How was your week ? I hope you had time to practice at your machine! I did and it never ceases to amaze me the more I invest in practice, the better I get. Why is it that we forget that simple truth?!? Join me and HollyAnne, Kristin and Jen as we blog each week. And as an added bonus the book is on sale now, get your copy here .
Chapter 2 in the book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson is about contrast. The quilt in this chapter is has 2 challenges- it has tons of colors, and it has long spaces that need to be quilted with a unifying texture very different from the background. Thread color can be overwhelming for this type of quilt but I am like Angela in this … I audition several neutral threads and pick the one that blends into the background color without standing out. I chose a light grey for the quilt in the photos in this post.
flames in the background with the less successful leaf shape in the blue area
The take away from my practice session is that contrasting quilting isn’t easy to always decide. What I thought would be contrasting texture didn’t turn out that way on my quilt block. In hindsight I could have chose pebbling, or tiny swirls, or lines would have had more visual contrast of texture in the blue area of the quilt block. That is what practice is all about, experimenting and testing. I want to say I practice on my quilts. I have a long arm and it is very difficult to practice on little sandwiches. I am practicing concepts on my quilts. I think that by actually making quilts with our practice we will be invested in improving our skills! Plus those WIPs turn into something finished!!!
The next lesson in the book, and what I had to really think about, is how to travel through the block without unnecessarily stopping and starting. This is something that takes a ton of planning. I started top left– quilted through the white fabric– then ended the flame stitch on the blue and traveled back to the left with the leafy stitch– end in the white and travel back across the bottom in the flame stitch. Ok, hard to explain easier to see, there is a video link in the end. After some time and experience you won’t have to think about it so much, you don’t want to back yourself into a corner and have to cut your threads! I really don’t like burying threads , it just isn’t fun.
pebbles and circles
Flame shape in the center, can you see how I did it ?
There are 2 stitches I chose to focus on from this chapter- flame shapes and pebbling. Pebbling is not easy for me and takes lots of brain power to do. It is gorgeous when done but very time consuming and I can get motion sickness doing too much of it! My video chat gives in depth detail on how I quilted it and the flame shapes. I also talk about my tips and takeaways from the book.
Click on the video for more discussion and a demo!
I want to show you a great block of textural contrast, that was the week 1 block! It is visually very pleasing to see all the contrasts and they worked very well together. I have a hashtag on Instagram that I feel is a very important lesson in life — looking back to look forward. I like to study each practice piece and evaluate what was successful and why. And the same for things that weren’t as successful.
Quilt on my friends!