Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Anyone can Stipple - Even You!

If you don't know what a fat quarter or stippling are, then you may not like  to read this post. But, if you quilt, expert, beginner or otherwise - I encourage you to share.
I got into quilting really only since I was pregnant. I got some crazy idea I'd make a funky patchwork quilt (see fandango quilt on this blog) to keep me warm whilst chilling out on the couch waiting for my winter baby. Well, in true Little Mama fashion I bit off a little more than I could chew and needed much advice from Big Mama. The main thing I had completely underestimated was the skill required for Free Motion Quilting. I had selected this beautiful swirly Paisley motif and of course - had to get Big Mama to finish it for me.

Lesson 1 - walk before you can crawl and practice, practice, practice! And that's just what I did.
Animal Border - The Deep End!
I started off drawing small, simple patterns on pretend quilts and just kept going until I had relatively few jerks and therefore a smoother and more even stitch. Before long I was able to transfer these skills to a real project when making the Raggedy Farmyard Quilt for my son. Nine panels, all with a different Free-Motion pattern really put me to the test, but also gave me a world of confidence. The border on this project also had a continuous animal pattern which was probably the most difficult thing I'd done to date.

Lesson 2 - Watch as many tutorial videos as possible. I know I haven't done any - something to work up to. But by far the best site for free motion quilting and stippling tutorial is Leah Day's 'Free Motion Quilting Project'. Her videos are fantastic and her commentary makes everything so much easier. I think almost every filler I used on the Raggedy Farmyard Quilt was one of Leah's.

First Stippling Attempt
Lesson 3 - Just give stippling a go! Despite having got quite good at following a drawn line with my quilting, I was very hesitant to do the traditional stipple (a bendy all over random quilting pattern) yet this is one of the things that first drew me to quilting after I saw the amazing work at the Adelaide Quilting and Craft Fair in November 2011. The thing that probably helped me the most with real stippling was something Leah Day said on one of her videos - pretend you're drawing with the machine. Before then I had been so worried about what I'd do and where I'd go. When I got that concept of drawing in my head - it was easy. I didn't even do a practice (although I shouldn't admit to that).

Summing it up - Have a go! If I can stipple, anyone can. If you muck up it doesn't matter and no one else will probably notice. I made a couple of mistakes on the picture above but you'd have to look closely to find them!

Please share your attempts! I'd love to see what other people are making!

NB: All my free motion quilting so far has used the BSR - Bernina Stitch Regulator, so I'm probably cheating a little bit.

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