Happy Thursday, Friends! I had scheduled something else for today’s post. Due to the questions I received via SewCalGal regarding my Jester’s Hat motif featured on FMQ Challenge August 2012, I decided to move back the originally intended post a little. Again, the following is a quick pictorial recap for Jester’s Hat in case you are wondering what we are talking about here:
SewCalGal sent me pictures of Jester’s Hat done by quilters Diane and Mary:
[Images used with permission from SewCalGal]
Mary expressed, “Here’s my August “Jester Hats”. It wasn’t a natural pattern for me, but eventually I got a rhythm going. My main problem at this point is how to avoid stitching myself into those blind alleys in order to fill the good sized empty spaces. I get stuck at the end and can’t get out without it looking right. Any suggestions on how to get out gracefully…or to keep from having the blind alleys to begin with?
Diane wrote, “Here is my August challenge piece. It took me a while to get the pattern motion, but I really struggled with getting “lost,” or stuck in a corner. I would like a little more instruction on that aspect, but I just have to keep practicing.”
I think those are definitely valid observations. Following are my 2-cents on what to do when you quilt yourself into a corner:
1. I try to always divide a quilting area in to smaller areas, and make sure those are filled before I move on. That seems to help reduce the number of times I quilt myself into a corner and can’t get out.
Some think that free-motion allover quilting is random. I don’t quite think that way. Perhaps it’s my engineering background, I see allover free-motion quilting as a motif being evenly repeated and distributed over a given space. It is only random as much as the actual quilting of the motif isn’t (entirely) planned out for a particular spot until I reach that spot. But when I reach that spot, I still have to decide how best to execute the quilting to best distribute the motif in the area at hand.
So to tie in with what I said in the beginning…. if I am quilting an area of 8″ x 8″, I would mentally divide my area into 4 – 4″ x 4″ areas, and decide how best to quilt, repeat and distribute my motifs within the areas. I try to fill the first 4″ x 4″ area before moving to the next 4″ x 4″. If that still seems daunting, I try sub-divide a 4″ x 4″ area into 4 – 2″ x 2″ areas, and go from there.
2. If, for some reason, I stitch myself into a corner and can’t get out – that’s not the end of the world. I think it’s a natural occurrence (and something bound to happen) because of the limited visibility when quilting with a domestic machine. It is okay when and if that happens. In situations as such, I just pick a spot in the un-quilted area to start and repeat the motif again until the area looks quilted evenly and blended in with the rest of the already quilted area. This principles doesn’t only apply to the Jester’s Hat, but all types of filler motifs.
3. The other point I thought I would bring up (even though it might really obvious to many) is that free-motion quilting doesn’t mean you have to just keep going and going and going while you quilt. I often stop to consider where I should head next with my quilting path.
I received a most kind email from a Jacque of Spain, and she wrote: “Thanks for the great tutorial of this August, I really enjoyed it while I was doing it from the pictures in the paper to the sewing machine. Thanks to this project of SewCalGal my quilts this year are improving…”
[Image Source: http://fetxmi.blogspot.com.es/2012/08/fmq-challenge-agosto.html]
I couldn’t agree more with Jacque regarding my gratitude to SewCalGal for organizing the Free-motion Challenge! And I am most thrilled to hear from quilters like Jacque that her skills are improving! Well Done and Happy Quilting to all the Free-motion Challenge quilters!
Now one more thing for those who are trying out Jester’s Hat — from the pictures I have seen, many have done their “jesting” on the small-scale. Try enlarging the scale, and you will see that Jester’s Hat transform itself to a rather different look.
In this picture below, each “hat” is ~1″ or slightly smaller — giving it a more “compact look”:
But for this quilt, I quilted each hat about 2.5-3″ in size — a more airy and open feel starts to come through:
With that, I bid you a lovely day!!