Each blog I write gets posted on facebook through Networked blogs allowing the simplicity of posting. Sometimes quilters post comments here on the blog and sometimes on facebook. Every once in a while a quilter will comment and I know a wider response is needed and this is one of those days.
SI: I so appreciate your encouragement in regards to fmq. I too enjoy this process greatly but I struggle with what to do with the practice pieces. The utilitarian side of me wonders how to make this useful. What do you do? How do you reconcile using fabric and batting for practice? I too have a STRONG desire to create…going to follow your lead and just do it, and leave the result/purpose to the Lord. Thanks for the idea..what do you do with your pieces?
NOTE: I will be doing a blog post on how to end free motion stitching soon. I just need about 30 to 40 minutes with aef so I can take pictures of the process.
These are great questions and deserving of some good answers. When I first started machine quilting I made totes of varying sizes. Wanting designs of my own I used the various rulers to cut the shapes of the pieces and when I make totes now I follow the same process. I still have one that gets shows in class as an example of how awful I was when I started learning how to machine quilt. I was awful, awful.
Did I mention it was awful?
Practice pieces have multiple purposes.
Practice pieces are usually fat quarter size with pieced batting and the good thread. These often start life as a way to see how thread, fabric, and batting will work together. And truthfully as a practice piece sometimes the quilting is just not all that good. I’m okay with that as I’m trying to figure out what will work and what won’t or how to stitch out a new motif.
As I got more and more comfortable with machine quilting and really started developing an understanding of how to change tension, pair needles and thread the practice pieces became class samples. I have a few of these. I realized two weeks ago that I lost somewhere along the way. Gina Perkes demonstrated this curve technique on The Quilt show and I had fun showing my guild members how to do this and a few variations on that theme. I’ll tell you what – I see a huge difference in my quilting from then (2010) til now.
Sometimes the practice pieces just sit in my sewing room with no purpose or intention other than being a practice piece. And please, please do not freak out. Sometimes they go bye-bye. I only have so much space in my quilt room and go they must. I recently added binding to one piece because it was quite large, and as soon as I see Victoria Findlay Wolfe it will be given to a charity she supports in a neighborhood in the Bronx where I worked for nearly 15 years.
I can see the possibility of making quilt as you go quilts. Goodness knows I have enough bias binding. But there is no will. I had thought of making a book with samples showing thread weight/brand/type, needles used, tension setting, if there was a particular fabric line and I may still do that. Maybe. We’ll just have to see.
The practice piece at the top will eventually wend it’s way to Aurifil when I get it bound as a Thank You to Alex Veronelli for sending me the Lino (linen) thread to test.