Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Free Motion Quilting: Star Struck

The FMQ on the twinkling star quilt is well under way. Here are a few photos of the work as it has progressed.

This first photo shows 2 of the 3 star blocks that I finally settled on. The top star with the double points is machine appliqued. Aside from being the easiest one to assemble, it best captures a "twinkling" star. It has become my favourite. The smaller star underneath it was paper pieced. It was more time consuming, but the points are nice and crisp and it is securely pieced, so it will be quite durable. However, the strong diagonal lines created in the paper piecing process presented quite a challenge when trying to incorporate those lines into the rest of the quilting design. Too late to change it now!

Although the double pointed machine appliqued block is the closest to a twinkling star, the yellow cotton that I used in the points, (shot cotton), is not meant for this type of machine applique. It's softness and pliability, which makes it perfect for hand applique, makes it much too weak to withstand a lot of dense machine work, so there is a problem of it fraying along the satin-stitched edges. I will have to re-applique, (by hand), many of the points before I can secure it further with the FMQ. Live and learn!
If you zoom in on the photo, you will see how the edges of the satin stitch are fraying. Ouch!

The 3rd star block is the smaller star below. I used it mainly as a link between the larger stars.

The photo below shows some of the free motion quilting that is happening. Here you can see how I used the machine appliqued double pointed star as a quilting template as well.

This is one of my warm-up/practice blocks, where I audition different techniques and designs before I commit them to the actual quilt.

I am quite enjoying this last stage of the process and am slowly making my way to the final stitch.

I'm linking to the The Needle and Thread Network


12 comments:

  1. Very nice! I especially like the last quilting design

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    1. Thanks Marjorie. The quilting design evolves as I go along. I start with some basic design elements and fill in the blanks as the quilt progresses. As you can see from the pins, this quilt still has a way to go.

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  2. This is going to be incredible! I'm always blown away by your FMQ skills - that butterfly is impressive. This quilt will most definitely be a cherished heirloom.

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    1. Thanks Michelle. The quilting stage is always my favourite part of the process. Because this is a baby quilt, I have to be careful not to go overboard with too much closely stitched FMQ because the quilt looses some of it's softness and pliability. I'm still working on the background filler, trying to resolve that problem.

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  3. It looks wonderful. The yellow stars are so happy on the quilt.

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    1. Happy stars. I like that. Thanks. It was a bit of a struggle, and many trial blocks before I found the right star for this quilt, but aside from the poor choice of fabric for the points, I'm happy with the final result.

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  4. Live and learn. :D Well in this case, I am happy to learn from you! I can see that the FMQ is going to be amazing again. I'm looking forward to the finish!

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    1. Ah yes, live and learn; that seems to be an on going theme in my life. (Better then the alternative!)

      As I mentioned to Michelle at Needle and Nest, I'm still working out the final design for the background filler stitching. I'm not sure how to keep the quilt soft, while still emphasizing the stars and butterflies. I'm trying a number of different techniques on my practice piece and hopefully, I'll find something that works. Soon! Thanks for checking in.

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  5. Fantastic work, the piecing as well as the appliqué and the quilting.
    Have you tried Fray-Check on your fraying star? My life has become much easier since I found it....

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    1. Thanks Regina. I use Fray-Check when I hand applique, but I didn't even think of for this problem. Great idea! I will certainly be using it before the final stitching. Thanks for that.

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  6. Beautiful! Love your quilting, but such a shame about the fraying on the appliqué stars.

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    1. The fraying caught me by surprise, but I will spend time reinforcing all the points and hope for the best. Next time, I will be more careful of my fabric choices. Thanks for visiting and for your kind comments.

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