I’ve really enjoyed doing the free motion quilting on the Pirate King quilt. I’m quite pleased at how the quilting turned out too. It seems that I’m finally getting the hang of this free motion stuff and getting my system working!
As most of the books/articles on free motion quilting suggest, it’s easiest (and saves a lot of thread J) if you try to draw your design on paper before progressing to the sewing machine. What I don’t find the gurus say clearly (probably because they do it automatically) is to set up the pattern so that it will fit approximately in the U-shape made by your hands as you hold the quilt. I also find that it’s useful to get a quilting mantra going…
For example, when I was doing the quilting of the waves on the sea in the centre panel, I ended up with a rhythm of “little stitches to start, boing, stop, boing, stop, boing, stop and little stitches to finish off, now jump… If you have a look at the picture below, you can see it starts with locking stitches, and then a curve to a point, a curve to a point and then finishes with locking stitches.
I find the mantra helps me get the pattern consistent and make sure I stop at a good place so I avoid putting jerky stitches in my nice curved stitching lines (as much as possible anyway).
The other thing I was reminded of was that if you can’t get a pattern to work by sewing it from left to right (or vice versa) then turn the quilt ninety degrees and work the same pattern from top to bottom instead. You can see in the picture below that this seemed to be easier for the lagoon ripples design.
Finally, the quilting the clouds was fun too, and I was reminded that when you do two lines of quilting around a solid shape like a cloud makes the quilting stand out much more as you can see in the photo below.
So that’s my main lessons from the free-motion fun – to save you some of the original drawing and thinking I’ve put the designs I used on my website so you can use them for your projects. You’ll find designs for the waves, ripples and clouds. Enjoy!