Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #39

I received the following email from Jean in Arkansas.  Jean graciously allowed me to share with you our conversation:

“Hi Wendy, I’m one of your former Rogers Sewing Center pupils & follow your blog regularly.  I’ve been working on my free-motion quilting, this is my first “feathers” on a quilt.  Main body of the quilt has over-all design of flowers, leaves, few jester’s crowns, few squiggles.  Outside border is diamonds of the on-point blocks plus some leaves/vines through them.  Anyway, some questions— you told me once to reduce the speed of my machine when using BSR, I set it on 400 instead of default 900; do I need to go slower?  [Wendy’s note:  Jean uses a Bernina machine that has stitch-regulating capability <BSR>] Also I have trouble when I back track, don’t go over the previous stitches, feel like I can’t see where to back track.  I’ve tried all the BSR feet, this quilt I used the big, clear plastic foot of the BSR.  Do I just need more practice?  I seem to get some funky plumes & not sure where to go sometimes & get funny ones.  At least I’ve progressed from “in the ditch” and stippling on every quilt… Thanks for any advice.”

My answer to Jean:

To answer your questions:
1.  Reducing the machine speed wouldn’t really help because the machine is not feeding the quilt anymore, you are!  So try reducing the speed with which you move your quilt so that you are literally stitching one stitch at a time.  That should help tremendously.

2.  Re: backtracking – I will really slow down the way you move your quilt (see #1).
The other thing is to watch where your needle lands when you are stitching slowly.  That will train your eye to eventually anticipate a couple of stitches ahead of your needle – that will help you know where to go, and that will help with the accuracy of your stitching path.

3.  Re: quilting foot – I almost exclusively use the open toe foot because it gives me the best visibility.

4.  Re: funky plumes and not sure where to go – Keep doodling on paper until you get a nicely formed feather plume, and then move the “doodling” to your quilt, except this time use the needle to doodle instead of a pen/pencil.

5:  Re: more practice – Absolutely!  Keep up with the quilting, and you will for sure improve!


All those 2 cents said, I think the quote of the day is Jean saying “At least I’ve progressed from “in the ditch” and stippling on every quilt…”!  I absolutely LOVE the fact that Jean stepped out of her comfort zone, and did something different and brave.  For that, Jean deserves a huge round of applause.  We are ALL learning in this quilting world, and in life!  So I say to Jean, “Keep up the good work!”.

I hope Jean’s story encouraged you today to try something new and daring, not necessarily “quilty” in nature.

Have a marvelous day!

Sweet Bouquets in QUILTER’S WORLD (April 2012)

Dear Friends, I hope you are doing well.  The weather at my end of the world seems to be warming up, and we are quite excited about that!  The warm weather is just what we need to welcome in some sweet blossoms in real life.  That’s what I had in mind when I designed my Sweet Bouquets quilt for Quilter’s World‘s April 2012 issue.

[Image courtesy of]

I also unofficially named this quilt “Bright and Morning Star” because the fresh and soft color palette of the quilt reminds me of the hope I have in my Lord.

The quilt used fabrics from Eleanor Burn‘s Perennials II collection, released by Benartex.  I love the garden-feel of these fabrics.

Now to the quilting – I set out to challenge myself to quilt something that would look totally different on the back compared to the piecing scheme on the front.  Now, see if you know what I mean…  the stars on the front don’t really show up on the back.  Instead, a variation of pickle dish/orange peel quilting scheme does.

Again, quilting was done using Aurifil‘s Mako 50 Cotton over Hobbs Tuscany Silk batt.

What spring projects do you have on your plate this year?  Do share – I am anxious to know!  Thanks for stopping by.  I appreciate your visits, as always.  Till next time.