This is the first quilt I ever free-motion quilted!
I made this for Jorge’s mom as a birthday gift in April 2014. I loved these Dear Stella fabrics in my stash and thought a great way to show them off would be to cut them into big squares. I added sashing with cornerstones to liven up the design.
I’d been trying to free motion quilt for a while before this, but had a lot of trouble with stippling. I kept backing myself into closed spaces. Stippling is my go-to quilting method now, but at the time I kept thinking to myself, “Why is this so often touted as a great beginner FMQ design?” because I just could NOT get it to work for me.
I needed an intervention, which came in the form of Cristina Cameli‘s book, First Steps to Free Motion Quilting. I picked a design from this book that was more straightforward than stippling. It’s actually quite linear to execute – a single loopy chain – but reads more textural when finished. The bubbles were so fun to quilt and I really enjoyed the process. It was a huge confidence builder.
Side note: the thing that finally got me over the stippling hump was doodling, as recommended in this book. I filled up page after page with stippling doodles. Even though doodling is pen on paper, and quilting is “paper under pen”, it helped immensely, as it trained my brain to fully comprehend the design. Once I understood the shapes to make and where to take them, it easily translated to the sewing machine.
Besides the quilting, the other most exciting part of this quilt for me was how perfectly I got the back to line up. It looks like a single piece, but it’s actually two widths of fabric sewn together. There’s a seam running horizontally right through the middle — but it’s hardly noticeable.