Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Free Motion Quilting Practice

"The American people must understand that as soon as America doesn't stand for something in the world, there is going to be a tremendous erosion of freedom. It is true. And yet, it is awful hard to convince people of it at home."
~George H.W. Bush

From time to time I remember to check my YouTube subscriptions. Recently Angela Walters started a new series called, Help! How Do I Quilt It? which I've found helpful. She is extremely organized yet friendly and funny. She created a panel printed with all the blocks she discusses quilting over the series and sells thread and other tools. And then she taped these videos that are freely available. I really, really, really don't need another project so I didn't purchase the panel {That would have been too easy.} so I was just watching them randomly.

Angela's first video discussed nine patches and oh, how I wished for a small quilt to practice. Then I recalled these blocks from a trade many years ago. I sewed them into two baby-sized tops last year but all the solids gave me the willies so I put it away.

Small nine-patch blocks alternate with cadet blue, bright red, and tan solid fabric blocks and highlight a variety of free motion quilting.
Four-Patch Nine-Patch baby quilt
with quilting ideas from Angela Walters videos

Angela showed several ways to quilt the block but she returned to the start each time since that worked best for her panel. Mine was already sewn and I wanted to travel from one block to the next to avoid starts and stops. Also, my nine-patches are "backwards" so I wanted the x's in the corners.

It took half the day marking the vinyl {the best idea to practice quilting designs I've ever found} but I finally figured out how to do it. Here's a diagram of my variation of Angela's design. There are nine pictures on this graph going across and then down {with space between each picture.}

Traveling nine-patch quilting design based on Angela Walters video will move across the quilt without stopping. No need to tie and bury threads.
Traveling nine-patch quilting design
 based on Angela Walters videos

Since Angela was so gracious to film videos, I don't want to reiterate all her details. This is just a reminder to myself of the order I quilted the nine patches. Go watch her series. It's fabulous. But my version moves me across each block so I can quilt them diagonally.

And here's a photo of the front and back of my quilt after completing all the nine patches. You'll notice only two of the corners have x's. The others could be done by sewing a diagonal line the other way across the quilt. It's the only way I could figure to allow me to end up on the opposite side of the quilt without backstitching.

Two collaged photos show orange peel FMQ in progress from the front and back of the quilt.
Nine-patch quilting based on Angela Walters design

All that and the large solid squares are still not done.

After watching her video again I decided to add quilt the red and blue squares with dot-to-dot on one side and continuous curve on the other. Angela had one more line of dot-to-dot but again, I wanted to travel across the block rather than finish at the starting point.

Then I framed the tan squares and used curves I call figure eights but Angela calls wishbone. Her wishbones have much smaller curves; something to work on. The last four squares on the middle of each side seemed to need a centered design so I created my own variation as Angela. It did end up back at the start but it's on the edge. No threads to bury.

This photo shows all the quilting but you'll notice none of the squares are SID.

wo collaged photos show finished point-to-point FMQ from the front and back of the quilt.
Quilting designs on Four-patch Nine-patch quilt

Angela and I both have a compulsion to keep those seams from coming loose. So my final step was to take care of those long seams. I used the walking foot. Usually SID is my first step. Doing it last meant this was not as neat as one could hope. Lesson learned.

It's a lot of quilting and took more time than I usually spend on a baby quilt but the point was to practice her methods. Learning new skills always takes more time.

The forest green back of the quilt highlights all the quilting designs.
Quilting designs on Four-patch Nine-patch quilt
with stitch-in-ditch added between blocks

Changing colors on the different squares meant there were several threads to bury. I have two drawers of thread and none of them are tan. But as part of my clean-it-out kick I chose to use what's on hand. The grey was too stark against the red and blue squares so I changed threads.

There was just enough red remaining to bind the quilt. The back looks a bit Christmasy but it matches the red on front.

I learned new ways to think about quilting, tried several new designs and feel more confident. This one can go on the baby quilt stack... you know, the one I've spent half a year trying to build up.

A darker red solid binds the Four-patch Nine-patch quilt
Binding detail

Quilt Specifics
Size: 40" x 40"
Design: Four-patch nine-patch
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: grey, red and blue Gutermann 50 wt cotton
Quilting: FMQ based on Angela Walters videos and walking foot SID
Approximate Yardage: 4 yd 

Monthly FUR (Fabric Use Rate) 
For my records, October saw three finished quilts = 17.75 yds, one shirt = 3.5 yds, and 2 yards donated for a total of 23.25 yards.

After my niece's baby shower we visited the George H.W. Bush library in College Station which none of us had seen before.

Front view of the library includes a large fountain surrounded by eight flagpoles flying American flags.
George H.W. Bush Library

With much more land than his son's at SMU so there is room to add Air Force One when it's retired as well as the engine that carried his body here. George, Barbara, and their daughter, Robin, are buried nearby.

The museum is chronologically arranged with sequential rooms for various stages of his life. Interestingly, a section of the Berlin wall was gifted to the library by the citizens of Berlin. This side faced West Germany while the other side is completely blank. They are spread worldwide. I've seen other sections at Rice University in Houston, Montreal, and Mountain View, California. Have you seen any?

The West Berlin side of the wall is painted in multi-colors and includes the word Vision.
A section of the Berlin Wall

A room dedicated to the Gulf war held the Gate of Kuwait. The hundred-year-old door is framed with plates bearing the names of American service members killed in that conflict and contains this inscription:

The names of all American lives lost in the Gulf War are engraved on the gate.
Gate of Kuwait

"When a man gives you the key to his home it means you are the best and most valuable friend to him; when a man gives you the door to his home it means that you are one of his family."

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone connects with family or friends - whether in person, writing, voice or video.

Enjoy the day, Ann


Julierose said...

Beautiful quilting! We've never been to any of the Presidential libraries...sounds fascinating...Hope you and yours have a wonderful Holiday...hugs, Julierose

Pamela Arbour said...

It turned out fantastic! Thanks for sharing the process. I apprecite your pics and comments even though you do reference Angela's videos. She is one of the greatest! Very talented. I think you took a good approach with your quilt and learned a lot of things. I have found, that in the end, we just have to do it in order to learn and get better. I still almost have a brain freeze every time I start to quilt a quilt. LOL

LA Paylor said...

that was a terrific description of planning and quilting. I saw Angela Walters in Boulder last year, very funny and prolific. I just seldom plan to fill a space like that but just love seeing it. Love seeing a well filled quilt with pattern and texture. The colors you used are well chosen too, solids creating the pattern. I always think your quilts could be on covers of albums, or magazines. LeeAnna

LA Paylor said...

forgot to say thank you for the quote. I seldom sleep well anymore for worry.

JustGail said...

I like the baby quilt! I never thought about quilting parts of blocks and going back to do other parts later, to allow for fewer starts & stops. Thanks for the link to Angela's tutorials, I'm just starting with MQ and need all the help I can get!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Thanks for the reminder to check her videos for ideas. I like the way you did the nine patches. Good for you!!!

patty a. said...

I will have to spend some time over Thanksgiving watching those videos - thanks for the link! Your latest baby quilt turned out very nice; you were so lucky to have those tops that were perfect for practice and would add to your baby quilt stash. I have to admit I quilt most of mine with an allover triple loop looking design because it is fast and I don't have to think about it. I need to up my game! How many baby quilts do you have in your stash now?

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

A wonderful baby quilt! And your quilting is great! Thanks for all the ideas here, and I'll also check out Angela's videos too.

Mego said...

Thank you! I love the quilt and your travelogue about the Bush library. I really like the quote!

Robin said...

I like to read your blog because you stretch yourself and like to learn new things. The message engraved on the gate of Kuwait gave me chills.

greeneggs said...

The quilting looks fantastic. Really enjoyed the detailed explanation and pictures.

Mystic Quilter said...

Definitely will be watching her videos, thanks for passing on the information.
This glorious nine patch of yours took my breath away Ann, the colours glow and those pops of blue are perfect! I'm pleased you showed us the reverse of the quilt so we could have a clear view of the quilting, there's no escaping the burying of thread with colour changes and I find that a really tedious job, at least on a larger quilt but the size of this one is not too bad.
Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Janie said...

Great quilting! And Angela Walters has excellent tutorial videos, yes.
Lots of ideas here, thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Ann said...

This is my third and now I’d like to see more libraries. They contain unusual information.

Ann said...

You are correct, Pamela. We learn best by doing and practice may be the only way to improve. I still have brain freezes each time I start quilting. They don’t stay in my memory long.

Ann said...

How fortunate that you saw Angela in person. I try to fill spaces but have found printed fabric means the quilting doesn’t show as much. It was good luck that this top was all solids - perfect for a practice piece and useable later.

Ann said...

I know we still run out of thread when using a single color but changing colors adds more work burying thread. Angela has some good tutorials. So do Leah Day and Amy Johnson. Good luck with your quilting, Gail.

Ann said...

Thanks, Julie. We easily run out of hours in the day, don’t we?

Ann said...

I think you will like them, Patty. Yes, it was a happy coincidence to have the top available while Angela started her series. I sill have hope or delusions that I could catch up on all my stash and tops.
Lately I’ve used fans, spirals, or parallel lines to quilt but it was fun to try some new things and really think about how to travel across the top.
With this one, I have a total of one quilt in my gifting stash. DH is a demon about finding babies to donate them to. And that’s really what we want to do with them so I can’t complain. I just laugh.

Ann said...

Thanks, Linda. Enjoy the videos. She is very kind to share so much information.

Ann said...

Both the quotes moved me, too. Thanks for writing.

Ann said...

How kind of you to write this, Robin. I like trying new skills. I'd never heard of this message before and found it very moving, too.

Ann said...

I hope you watch Angela's videos, too, and share what you learn.

Ann said...

Angela has informative videos and shares freely. I know we have to bury threads when the bobbin runs out but it's a chore to bury them much more frequently. Thanks for the comments about the top. I wondered why on earth I chose that combination when it was time to quilt. But as you wrote, smaller quilts are less trouble to change thread colors on.

Ann said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, too, Janie.

Mel Beach said...

I love Angela's quilting approach and designs!! Her Shape by Shape books are one of my go to references for quilting!! Yay for new motifs and a beautiful finish!

Kaja said...

Great quilting and I admire your patience in figuring out the best motifs for the quilt. Plain fabric really does a better job of showing off fancy quilting, doesn't it?

Ann said...

I have that one. It has helped me think about new ways to quilt. You have developed some new motifs and have a distinctive quilting style, too.

Ann said...

I got about halfway through and felt very burdened. So much remaining. Luckily this is a small quilt. These designs show on solids but get lost on most of my prints. Still, it was fun to practice some new ways of moving across the quilt. It's usually fun to learn something new - even if I decide I won't use it again.