quilting class update

I’ve been wanting to write about quilting class all week but about all I’ve had time for is working on my homework. And I’m not getting very far on that either. Oscar is doing what all the hip kids are doing these days – transitioning to one nap a day. This seems to mean giving up sleeping altogether for another favorite activity – tantrum throwing. Guess I should have read that *entire* baby book.

So anyway, last Saturday’s class we saw everyone’s projects. We put them up on the design board, stood 10 feet away and checked everything out. This is how I discovered that I sewed 2 blocks out of place. Oh the shame! So I’ve had to rip those out and sew others in. The other thing I’ve been working on is resewing many of the joints together because stupidly I had too big of a stitch going (y’all were right) and as a result I had gaps forming everywhere. So now after all that work I’m back where I thought I was 2 weeks ago. My kimono quilt turned out fine so now I have two pieced quilt tops ready for quilting. Here’s my Plain Spoken quilt so far.


Weeks talked a lot in class about the importance of quilting. How so many quilts hanging in quilt shops aren’t even quilted but rather just pieced tops. And how the quilting is as much a design element as the piecing design and color choices. She had a neat suggestion for my kimono quilt… to loosely quilt a floral design over the nani iro portions of the kimono, then to do a dense quilting over the center part as that would be representative of the tightly woven material of obis. Then to not quilt at all on the thin tie part in the middle. I think it’s going to be very cool! For my other quilt which is very horizontal I’ll be doing the horizontal wavy pattern that FunQuilts uses on this quilt design. It is very similar to a traditional wave pattern found on japanese fabrics.

Right now I’m practicing quilting on my machine at home because at $25/hour I don’t think I’ll be able to do much quilting on the Gammill machine at the FunQuilts studio. I’m practicing by doing a basic swirly stippling pattern on the quilt I’ve been working on for Oscar. I pieced it together last Spring and have been slowly (read: not at all) working on stitch in ditch quilting – boring! So I’m just swirling right over it. I’ve got my darning foot in, my feed dogs dropped and I’m trying my best to get an even smooth swirl.



It is so frickin hard! I didn’t think it’d be so difficult. The trickiest part for me is trying to get used to the fact that going slower doesn’t actually slow me down because I have no feed going. I instinctively ease up on the power foot as I approach an edge or a tricky bit, wanting to pause to decide where to go next but it doesn’t do anything but make my stitch much longer because I’m still pulling the quilt through but my needle is going slower. I’ve got to get the hang of that. Also I’ve had a few close calls almost pulling my fingers right under the needle. I need to be more careful or this is going to be a bloody disaster! Not something you want to be doing on too little sleep!

Next week, we get our hands on the Gammill and learn how to do binding using a neat little Clover binding tool. I’m hoping to have my Oscar quilt quilted and its binding cut so she can use it as an example and I can get some hands-on help.

18 thoughts on “quilting class update

  1. Anita says:

    Machine quilting takes practice, practice, practice. Don’t give up. A few quilts down the road it will suddenly feel easier and the stitching will look much better. Baby quilts and pet quilts are the best to practice on because they are quilts to be used, not gazed upon and critically examined.
    If your sewing machine has a speed adjustment, try slowing it down a bit and see if that helps. Letting the machine control some of the speed rather than your foot may help. Also, to get an idea of how and where you want to quilt, buy a piece of the clear vinyl and use dry erase markers to draw on the vinyl what you might want your quilting to look like. Then you can formulate in your mind where you are going with it before you start stitching.
    Good work so far! You are on your way to becoming a master quilter!

  2. Bertha says:

    Man, I had the *exact* same problem when I tried free motion quilting…going too slow when I didn’t need to resulting in giant stitches and not being able to get the smooth curves I wanted. I’ve done 5 quilts so far and I had to stitch in the ditch on every one since I just cannot master meandering…one of these days…your’s looks great though!

  3. Giao says:

    Quilting is well above my head, but it’s really cool to hear what you’re learning and doing and making. Cool. Thanks for sharing this experience with us!!

  4. Colleen says:

    Have you tried a “double-feed dog”? (not sure if that’s what it’s called. I have one for my viking that feeds both the top and bottom together–supposedly evenly. I have a LONG way to go in this area, as I’m just learning too! What you have so far looks great!

  5. mochi says:

    Your not so simple looking “plain and simple quilt” looks amazing! I had so much trouble when I’ve tried machine quilting in the past. It always feels weird with the feed dog dropped, and the size of quilts are so large I always feel like I need 3 extra set of hands to hold the rest of the quilt while I’m sewing. I can’t wait to see the quilted kimono quilt!

  6. Dallas says:

    Thank you for posting about your classes. I’m actually learning from your posts. Unfortunately, there aren’t any quilting classes near me, but I’ve learned two terms in your blog that I’ve looked up and they’ve helped me. One is chain-piecing and the other is darning foot.

  7. Heidi says:

    I had a hard time imagining how the plain & simple would work out, but I am really impressed! It’s so pretty.
    Good luck with the machine quilting!

  8. Leslie says:

    Wow, that was quick!
    When you first showed us the fabric swatches, I couldn’t envision this beautiful creation. Oh I had no doubt that you’d whip up something fantastical…I just lack that “vision” that you so easily possess!

  9. Sarah says:

    in some quilting books they suggest buying a peep hole at the hardware store, one you would buy to install in your door. you can look at your quilt through it and it makes it look far away and hence you can see if there are mistakes right away. the quilt shops sell their own version but i’d go the hardware route. its the same thing and cost about 3 bucks at walmart in canada so less in the states. :) happy quilting. your quilt looks great

  10. ssarah says:

    Your Plain Spoken quilt is great! Who makes that pattern? I think I’ll try that one. You didn’t just make it up, did you?

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