Jan 302012

I finished the leaf quilting on the crib quilt, and it went fine.

This was the first time I used Warm and Natural batting and I’m really liking it to work with.





Next up was the Quilt-along’s next lesson, following a line.  I grabbed my first practice sandwich, which happened to be stripes, and followed some straight lines up and down, then sideways and angled. My machine hampered some of the angled ones because cramming the sandwich through the throat at an angle was difficult. That’s worth knowing for future projects – consider turning the quilt instead of working at an angle.

Then I switched threads and worked on an old piece, quilting in the ditch.

After I had worked two rows up and down, two sideways, and the last two angled one way then the other, I checked the back. Not only do I have trouble following the line sideways,

I have tension problems.

After that, I did some follow-the-fabric-design lines, these gentle curves. After doing a chunk, I turned it over. Ugh! Tension way off, but worst only in certain directions. Check out these one-sided eye-lashes –

I looked again at the crib quilt I had just finished all that leaf quilting on – nope, back looks fine. Then it dawned on me.

I had changed threads. I honestly thought both these threads were the same weight. I bought them from the same company, but they changed brands at some point. Apparently the new and the old aren’t the same. In fact, I think my bobbin tension needs a little bit of adjustment to handle the newer thread.

Live and learn. Or maybe that should be “sew and learn”? (There’s a good motto for someone!) Always check the tension for each and every thread. For now I will stick to using the older thread for my practice sessions, rather than mess with the tension. Though I am still going to test it before my next project.

Next up I basted the top half of a charity quilt made from old orphan blocks. Charity quilts are great practice pieces, by the way. Make some. I free-motioned in the ditch along the side of most of the strips, planning the path ahead to eliminate starts and stops. I stitched toward me, what I call “down,” as if I had the walking foot in place. That went fairly well, I even managed some even stitches. But I cheated – I turned the quilt.

Then, here, I turned the quilt and found myself with a lap-full. Ah ha, I thought, this is where it would be useful to be able to straight-line sideways. So I turned the quilt back and did that. Not very well, even going very slowly.

Eventually I realized it might work better to actually guide the quilt, not just pull it sideways. I focused on guiding it with my left hand while the right pulled. That was a little like rubbing my head and patting my tummy, but it worked better.

Then I realized I couldn’t see where I wanted the needle to go (I’m not using the best foot for this job), so I tried twisting my head around to the side, and sighting down the line I was trying to stitch sideways. That worked! I wouldn’t want to do hours in that position, but there are times when it is useful to go sideways, in the ditch.

I’m tempted to quilt the flying geese in the ditch, for sideways and diagonal practice.


 January 30, 2012  Posted by at 7:28 pm Free Motion Quilt-Along  Add comments

  4 Responses to “Free motion quilting along a line”

  1. Wow! You’ve sure been busy. That UFO heap will shrink quickly if you can keep that pace up for a while.

  2. Awesome! You’ve perfectly pointed out the reason why it’s nice to be able to go sideways IF you have to – because it’s less WORK! It might not be perfect yet, but you’re on the right track so keep quilting!


    Leah Day

  3. I dont think it’s cheating if you can actually turn the quilt without difficulties-to create less difficulties 🙂

  4. Lots of photos – you are doing a good job of combining practice with projects. Nice work.

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