Monday, 11 May 2009

Machine Quilting

I went on a wonderful workshop on Friday and just want to share some of the day with you, dear reader!
The enthusiastic and very knowledgeable and skilled tutor was Ruth Jarman and the workshop was held at Sew Creative at Wroxham Barns in Norfolk my "local" quilt shop.
Ruth started by showing us a range of her work, and then it was down to work for the ten of us on the course. What a pace she set, we achieved more than I thought possible in six hours (with a quick 20 minutes for lunch) and any single thing I learned would have been worth the day's fee!
Our aim was to create sample pieces of machine quilting and Ruth showed us how to work with just the top layer and wadding, adding the backing later. This made the process easier with less likelihood of nips and tucks! Layers were pinned, then machined. We started with straight stitch, then zigzag and then explored the more decorative stitches on our machines. It was interesting to have a peek at the other machines, Ruth is a Berninaphile but others had Pfaff and Janome machines and I was pleased with how my Silver performed.
We learned how a grid of 2" squares can be used in many different ways to mark up cloth for quilting and I got quite carried away with marking up diamonds - well, they are a girl's best friend! Ruth recommended some marking tools but also showed us how well a sliver of soap worked, even on white fabric - just remember to wash any marking off your fabric before you iron it!
On to more complex quilting, involving the use of twin needles and changing our feet!! I loved the results from a simple wavy line with two differently coloured threads but my favourite stitch had to be the Italian style quilting. No stuffing with a bodkin, just a wide twin needle and an embroidery foot, beautiful. Then it was time for FMQ - the dread of most ladies on the course! Free motion quilting made easy - relax, remove the shoulders from around the ears, remember you can stop sewing so no need for panic, go with the flow.... Even though this was the last part of a busy day, not the best time for a "difficult" skill, I have to say everybody produced a sample that they were proud of and everybody was promising to go home and do more - practice, practice, practice. I even feel confident about tackling the Trapunto challenge set by Kandy at BQL this month.
As soon as Sylvia at Sew Creative publishes the next list of workshops I'll be booking up for another with Ruth - she does a lovely one on Heirloom Quilting I understand, and I highly recommend her to you.

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hugs, Lis x