Free Motion Quilting

The last weekend in January I had the opportunity to attend a free motion quilting class with Ana Buzzalino.  The Lakeside Quilters from Chestermere were offering the class and I was able to attend.

I have always marveled Ana’s talent.  She is an amazing talent.  Her pieces are amazing and beautiful and I truly love to see them.  I’m fortunate that Ana is a member of the quilt guild that I belong to, and am privileged to see her work first hand.

Anyways, that morning I got up, with the blowing snow and freezing temperatures to head to Chestermere.  I went slow and cautiously and Clement and I made it in one piece.  In case you don’t know, Clement is my Element.

Anyways, Ana’s class was amazing.  She got us to baste a 40″x40″ quilt sandwich then divide it into a nine patch, then we used the middle section.  I’ve been practicing on these little pieces of sandwiches (quilt top, batting, backing) which are easy to move around, but most quilts are bigger.  With the bigger piece we had to learn how to maneuver around fabric.

Here is an example of the different motifs (pattern, idea, design) we used that day in our nine patch.

We tried stippling and some M and Es first.  I was pleased with my stippling, but not the M and Es.  The Spirals were from something later on and I needed a space to put them.

Matrix grid patterns were something I really liked to do, but I learned not to use so much curve in the pattern because I lost some of the diamond shapes that should have come through.

I really liked the pebbles too, though mine were more like ovals then round pebbles, but what can you do?  I need more practice on those because I would really like to use them. The garlic gloves or scallops are also something I would like to try in my quilts, but they need to be a little more rounded.  I’ve been doodling them everywhere so one day I’ll get good at them.

Spirals was something I really wanted to love, but I can’t say I do.  We were shown two different types.  One where you spiraled  in, then back out.  Another spiraled in and crossed the spiral to get out.  I enjoyed the second one much better, but I don’t know how often I will actually use that one – I just didn’t love it.

This was actually my first attempt at the spirals – totally sucked if you ask me.

Ok, I am totally embarrassed to show you this, but I will anyway because it is good to see what you started with.  Some of bouncing bananas and some weird S thing that I can’t remember.  They needed to be smaller then they were.  Again – I won’t be using this often – if ever.

I really liked the cathedral window quilting and have plans to use this, but again more practice is needed. The roof shingles would be really useful as well, smaller I think would be better.

The last thing, after 5 hours, was feathers.  I could draw them, well one side of them at least, but I couldn’t get myself locked in the motion for the other side.  It was ridiculous.  I’m drawing them all over things now and getting better, but I am not consistent at all.

Over all the class was amazing.  I learned a ton and am practicing a ton.

Learned Today:

Well I have a question actually.

What tips would you have for a beginner learning to free motion quilt?

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4 Comments

Filed under Quilting

4 responses to “Free Motion Quilting

  1. Practice practice practice of course 🙂 It is the Only way to get good at it. Savants might be able to step from the crib and do math or music…but free motion excellence is in us all…with practice.

    Sharyn in Kalama, practicing. Thank you for showing your samples!

    • Jen

      Hi Sharyn,
      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate so much your words. As a musician I am all too familiar with practice, but secretly I would love to just be awesome at it.

      Do you find that it helps you to draw the motions first, then try to put it to fabric?
      – jen

  2. quilting_yvonne

    Interesting…I’ve never taken a class in free-motion quilting, but just jumped in and done it. My first attempts were basically stippling only, then other designs that weren’t difficult. As I’ve continued, my stitch length and curves have gotten more consistent. Recently I’ve moved on to freeform feathers, hyperquilting, and more interesting background quilting designs. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at what others have done on the web and gathering ideas – there are quilters out there doing amazing work – and knowing that they were once at the spot I’m at gives me inspiration!

    I find that drawing the motions helps me to get comfortable with the design and where you are going next so you can work thru the pitfalls. Then, I practice with a quilt sandwich before moving onto my quilt with anything that I need confidence on…this really helps if you are unsure that you can actually sew the design. And sometimes I still draw marks on the quilt top to be sure I get things the way I want, especially when the spacing needs to be more precise or look a certain way (for instance, words).

    The key is actually doing the quilting – you will get better as you do it. Don’t hesitate to step out and do something different…once you get over the fear of messing it up (after all, it is only fabric and batting), the sky is the limit!!

    Yvonne

    • Jen

      Yvonne,
      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I so appreciate you taking time to share your ideas and your experiences with me. You had some great suggestions for me and I will give them a try. I’m really interested in the hyper-quilting you talked about – I don’t think I’ve ever heard or seen that before so I’ll have to discover what it is.

      Thanks again so much.
      – Jen

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