Practice Makes Perfect
I do have some art projects planned for this year in addition to the 3 Studios Quilt Challenge, so for the past few months, off and on I've been practicing my free motion quilting. Doing it well on a non-stitch regulated domestic machine is not easy and does require practice for it to be nice enough to actually claim that you did it and show it to others.
To free motion quilt, the machine's feed dogs are drop and the piece is then stitched using a special quilting or darning foot. Your hands move the fabric in the desired pattern and the stitch size is determined by machine speed and hand speed. Consistency in stitch length and tension are of great importance to having the overall piece look nice from a technical stand point.
I've been practicing a few different things, mostly feathers and background fillers, hence all the samples you see in this post.
While this may seem repetitive, it does serve a purpose. There truly is something to be said for muscle and brain memory when it comes to these patterns. The more you do them, the more automatic they become and then you can start to fine tune all the little things that take the quilting from good enough to excellent.
I think that "practice makes perfect" is true with a lot of the techniques in sewing - including fitting. (I need to remember that when I'm working on my umpteenth revision of my trousers!) I have a student currently working on a project that involves bound buttonholes, and she's now working on close to her twentieth bound buttonhole. She's getting better at it, too, the last set I saw was meticulously lined up and perfect. Welt pockets are another example, as is putting in any kind of zipper. The more you do, the better you get. Sure there will be plenty of duds along the way, and we all have off days where it's best just to walk away from the machine, but in the end a little practice doesn't hurt.
Parting Shot: Caught Again. Pix and Wellie are almost cozy. They're actually sharing the blanket and she's not hissing at him. He's certainly man of the house, but Pix does get R-E-S-P-E-C-T from him.