FMQ Day 6 Feathers, feathers, feathers

I have been dreaming about free motion quilting feathers! I have been wondering why my feathers don't look right. I decided I would draw out some feather designs on paper. The first ones I did were just like the ones I had been stitching not very good. I kept at it until I was happy with some that I had drawn. By doing this I had a better idea of not only where I was going wrong, I knew that already, but what I needed to do to rectify it. Would it work in thread?

Here are todays practice pieces. I feel as though they are getting better.

Whether it shows in the images I am not sure but even compared with yesterdays samples I can see an improvement but perhaps it's just wishful thinking.
I certainly felt confident enough to try a really curved design. You can see the concave part of the curve has long skinny plumes - not good- but for a first and only attempt it's not too bad is it? At lease my plumes are beginning to be more curvaceous and less skinny and jaggedy. I still find it difficult to hug the previous plume, I wonder if an open toed embroidery foot would help? I think it might. I also raised the pressure on the presser foot which helped.

I even felt that one feather was good enough to embellish. This idea is from Patsy's Free Motion Fun With Feathers DVD Volume 1. She calls this section Splay Embellish Feathers. Of course the colours could be better but it's a practice piece and I am delighted with it. If you look closely you will see I found it difficult to retrace my stitching line. A little more practice will sort that out though.

My thanks to Deb for her very helpful comment. I may try that suggestion on one of my feathers and see how it works for me.

Thank you to everyone who visits my blog and takes the time to comment. I appreciate your help, advice and support. I hope in some way you will be inspired to try some of things I have posted on my blog and that my tutorials are useful to you. I am certainly inspired by the blogs I visit and appreciate the work and ideas people share.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful, prosperous and happy New Year.

See you all in 2009.

FMQ Day 5

Today I started with feathers. I thought I would try the contemporary ones that Patsy teaches as the traditional ones are more uniform in design and I thought it might be better to start with contemporary ones!

I don't know about contemporary but my attempts are certainly different.

I am not sure if I am getting better with these or not but I shall keep practicing.

I must try and stop working myself into a corner. As you can see I really need to practice, practice, practice.

I changed DVDs and started working on Vines and Leaves. I love leaves. In fact I chose leaves for my City & Guilds research project and have interpreted them in every medium available. Free motion quilting them - well that's something else.
This was meant to be leaves with curlicues - more work on this one needed methinks.

I only had one quilt sandwich left so I popped in Patsy new DVD and tried this design.

I am off to make up some more quilt sandwiches as my time is limited tomorrow but if I have them ready and available I can practice when time permits.

I changed thread today to a Metler poly sheen.

Thanks for dropping by.

Circumnavigation started and FMQ Day 4

I finished the Mariner's Compass which forms the centre of "Circumnagivation". I have fought with the centre for ages (read hours). I am leaving it for now and moving on for the moment. I may remake it. I have tried every trick known to quilters but it just won't do what I want. It appears to have a mind of its own. Now if you can take your eye off that centre rubbish bit for just a second - what do you think of the colours? (I did change the colours from the original image - just slightly).

Having fought with that block I was reluctant to start free motion quilting. However since I am ever the optimist I knew I would be disappointed with myself tomorrow had I not followed through with my quest to do at least a little free motion quilting every day I am home. So here are today's samples:

I have been asked about the Bernina Stitch Regulator. Well as I said earlier on my blog I set it aside for the moment (it's back in its box!) I haven't really given it much of a chance but since I have done a little free motion quilting before (I just need to get more practice and increase my stitch repertoire) I am afraid I found it a little strange to use. Having mastered getting my hands and the foot pedal in sync without the BSR I really wasn't in the mood to get to grips with moving the fabric to get the speed - I hope that makes sense. So for the samples you have seen on my blog they are all done without the stitch regulator - it's just little ole me and my Bernina 180. Most of the quilting I did in the past was done on the Pfaff so the Bernina is taking a bit of getting used to. I can see progress already so that's a good thing.

This was meant to be a candlelight design. I started off well and somehow it seems to have turned into leaves rather than candlelight. Nevertheless I like it.
As I was stitching this design I was thinking feathers. As you know my aim is to stitch beautiful feathers - you have to have a goal don't you? I enjoyed stitching this design.

So having stitched the previous design I changed DVDs and stitched my first feather! The darker blue line you see through the centre, or spine, of the feather, is chalk o liner where I marked the spine before I started stitching. The plumes of the feather is not marked - as you can probably guess since it's not perfect but I will get better.

I thought I would show you the reverse of the sample jut to let you see them from both sides - I am not hiding any nests of thread under there!!

I am using a Robinson-Anton rayon thread in the needle and bobbin fill in the bobbin.

It's so much fun having Patsy right here with me in my studio, not literally you understand but it feels like she's here. I even found myself answering her today!

Quilting Day 3

Having managed to get all my housework done yesterday I was able to spend the day in my studio today. I have been busy free motion quilting and working through Patsy Thomson's DVDs.

I have tried this design before with some success but I am more comfortable with it having seen how Patsy does it. I am sure I will get better in time.

I just love these leaves - this was my first attempt at this leaf design. I haven't watched Patsy do this one I just did it from the printed page I downloaded as I just had to try it. I may move on to the leaf DVD later this week, time permitting.

This was a simpler design.

I was trying the oval shape this time and making them in various sizes - could do better on this one methinks.

I am still using the Bernina 180 for these. I brought out the Pfaff to piece the Mariners Compass for Circumnagivation and I have to say I was tempted to free motion quilt on it BUT I didn't it would have been so easy to do but I want to persevere with the Bernina.

When I bought the 180 I only really used it with the embroidery module and the Pfaff was the work horse. Now I have the 730e I want to use the 180 more.

The Pfaff is excellent for everything (I may be a little biased since I love it) especially piecing as it has a built in walking foot.

Mike Perham said in his blog yesterday that the auto pilot etc are now fixed and he was planning to be on his way today. I thought I would make a start on Circumnagivation today. I have all the sections of the compass pieced and just have to join them all together. I may manage to get that done tomorrow and will post a picture of my progress (it's looking good).

Now I must go and make dinner.

Quilting Day 2

Since it has been a while since I did any serious free motion quilting I thought I would work each day to expand my repertoire of stitch designs. I have set aside the BSR for the moment and have been working with the Bernina 180. I really need to work on getting my stitches uniform in size. That will come with practice. I am fine with the designs I have been using but these new ones are a challenge but I think I am progressing.

I bought some Free motion quilting DVDs from Rio Designs earlier this year and Norman bought me the latest one for Christmas so I plan on working my way through these. They are very good - Patsy Thomson DVDs. I play them on my laptop. She has the designs on the DVDs available for free download on her blog. My aim aim is to stitch beautiful feathers just as Patsy does although I think that will be a while away.

I hope to layer and quilt my French braids quilt tomorrow. Once that's done and I have it bound I can then make a start on Circumnavigation. Life has been a little too busy to make a start on that but hopefully in the next little while I can make headway with it.

First attempts with the Bernina Stitch Regulator

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I thought I would have a play with my new machine today, particularly the Bernina Stitch Regulator. I am finding it quite a challenge to get used to. The first sample you see was done without the BSR during a class I was teaching just before the Christmas break. It was just a quick demonstration of the different stitches.

The following sample is my second attempt with the BSR. I wanted to use the same fabric, my hand dye, as I used before in order to compare the two.

As I said it's taking a bit of getting used to as I keep wanting to control the speed with the foot pedal. I am going to have to experiment a while yet before I can really assess whether I like it or not. I just wanted to record my first faltering steps with my new toy. Hopefully by the end of the week there will be some progress, I am practicing what I teach - 20 minutes practice each day, I should see some progress. Fingers crossed.

Quilts for Nepal

I just wanted to share a story with you. I was teaching at the local quilt shop a while ago and one of my students, Claire Wenham, had just returned from a trip to Nepal. Whilst there she saw a school for deaf children which was poorly resourced. She wanted to do something to help the children and after discussing a few ideas decided to make a quilt to auction to raise money to send to the school. I offered to design a quilt in Electric Quilt. It had to be simple as we were going to ask people of various skills to donate blocks. I designed a quilt using half square triangles in blue and white fabric.

The ladies from the classes at the LQS, ladies from my other classes at the Community High School and others all donated enough blocks to make two double bed sized quilts. In class we arranged the blocks and set about stitching them together. A friend, Diane from Lochearnhead, kindly quilted them on her longarm machine for a nominal fee (one was quilted for free). Claire bound them and the quilts were raffled. £2,700 was raised for the Nepal children's school so they now have decent sleeping accommodation, a bathroom and better cooking facilities - all funded by two quilts designed using Electric Quilt with blocks donated by very generous quilters.


...... my new sewing machine. It arrived yesterday morning which meant I had all day to get it set up and install the new software. It has many features my Bernina 180 has but many more that are new. The software that came with it is so much better than my current Artista V1 software! It's a sewing computer with a windows platform. I am still finding my way around it. I haven't tried the Bernina Stitch Regulator yet - that's next.

We finally got our Xmas tree up and decorated. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas ..... that song has been going round in my head and is beginning to get on my nerves. We ordered our turkey etc, pressies are wrapped so I think I am all organised.

Thank you so much for dropping by my blog and for all your support over this past year. Hopefully now that my courses are finished I will have more time to be creative this coming year and can share more of my work with you.

I have had many visitors via the EQ blog. Thank you for dropping by. This coming year I plan on providing EQ6 project files for download - you will find them on the left hand side of my blog. I am hoping this will become a regular feature much like the one I used to have on my website which has been neglected since I started my blog.

I am off to play some more with my new toy.

Blog Award

I was delighted to receive the above award from Nathalie, thank you so much Nathalie. Now I have to nominate 5 blogs to receive this award. I always find this difficult as there are so many wonderful blogs I love to read and I have given awards to so many over the past little while but keeping with the spirit of blog awards here are my 5 nominations:

1. Sandy at Focus on Fibre
2. Nola at Inch by Inch Textiles
3. Jenny in Australia
4. Lise in Norway
5. Elma of Quilting by the Loch

Today I am busy tidying up my studio (not the log cabin outside that's fine). Norman bought me a new sewing machine and it's due to arrive on Tuesday, fingers crossed, and I am clearing space for it. I really need a new sewing machine you understand but he has been on at me to get a new for .. .. well a while now .... and I gave in. I also need to get my class samples all reorganised for the new term starting and want to get that done now before the Christmas festivities start and of course I want to spend as much time as I can learning the new machine and software. It's very exciting.

New Quilt - Progress

I have finalised my new quilt design in EQ6. I am calling it Circumnavigation. I was inspired to design this quilt after reading about 16 year old Mike Perham's round the world challenge. He is in the Canary Islands for repairs to the auto pilot but hopefully he will be on his way really soon.


Yesterday Norman and I had a trip out to Kaleidoscope Quilt shop in Mingavie and I bought the fabrics for the quilt. Now I can make a start. It will be a long time in the making but I will show my progress as I go along. It's a 50" x 50" wall hanging.

Now that my classes have finished until early January I am getting my Christmas shopping done and getting organised for Christmas.

It was a lovely day yesterday but today it is terribly cold and the roads outside my home is frozen. It's a good day to stay home in the warm and catch up on my favourite blogs and perhaps work on the quilt.


I bought Andrea's new Kaleidoscope software for Electric Quilt. She has a couple of tutorials on the EQ website and I worked through one. Quite appropriate since we have snow here today brrrrrr! She has designed some really gorgeous blocks and it's been fun working through her Let it Snow tutorial.

I hope you are keeping warm.