The day after my post earlier this month with my practice piece for SewCalGal's Free Motion Quilting Challenge, the old Singer 15-91 was pushed to one corner of the sewing room, and in her place a brand spanking-new Janome Horizon 7700 sat on the cutting table, awaiting its first tryout. A few days before my birthday my incredibly sweet husband announced that my gift would be a brand-new sewing machine, but I had to choose which one. Hence, the double June challenge: to create the block using a brand-new machine - me, who has never used a sewing machine newer than a 1960s Kenmore, and up until two weeks ago the only machines in the house were vintage Singers. But, this is a year of learning, so cold-turkey it would be. The new Janome would create the Challenge block presented by our teacher Cindy Needham. There were a few adventures along the way, as you will soon see, with breaking threads and a fabric or batting, not sure which, that was determined to bunch up and create wrinkles across the top of the design. So, this is how we progressed through the challenge, my Janome and me ...
I started by drawing a 10 1/2 inch circle, added a few flowing lines and some spikey leaves and quilted those - probably my first mistake was not pinning more closely and completely enclosing the circle, trapping the fabric which either stretched or shifted while quilting.
Drew and filled in feathers, added a couple more dividing lines. Beginning to really spot some problem areas to be conquered. Another lesson: drawing too many lines close together gets really confusing when under the FMQ foot!
Drew grid and filled in with "Diane Shiko." Big puffy areas becoming even more prominent, yet I like where the design is going. Wet areas showing here from spritzing the blue washout lines.
Day 6 (or maybe 7?) this morning around 6:30
I'm thinking this circle "block" is about finished, having stippled and curlique'd some of the worst puffs into relative submission. A few ripples and small pleats seemed unavoidable however.
This is the back.
And here's a close-up. Can see that there are a few areas around the upper right feather that still need background fill - another day.
Now to ponder awhile about how to quilt a border around all this so the final piece will be rectangular. But that won't be finished this month, so this is my June entry.
Happy to report bonding with Janome is progressing well, though we're still working on finding that magic 'humm-purr.' That will probably happen once the drop-in table arrives from the warehouse across the country. The machine is still sitting on my cutting table and too high to FMQ comfortably.
I LOVED this month's challenge. A big THANK YOU! to Cindy Needham, our most excellent tutorial expert, and to SewCalGal who goes above and beyond making this huge challenge such a success!