Monday, April 30, 2012

H2H 2012 Update & FMQ Tips Request

Are you participating in the Hands 2 Help 2012 Challenge over at Sarah's blog?  If not, check it out, there's still time to sign up to make a quilt for one (or both) of two great charities!  

This is the first time I've ever signed up for a quilting challenge.  Though incredibly intimidated to know my quilt will be next to ones made by insanely talented people, I am still very excited to be participating.  I've learned a lot while making this quilt -- mostly about free motion quilting (FMQ).  I've written a little bit about this quilt here and here, but I didn't get to quilting until this past weekend.

Having FMQ'd a grand total of *one* other quilt before, I knew this was going to be a piece of cake.  Maybe even easier than cake, since I had since purchased a really big extension table for my Singer, to help me support the quilt.  I mean really, I'm an expert now, right?


Let me just say that I ripped more stitches out of this quilt than I left in.  I tried 3 different threads, every possible combination of tension and stitch length, crying, wine drinking and for good measure, a few select curse words.  I finally decided to change my needle (because honestly, it's the only other thing on the machine that I know how to do).... but it did seem to help.   

This is far from "good" but now that I've had time to dry the tears, I think I'm willing to call it "OK."  The quilting is much more dense on one corner of the quilt than the rest, there are about a million stops and starts, but I'm feeling pretty confident that it won't fall apart in the wash.

There is no rhyme or reason to my quilting. My only goal was to not have to rip more stitches out. 

I will definitely be researching some FMQ "patterns" (I use that term loosely) to work on, since my current FMQ reminds me of tentacles.

On the back of the quilt... a little easier to see on the yellow and blue.

Of course, now that I was *really* a FMQ expert (having completed a grand total of *two* FMQ'd quilts), I decided to keep right on going.  The flimsy for this next quilt has been finished and hanging over my banister for at least 2 years, probably closer to 3.  About 6 months ago, my kids asked if I was ever going to finish it, or if they could use it to make a tent.  Ahem!  

I pin basted it and then hung it back over the banister to quilt "tomorrow."  (Did I mention that was at least 6 months ago?)  Anyway... since the machine was already (finally) on the right settings, I decided to give it a go.  The second quilt went MUCH better than the first.

Well, except for this.  Whoops!  (I'd already taken out about half the stitches before I decided to take a picture... this corner was completely covered.)

I decided to be SUPER ambitious and try my hand at writing a name in my quilt.  This photo still has the marking pen lines, but it's easier to see this way. I also practiced loopies in the purple borders and more "tentacles" in the pink sashing between the blocks.

I added hearts to the center of each block.

Here's a shot from a little farther back.  The hearts still have blue marking pen under them but I washed it off the name and - wow! - I can actually read it!!

I would LOVE any "FMQ for beginners" tips you might have to share, or links, or books, anything!  As you can see, my designs need some work but I want to start with baby steps.  Really, really small ones :-).  If you have any suggestions for me, please leave them in the comments.  Thanks in advance!!

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~


  1. Kat, I just started FMQ this past weekend! It is sooooo fun. I've got a long way to go before my stitching is anywhere near neat, but it's so so so fun! I found this website that's been a good help and inspiration...
    Good Luck! -April @Little Mama Hen

    1. Thanks, April! I do enjoy FMQ more than stitching in the ditch, I just need a LOT more practice. I will definitely check out that link. Thanks so much!!

  2. I like FMQ. I started on smallish quilts. I also like to do diagonal straight line quilting using painters tape for guides. That is how I quilted my H2H quilt. Turned out great. I told how I quilted the H2H quilt in my blog. Try it. A lot of up and down from the floor to re-position the blue tape, but HEY, it's good exercise. And it's not stressful. Quilt looks great front and back. Try it. Then you can say you have tried both quilting methods.


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