Decide what to be and go be it.

Still pluggin’ along…

What happens when you don’t practice, practice, practice?  You get rusty, rusty, rusty!  I’ve been away from fmq for a few weeks.  In the pursuit of my Summer List, I got out my Gettysburg Sun quit and began to quilt.  I had forgotten that I have sooo much trouble quilting a straight line.  You would think a straight line would be easy.  You would be wrong.  If I took my eye off of it for even a nano-second, the stitches were snaking all over the place!  And I just couldn’t get the “feel” of the motion.  The stitches were tiny and then they were big.  I think I can attribute some of that to “lumpy seams”…. a product of small blocks with lots of pieces.  Sometimes, I just don’t know how to press seams to eliminate the bulk in a small block.   I was very unhappy with some of the stitches…so I ripped ’em out!  I like the quilt too much to leave all of the mistakes in.  So, I ripped out stitches…even the microscopic stitches we sometimes get.  Please tell me that sometimes you have them also!  Even if you have to lie to me.  🙂

See what I mean?

Another issue I’m having is I can’t see the designs I’ve marked on dark fabrics.  I meticulously marked my dark fabrics with one of those white pencils.  I believe I wasted my time.  The marks rub off by the time I get to them.  😦  Of course, I took my time to mark the border and of course, most of the markings are gone.  Can you say frustrated?  So, I’ll get out my little stub of a white pencil and try to mark it again. How in the world do you mark dark fabrics?  Is there something out there that everyone else in the world is using except me?

Being a glutton for punishment, I decided to try a free motion feather.  Stitching in the ditch wasn’t challenging enough…I had to try swirls!  I had been drawing them for weeks with minimal success.  But at some point, I knew I would have to put down the pen and put thread to fabric.  Here’s the result.  Not too shabby.  But I suspect that birds all over the world are laughing their tail feathers off right about now!

My Summer List showed me that I am a prolific piecer but not much of a quilter.  This feather shows me that I’m a curvy, swirly quilter and not so straight arrow.  Somehow, I think that my just reflect my personality!


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42 thoughts on “Still pluggin’ along…

  1. I’m with you! I am never happy with my quilt stitches. But I rarely take them out, I am not as meticulous as I could be. My favorite saying is “If you wouldn’t notice it from a galloping horse….”
    I love piecing but I am not meticulous there either – I just find ways to arrange the blocks so that any mismatched corners are not so obvious.

    • I usually don’t “unsew” either. That’s how bad they looked! I’m not as meticulous as I’d like to be. I envy those quilters that are!

  2. Hmmm… I feel your pain! I have to tackle a big quilt soon and I’m chicken. LOL! I’m a prolific piecer myself… If only the quilting didn’t freak me out! Btw, I don’t think it looks as bad as you feel it is! Good luck!

    • Thanks…I think it looks OK. I guess I just see the quilting some people do on home machines and aspire to that. Maybe someday…. 🙂

  3. Karen on said:

    I sometimes use a well used white face soap(like the last of the bar that you would throw away, dry of coarse. that does wear off, but, lasts a while for your quilting.
    I also use a white chalk marker by Clover. This is a tubular case that has white chalk in and is held like a pencil and has a metal roller at the bottom and it makes a line for quilting.
    Also, Roxanne chalk pencils are good and Fons and Porter has their own chalk markers that come in all different colors too.
    I have all of the above if you would like to try all or one, COME ON OVER!!

    • I don’t know if I ever saw that Clover marker. I thought one time there used to be marking pen that marked on dark fabrics. Maybe I dreamed it! The kid and I walked over with the CW tribute quilt the other day but you weren’t home. She said “She’s never home!!” 🙂

  4. basildonkitchens on said:

    Have you tried the new Frixion pens – they come in many colors for light and dark fabrics. They write like a ball point pen then disappear when you slide a hot iron across them. I like them myself. They aren’t too expensive either.

    I think your work is pretty good – but I know what you mean – we are our own worst critics! 🙂 Keep practising. 🙂

    • I haven’t tried those pens. They scare me. I’ve heard that the marks can come back. Do they have colors that would show up on black?

      And we are definitely our own worst critics!!!!

  5. Candy, Just keep practicing, at least that is what they say. I’m not even brave enough to give it a go. If I can’t quilt it with a walking foot, I quilt it with a check. I just don’t want to ruin a perfectly good quilt top. Maybe I will start playing around with FMQ one day.

  6. I also use the Chaco Marker by Clover, but I only mark as I go, since this does not last either!

    And while you are striving to improve your skills, don’t forget the most important thing…this is supposed to be fun. So have fun!

    • I ended up marking as you go with the border since most of my marks were gone. I don’t think it was as accurate as it could have been but it actually looks pretty good!

      • I am not ever as accurate as I’d like (But let’s not tell my Hubby and children that I am not perfect!). However, I do surprise myself when a project is finished and I stand back from it. I get a better perspective…it’s not so bad after all. And it is finished! I rarely get to say that I have a finished project. So be proud of your accomplishment! It is wonderful!

  7. I started my quilting career with a bonkers mad quilter who said wise things like ‘If it offends the maker, take it out’. No-one else will see notice but you know it will be there and it will annoy you any time you look at it. Then again, another one said ‘Any mistake is an opportunity for embellishment.’ And try to stick to both. I like to be proud of my work and I sense that you do too.

    • I love the way the mad quilter thinks! I’ve found that if I wait to take out stitches, they sometimes don’t look so bad the next day!

  8. Oh, I feel your pain! I think you made the right decision to take those stitches out, since the project is really important to you. Keep working at it and you’ll get better…isn’t that what you told me?

  9. jennyklyon on said:

    I think your quilting is much better than you think and the quilt is beautiful-love the colors! I have a general rule: if it’s easy to remove, it’s easy to remove. IE chalk: easy to dust off, so it’s also easy to just rub off as you stuff it through the harp of the machine. And the Frixion pens are great but they do bloom back if your quilt gets cold-you ship it, it is by a door, you put it in the trunk to take with you, etc. Maybe try for a quilting plan that doesn’t need marking? Or take in more chocolate as you quilt and your stitches will improve greatly, giggle!

    • More chocolate might just work! I wish someone would invent something that would easily mark on dark fabrics, stay when you need it to stay and disappear when you no longer need it! Come on….they can put a man on the moon! 🙂

  10. Cindy @ In A Stitch on said:

    I know what you mean about learning the free motion quilting thing. I have a long arm machine and if you think you have problems with a regular sewing machine, magnify that 100 times. It does take lots of practice. In no time you will be sailing along. Of course you could always send your quilt to me for quilting. Doesn’t hurt to put a plug in for myself. 🙂 Happy quilting! Let us see your project when you are finished.

    • I can NOT imagine a long arm machine. Although, there’s more room under the harp. It just takes practice…and I kind of like instant gratification!

  11. Cindy @ In A Stitch on said:

    Oh, btw, your quilt is beautiful!

    • Thank you! I love to piece and I hate to ruin a quilt I like with nasty quilting. Guess that’s why I hate to practice. I don’t want to practice on something I really like.

  12. Candy, You “Stinker”!! You keep saying:”….I hate to ruin a quilt I like with nasty quilting…..” Stop saying that, sit down and sew. I know I sometimes have these ‘delusions of grandeur” and think I can just sit at my machine and somehow do these beautiful feathers, etc, that all the you-know-who’s do but I have to remember “baby steppin'”, be realistic, keep practicing on those sandwiches put together for just that purpose and, yes, at some point we all just have to “take the plunge”!!! and do it. I know you can and we ARE our own worst critic, Dearheart! Uber hugs and ‘go for it’!!!! D

    • Thanks for the pep talk!! I know I just need to practice. Hopefully I’ll have lots of time to do that this summer.

      • So glad you took my comment “the right way”!! After posting, I thought I was a might harsh but I know those are the words I tell myself when getting ready to start quilting a finished sandwich/quilt!! Sometimes the ‘learning curve’ is a bit steep but the next time not so much–yay!! Yes, summer will give you some fun, productive(?) opportunities to practice, practice, practice. Again, it’s a ‘big boat’ we’re all in! Hugs, D

  13. Candy, I have trouble free-motioning my straight lines too!

  14. No lie: I unsew stuff all the time, especially since I’m just learning FMQ. I’m another quilter who has problems with straight lines while FMQ. We’re everywhere!

    I think your picture looks great, but I know that a quilter is always her own worst critic. (We are all perfectionists.) And shyeah, waiting until the next day before removing stitches helps to remove you from the negative thoughts of the day before. At least, it works for me most days.

    • Nice to know I’m not alone with straight lines! And, absolutely…. a good night’s sleep straightens out a lot of crooked straight lines! 🙂

  15. O girl, you have to know this happens to everyone. Even those who get nothing but practice make mistakes. I know what you mean about small blocks and lots of pieces. That Lemonye Star from my sampler had all points meeting in the middle and no amount of pressing made it flat enough for my taste. I’m just glad I’m not the one to quilt that sucker in the end. Anyway, removing stitches is just a part of quilting as putting them in. Keep going, it looks fantastic.

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