Today's post is related to yesterdays post about my hexagon quilt. Before jumping in and quilting the queen sized quilt (gulp!) I thought some practice to get my hand back in with Free motion quilting as I haven't done any in a while. So I got a practice sandwich, loaded up my machine with different colours for the top and bobbin thread and went quilting.
I was quite happy with how it turned out. I definitely need to work on keeping my stitch length a bit more even, but I was also focusing on increasing my scale slightly and keeping it consistent, which I think I managed quite well.
Leah Day, of the Free Motion Quilting Project is currently running a free motion quilt along where she is encouraging readers to jump in and just give it a go. She's written some great posts of how to get started, including some really great tips, one of which I used here with great success. In her "playing with scale" post she talks about using a reference to help you with changing the scale of a design. When I've free motion quilted things before I've struggled with scaling up the stippling, and I used Leah's tip of using a touchstone to remind you of your scale - I used the width of my fingers as I could always see it. I aimed for the gaps between the quilting to, on average, be about the width of my finger, which they are, hurrah!
(Leah has also been encouraging readers to show pictures of their stitches, both good and bad, so that's what I've done)
I definitely can improve, in the above pic you can see some examples of what I want to improve on - near the top you can see a massive variation in stitch length, and below left you can see how I need to practice smoothing out my curves sometimes.
Flipping it over and looking at the back it's mostly ok, as shown above...
But occasionally I get some of the top threads coming through to the back. This was alleviated somewhat by increasing the upper tension a tiny bit (and I mean tiny). Again however, Leah has covered this too and has suggested making sure you go slow and steady on the curves - as if you notice it only happens on the tighter corners where i'm not going at a steady speed.
Another thing that Leah recommends is to use the same thread in the top and bottom, which agrees with Michele's comment on my last post. I don't want to have navy thread poking through to my lovely cream negative space, and I don't think the cream thread will look horrific on the back (and besides, it's the back!)
Now to fill up some bobbins and get quilting!!