Sunday, September 4, 2016

Learning to free motion again

I have a few finishes to show you.  They were all done on my new (used) Innova longarm.  I believe that I should just jump right in and go for it to learn.  So I chose a donated top that I bought for a song.  I practiced stitching in the ditch, free motion quilting and feathers.  I now have more sympathy for my free motion beginner students.  This is hard!  I can barely remember learning to free motion on a domestic machine - it was so long ago.  But even then, I jumped right in and quilted real projects.  I soon learned that if my quilting didn't look so great, just keep quilting on it (echo echo echo).

I figured out some things while quilting this one above.  I don't really like the stitch regulator.  It's too jerky.  I learned that I can stitch in the ditch free hand IF it is horizontal or vertical.  Diagonal lines will not cooperate without a ruler.  I guess it's because the machine is engaging both sets of wheels when going diagonally.  

My wonderful, giving friend Denice invited me to her home to give me tons of great tips on the Innova.  She bought hers last year and is doing incredible work on it.  She had this quilt top from the guild charity comittee and she told me to quilt it and not worry about perfection.  It's done, but I hope no one looks closely!  fortunately the fabric is so busy, I think I'm safe.  

Now I really got brave to quilt this one on the machine.  I made this Arkansas Razorback quilt for my nephew who just started college last week.  

I had it in my head that it needed a giant spiral quilted on it.  But on the longarm, I can only work on a small section at a time.  So I stopped and started those spirals using a curved ruler. I added smaller swirls on the top and bottom when I got sick of spiralling.  

If there's a will, there's a way.  I did it on the longarm.  And it really does quilt up faster than my domestic machine.  Not sure why???  

So don't cringe, but I did not prewash these red fabrics (duh), so when I washed it I used lots of color catchers.  The first wash yielded pink color catchers, but more color catchers were white after the second wash.  The quilt washed up nice and cozy; and any blips on my quilting were camouflaged by the old fashioned lumpiness of the washed quilt.  

I'm working on this one now.  I started it on my sit down machine, it was already ditched, and the center blocks were quilted.  But this is what I did today on my longarm.  I found this top at an antique shop.  It was dirty and smoky-smelling.  I carefully soaked it in a linen wash and sandwiched it with a muslin back and a double batting of wool and cotton.  I am having fun quilting it in a not too- traditional design.  But I consider it a "rescue" quilt and I have given myself permission to experiment and play.  I will put more pics of the finished quilt next time.  

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."  Walt Disney

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I'm linking up with cooking up quilts


  1. Wow! Your quilting is stunning, such great work, I look forward to seeing that last beauty finished!

  2. Wow, Karen! I think your quilting looks great. And YAY for jumping in to learn - that's me, a hands on learner. I have a HQ sit down, and even though I'm moving the quilt and not the machine I still have a difficult time stitching in the ditch on the diagonal without a ruler. I'm super impressed with the spiral you did on the longarm. That is such a fun quilt! Thanks so much for linking to Main Crush Monday and sharing your work!

  3. Hello Karen,

    So interesting to see you giving your imagination free rein, using tops made by other people and different machines. I love the quilting in the top photo, and the quilt top you found in the antiques shop is gorgeous!

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks.

    Love, Muv