Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge Retrospective

When I signed on for SewCalGal's 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge, I was wanting to get outside my comfort zone just a bit, having been a hand quilter for nearly 30 years, albeit intermittently rarely over the previous 10-12 years.  After retirement and getting back to quilting again I quickly realized the years had not treated my hands kindly as arthritis and occasional numbness in my fingertips made hand quilting much more difficult.  So, I decided to teach myself free motion quilting via a couple of books, and then thanks to the magic of the internet Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project and Diane Gaudynski's and Patsy Thompson's blogs showed the possibilities of using a home machine to create beautiful quilting designs. Still, I knew that it would take more than just looking at blogs and books to motivate me to become a better free motion quilter.  I needed a plan, structure, a commitment - and SewCalGal came along at just the right time, with her ingenious idea of this challenge!  I can't thank you enough SewCalGal, for YOUR commitment to make better and happier free motion quilters out of a whole lot of newbies!   I hope the fruits of your brainchild have exceeded your wildest expectations, because it has done just that for us!

I actually managed to complete all twelve monthly challenges as well as 3 of the 4 bonus challenges as of this writing!  You can see a summary of the monthly challenges here

It was only because of the FMQ Challenge that I was able to have my most productive quilting year ever!  Motifs and inspiration from the monthly tutorials can be found in nearly all of the 2012 finished quilts summarized here, with the exception of the first one which was completed very early in January.

So, what did I gain from this FMQ Challenge?   Beyond the obvious gift of having access to some of the most talented and creative free motion quilting experts' guidance during our monthly tutorials, it is a new knowledge and confidence that I can, with lots of continuing practice and perseverance, learn this new skill!   I've learned what type of free motion quilting comes naturally to me, and what does not!  I've learned a LOT about fabrics, threads and needles and how they can work with you or against you if you're not careful!   I even learned to leave my comfort zone even further and venture into the addiction world of blogdom! 

Last, but definitely not least, the gift of friendships made through the FMQ Facebook Group hosted by SewCalGal has led to other new blog acquaintances, some of whom were also working on the Challenge.  They in turn have introduced me via their blog links to yet another group of quilty bloggers from across the globe who share their  expertise via blog posts and video tutorials!   A recent illustration:  I first became aware of Rhianon Taylor's gorgeous work and her blog called The Nifty Stitcher early in 2012 through the FMQ Facebook Group.  One of Rhianon's recent posts featured a sampler she created on beautiful pale blue satin quilted with a continuous line feather filler.   She was inspired to create this piece after seeing the blog and video of a quilter named Natasha who lives in Russia and who also creates her quilted masterpieces on a domestic sewing machine.  Rhianon's post included a link to Natasha's blog, and I must say I've watched the videos several times in the past couple of weeks trying to memorize her technique, as well as spending hours admiring her fabulous quilting posted on the blog.  I made my first attempt at replicating Natasha's method for the continuous line feathers on the outer borders of my Bonus Challenge #4 completed yesterday, shown below.
What fun!  No marking, no spine lines unless you really want them, you just start in one corner of your fabric and begin quilting feathers.  I love the way Natasha so effortlessly creates new branches wherever it seems appropriate, and keeps on going.  I definitely haven't mastered the branching off part yet!  I'm delighted to have this new (to me) method of quilting feathers to add to my arsenal of designs learned during the FMQ Challenge, and will keep practicing this technique every chance I get!  A direct link to Natasha's blog post containing the videos can be found here.

I'll be linking up with SewCalGal's Free Motion Quilting Linky Party, and hope you will head on over there and see what others have created using the tutorials provided by so many wonderful and generous quilting experts!   And, it's not too late to check out these great tutorials for yourself if you didn't have a chance to participate last year.  Nearly all of the tutorials are still available for use and you can find them by clicking on the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge tab on SewCalGal's blog,  scrolling down to the chart containing the entire year's list of monthly tutorials, and then clicking on a highlighted month's link to be directed to that month's tutorial. 

Here's to a new year of quilting adventures!

14 comments:

  1. Congrats on such a successful quilting year. I love to free motion quilt too.

    Visiting from Marlene's blog.

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  2. It's beautiful! I saw the link to Natasha's blog on Debbie's Stitchin Therapy blog and have been watching it. That's my new goal, to have feathers that flow like that and it looks like you've done it, congrats!

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  3. I so admire all of you who finished this project - I can see such wonderful progress in your quilting. I love Leah Day and have watched/read almost all of her stuff. blessings, marlene

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  4. Your project is lovely and thanks for sharing the link to the videos. Congruations on finishing the free motion challenge.

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  5. I'm stopping in from StitchinbytheLake to say, "Hi Neighbor!" Love the FMQing I see here. I've been a FMQer myself, for more than a dozen years now. Love to machine quilt... but then, I love to machine piece too. Guess I love it all, and it looks like you do too! Well done on this feather sample!

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  6. Looks like you've really mastered FMQ especially feathers. Thanks so much for posting a link to the videos. I'm hoping to watch them and improve my own skills! Looks like you had a great year!

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  7. I'm your neighbor from Portugal.
    I wish my FMQ was as good as yours. Your feathers look perfect.
    Well done.
    Hugs,
    Teresa

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  8. Hi neighbour....I'm from New Brunswick,Canada....love your quilting. The challenge was great fun.

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  9. Just hopped over for a visit from Stitchin by the Lake and I so enjoyed my visit. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  10. Your feathers look great! I only do loops and straight lines when I quilt. I think I need to practice some other things one of these days.

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  11. Hi neighbor...visiting via Stitchin by the Lake... Congratulations on completing the FMQ challenge. That is so awesome and very impressive.

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  12. What a beautiful piece and I want to learn to do my feathers that way too, I love the way to did the feathering around the center. Congrats on finishing all of the challenges. Rhianon and Natasha do beautiful work too.

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  13. You have really mastered a lot it looks like to me. I had forgotten about going to the bonus #4. So glad you posted the links. This is a valuable post and thanks for sharing your wonderful work. You should pat yourself on the back for a job very well done.

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