Free Motion Quilting

I have a quilt top waiting to be quilted. I want to free motion the entire quilt using eight different patterns. In order to do this I needed to practice on smaller sections of quilts. <— This heart block was stitched using a variegated machine quilting thread. It is not meant to be random stitching, it is supposed to be uniform in its design. As I was working on this, I began to wonder what the heck I was thinking practicing AROUND an applique! :D It definitely makes it more difficult but it felt good to get in some free motion movement.

The next step was to practice some pebbling using white quilting thread on the white background. Again, what was I thinking trying to learn this technique around applique…apparently I love a good challenge. ;)

We Love Fin (2)

On the solid white blocks I quilted around some ghost hearts. That was a little bit easier, I think. I used a water soluble ink to trace different sized hearts on the block and then worked around them. I am pretty happy with using this technique, yes, there are some squiggles and sometimes those figure eights that I’m stitching become sixes or tear drops but they are really fun to do. They definitely take up lots of thread!!

I made the centre of this table topper as the working sample for curved piecing at MLQ Quilt Camp in June. A completed sample had the curved piecing outer border and I wanted to replicate it here. Unfortunately, I did not have enough black fabric to do that for the entire border. And once I was finished the BLACK ON BLACK pebbling I was ever so glad that I had four less areas to pebble! :D

I tried pebbling in the evening. No good for these 62 yr old eyes. So I took it up in the morning with lovely morning light shining through the window, nope, even three different lights shining, nope!!! Glasses on, glasses off. Peering in, shoulders up, shoulders down! I did persevere and get it done but there was MUCH eye strain.

All the curved black areas are pebbled stitched. Even with the eye strain I could begin to see improvement in this technique. I am ready to do it again, using a variegated thread on a solid. I also practiced a “paper clip” stitch on the inner black borders. Even though it was black on black it was definitely easier to see the larger pattern. Now the secret is to keep going in the direction you begin!!

I have been stippling and meander quilting for many years. Using a repetitive stitch to free motion quilt has been a challenge and an awesome brain exercise.


This —> quilt will be the next challenge. I will be free motion quilting the individual colours using variegated threads but not sure that there will be pebbling on this one. :)

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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