After some absence, I really am hoping that I will post more regularly. I think about what to post here often but the leap from my head to my blog just doesn't happen!
I am participating in the Free Motion Quilting Challenge at Sew Cal Gal's blog. Each month there is a video by the featured quilter with machine quilting tips and techniques as well as sharing some great machine quilting patterns for us to use. This has been in place since January 2012 and I have learned so much! Haven't always submitted my "homework" on time but it is the learning experience that counts.This is one of those rare months when I have completed my homework and submitted it in time to be eligible for the monthly prize package - yippee!
September's featured quilter is Paula Reid and she has shared her "Fluff & Stuff" technique for quilting large quilts on a domestic sewing machine. This woman has quilted more than 1400 quilts on her domestic sewing machine NOT a long-arm quilting machine - amazing - and she said that 3/4 of them were queen or king sized. So good to know that it is possible to quilt the larger quilts without using a long-arm!! Basically, Fluff & Stuff is what I have been doing myself, although I might not be as deliberate in my "fluffing" but I will be working on that. Paula is suggesting that you fluff the quilt up on to your chest and then stuff the quilt through to get quilted. The fluffing is what helps to keep the quilt from getting hung up while feeding through the needle and keeps things moving smoothly.
In addition to the video Paula had several great tips that I will definitely be trying like working in 90 minute increments and then making yourself stop and do something else for awhile - anything to help maintain good stamina and focus is good for me! She also suggests using a straight-stitch throat plate - I haven't tried it yet but her reasoning really made sense to me and since I have such a throat plate I will be trying it out. Also she uses a jeans needle instead of a universal needle because the jeans needle is sharper which allows for straighter quilting lines. The one suggestion she has which I won't (or can't) do is to put your sewing table in a corner so that the back and one side of the table are against a wall thus keeping larger quilts up on top of the table so you aren't fighting them all the time. I can't do this because no matter how I configure my sewing room I just can't get my table in a corner and still be able to open doors or move about the room so I must pass on this suggestion, although it sounds like an excellent idea!
Finally, Paula shared a quilting pattern with us and I quilted it up using the transfer technique that Don Linn taught us earlier this year. I don't know how often (if ever) I will use this pattern. It was not specifically for continuous quilting and so there are a lot of lines that must be re-traced which made it very difficult to quilt.
Here is how mine turned out: