Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Quilting has Begun

When I started piecing this quilt, I knew I was up for a challenge.  I knew it would be quite big, and I knew the day would come where I had to draw every bit of energy and courage to start quilting it.  My biggest concern was knowing I had to get this quilt into that small throat space of my little Bernina, which by the way is only 7½ inches (19cm) from the needle right up to the edge.

So as I was waiting for the backing fabric to arrive I literally prepared myself mentally for the challenge ahead.  I knew it had to be possible, I just needed to convince myself to take is easy, take it slow and to not rush it.  I had to have a plan, its pointless rushing into it, without knowing what free motion quilting designs I wanted on this quilt.  


I knew that I wanted to quilt designs that I was familiar with, had experience quilting and that was not going to drive me up the wall giving the fact that I have very little space to work with.  So I went with swirls and pebbles,  quilting designs I knew I was comfortable with, knew how to quilt and because I wanted to draw attention to the secondary designs of the blocks themselves.  I knew they would work, especially inside the white background.  The only thing I'm now a bit unsure of, and second guessing myself, is the swirls I quilted inside the border of each block.  Now that I am stepping back, looking at the overall picture, it does not really separate itself from the block, something I was aiming for.  


But I am halfway, and to rip out those stitches would be madness.  So I am going to carry on and hope that once I am finished it will all come together.

Together with all the swirls and pebbles I've quilted straight lines and some diamond variations I learnt from taking the Dot to Dot Craftsy class.  It sets of beautifully in the background and really makes the swirls and pebbles pop.  


I am no expert but if ever you have a large quilt to quilt on your home sewing machine, here are a few tips I know is helping me so far;

-  Take it slow, try to relax and constantly move and adjust the quilt to have the least amount of fabric inside the throat space of your sewing machine.  
-  Practice quilting designs going in different directions.  Quilting straight lines is NOT always possible stitching it forwards or backwards.  Learning to stitch from left to right and right to left is essential.
-  Don't overdo it, take a lot of breaks between quilting.  You wont tense up and you'll be a lot more focused with a clear mind.
-  One point I still have to work on myself; is to not look too closely at uneven stitches, when stepping back admiring your work, you'll see the final picture and NOT silly mistakes.
-  Listen to your favorite radio station or music.  
-  Finally, DO NOT quilt if you are not in the mood to at that moment.  Your quilt will get finished...

Oh, I have to just share this with you before you go, my husband is very supportive, always keep track of my progress and he really tries to comment or encourage me, and just yesterday he said:  "I like the soap bubbles you added between the swirls"... awe, so sweet!!

Thanks for stopping by!


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56 comments:

monique's mess said...

I like the soap bubble too! Cant believe you've managed that just with a normal sewing machine. Your little waves look very professional.
It will be a stunning quilt when you are finished

Erin Quinn said...

This is gorgeous. I really like the swirls and bubbles in the white. I feel like it has made the white square pop a bit. And, of course, the texture is amazing.
E xx

Schulz Family said...

Visiting from Sew Much Ado. This is amazing. The photos show the quilting really well. I find this inspiring. I tend to stick to larger patterns as they are quicker but this is making me rethink!!

DebraKay Neiman said...

It looks wonderful so far and your tips for FMQ are great. Does your machine have stitch regulator ... your stitches look so even. follow on bloglovin crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

Hannele said...

I love yout quilting - wait and see until it is totally finished, and you'll see it from more distance. I've also watched the Dot to dot lessons from angelma Walters and I think you are using her technique just as she suggested.

Karin said...

Hi...re-writing my comment, something went wrong. Anyway, I think its fabulous. Not sure about your comment re the border of the block...Looking as an outsider I think it provides unity. You have got a lot going on there...colour, pebbles and swirls, a loopy type of design in another block. Either way, I think the end product will be stunning.

Karens Quilts, Crows and Cardinals said...

Marelize it looks fantastic! I'm loving the soap bubbles too ;). You are going to love this quilt when it's done regardless of the design you think is missing - it looks awesome girl... Congrats and thanks so much for the quilting tips - they are spot on!

MalinisQuilts said...

Your quilting is looking awesome. I just had a thought regarding separating the swirls from the border of the block and the background(swirls and pebbles). If you quilt more of the pebbles around the edges of the block which touches the border, probably it would give it more separation between the too.

I have to say whatever you decide, it is already looking so awesome. Can't wait to see it all finished.

Helen said...

BEE-U-TA--FUL! And for your husbands comment--You now have a Free Motion design name for that great combination "Soap Bubbles"--which is a perfect.

Vicki in MN said...

Marelize I think it is going to be so gorgeous, when you are all done and you stand back it will all look different.

Lynn said...

That's amazing quilting. I have a 9" throat on my Janome 1600PQC and am just getting the hang of free-motion quilting. Very encouraging to see those wonderful swirls and pebbles. As you say, taking time is worth it as the quilt will be around for many years. Great work.

made by ChrissieD said...

Fabulous fmq as always Marelize :D

Paula Hughes said...

haha, I like the soap bubbles too! Your figure 8's are awesome. I tried those once and whoa...got a little crazy. This is going to be fabulous!

Diana @ Red Delicious Life said...

Soap bubbles... sweet, indeed. This is turning out so beautifully! I really like making swirls as well and need to practice incorporating pebbles with them. Cannot wait to see the finished project! BTW, do you use a slider underneath your quilt top? Just curious.

Carla said...

You are doing an awesome job on this. Soap bubbles are good. I find quilting little sections is easier than doing an all over design where you HAVE to keep the quilt moving. Keep going--it's stunning

Georgi said...

Your quilting is gorgeous! I'm pinning these pics for inspiration. :) Thanks for all the tips ~ I'm new at FMQ, so they really help!

Jennifer Fullerton said...

I totally have to disagree about the boarder quilting not setting them apart! Maybe it looks different in person but I think that it gives the block a really nice frame. And the small unquilted strip you left makes it stand out visually.

Joan said...

That is so beautiful. I love your designs on this... great ideas here ...well done

Monica Hayden said...

I love your quilting. It inspires me to see someone just take the plunge in spite of perceived difficulties. I'm a chicken myself, and still hesitate to do big projects like this one, because I am very critical of my own work, and consider myself quite an amateur! I always end up stitching in the ditch or at best doing parallel lines! I know I have to move on from there, but I need to shut up and just do it!. Thanks for the inspiration!

Monica Hayden said...

I love your quilting. It inspires me to see someone just take the plunge in spite of perceived difficulties. I'm a chicken myself, and still hesitate to do big projects like this one, because I am very critical of my own work, and consider myself quite an amateur! I always end up stitching in the ditch or at best doing parallel lines! I know I have to move on from there, but I need to shut up and just do it!. Thanks for the inspiration!

Monica Hayden said...

I love your quilting. It inspires me to see someone just take the plunge in spite of perceived difficulties. I'm a chicken myself, and still hesitate to do big projects like this one, because I am very critical of my own work, and consider myself quite an amateur! I always end up stitching in the ditch or at best doing parallel lines! I know I have to move on from there, but I need to shut up and just do it!. Thanks for the inspiration!

TiaraHelen said...

Wow, wow, wow. It's amazing, you're going to love it I'm sure.Good luck finishing it.
x

Beth said...

This is looking amazing! I agree with your tips and I think when doing a large quilt going block by block seems easier for me. Less getting stuck and you know where you are going. Can't wait to see it finished.

Jayne said...

you did an amazing job! Huge quilt...Your tips are very welcome too!

Lorna McMahon said...

Your quilting never ceases to amaze me! Those swirls and pebbles look great! Thanks for sharing all the helpful tips at the end of your post, too. They are all great points!

Julie @ The Crafty Quilter said...

I think your quilting is beautiful and I appreciate the fmq tips! It takes a lot of patience to get through such a big quilt - well worth it though!

Sam said...

Amazing! I love what you have done here, thank you for the tips at the end of the post. I put off the quilting part for as long as possible, currently have about 4 in the to do pile!

Sara said...

This is so beautiful - I haven't started to learn FMQ yet but I hope some day I can do something this lovely!

Jo said...

Your quilting is looking great! I like the "soap bubbles" too :) I have a large quilt that needs quilting and I keep putting it off, I know I'd be ok once I get started!

Laura B said...

Gorgeous work!

Kathy@KayakQuilting said...

Your quilting is spectacular! Your swirls and bubbles appear so smooth and even! Wow,

knitnkwilt said...

Your approach worked to produce some great quilting. I'm barely beginning to FMQ and starting small. Will see what size I can work up to!

RobinSue said...

It's fabulous! I see no mistakes, just beautiful quilting.

Kris said...

Wow that is beautiful and encouraging. I have been working my way up in size on the fmqing but I have two bigger tops waiting for my courage to be built up enough to do them.
I hope to work up to a full size quilt and then beyond soon.

Jacqui S. said...

I love all of your quilting, it's an inspiration!

lovelliquilts said...

Beautiful pearls and swirls. Your suggestions about quilting were very good.

akainik said...

GORGEOUS!!!!

Leanne Parsons said...

Your quilting looks awesome! I like the swirls and soap bubbles too. It's great to have a husband who appreciates and supports what you do.

Joan said...

What a gorgeous quilt. Your quilting is beautiful...

Helen in the UK said...

Saw this on Flickr and had to come take a closer look. The quilt is lovely, but your quilting is taking it to a whole new level - stunning! Love the patterns are you using and how you are highlighting the secondary designs. Awesome :)

Live a Colorful Life said...

Really beautiful quilting and great tips!

Andrea Turner said...

It looks great so far. And is giving me some courage. I have yet to brave free motion quilting, but seeing projects like this makes me want to give it a try.

Yvonne Campbell said...

Beautiful quilting!

Elita@Busy Needle Quilting said...

You are quilting this up SO LOVELY!! It's absolutely beautiful! Makes me want to do this pattern even more... :-)

http://www.busyneedle.ch

Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation said...

your quilting is so gorgeous! I have about that much space in my Bernina 550QE, but I've only ever done stippling. Your tips are great for anyone who is thinking of doing a big quilt on a home machine. It can be done!

Thanks so much for linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday!

:) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

Melanie Varela said...

The color is SO vivid. The quilting in the white is beautiful, but I don't think it's going to outshine the color patchwork. You're doing a beautiful job and it's certainly inspiring!

ChristaQuilts said...

I think it's looking awesome so far!

Renee said...

It looks awesome! You're doing a beautiful job on the quilting! My first quilt I did an all over stipple on my mom's old machine, I think it was a 6" throat, and a small queen quilt. Just take it a few inches at a time, huh? Can't wait to see it all done!

creativeinstincts said...

OMG ! this is so gorgeous. drool Drool !
leena

Lindsey said...

Marelize--You are doing an amazing job so far! I know what you mean about mentally getting ready to quilt something large on your little machine! It's a lot of work--and like you said takes time and patience! Thanks for the tips!

Would love for you to stop by and link this up to Fabric Frenzy Friday!
-Lindsey

Fabric Frenzy Friday

ratama said...

Great FMQ!

MsMidge said...

This is just stunning! I can't wait to see the finished quilt!

Wendy said...

your quilting is amazing! I think the straight lines around the borders do break up the two different designs

Gemma@prettybobbins said...

Fantastic tips Marelize! I'm in that zone now too, trying to remember to look at the whole quilt and not certain sections in isolation :) thanks for linking up!!

Liz Rehrauer said...

Thank you for posting this. I have a large quilt I was thinking about hiring a long arm. I think I'm going to try FMQ now. I have a large throat on my machine, so if you can do it, I know I can. You have so many good tips, I need to put this on Pinterest so I can come back here and get encouragement. This is gorgeous and has the handmade look quilts should have.

Cheri, the Quilting Nanny said...

Wow your FMQ"ing is amazing...and on a home machine too! I can't hardly believe it! I'd love to get that good! I have a 7" throat but still..the best I can do is meandering. I just can't get all that bulk of quilt to move good enough to make "soap bubbles" and swirls!

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