do straight lines. Thanks for sharing your pretty flowers, too! :)

  2. That geranium is pretty darn close to perfect. Very pretty!
    I love the clam shells and the flowers. You did a great job with both of those. Straight lines with a darning/FMQ foot are darn near impossible (for me anyways!)

  3. Gorgeous abstract quilt! Your quilting looks great. Kat @

  4. Good for you cleaning up those old books and getting the basement floor ready for basting your big quilt! Love your practice piece, Janine. For the meandering.... Did you ever see quilts made by Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation? She does a large meandering on all her quilts. It looks great and would be so much easier and faster to do on a large quilt. Just a thought!

  5. Don't tya love getting rid of ol stuff to make way for quilting!! YAH!!! (I esp. like the picture of the quilt by the door)

  6. I'm so excited about this quilt! I like the idea of having more than one quilting motif, though I can see that will be more work. Variegated thread might be nice if you can find one with the right colours.

  7. You are being too hard on yourself. After all, it is call FREE motion quilting and your samples look very good. Love your flowers, sorry about the mosquitoes. I checked out your binding tute and am definitely going to try it. Binding scares me and I cannot do hand stitching, so it is a challenge and you have just the answer I needed. Will try it with the pressing on my 2.5 inch and will let you know the results. Will follow you on email.