Monday, October 22, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect?

As is true for any skill, if you want to get good at quilting, you need to quilt – at least a little bit every day.  I haven’t been doing that, and I think that’s the reason for being stifled about finishing several tops that are pin basted.  I don’t know what I want to do and I am hesitant, because I am afraid of messing them up.

 I have always had a sandwiched smaller square handy on which to warm up, check tension and practice patterns.  Recently, I made up a bunch of them and have practiced at least 15 minutes every day.  What I notice is that even a jumble of different patterns has its certain charm – so maybe I shouldn’t be so gripped about what pattern to use, just letting my mood guide me.  Maybe there is such a thing as too much planning.  I love feathers and they take a lot of practice, so I always work on several every session.

Somehow this hodgepodge looks good to me.

Combing several patterns together

Paisley and feathers are similar and can be combined to good effect!
 What bothers me about these smaller pieces is that they get used up quickly and leave out the weight and friction issues that crop up with full quilts.  What I am able to pull off smoothly on a smaller piece doesn’t work so well on a larger one

So yesterday I dug out a bunch of really bad batik fat quarters I had bought a long time ago from Joann’s.  I had a left over chunk of batting from another project and I have a bunch of cotton polyester fabric I bought at an estate sale (I bought 21 yards of fabric for 4$!)  In the course of 2 hours I had created a simple 3’ by 4’ top and pin basted it.   I also found some inexpensive polyester embroidery thread that quilts quite well.  Now I have something large-ish to play with.  When it’s done, I think I’ll go ahead and bind it and throw it in the car – it can be used for back seat naps as well as padding for transporting delicate stuff.

My practice quilt.

Besides regularly visiting Leah Day’s and Dianne Gaudynski’s sites, I have been recently taking a Craftsy class from Angela Walters on quilting negative spaces.  Right now I am fooling around with outlining smaller areas to fill in.  Her example uses overlapping rectangular tiles, but I am experimenting with the same technique using circles as well as irregular shapes.  This definitely has some possibilities.  I am figuring out what needs marking and what doesn’t as well.  The outer circle and its echo look better if I mark them, for example.  The photo below is the quilting from the back, which shows up better.

Stacked circles from the back.

Yesterday I bought some Fine Line rulers and am playing with their use as well for doing both straight line and curved cross hatching.  I am having a lot of fun, feel more confident and now am looking forward to working on finishing those waiting tops…