My goal for 2012 is to improve my free-motion machine quilting. To that end, I learned that SewCalGal is hosting a Free-Motion Quilt Challenge. Every month there is a new tutorial from a free-motion expert to help us sharpen our machine skills or learn new ones. I've been following along and giving it the "old college try" each month. For April, author, award-winning quilter and teacher Don Linn presents his method for creating a marking stencil with tulle, and using it to mark a quilt top. I had tulle on hand, a water-soluble marker, plus a hoop (albeit oval and a little small for the design) and a permanent marker, so I was ready to jump in. The photo above shows the flower design marked on the tulle (it's in the hoop, at the bottom of the fabric square), as well as the design marked on the cotton square (done through the tulle with the blue washout marker). Don's instructional video showed clear step-by-steps for this marking technique.
Once marked, it was time to stitch the design. As you can see, practice is exactly what I need more of. I chose dark thread so that I could easily see where improvements are needed. And now you can see, too! But, as I remind myself, everyone has to start somewhere, and this is where I am with free-motion. Plus, it's the reason behind my 2012 goal.
This photo may show the marked tulle a bit more clearly. It results in a shadowy image, but the tulle is easy to mark and re-usable. I will need to get a larger hoop though. I had to move the hoop to get the entire design, so I created additional work for myself.
And this photo shows the free-form feather I quilted using Diane Gaudynski's instructions from the February tutorial. Not bad. Plus there is just a glimpse at the upper left of the meandering leaf design taught by Frances Moore in January. I really like that leaf-shaped fill design and have already used it in a full-size quilt. By taking the free-motion pledge, completing each month's tutorial, and linking my blog post to the site, I can qualify to win one of the monthly prizes. Sweet! So I recommend SewCalGal's site if you're interested in learning more about free-motion quilting. I look foward to the months ahead, and the quilts I'll be able to quilt on my home sewing machine.