Last Sunday, I did a little dusting and cleaning up in the studio, and then decided that what I really wanted to do (or needed to do, as the case may be) was some free motion machine quilting. Free motion quilting is something that I find pretty relaxing actually; I can just get in the machine quilting groove and I can let my mind wander a bit while I do it. Seemed like the perfect thing to do since I still couldn’t figure out what I needed to be doing and get back into the groove with everything else after returning from the States.
I purchased a couple of wonderful preprinted blocks for free motion quilting from The Quilting Connection in their booth at the Des Moines AQS Quilt Expo. Their newest blocks are printed on lovely batik fabrics, instead of the more common, plain ivory and white fabrics (though I did get one in ivory as well). I’m contemplating using one of these preprints as a kit for my machine quilting class, so of course I wanted to test it out!
At Quilt Market I bought an assortment of a trilobal polyester thread called Iris. The price point on this thread seems really great at $4.00 per 550 meter spool, and the shimmer and shine is much lovelier than most of the other polyester or rayon threads on the market. Just for comparison value, a small spool of Sulky rayon thread retails for $4.00 per 225 meter spool. I really bought the thread to use with Inchies, and I’ll get around to testing for that purpose eventually, but it’s always good to know whether a thread works well for machine quilting too, so I picked a color that would go well with the batik, pin basted the square, and loaded up the machine.
The thread didn’t disappoint, and neither did the preprinted quilt square. The Iris thread sews beautifully, with no skipped stitches, no tangles, zero breakage. Really no issues at all, and I didn’t use a special needle or take any special care with it. The preprinted design on the fabric is clear and easy to see, even though the design was printed in blue on blue fabric.
I’ve quilted feathers before so the design was pretty easy and fun to quilt. If I’d never quilted feathers or didn’t have much experience with free motion quilting, I think the design would benefit from some directional arrows printed on the fabric itself, or a quilting diagram included in the package.
All in all I spent a happy two hours quilting this lovely feathered square. The only thing I would say that I’m not so pleased with is the batik itself. The fabric quality is fine, but the color placement isn’t so great in my opinion. I would have preferred that it not look quite so firmly divided between blue and lavender. *shrug* Something to keep in mind: take the square out of the package to see the whole piece of fabric before buying!
It was over all too soon! I love these preprinted quilting designs; they’re great for practicing quilting skills, or warming up before free motion quilting on your main project—or just having some hands-on-fabric time when you don’t want to get into something bigger or more complicated. Or can’t figure out what else to do to find the groove, as the case may be… 🙂 I think I may have to order a few more, or mark a few of my own to have on hand for when I feel like playing!
And yeah, that groove? That two hours of machine quilting was about all I saw of the groove this week. I did do some planning if that counts for anything, and the creative spirit is here, but the motivation to do anything with the creativity still hasn’t made much of an appearance. All in good time. (I hope…) How about you? Anything creative going on in your world right now?