Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Free Motion Quilting Fun

Today I was quilting my Susybee crib quilt destined for International Quilt Market, and I thought it might help someone out there to see how I give myself guidelines for free motion quilting without marking on my quilt tops. I will only make marks on a quilt top under extreme duress, that is, there's a design I really want to do and I can't figure out any other way to give myself the guides I need. In this case, I was able to avoid all marks on the quilt top, and here's one of the tricks I used.

Cutting simple shapes out of freezer paper, Steam-a-Seam 2, contact paper, or any light-to-medium sticky paper is a great way to get quilting guidelines temporarily onto your quilt top. Today I used leaf shapes cut from Steam-a-Seam 2. Freezer paper is good, but you have to use an iron to adhere it, and it doesn't have much hold, so I generally use that only for small quilts. Contact paper is stickier, and since this quilt is going to Market, I didn't want to chance any residue - the quilt won't be laundered before it's displayed. So - Steam-a-Seam 2 was the choice today. I started by cutting out a leaf shape from light card stock, and then traced it onto the SAS2 and cut out shapes. I think I cut out about 6 leaves total for this quilt; as you use them, the edges can get nicked by the needle or just generally ratty so it's nice to have a few for the project.

All you have to do is finger-press the shape onto the quilt top at the spot where you want a leaf (or whatever design you're stitching).

Machine quilt around the shape:

And then remove the paper shape.

In this case, I added a vein to each leaf without any markings or guides - freeform fun!

Then you can move the repositionable shape to the next area where you want a motif:

SO easy, and it gives me just enough guidance to get fairly uniform motifs.

Please leave a comment with any free motion quilting tips of your own. I'm always looking for new ideas!