Monthly Archives: February 2016

Quilt as You Go or Free Motion Quilt Table Runner

This week I’m linking up with Alyce over at Blossom Heart quilts for Sew Cute Tuesday. I had a few finishes , but thought this free motion quilted table runner in asian fabric was appropriate in light of Alyce moving home to Australia after her time in Japan. This table runner pattern is an oldie but goody. It is the Braid Runner “quilt as you go” pattern by GE Designs . If you are not familiar with Ge Designs check them out- they have a lot of quilt as you go projects as well as other quilt patterns. This table runner makes a great gift and is a good stash buster. I still have a pile of beautiful Holiday Flourish fabric by Robert Kaufman which may find it’s way onto family’s tables as a quick and easy project using this pattern. You can free motion quilt the runners if you desire or you quilt as you go and call it a day- your choice ( or more to the point..which family members are going to eat spaghetti off of it??!! lol)

a picture of a table runner using the pattern Braid runner with free motion quilting done on top and borders

I have always loved this fabric and was it hanging out in my stash for years. It is Flight of the Dancing Cranes designed by Ro Gregg for Northcott fabrics. One of the great things about the quilt as you go method for this runner is when the construction of the runner is finished , I don’t have to stitch in the ditch- I was good to start FMQ (SID is imho, the boring,but necessary part). I decided to do curved cross hatching in the center block and then do ginkgo leaves, swirls and berries that was inspired from Bethanne Nemesh’s class If You Can Feather You Can Freehand.

my doodle of my version of ginkgo leave, swirls and berries for my free motion built design
Doodle of my version of ginkgo leave, swirls and berries

As usual I doodled my quilting pattern until I was fairly comfortable with where I was going,  getting  in a rhythm with the flow of the pattern.

a picture if my drawing of the free motion quilting design for the outer border is swirls with "molar" feathers- I thought they blended with the ginkgo leaves...not that you can see them with the busy fabric!
the outer border is swirls with molar feathers- I thought they blended with the ginkgo leaves…not that you can see them with the busy fabric!

I quilted this piece with Superiors Bottom Line 60 wt thread in the top and bobbin.

a picture of my table runner photoed at and angle to make the texture more visible
sometimes photographing at an angle makes the texture more visible. At this distance some of the fabrics read as a solid, but are actually busy enough to make if very difficult to see the quilting

I have noticed a change in the way I look at and buy fabric since I have started this free motion quilting journey. I used to walk into a fabric store and it was all about the fabric. Pretty patterns, pretty colors, pretty, pretty fabric! I have realized that I like a focus fabric, but I also like fabrics that read as a solid to show the texture and movement of my quilting and give my eyes a place to rest.

There is a couple ways to look at this project with this fabric. One  is that the lovely fabric provided a great opportunity to play and practice your free motion quilting skills without every little hiccup being obvious (which is a really nice way to practice while using up some of your stash :)). The second is , if you really wanted to showcase your quilting, busy fabric is not the way to go. This runner could be done in solids and my quilting would have been more noticeable …..but then this pretty fabric would have still been hanging out in my stash waiting for its day to come…

Now onto Sew Cute Tuesday….What do you guys have to share??
Please share the love and take a look at what everyone has been up to and leave them some quilty love!
Sew Happy,

Winter Free Motion Fun

a picture of Bird Brain Designs Snow Happens wall hanging that I have free motion quilted on
Bird Brain Designs: Snow Happens
  • February is my favorite month in Florida. We are usually doing the 70/50 split in temperature that I just love, but even here it’s been a bit chilly. I know for a lot of you it’s still winter- so in light of that I’m still having some winter free motion quilting  fun and finishing my wallhanging Snow Happens by Bird Brain designs (either I’m timely or so far behind I’m out in front for next year ! lol).
    This is a hand embroidery design (they make them for both machine and hand embroiders) and has a lot of good memories associated with it. I worked on this on numerous airplane flights to places and experiences that will warm me for years to come. I don’t know about you guys, but when you are all done embroidering and piecing and you are sitting there looking at your quilt top, hatching your plan to free motion quilt,  it can be a little anxiety producing when you attach so many feelings to a quilt! But in the end, I put my big girl panties on and forged ahead.
    I did use my plexi glass sheet to audition my designs and of course there’s always doodling and warm up time on a quilt sandwich before starting on the real McCoy..… But the bottom line is nothing can replace just jumping in a doing it. Practice sandwiches are great, but you know they are practice and they just don’t present the obstacles that a real quilt will give you. Nothing replaces time and experience . There is several things I would do differently if I had a do-over (which just isn’t happening).
  • I decided to do some straight free motion ruler work in the foreground under my snow man to “ground” them. I think  free motion lines that were more free form like snow drifts would have been a better design decision.
  • On my on point pieced border, I did continuous line design work twice to the inside of each square and then traveled to the next square by the curved arch on the outside of each square creating a circle  around each little square.  The pieced squares make every wobble noticeable (on the outside curve).  I should have used this opportunity to use a curved ruler to stabilize the motif to get a smoother curve (sigh-I knew better- but my eyes couldn’t see ripping monopoly !).

snow happens photoed at an angle to show quilting

I know as quilters one of the most destructive things we do is to point out our mistakes. I am not devaluing my little quilt by pointing out every little wibble here or wobble there. I do believe we need to be at peace that this is the best effort I made on this day at this point in my quilty life. At the same time I have chosen to blog about this. I know I have learned so much when someone has been honest with me and shares what they learned along the way- worts and all 🙂 . Sometimes I have to make the mistakes for myself as growing pains  (or some times you just have a brain fart) , other times the sharing has saved me from making the same mistake too. It is in that light I share what I have learned from this little quilt. That is not to say I am not enjoying him hanging in my entrance foyer as I wait for spring!
I quilted Snow Happens using Superior Threads Monopoly clear monofilament thread.
Happy quilting!