It took me much longer than I bargained for, and a lot more thread than I thought (over a mile, almost two), but I did finally finish quilting DD#2's quilt. It was my first free motion quilting project, and I think I discovered the secret of doing it a bit faster. Get so sick of doing it, you just want it finished and after a bit, you stop thinking about being scared to mess it up and just sew with the pedal floored! Actually, all kidding aside, I was having more problems getting my stitches even when sewing slowly than when I just went for it. I did have to conquer the fear factor though. There is something about free-motion that is scary for a lot of us.
For those of you wondering how the quilting from the back went, here is what I can tell you. I wouldn't try it with polyester batting. Polyester batting and I have some incompatibilities going way back, and I have a lot more puckers with poly than cotton when quilting from the front; from the back it would be worse. As it was, I used Warm and Natural cotton batting, and I had two tiny puckers right on the edge of the quilt. No one but me is likely to ever notice, and I don't know if I could even find them again. I only noticed as I was pinning on the binding. They were tiny puckers.
For my first attempt, I needed something to trace, and quilting from the back was good for that. I want to try some stencils next. I would really love to learn to free motion quilt with no marking at all, but I know myself well enough to know that it won't be soon. I keep trying to draw stippling on paper, and I keep getting myself stuck in corners. Until I can do it on paper or my white board, I'm not going to commit to it on a quilt. I cannot draw, I have no talent for it whatsoever. Tracing I can do, and feel confident about it. With the right backing fabric, I wouldn't hesitate to quilt from the back again. I don't know if I'll like using stencils or not, but it is I want to try next. For anyone interested in trying the technique of quilting from the back, I used the book Quilting Back to Front: Fun & Easy No-Mark Techniques by Larraine Scouler.
Another thing I learned from this experience is that for me, the Juki is better off in the cabinet. Taking it off the frame and putting it in a cabinet was the best thing I could have done. On the frame, the 9" throat of the Juki always seemed too small to do what I wanted to do. If I ever return to frame quilting, I will go for a much larger machine. On the other hand, having the Juki in a cabinet, that 9" throat seems huge, and I have no problems moving the quilt around.
Here was the view from our house this morning, cactus, snow covered mountains, and a hot air balloon. We usually see a lot of hot air balloons in the winter months, but not this year. I think most people just don't have the money to spend on the rides.
What's next? I'm leaving town on Wednesday, so I have to get the house cleaned up and pack my suitcase. I'd like to get my sewing room cleaned up a bit, and possibly do some cutting for my next projects. My husband is hosting a scooter rally the first weekend in May, and I have volunteered to do quite a bit of sewing for it. I am making a scooter themed quilt to raffle off, making the rally bags, and maybe a couple of goodies to go in them. We'll see what I can get done in the five and a half weeks I'll have before the rally. I picked the fabrics for the scooter quilt today, and I should have time to cut them tomorrow, but I am waiting for the background fabric.
I didn't have a good quality solid white to use as background, and background fabric is an allowable purchase on no-buy. I had purchased the border fabric a couple of months ago (also an allowable purchase), and the rest is from stash. All of the rally bags and goodies will be from stash, so the 4 yards I bought of allowable purchases will be nothing compared to all the stash I will use. I haven't chosen a backing fabric for this quilt, but I have plenty of stash that would work just fine.
There will be a bit of applique on the quilt and on some of the goodies, so I'd like to take the fabric for the applique, along with a mechanical pencil, the templates I made, and a pair of scissors, and see if I can get everything cut out at the hotel on our trip. I'd love to do some if it on the plane, but I won't chance them taking my scissors. I will need nice pointy scissors, and I don't think they'd let me have them, so I'll put them in my check-in bag.
Anything sewing related will have to be done tomorrow, because Monday I babysit, then Tuesday I pack and clean. I'll also have to go to the store on Tuesday to make sure the kids are set for the few days we'll be gone. I'll leave them a little money, and the great thing about having grown kids is, they can drive to the store themselves should they run out of anything! In fact, if I forget to leave money, they can even pay ;-)
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