Monday, April 30, 2012

April 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge

SewCalGal is hosting the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge and I have taken the pledge!  Every month, there is a new tutorial and a chance to learn something new, improve free motion quilting skills, complete that month's challenge and enter to win awesome prizes.  This month's tutorial is written by Don Linn.  Don showed us a technique using tulle to transfer a design or motif to your quilt with out having to find a way to see through the fabric to trace the motif or having to use a templates that are very limited in design and sizes.

I really loved working on the Heart and Feather Whole cloth quilt along with Leah Day, that I finished up this last weekend, so I decided to start another one, and put Don's transfer technique to the test. 

The first step was searching for a design.  The goal is to complete the tutorial/challenge in the month that it is posted, and since today is April 30th, the last day of the month (procrastinate much?), I didn't really have time to design my own motif. But I did find these really cute love birds online.

After printing out the design to the size that I wanted, I stretched some tulle into a wooden embroidery hoop and traced the design onto the tulle with a black sharpie. Don suggested using white tulle with a black pen, if your fabric is light, or black tulle with a silver pen if your fabric is dark.

Tracing the pattern onto the tulle was a little harder than I had expected.  About a quarter of the way through, I had to let go of some of my perfectionist goals, and even though it was not a perfect "trace" the design looked great when I was done.  If I try this method again in the future I would want to find a way to better secure the hoop and paper so that they are less likely to shift while I'm tracing.

I played around with some different fabric ideas, before I decided on a teal blue marble fabric.  I used two fat quarters and ironed, starched, and basted my quilt together.  Then I just laid the embroidery hoop with my design on top and traced the design onto the fabric (through the tulle) with a marking pen. My pen is a frixion pen that disappears when you apply heat (I also suggest washing after ironing to make sure you get all the chemicals out).


 It might be hard to see in the picture, but when you lift the hoop, you should have a nice motif drawn out on your fabric.  Since you have to trace this motif twice with a pen, I think it is a great opportunity to figure out and practice which directions that you will be going when you sew the design.  By the time I actually stitched it, I was very familiar with the design and how I would have to move the quilt around to avoid a lot of travel stitching.


After tracing the love birds motif, I also added some flowers in the corners.


Here is the finished quilted design.  Again, it's a little hard to see in the pictures.  Well, it's a little hard to see in person right now too because I used matching thread (Parakeet by Coats Clark).  I'm sure it will be a lot more visible once I've done some micro-FMQ in the background spaces, but that will have to be done another day.

I liked the look of the contrasting white thread on my green marble heart and feather whole cloth, but I know that traditional whole cloths use matching thread on matching fabric (usually white on white) so I wanted to try that look this time, just with blue instead of  white.


Here are some closer pictures to help show more of the detail.




If you are interested in learning more about the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge, hosted by SewCalGal, click here.


11 comments:

  1. What a great design. Are you going to do a background fill on this one? It turned out great.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I plan on doing background fill on this one too. I think I almost have to in order to make the design more visible, since I used matching thread. I haven't decided on a filler design yet, but I plan on working on that soon! :)

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  2. What a beautiful design. I look forward to seeing it after you do some background fills.

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    1. Thanks! I will definitely post more pictures when I've finished the background fill and binding!

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  3. great use of the lesson for april...love the design

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  4. Wow beautiful work! Neat idea to transfer a design to quilt. Never heard of a frixion pen need to look that up. I use those fat blue pens and they are usually too thick for any details.

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    1. Thanks! I do like the frixion pen. The main complaint about this pen from other quilters is that because the ink is temperature sensitive, it does disappear when you iron it, but if your quilt ever gets extremely cold again the ink will reappear. However, I don't plan on putting any of my quilts in the freezer anytime soon and I can easily wash them to make sure that any residue is removed. Just something to keep in mind if you're planning on trying one of these pens.

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  5. I love this technique for quilt marking. You chose such a great design. Thank you for linking up to Quilty Embellishment Day!

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    1. Thank you for hosting Quilty Embellishment Day! I love following your blog and linking up every month with some FMQ!

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  6. Those lovebirds are adorable! Look forward to seeing the finished product.

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  7. This is a wonderful design :)

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