Decide what to be and go be it.

I’m not the stipple queen….

…the  joker maybe.  But definitely not the queen!!  🙂

This week in Leah’s Quilt Along, we moved on to micro-stippling.  I had a very difficult time getting my stippling “micro” enough.  I nearly threw in the towel but decided that it had become personal and I was going to finish that whole cloth quilt.  Along the way, I learned a few things.

1.  My idea of micro and everybody else’s idea are not the same.  I could not get my stitching small enough.  I was cross-eyed trying to get them as small as I did.  And, I’m not sure I like the stippling that small.  If I could do it, I might like it.  🙂

2.  Last week, I had issues with “pokies” on the back of my quilt when I stitched the outline.  A few people suggested that I keep the feed dogs up and set my stitch length to zero.  I know Leah has been saying that from Day One but I couldn’t wrap my brain around how that worked.  Didn’t make sense to me.  (Kind of like how I don’t fly because I can’t understand what keeps that massive hunk of metal in the air.)  But out of desperation, I tried it that way.  Guess what!  It worked.  My stitches were much better on the back this week.  Go figure.  Who knew that following directions might pay off!

3.  If I concentrate too much on the “shape” I’m trying to stipple, I can’t get a good rhythm.  If I try to make a lobster claw, I get so focused on that shape that I lose focus on what to do next.  I find if I just move the fabric in little “bumps and swirls” I can develop a smoother motion.  Maybe I’m making this harder than it has to be.

I have a question for everyone.  How do you stipple inside a motif….for instance the heart?  Do you start and end at the same place or just stop when you run out of room?   An example (of sorts)…my husband hates to dance but with a Miller Lite or two, I may get him to dance at wedding.  He has this theory that you must end up where you started when the song ends.  I think that’s so he’s close to the table and he won’t get corralled into another dance!  So, do you dance around the motif so you end up at the table or on the other side of the room?  It just seems like if you end where you began, it sort of completes it.

So, at least I completed the quilting.  Although I don’t think I’ll ever make a whole cloth quilt, I can see where these skills can be useful.   After having seen some of the finished quilts this week, I’m not sure I want to put mine out there but anyway, here goes!  Actually, I like it…wonky shaped hearts and all. ( They look a little stretched out to me.)  I know it could be better…alot better.  But it could also be alot worse.  I’m not striving for mediocrosy…I really want to improve.  I’m just accepting where my skill level is at this point.  Anyway, it’s bright and cheerful and makes me think of summer!  But it certainly won’t be hanging in any shows.

Update on the Civil War basket quilt.  When I finished stippling, I uncrossed my eyes and cut the sashing strips and corner squares for the quilt.  I managed to sew one row of blocks together before dinner.  Next week, I’m off work so I’m hoping I can finish it.  It’s just so cute!!!

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25 thoughts on “I’m not the stipple queen….

  1. The Modern Home Economist on said:

    Looks prety good to me!

  2. The Modern Home Economist on said:


  3. pearlygirly03 on said:

    Don’t worry about the wonkiness. Leah is showing us how to block which should help straighten it up. I find that if i look ahead for a like of a previous stipple and follow it a bit, then swing back down to make a shape, i do better. I haven’t mastered this because, I’m still thinking of the shape at the same time. It’s like doing 2 things at the same time while looking ahead…challenging. I started my hearts at the v, then went up to the hump and filled that, then over to the next hump, then back over by the first hump. then back over and down to finish. Sounds like a lot for such a small area, but I did nearly all of my hearts this way. I hope this all makes sense! And BTW, It looks great!

    • Thanks! I agree that it’s like doing two things at once. That’s why I think I need to just let it flow. That seems to work better for me.

  4. I’m thinkin’ that looks pretty darn good!

  5. I don’t think it’s bad at all. I agree that we should except where we are in the process. I’m re-learning that right now.

    I also find it easier to not focus on the stitch itself so much. It’s difficult to put the wiggly lines in there. But when I go back to the random puzzle- ly looking stitches it just seems easier to find a rhythm. IDK… Lol

    • That’s exactly what I was trying to say! I kept telling myself…no puzzle pieces. But I can do the puzzle pieces so much easier. It flows nicer.

  6. crazymountainquilter on said:

    All of the above plus who looks as closely at our quilts as we do? At this very moment I have 5 queen size quilt tops that need quilted plus a few smaller tops. I am still waiting for magic quilting skills to come so I can do something with them other then stipple. I can no longer wait for the quilting fairy to come and do them for me as I think she ran away with the cleaning fairy…..I hope that ol’ witch dies caus eshe never shows up when u want her too.

    • I think you’re right. Those two little fairies are lying on a beach in Jamaica! I know I’haven’t seen hide nor hair of either of them in months!!

      My sister and I were just talking about quilting existing projects. I practice and practice but I’m afraid to actually quilt on a finished piece. I know I just need to jump, but that little voice keeps saying “What if you ruin it?”. But I’m closer to putting something other than practice pieces under the machine.

  7. basildonkitchens on said:

    I think your quilting looks great! I agree with ‘crazymountainquilter’ – we are the only ones who look this close at the work. You are actually inspiring me to try FMQ again…
    Keep up the good work.

  8. I think it looks good- I got mine quite small, but not as small as Leah’s.

    For the shapes- I always have an “exit strategy” (even when I quilt on large scale). For the hearts- I started at the point, went up to a bump, around to the other bump, and then back down to the point- because I needed to travel over the line again.

    I THINK for the triangles I just went across the shape and out the other side.

    But I always think about how I am getting out of the shape (or block on a pieced quilt) before I get too far into it.

  9. All to familiar!! I kept telling my self; keep it round, no sharp edges! That seems to have helped me cause I wasn’t concentrating on the stitches and the round shapes came up (somehow). My worst performance is travel stitching. I just have to practise, practise and practise.
    The wholecloth looks great!!

    • Thanks, Gerda! TI find if I slow down, I can travel much better. I always seem to be in such a hurry. The hardest part about practicing is finding the time.

  10. Candy, I think your machine quilting is great!!! I was doing it last night on a paper pieced quilt, and I had so many skipped stitches due to the thick seams… I’m definitely going to start machine quilting more!!!

  11. Looks nice with the thread being so close in color to the fabric. I’m just hoping that I will improve with practice – am glad I’m doing anything – wasted to much time wanting to be perfect and so not doing anything!

  12. Hello, Candy! It’s me, again!hehe! I so love your little sunny piece and all that has been said so far is the absolute truth! Leah keeps warning us not to be so hard on ourselves…..only leads to discouragement (a place we do NOT want to go!). I keep the “puzzle piece” idea in my mind when meandering/stippling and it definitely helps my focus and direction. I find that filling the hearts the way Leah did worked the best for me as starting and stopping in the v allowed convenient travel to the next heart. Keep up the great work…..sometimes we are looking so hard at our work we can’t see how far we have really come!! And you have! Hugs and blessings, Doreen

    • Thanks, Doreen! I always love your comments! My little yellow baby is drying as we speak and I can tell you she looks better and better to me. MiniQuilter loves it. I have big plans to put what I’ve learned so far to work on a UFO that’s been hanging around for years waiting for me to learn fmq. Hopefully,I’ll begin next week.

  13. I love the variegated thread you used! When I microstippled, I tried both ways you asked about ending where you began and ending somewhere else. I preferred to end in a different spot.

    This is because I tied off my threads and it they got more jumbled if I had 4 threads all in one spot (top & bobbin starting thread and top and bobbin ending thread). It was easier to hide the ends if I started and stopped in a different spot. As long as my stippling filled the entire area, you couldn’t see the line of stopping or starting. Hope that helps!

    • What you say makes sense. I did have a bunch of threads to bury! It took a whole lot more planning, also. I’m going to try it your way on a practice square and compare.

  14. Love it. Truly spectacular. You did a great job.


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